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Auto blogThu, 03 Jan 2013 11:57:00 EST
Not Luxury. Not Sport. Not Buick. Not Bad.
Those of you who still think of the Buick Verano as some sort of callously badge-engineered, gussied up version of the Chevrolet Cruze ("Why would anyone spend that much money on Buick's Cruze?" you may have been heard to mutter) have got the wrong idea. Entirely. Even in its most modest form, the Verano turns out to be a sedan that is feature-rich, insulated from wind and road noise in proper luxury car fashion, pretty good to drive and not bad to look at in the new school of high-nosed pedestrian-impact-regulated fashion. In a less modest form then, one that attaches the word "Turbo" to the moniker and plops a force-fed 2.0-liter four-cylinder under the hood, the Verano is downright interesting.
Of course, "interesting" is rarely a descriptor that fills one with lust - and so it goes with this example. There are two competing forces within this near-premium subcompact sedan, and the balance struck between them must resonate with any potential customer before the Verano Turbo can become a serious purchase consideration.
A refresh to Buick's popular Verano sedan appears to be nigh, thanks to these spy photos that show the tweaked four-door testing in Germany.
As with the current Verano, the refreshed model will have a great deal in common with its European platform-mates, the Vauxhall/Opel Astra. Each car rides on General Motors's Delta II platform. Unlike the current car, though, the refreshed model's styling could lean more heavily towards its European roots, if these photos are any indication.
Despite its commonality with the Astra Sedan, the Verano has featured its own unique styling since arriving in the US back in 2011 as a 2012 model, with distinct fascias at both the front and back, as wells its own headlight and taillight designs. The two cars were still rebadged vehicles, but it was more subtle than it will be in 2015, when the refreshed Verano arrives. Astra-like elements are expected to dominate, particularly in regards to the headlights and taillights. That said, trademark Buick styling features will remain, like the waterfall grille. Really, then, the 2016 Verano won't be unlike the Regal - a rebadged Vauxhall/Opel Insignia, aside from a few very small styling details.
Well, all good things must come to an end. For 2015, the Buick Verano's experiment with a manual transmission will cease, as the American manufacturer has announced it will discontinue the 6MT in the turbocharged version of its compact sedan. According to Buick, the take rate on the Verano Turbo 6MT was (unsurprisingly) low, leading to its discontinuation.
That's not the only bit of news for the Verano, though. After a few years on the market, Buick has seen fit to refresh the popular sedan. The visual changes aren't huge, really, with subtle tweaks to the headlights and taillights. We'd bargain that the average passer-by wouldn't notice a difference between the two.
The main aesthetic change is a new appearance package, available on the mid-range Convenience and Leather option groups. Unimaginatively called just that - Appearance Package - it offers up a new paint color, Desert Dusk Metallic, as well as a grille treatment and a rear spoiler. The new package is, however, limited to naturally aspirated models.