Exterior Color: White
Interior Color: Black
Dillsboro, Indiana, United States
Not Luxury. Not Sport. Not Buick. Not Bad.
Those of you who still think of the Buick Verano as some sort of callously badge-engineered, gussied up version of the Chevrolet Cruze ("Why would anyone spend that much money on Buick's Cruze?" you may have been heard to mutter) have got the wrong idea. Entirely. Even in its most modest form, the Verano turns out to be a sedan that is feature-rich, insulated from wind and road noise in proper luxury car fashion, pretty good to drive and not bad to look at in the new school of high-nosed pedestrian-impact-regulated fashion. In a less modest form then, one that attaches the word "Turbo" to the moniker and plops a force-fed 2.0-liter four-cylinder under the hood, the Verano is downright interesting.
Of course, "interesting" is rarely a descriptor that fills one with lust - and so it goes with this example. There are two competing forces within this near-premium subcompact sedan, and the balance struck between them must resonate with any potential customer before the Verano Turbo can become a serious purchase consideration.
A few months ago I drove the 2014 Buick LaCrosse and wrote up a First Drive review of it. For all of my quibbles with that sedan (and I had a fair number), I understand that it speaks to the heart of what new Buick loyalists like in a car; it's roomy, has a cushy ride and is as placid as a summer's morning at highway speeds.
Those qualities, while undeniably desirable, don't mean a whole lot to me personally. I prefer sedans that conjure up words like "nimble," "punchy" or even "raucous" on occasion. So, directionally, the high-performance GS version of the 2014 Buick Regal is more my cup of tea than any other car in the company's current range.
In fact, I'd already come to know the Regal GS from its 2012 model year introduction, and grown more than a little fond of the sporting sedan in its original front-wheel-drive, six-speed-manual guise. The fast, sweet-handling car with well-sorted controls may have suffered from a slight identity crisis in terms of pricing (and may still), but it was undeniably fun to drive. So, when I heard that the GS was coming to market for 2014 with optional all-wheel drive (albeit only in combination with a six-speed automatic transmission), I was stoked to have another go and concentrated my driving impressions on the AWD car.
General Motors has just initiated another crushingly large recall, this time affecting some 3.36 million vehicles built between 2000 and 2014 and sold in the US, Canada and Mexico. Once again, the issue surrounds the cars' ignition switches, which can be kicked out of the run position if they're carrying extra weight or if they experience a "jarring" event. In this particular case, though, GM will modify the keys, rather than the ignition itself.
A four-by-six-millimeter hole will be drilled into the key, which will more safely accommodate the weight of the key ring. As is usually the case, the work will be done free of charge. The recalled vehicles include the 2000 to 2005 Cadillac Deville, 2004 to 2005 Buick Regal LS and GS, 2004 to 2011 Cadillac DTS, 2005 to 2009 Buick Lacrosse, 2006 to 2008 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 2006 to 2011 Buick Lucerne and 2006 to 2014 Chevrolet Impala. Only the Impala is still in production, and even then, it's only sold to fleet companies.
According to an official statement from GM, there have been eight crashes and six injuries due to this latest issue. As if this isn't a dire enough blow for GM, the company has announced five smaller recalls, covering 165,000 vehicles.