With luxury makes downsizing — from the BMW 1 Series to the upcoming Mercedes-Benz B-Class — it was only a matter of time before a U.S. automaker would jump on the bandwagon. Complementing the Buick LaCrosse large sedan and the Regal midsize, the compact 2012 Buick Verano is the latest big thing in a small package, taking a square aim at the Acura TSX — but at a much more accessible price.
Starting at $23,470, including an $885 destination charge, the Verano is priced some $7000 less than its competition but comes equipped with many of the same features. Much as German brands have done for years, the base Verano comes with leatherette-upholstered seats as standard and leather in higher trims. On the inside, the small Buick also comes with a standard seven-inch touch-screen to display information for the radio, and IntelliLink infotainment system that lets passengers integrate their smartphones into the audio system.
Automatic climate control, remote start for the ignition, and radio controls on the steering wheel also come as standard equipment. Motivation for the Verano comes by way of a 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine that produces 180 horsepower — a good 42 more than its cousin, the Chevrolet Cruze. That power is routed through a six-speed automatic, allowing the Verano to achieve 31 mpg highway.
In uplevel models, which will top out at $26,850 including destination, leather is available in addition to a nine-speaker Bose audio system, heated seats, and a heated steering wheel. All models come with 18-inch wheels, Buick’s noise-cancelling Quiet Tuning technology, and 10-airbags to protect passengers in a collision.
“Verano is a great new addition to Buick because it expands the brand’s reach,” said Tony DiSalle, U.S. vice president of Buick Marketing, in a statement. “With Verano, we’re inviting new customers into the Buick family, giving us the opportunity and privilege of building longtime Buick loyalty.”
Look for the Verano to hit showrooms later this year.