Buick sends its compact Verano sedan off into the sunset with a short 2017 model year and a simplified lineup that includes base, Sport Touring, and Leather models. The smaller lineup loses the 250-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, leaving only the 180-hp 2.4-liter 4-cylinder.
The Verano is related to the first-generation Chevrolet Cruze, but that model was redesigned for 2016 and the Verano will not follow in its footsteps.
The Verano straddles the mainstream and premium markets. It’s clearly not on the level of a Cadillac, but it is not priced like one either.
In our updated rating system the Verano scores a 5.8, earning points for interior comfort, quietness, and good safety ratings. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Styling and performance
The Verano’s styling fits neatly into Buick’s lineup, with a few heritage-inspired hints in its grille and interior that help mask its small car proportions. It’s a design that is uniformy subdued and tasteful aside from the tack fake portholes on its hood that look more Pep Boys than design house. Inside, things look even more polished with a dash that’s finished richly and gauges lit softly.
Underneath, the Verano’s four-wheel independent suspension is a clone of the last-generation Chevy Cruze, but the Buick is tuned more for comfort and is considerably quieter. All models have a soft feel, but they can be entertaining if pushed. There’s moderate body lean, but it’s kept in check by precise, if light steering. Solid stopping power comes courtesy of four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, although the brake pedal is rather spongy.
The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder motor is not rocket quick. It’s capable of a 0-60 mph jaunt of a modest 8.6 seconds, but to its credit the Verano feels more eager thanks to its quick-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission and a refinement level that’s nearly tops for the segment.
Fuel efficiency isn’t tops for a compact sedan. The Verano has been rated by the EPA at 21 mpg city, 31 highway, 24 combined—not so impressive compared to mainstream compact cars.
Interior, safety, and features
The Verano stands apart from less-pricey compact four-doors thanks to its refined, comfortable, and silent interior. Buick coins the interior as "Quiet Tuning" and that accurately describes this little four-door’s personality. Meticulous measures to deaden sound include laminated and acoustic glass, extensive use of baffles, foams, and mats, and triple sealing on the doors. The result is a nearly silent small car that allows for hushed conversation even at high speeds on rough terrain.
Interior trim and appointments are generally worthy of comparison to luxury cars this size, and the front-wheel-drive layout bestows the Verano with a spacious interior. The front seats are supportive for an entire day for an especially wide range of driver sizes. There’s even plenty of rearward seat travel for tall drivers and good head room with or without the available moonroof. In the rear, the Verano features seats contoured nicely for two adults, but there is some compromised leg room as expected from its short proprotions. The trunk is well-shaped with considerable space and a wide aperture. The rear seatbacks fold almost flat for additional large item storage.
Crash-test ratings from thefederal government’s NHTSA are five stars overall. However, the Verano can’t qualify for the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick because it has not yet been subjected to the demandingsmall-overlap crash test. Equipment-wise, ten airbags are standard, as is OnStar Automatic Crash Response. A rearview camera is standard on allversions but the base model, and buyers can opt for rear park assist, blind-spot monitors, forward collision warnings, lane departure warnings, and rear cross traffic alerts.
Starting in the low $20,000 range, the base Verano comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, steering-wheel audio controls, an AM/FM/CD player, a USB jack, and 17-inch alloy wheels. However, the base model lacks Bluetooth, the backup camera, and touchscreen infotainment. Those features are standard on the other models, and buyers can get such features as heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, navigation, a Bose surround sound audio system, and leather upholstery on higher line models.