- Fast Facts
SAN ANTONIO, Tex. — On Houston Street, a prime conduit bisecting downtown San Antonio, we’re steering the new Baby Buick — 2012 Verano compact luxury sedan — at a snail’s pace due to traffic squeezing into a single lane to skirt a road crew with jackhammers pounding the pavement.
As our car creeps by the jackhammers, we’re struck by Verano’s ability to mute the bang-bang-bang racket coming from the workers.
All external noise, vibration and harshness seems locked outside of Verano’s leather-trimmed passenger compartment because the cabin is wrapped liberally with sound-absorbing material including sound blankets (in the roof, below the hood and both front and back of the firewall), nylon baffles and sound-absorbing foam wadded in hollows of the car structure, door seals in triplicate plus thick layers of acoustic laminate applied to the windshield and side windows.
The effort to control NVH inside the Verano is labeled by Buick marketeers as Quiet Tuning. It represents a sense of refinement akin to a premium luxury car yet Buick’s smallest sedan brings sticker prices pitched below $28,000.
Looking sleek in a stylish design drawn with taut lines and keen edgework, the Verano carries a direct-injection Ecotec four-cylinder engine and mounts exacting mechanical hardware on a rigid front-wheel-drive platform with the tight suspension control of a Teutonic touring car.
Developing the 2012 Verano amounted to a global effort.
Its platform was designed in Germany and underpins other products such as Opel’s Astra in Europe and the Buick Excelle GT that’s constructed and marketed in China, where Buick has become one of the biggest brand stars.
Styling for Verano’s chrome-crusted body and the luxurious five-seat passenger compartment was a joint effort between designers at GM’s Technical Center in Warren, Mich., and those in China at GM’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC).
The new vehicle comes together at a GM assembly plant in Orion, Mich.
Verano looks slick with a coupe-like silhouette.
A glitzy waterfall grille dominates the prow with aggressive corner lamp clusters containing blue translucent projector beam headlamps.
Fender blisters ripple around multi-spoke alloy wheels, which stand near front and rear corners, leaving curt overhangs on prow and tail.
The roofline remains low, dipping down in front in line with the windshield but mounting a smooth arch over the cabin before tapering to a rolled tail off the trunk deck.
That tail reveals a smooth monochrome slab bumper supporting corner taillamps streaked with chrome eyebrows.
Verano’s platform features a wheelbase that’s 105.7-inches long and a wheel track of 60.7 inches in front and 61.3 inches in back.
The suspension has front decoupled MacPherson struts with aluminum control arms and a 25-mm hollow stabilizer bar. In the rear the car employs an uncommon Z-link that’s lightweight and compact for responsive rear suspension control.
The rack-mounted steering system gets electric power assistance, which eliminates a load of hydraulic equipment and contributes to the efficiency of Verano’s engine.
Brakes include a large disc at every wheel — ventilated front, solid rear — linked to ABS (anti-lock brake system), EBD (electronic brake force distribution), BA (brake assist), TCS (traction control system) and GM’s StabiliTrak electronic skid control system.
Verano also comes with a heap of passive safety equipment including smart multi-stage frontal air bags and side air bags for front and rear seats along with curtain-style air bags tucked in the ceiling for outboard seats on two rows, even air bags aimed at knees of front-seat riders.
GM brings a high-tech Ecotec engine to the 2012 Verano featuring dual overhead cams (DOHC), electronic throttle control (ETC), direct injection (DI) technology and variable valve timing (VVT).
The 2.4-liter cast aluminum four-in-line plant develops 180 hp at 6700 rpm and 171 lb-ft of torque at 4900 rpm.
Transaxle is a fuel-saving six-speed electronically controlled automatic with DSC (driver shift control), the Hydra-Matic 6T45 from GM.
The federal EPA sets fuel economy numbers for Verano’s powertrain at 21 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.
Verano’s base edition rolls on 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels with 235/45R18 all-season blackwall tires.
Standard equipment ranges from foglamps and remote ignition to cruise control, dual automatic climate system, power windows and power door locks, cloth fabric seat upholstery with leatherette trim, split-folding rear seatbacks, tilting-telescoping steering wheel, 7-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth and OnStar connectivity plus a six-speaker audio package with CD deck, satellite radio and USB/iPod interface.
Verano Convenience applies 6-way power controls to the driver’s seat, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated exterior mirrors, rear parking sensors and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Verano Leather installs leather upholstery and a Bose audio system with nine speakers.
Buick’s MSRP chart for Verano begins at $22,585.
2012 BUICK VERANO SEDAN SPECIFICATIONS
- Description: Compact luxury sedan
- Model options: Verano, Verano Convenience, Verano Leather
- Wheelbase: 105.7 inches
- Overall length: 183.9 inches
- Engine size: DOHC 2.4-L I4/SIDI/VVT
- Transmissions/speeds: Auto/6/DSC/HM6T45
- Rear/front drive: Front
- Steering: EPS/rack and pinion
- Braking Power: 4-disc, ABS/EBD/BA/TCS/StabiliTrak
- Air bags: 2 (front), 2 (side front), 2 (knee front), 2 (side rear), 4 (side curtain)
- EPA mileage est. city/hwy.: 21/32 mpg
- MSRP range, est.: $22,585 to $25,965