By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 6.8
The 2015 Buick Verano is sort of like a Buick LaCrosse that got left in the dryer too long. However, these shrunken dimensions don't mean it's short on the things we like about Buick. It's comfortable, quiet and even kind of fun, thanks to an available turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. While the Verano shares its underpinnings with the Chevrolet Cruze, it offers much higher levels of fit and finish, advanced safety features, and a cloud-like ride. It also gives Buick a foothold in a new and growing niche: the entry-level compact luxury sedan. Compared to the Acura ILX, the Verano not as athletic, nor is it as fuel efficient as a Lexus CT 200h hybrid, but it is an excellent value.
If luxury features like a quiet ride, a comfortable interior, and plenty of high-tech options are your thing, but you don't have a lot to spend, then this small Buick might just be what you're looking for. The available turbocharged engine adds a little spice without upsetting the luxury balance.
KBB Expert Ratings
Like many GM vehicles this year, the 2015 Buick Verano gets OnStar with 4G LTE and a standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, which includes a 3-month trial period. A new sport-appearance package is also available.
Driving Impressions If we had to pick one word to describe the 2015 Buick Verano, it'd be "comfortable." "Of course," you say, "it's a Buick, after all." While that's true, it's also...... a compact car, and even among other compact luxury sedans, the Buick Verano has a driving style that makes it feel like a bigger car, but in a good way. It's quiet, the ride is smooth, and this littlest of Buick sedans reminds us more of the larger Regal and LaCrosse than its corporate sibling, the Chevy Cruze. It's not sporty though. The standard 4-cylinder engine is adequate, and while the turbo offers zippy acceleration, the suspension is still tuned more for comfort. No matter, there are plenty of high-tech features available, like forward-collision warning, and the Buick Verano is probably the most comfortable car available at the price. That's saying something.
Buick says it aimed for the 2015 Verano to be the quietest compact sedan on the market, and we think they may be on to something. Its QuietTuning technology goes a long way toward quelling unwanted noise and vibration.
While the 2015 Buick Verano isn't very sporty, it can be quick if you pony up for the 250-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder. With 60 mph coming up in less than six seconds, and an available manual transmission, the Verano Turbo has plenty of kick.
The 2015 Buick Verano boasts an interior that's high on quality materials and comfortable seats. The two lower-trim models offer premium cloth seats, while the upper trims come with leather seating. The front passengers will be plenty comfortable, with the driver's seat especially well bolstered for a car of this size. The rear seat isn't quite as generous, but at least it's no worse than competitors. We like the Verano's standard 7-inch touch-screen interface, but we do wish Buick would cut down on the number of buttons surrounding it.Exterior
Park the Buick Verano next to a Chevrolet Cruze, and you'd still be hard pressed to tell that they share a common architecture. The Buick's waterfall grille, gently rising beltline and athletic stance are nicely wrapped up with the tucked-in trunk. There are also traditional Buick styling cues, such as the brand's aesthetic "portholes" atop the hood directly beneath the windshield 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.
The 2015 Buick Verano comes standard with features that some of its competitors don't even offer as options. Base models get 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. It also comes standard with an electronic parking brake, and sound-deadening tricks like acoustic laminated glass to keep the interior quiet, a rarity for this price range. All Veranos include 10 airbags, stability/traction control, and automatic crash response as part of a 6-month trial of the OnStar communications system.
Many desirable amenities for the 2015 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 a sport package that includes a rear spoiler. The Convenience package adds blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning, heated front seats, and a power driver's seat. Turbo models can be equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission instead of the 6-speed automatic, and also come with leather, a heated steering wheel, and a 9-speaker Bose sound system.
The standard engine on three models of the 2015 Buick Verano is a 180-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, which comes connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission. However, you can opt for the Verano Turbo which, not surprisingly, comes with a turbocharged engine. With 250 horsepower from its 2.0 liters, and coming with either a 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission, it definitely makes the Verano 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 2015 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 base model 2015 Buick Verano has a very reasonable Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at just over $24,000. Prices go up from there, but even the top-line Verano with its turbocharged engine comes in at a reasonable $30,000 or so. Unless you crave the extra power, we'd suggest the Leather Group model, thanks to its plentiful features and reasonable $28,000 price tag. Overall, the Buick Verano comfortably undercuts the rest of 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. Be sure to check KBB's Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their Verano. The downside is that the Verano's resale value isn't projected to be as good as the CT 200h, or even the ILX.