BUCKHEAD, Ga. -- Our Baby Buick -- a Verano Turbo compact premium 4-door sedan of 2015 vintage -- points down Paces Ferry Road in Atlanta's ritzy northside neighborhood of Buckhead as we push the go-pedal and summon substantial turbocharged engine power to motivate the front two aluminum wheels which also steer this world-class small car in a predictable and controllable manner.
As our car surges along the Atlanta suburban artery, we're struck by Verano's ability to mute external traffic and road noise as well as tame engine-suspension vibrations.
Deflecting noise and vibration from Verano's leather-trimmed passenger compartment works because the cabin is wrapped liberally with sound-absorbing material including sound blankets (in the roof, below the hood and both front and back of the firewall), nylon baffles and sound-absorbing foam wadded in hollows of the car structure, door seals in triplicate plus thick layers of acoustic laminate applied to the windshield and side windows.
Buick marketeers label the noise-vibration control as Quiet Tuning. It represents a sense of refinement akin to a premium luxury car yet Buick's smallest sedan carries MSRP sticker prices pitched below $30,000.
Dressed in a stylish design drawn with taut lines and keen edgework, Verano looks slick with a coupe-like silhouette. A glitzy waterfall grille dominates the prow with aggressive corner lamp clusters containing blue translucent rings around projector beam headlamps.
The roofline remains low, dipping down in front in line with the windshield but mounting a smooth arch over the cabin before tapering to a rolled tail off the trunk deck. That tail reveals a smooth monochrome slab bumper supporting corner taillamps streaked with chrome eyebrows.
For 2015 issues a new exterior paint shade -- Dark Sapphire Blue Metallic -- joins the color palette that includes Summit White, Quicksilver Metallic and Mocha Bronze Metallic plus premium hues like Crystal Red Tintcoat, White Diamond Tricoat and Carbon Black Metallic.
Also new for 2015, an optional appearance package available for all trims save the Turbo installs a bright silver/chrome grille in front and a rear spoiler.
Due to the world-wide scope of General Motors, Verano's platform was designed in Germany and underpins other products such as Opel's Astra in Europe and the Buick Excelle GT that's constructed and marketed in China.
The suspension has front MacPherson struts with aluminum control arms and a hollow stabilizer bar. In the rear the car uses a compound crank torsion beam with uncommon Z-link that's lightweight and compact for responsive rear suspension control.
The rack-mounted steering system gets electric power assistance, which eliminates a load of hydraulic equipment and contributes to the efficiency of Verano's engine.
Brakes include a large disc at every wheel -- ventilated front, solid rear -- linked to ABS (anti-lock brake system), EBD (electronic brake force distribution), BA (brake assist), TCS (traction control system) and ESC (electronic skid control) devices.
GM builds two high-tech Ecotec engines for 2015 Verano models with dual overhead cams (DOHC), electronic throttle control (ETC), spark ignition direct injection (SIDI) technology and variable valve timing (VVT).
Standard plant for Verano, Verano Convenience and Verano Leather trim editions is a 2.4-liter aluminum 4-in-line engine which develops 180 hp at 6700 rpm and 171 lb-ft of torque at 4900 rpm. Transaxle is a fuel-saving 6-speed electronically controlled automatic with driver shift control (DSC), the Hydra-Matic 6T45 from GM.
The federal EPA sets fuel economy numbers for this Verano powertrain at 21 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.
Engine for Verano Turbo is an aluminum 2.0-liter Ecotec 4-pack with a turbocharger (TC) and continuously variable valve timing (CVVT) apparatus. It runs up to 250 hp at 5300 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque at only 2000 rpm. The turbo engine links to a standard 6-speed DSC electronically controlled automatic transaxle (HM6T50) or optional 6-speed manual gearbox (Aisin F40).
With the automatic transaxle, Verano Turbo achieves EPA fuel economy scores of 21/30 mpg city/highway. With the 6-speed manual, Verano Turbo hits 20/31 mpg city/highway.
2015 Buick Verano
Engine size: 2.0-liter/ 2.4-liter
MSRP: Starting at $23,380
MPG: 21 city/32 highway
Curb weight: 3,300 lbs
Horsepower: 180 horsepower to 250 horsepower
2015 Buick VeranoBase
2015 Buick Verano Convenience Group
2015 Buick Verano Leather Group
2015 Buick Verano Premium Turbo Group Manual or Automatic