Over the past decade, compact luxury cars have become increasingly popular in Canada, offering the amenities and refinement typically associated with upmarket brands, but at a reduced cost and in a smaller package. Buick’s take on the segment is the Verano.
While its badge may not be as prestigious as some of its rivals, the Verano makes a strong impression on the road. Riding on the same platform as the previous generation Chevrolet Cruze, the Verano features greater levels of sound insulation, better interior fit and finish with more use of soft-touch plastics, as well as a comfort-tuned ride. Indeed, the Verano is one of the quietest and most comfortable small cars you can buy today, offering more refinement than vehicles costing thousands more.
However, the sun is setting on the Verano; 2017 will be its final year in production, and it's unlikely to be replaced. Customers have spoken with their wallets; small crossovers such as the Encore and the new midsize Envision are far more popular.
With production winding down, GM Canada opted to streamline the Verano’s powertrain options for 2017, discontinuing the range-topping 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. This engine, also used in the Buick Regal, produced 250 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque and made the Verano Turbo something of a sleeper. Instead, potential customers get a 2.4-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder which makes 180 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque. The engine drives the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. While the Verano offers decent power, it lags behind the Acura ILX and Audi A3 for performance. Fuel economy isn’t a strong suit either; it trails behind the larger mid-size sedans such as the Nissan Altima and Honda Accord.
Three trims of the Verano are available – base, 1SV, and Leather. The Sport Touring trim, launched just last year, has been discontinued.
Plenty of amenities are available on the Verano, including a Bose stereo system, dual-zone climate control, remote start, and even a heated steering wheel. Oddly, leather is only available on the top-shelf Leather trim, and only the driver’s front seat is power operated. As the Verano rides on a small-car platform, rear-seat space isn’t especially generous, but it is acceptable when compared to rivals. On the other hand, there’s plenty of cargo space in its wide, tall trunk.
Inside, most Veranos feature the available 7.0-inch touchscreen display, which offers Buick’s IntelliLink system. The software is not the latest-generation equipment as seen on various new GM products, and so while it offers USB ports for smartphone compatibility and Siri Eyes-Free, it does not feature Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. While the screen’s graphics are clear, the centre console design is button heavy and somewhat counterintuitive to use.
In terms of active safety equipment, the Verano is available with blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, and forward collision alert.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed
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