Review: The 2012 Buick Verano offers further proof that GM is on the right track


For anyone who keeps up with new car reviews, you may notice that GM has been on the up-swing, bringing relevant, value-packed, fun-to drive vehicles back to the American marketplace.

After a week and 700 miles, I can honestly say our time in the 2012 Buick Verano was like a great first date. Comfortable, enjoyable, and particularly memorable, I find ourselves repeatedly singing the praises of its invigorating character.

How does the Buick name manage to suddenly smash its geriatric stereotype and target its product at a younger demographic?

The magic behind the formula lies primarily within the chassis, which is shared with the European market Opel Astra.

Up front sits a pair of decoupled MacPherson struts, with side-loaded modules, tuned coil springs, a hollow stabilizer bar, and hydraulic ride bushings.


In the rear, the Verano utilizes a specifically adapted torsion beam setup, with a double-walled, U-shaped profile, and a tunable control arm (Z-link).

The Electric Power Steering (EPS) system possesses a quick ratio of 15.5:1, and requires barely more than two turns, lock-to-lock.

This particular setup translates to stunningly rapid transitional response, and a playful character which begs you to take freeway off-ramps at super-legal speeds.

Under the hood, the Verano’s 2.4-L four-cylinder Ecotec power plant features direct fuel injection technology, as well as directed oil jets for each piston.

The Ecotec provided adequate power in most situations, save for steep uphill grades and rapid highway passing maneuvers.

Enthusiasts should not fear, however, as Buick promises a 250 HP, turbocharged version with a six-speed manual transmission is coming later this year.

I did find the naturally-aspirated Ecotec’s Hydra-Matic 6T45 six-speed automatic transmission a willing and responsive companion.

Plant your right foot to the floor, and the Hydra-Matic responds with lightning-fast shifts, keeping the engine well within its power band.

Overall, the 2012 Buick Verano provided a thoroughly unexpected level of driving enjoyment. Satisfyingly, the typical Buick virtues of quietness, refinement, and value were evermore present in our $27,345 1SL tester.

Keeping a laser-beam focus on competing in a tough market segment, the entry-level-luxury Verano is on our short list for most recommended new vehicles of 2012.

Db02Daniel Buxbaum has had a life-long passion for all things automotive.  Dan’s passion for automotive journalism recently secured him a position as customer service director and contributing writer for Parts & People, a multi-region automotive trade publication.  Dan also writes for, maintains his own blog (, and is an active member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP).


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