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NAIAS 2011: 2012 Buick Verano


     After boasting about Buick’s new found role as the US market’s fastest growing brand a cloud of smoke appeared. When the smoke cleared, Buick’s newest and smallest entry was rotating on the turntable, the 2012 Verano. Buick claims that this is the brand’s first compact luxury sedan. Apparently Buick officials are admitting that previous offerings such as the Special, Apollo, SkyHawk and Skylark weren’t really all that luxurious. Or perhaps they can’t seem to remember any of their offerings prior to 1996 when the last Skylark rolled off the assembly line.
     Regardless, the significance of the Verano in the ultimate scheme of Buick history lies in whether the new compact will help to continue Buick’s drive to compete with the likes of Acura and Lexus. Offered with a 2.4L Ecotec 4-cylinder and a six-speed automatic as standard, Buick promises 0-60 mph in 8.0 seconds and about 31 mpg on the highway. If that seems a bit sluggish for a small luxury sedan, Buick also claims that a 2.0L turbo will be offered sometime in the near future. What should catch the attention of performance enthusiasts – and by some welcome twist of automotive fate we can say ‘performance’ and ‘Buick’ in the same sentence these days – is that the turbocharged Verano will be offered with a choice of six speed automatic or manual transmissions.
     In order to help differentiate the Verano from the Chevrolet Cruze on which it’s based, Buick claims to have paid special attention to ‘Quiet Tuning.’ Buick boasts that the Verano will be class-leading quiet for a small luxury sedan. While the exterior of the Verano appears to be sufficiently different from the Cruze, it remains to be seen if it will be a successful follow up to the much loved Regal, or merely another discarded model in Buick’s attempt to fill dealer’s showrooms with a successful small car.

Photos by Jason Muxlow

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