The big question, of course, is whether the Verano is different enough from its Cruze cousin to pay extra for the Buick version instead of getting the cheaper Chevrolet.
General Motors has a long history of
essentially selling the same car with different badges glued to the hood.
Is that what the Verano is?
For the most part, no. Not at all. It feels like a drastically different car, with a smoother ride, significantly quieter cabin and
better, more upscale styling than its Chevy relative. It inherits the Cruze's small back seat, though, that can limit knee room for tall passengers.
More than anything else, what sets the Verano apart is its cabin.
Buick seems to be moving more upscale — taking brands like Lexus more seriously than GM traditionally has done — by using contrasting color stitching, soft-touch dash materials and leathers that feel thick and supple.
If you look at this car as a whole, from its styling to its turbocharged performance and classy cabin, it's a baby Buick that works exceptionally well. Not only does it offer the affordable luxury that Buick is known for, but it also has the zip and excitement that
younger luxury drivers crave.
Pricing starts around $23,000, or roughly $30,000 with the turbocharged engine.
Derek Price is an automotive columnist for CNHI News Service. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.