Days before the 2011 North American International Auto Show, GM released photos and specifications of the 2012 Buick Verano, its compact luxury sedan. Despite its new model status, the Verano can be fairly described as a smaller, sportier Regal.
The smallest in the Buick lineup, the Verano will offer the same Ecotec 2.4-liter and 2.0-liter turbocharged engines paired with a six-speed automatic transmission as its beefier sibling. However, output will be slightly reduced. The Verano's standard 2.4-liter engine delivers 177 horsepower and 170 lb-ft. of torque (compared to 182 in the Regal), and specs on the 2.0-liter turbocharged haven't been released. The Verano's 2.0-liter turbo will also have a six-speed manual transmission option. Estimated fuel economy for the compact sedan is 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, which is a modest improvement over the 19/30 gas mileage in the Regal and is on par with its class competitors.
From the photos, the Verano's interior is strikingly similar to the Regal's. It has the same instrument cluster, and the center stack has a very similar look and feel. But the 2012 Buick Verano offers GM's next-generation infotainment system. Closeups of the interior reveal Pandora integration on the navigation screen, complete with the ability to bookmark, like or skip songs, and create quick mixes. And if they've integrated Pandora, it's safe to guess that you'll probably be able to update your Facebook status using OnStar. The news statement also says the downloadable OnStar app will support a few new features, including remote vehicle start and a vehicle locator. Vehicle location hasn't been exposed to the consumer before due to privacy concerns, but it's long overdue.
The addition of the baby Buick to the lineup is needed to attract younger buyers, and the manufacturer has pegged the Audi A3 and Lexus IS 250 as its key competitors. Of course, smaller packaging isn't the only thing that's been keeping Buick from attracting younger buyers, but coupled with a high-end technology package, it's a step in the right direction.