2012 Buick Verano

Buick bets big on small.

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Story: Will Sabel Courtney

Model Tested: Leather Group

Rating: 5 out of 6

Heard the good news? Due to the slow economy, car companies these days are introducing more and more luxury features into their small cars. Compacts are, of course, cheaper than large whips, so the end result is that today’s car buyers can score more fancy features for their dollar than ever before.

In the case of the Buick Verano, sacrificing size for substance doesn’t mean you have to give up style, either. If anything, it looks almost too much like its big brother, the LaCrosse—a fact that works out great for the Verano, considering it stickers for $7,375 less than its larger sibling. And unlike certain Buicks of old, you won’t be ashamed to show this whip’s lines, not with those smooth curves and sporty details.

But this Buick’s best features lie inside the cabin, where you can kick back and enjoy the luxury. All those old, lifeless General Motors interior parts have been buried, along with the prebankruptcy company’s stock certificates. Instead the Verano offers up pleasant-feeling buttons, silky-soft leather trim and an attractively designed entertainment system. Best of all, the seats are a comfortable place to while away the miles—good news, considering the Verano can go almost 500 miles without stopping for gas.

This is a compact car, though, and that comes with disadvantages. If either of the people in the front seats wear pants longer than 32 inches, don’t expect to fit anyone behind them. But if you don’t need acres of space inside your ride, it’s hard to find more class for your dollar than the Buick Verano.

Specs:

Damage: $26,850

Power: 180hp, 171 lb.-ft.

0-60: 8.2 secs.

Gas Cash: 21 city, 32 hwy

Miles Driven: 100