By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.4
Aiming to build a miniature version of the popular LaCrosse sedan, Buick’s compact Verano for 2017 nearly hits the bull’s-eye. Unfortunately, lackluster sales have seen the Verano’s best bits axed this year, namely its turbocharged engine and 6-speed manual transmission. What’s left for consumers is still a competent little luxury cruiser comparable to the Acura ILX, Volkswagen Jetta and to a lesser degree, the Lexus CT 200h. Sharing its basic components with Chevy’s previous-generation Cruze may be one reason buyers didn’t bite, although Buick certainly added enough luxury bits and unique styling to avoid creating another Cadillac Cimarron. Time will tell if the Verano gets a do-over for 2018 or is permanently scratched from the roster.
If you’re seeking a compact car that still knows how to pamper and please its occupants, the 2017 Buick Verano deserves a good look. The Verano offers numerous high-tech safety and comfort features, and the little Buick’s ride is far softer than most foreign small cars.
KBB Expert Ratings
Buick’s 2017 Verano sedan is reduced to just three trim levels this year, and it loses the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and 6-speed manual-transmission option.
It doesn’t take but a few moments behind the 2017 Buick Verano’s wheel to figure out this car was built for long-distance cruising and comfortable around-town errands. Unlike the firm-riding...
... Mazda3 or Volkswagen Jetta GLI, the Buick Verano luxury sedan is all about quiet, comfortable transportation. Yet, despite is compliant ride, the Verano doesn’t handle all that badly. In fact, it feels quite sure of itself when the road begins to curve, although the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder lacks the punch to really make this car competitive with the Acura ILX, Audi A3 or Lexus IS. Luxury, on the other hand, is here in abundance with a handsomely detailed cabin and the latest in driver assists including forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning and blind-zone alert. The 2017 Verano luxury sedan also features one of the most user-friendly infotainment interfaces in the segment and includes the IntelliLink system on Sport Touring and Leather Group trims.
Buick prides itself on a reputation for building ultra-quiet cabins and the 2017 Verano sedan is no exception. Using QuietTuning technology, Buick has successfully eliminated a good chunk of exterior noise and vibration that might otherwise creep into the Verano’s interior.
4G WI-FI HOTSPOT
Standard on even the base model, Buick’s OnStar 4G LTE includes a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot allowing users to connect compatible devices to the Internet where service is available (requires subscription).
The 2017 Buick Verano boasts an interior that's high on quality materials and comfortable seats. The base and Sport Touring trims offer premium cloth seats, while the aptly named Leather Group comes 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’ designs. 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.
Park the 2017 Buick Verano next to the previous-generation 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 17- and 18-inch aluminum-alloys and the Sport Touring adds a rear spoiler for a bit more visual pizazz.
The 2017 Buick Verano comes standard with features that some of its competitors don't even offer as options. Base models get 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/USB sound system with 7-inch color touch screen, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, dual-zone automatic climate control, tilt/telescopic steering column, cruise control and automatic headlights. It also comes standard with an electronic parking brake, remote start, Bluetooth 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 Buick’s 2017 Verano are bundled among its two other trims. The Sport Touring adds 18-inch wheels, heated seats, a power driver’s seat and rearview camera and rear parking sensors. The Leather Group brings leather seating, a heated steering wheel and a 9-speaker Bose premium audio system. Optional on both the Sport Touring and Leather Group is the Driver’s Confidence package that adds blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning. The Leather Group’s Experience Package adds a power moonroof and the IntelliLink system with touch-screen navigation radio.
The standard engine on all 2017 Buick Verano models is a 180-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, which comes connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission. All Veranos are front-wheel drive. The 2.4-liter engine can run on regular unleaded gasoline and, like other 2017 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: 21/31 mpg
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The 2017 Buick Verano carries a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just under $22,000. Most will opt for the better-equipped Verano Sport Touring, which starts around $25,000. Prices go up as options are added until you reach a premium of around $30,000 for a fully loaded Leather Group model. 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 $29,000, while a base Lexus CT 200h is over $10,000 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.