Like its larger LaCrosse sibling, the 5-passenger Verano's interior is appealing thanks to high-quality materials and comfortable seats. The two lower trims use premium cloth as the covering of choice, while the top two have plush leather. The driver's seat is surprisingly bolstered for a car of this size. The rear seats are snug, though, and legroom is at a premium. We like the Verano's standard 7-inch touch-screen interface, but its surrounding buttons and controls could use improvement. There are many of them – including the oddly placed engine-start button on higher trims – and they are not very intuitive.
Though its architecture is shared with the Chevrolet Cruze, the Verano's outer appearance differs significantly. The compact sedan begins with a "waterfall" grille, has sides defined by a gently rising beltline that give it a slightly athletic stance, and wraps up nicely with a tucked-in trunk. Being a Buick, the Verano carries on the tradition of the brand's aesthetic "portholes," placed atop the hood directly beneath the A-pillars. The standard wheels are impressive 18-inch aluminum-alloys. Turbocharged Veranos are the sleepers of the line, with just a subtle "T" badge on the trunk and dual exhaust outlets to indicate their extra muscle.
Notable Standard Equipment
The 2014 Buick Verano offers a host of features – some not even offered by its competitors – at a lower price. Base models come with 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/USB sound system with touch screen, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a rearview camera. Spend roughly $1,200 extra for the Convenience trim, and you get much more for your money, including blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning, heated front seats, and a power driver's seat. Top-line versions bring an invigorating turbocharged 4-cylinder, leather, a heated steering wheel, and a 9-speaker Bose sound system. All Veranos include 10 airbags, stability/traction control, and automatic crash response as part of a 6-month trial of the OnStar communications system.
Notable Optional Equipment
Many desirable amenities for the 2014 Verano are bundled among its four trim levels. Those that are available a la carte include navigation, a power sunroof, and Bose premium sound. The sedan's outer appearance can be enhanced with premium multi-spoke wheels, diamond tri-coat paint and a spoiler. Turbo models can be equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission as a no-cost option in place of the 6-speed automatic.
Under the Hood
Two engine choices are available in the 2014 Verano. Standard on three of the Buick's four trim levels is a 180-horsepower, naturally aspirated (non-turbocharged) 4-cylinder that provides adequate power. The top-line Turbo model comes, appropriately enough, with a more powerful turbocharged engine. Though smaller in size, the turbo engine has 70 more horsepower and makes the Verano much more interesting to drive. All Veranos are front-wheel drive. The base engine can run on regular unleaded gasoline, while premium is recommended for the turbo. Like other 2014 Buicks, the Verano includes free scheduled maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles.
180 horsepower @ 6,700 rpm
171 lb-ft of torque @ 4,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/32 mpg
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
250 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/31 mpg (manual), 21/30 mpg (automatic)
The 2014 Buick Verano has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $24,625 and rising to just under $30,000 for a top-line Turbo model. At these prices, the Verano presents a very good value proposition in its niche market of entry-level luxury vehicles. An Acura ILX 4-door sedan, by comparison, starts closer to $27,000, while a base Lexus CT 200h is over $8,000 beyond the Buick's starting price. The 2-door BMW 1 Series Coupe, meanwhile, starts around $7,500 more than the Verano. Before buying, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their Verano. News is not so bright regarding the Buick's resale value. Its long-term residuals are predicted to be far below those of the Lexus CT 200h, and slightly below those of the Acura ILX.
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