I love turbo front wheel drive sedan for thier sporty and quick nature combined with fuel efficiency. I owned turbo Saab 9-5s in the past though this car is a little smaller it has much more power and torque, handling, refinement...it just has more everything. But for a 6-speed manual transmission and almost 300 horsepower with a few ecu tweaks, you cannot match fuel economy for this performance refinement from anything.
This is one smooth, quiet engine. At a stoplight with the clutch in there is no indication that the engine is running unless you look at the guages. The response from the turbo is seamless with just a swift waft of torque to accelerate. The manual transmission can be a little noisy on the 1-2 shift if the windows are done. Other than that it is silky smooth.
I did see 39 mpg on a tankful of gas just commuting on the highway 118 miles at 60 mph. It great fuel economy and it is what I expect from turbo-4 these days.
Front seat support & comfort
The seat cushioning is about the best in the business. The foam density Buick used is unlike any I have experienced.
Not sure how Buick does it but the steering is razor sharp at highway speeds and ramps up very linearity and not abruptly which makes avoiding obstacles a breeze. Though push the Verano hard in a corner and it just understeers. Almost like it was detuned to stay under it's bigger, heavier brother the Regal GS.
Buick's Quiet Tuning works wonders. The laminated front glass does a great job at eliminating wind noise that the Saab couldn't do. The noise reduction doesn't stop up front as when the spare tire is exposed the spray-on deadening continues.
The 18" wheels seemed to be a little heavy with noticable thump over bumps. A 17" wheel option with lighter weight might work out better.
Driving position & visibility
Like the rest of the Buick line-up I like a low steering position and a low driving seat. This leads to a steering wheel that cuts off the top of the guages, even though they are engine temperature and fuel guages. All cars today have smaller green house glass areas and the Verano is no different. This is one area where the decade old Saab 9-5 excelled. But with electronic blind spot monitoring and reverse camera/sensors help out allot.
Rear seat room & comfort
No rear seat venting except the floor makes it a bit stuffy for the rear seat passengers. The rear seating area is tight to get into but once seated provide enough space.
Front seat room
My right knee(with shorts on) hits the hard plastic to discomfort. I thought about putting some padding there. Same with the lack of padding inside the map pocket on the door to keep contents from rattleing.
I love the fact that the rear seats fold and the opening is 36", same as the 9-5. The rear seat are not flat so front seat sticks up which makes an unlevel area for my 70 lbs dog to lay. But once he gets comfortable he is sleeping like a baby, unlike any other car I've owned.
Controls and instruments
I don't mind the blue accents at night and like the ambience lighting that shines from the door pull into the lower door map pocket. The single tap, three flash turn signal was something I enjoyed on AMG cars.
Materials & workmanship
The Chocochino brown looks rich along with brown satin finish look the rich part. The leather on the seating surfaces is on par but nothing special. Everything is solid and nothing rattles and hard plastics for during driving are never in the way.
Audio & nav systems
The NAV works well and streaming Slacker radio through the 3.5mm jack an Bluetooth very good all via Buick Intellilink. I run Waze NAV through it too and it comes over the speakers. But for video viewing Bluetoth lags a bit. I've been on the phone and the caller not knowing I was in the car at highway speeds.
Sometimes it's just nice to ride with no radio and the climate control on low speed just to enjoy nothingness, this car is so quiet.
The saw this car when it came out in the press. I like the lightweight compared to the heavier Regal GS and the use of the similar GM 2.0T used since 2006 or so. Very tuneable for more power was just the iceing on the cake along with the 6-speed manual.
Then the reviews started coming out showing really nothing in comparison for the price and the only direct competitor, Acura ILX, appear to be not much of a challenge. Used the Verano was half the price of a new Saab 9-5 Aero back in the day. I do see it as a replacement in the near luxury segment with but with a solid and quietness I was surprised with.