By Cars.com EditorsFebruary 3, 2012
About the video
Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2012 Buick Verano.
(hard rock music) <v Announcer>Cars.com auto review. Hi, I'm Kelsey Mays for cars.com here with Buick's new 2012 Verano. It's based off the Chevy Cruze, which is a pretty appealing commuter car.
And Buick asks, "Would you be willing to pay a little more for a version that's quieter, more luxurious, and has a little bit of extra power?" Let's find out. Verano's got some traditional Buick cues, like a waterfall grill here, blue rings around the headlights and chrome portals atop the hood. I'm not so sure I like the taillights. They have these silver chrome streaks atop them here. Gives an odd sort of flavor to an otherwise stubby trunk. See what you think. The Verano is Buick's least expensive model, but cabin materials are pretty good upfront. Lots of nice warm colors. Nice textures. More padding here then in the Cruze. Dual zone, automatic climate control is standard. Buick's available intelillink system can run apps off your smartphone like Pandora and Stitcher. Despite the Verano being about six inches shorter than the Buick Regal, and about a foot shorter than the Buick Lacrosse, there's actually a fair amount of room upfront. Nice amount of range in the adjustable driver's seat here. Drivers of all sizes are going to be able to find their fit pretty well. And a good amount of space for you to kind of spread your knees here. Unfortunately, visibility isn't all that great. The windshield is pulled pretty far forward and the roof line is pretty low, which hurts visibility out front. The rear view mirror is really tiny, and the rear head restraints take a chunk out of the view back there. Those same head restraints run into the front seats, if you don't have the front seats forward far enough when you're folding down the rear seats. But once you get the whole thing folded down, the opening to the trunk is actually pretty big, and you don't have to mess with the middle seatbelt when you're putting luggage through, because the seat belt is actually mounted in the seat instead of the rear shelf. Kind of nice. Total trunk volume in our test car is about 14 cubic feet. Enough for some golf bags or a few groceries. The smaller dimensions do kind of hit home in the backseat, if you're sitting here. I've got okay leg room, decent head room, but it's by no means a big back seat. Also the budget car underpinnings kind of show through back here. You've got things like plastic pillars, plastic seat pillars, really cheap feeling upper door panels. These are straight out of the Cruze it seems. The Buick definitely offers another degree of refinement than the Chevrolet, with a peppier four cylinder engine, a quiet cabin and a pretty smooth ride. It starts at about $22,600. That's about as much as the top of the line Chevrolet Cruze LTZ, and it's about four grand cheaper than Buick's larger Regal, about 11 grand cheaper than a Lexus. IS 250, which Buick says the Verano competes with. I'm not really sure that I buy that. The IS is a pretty sporty car. The car that the Regal actually lines up pretty well against. I don't know about the Verano though. Another problem is the Cruze, which so far has been pretty unreliable. Here's hoping that Buick can improve on that. So at the end of the day, would we pay more for a Verano? Maybe, but we're not really sure how many buyers Buick's going to line up. For more car related news, go to cars.com or our blog KickingTires.net.