Nothing brings out my inner Scot like evaluating what I want vs. what I need, with an overlay of cost.
As you know, we just took delivery of a Buick Regal Turbo. But that happy moment almost didn't happen.
We were originally driven to the dealership by an advertised lease deal on the 2012 Buick Verano. Not a lot down, short commitment (24 months), and a $200 payment. I had to dig deeper to see if we could live with all the amenities, but less oomph than the others on our list.
Verano is Buick's smallest offering (until the Encore CUV comes out next year), sharing its platform with the Chevy Cruze. But unlike in the days of badge engineering, Verano is its own animal. It has a unique body, interior, and engine. And not that the Cruze is any slouch. I rented one and quite liked it. But the Verano brings more luxe to the table. It's highly refined, remarkably quiet, and very well equipped for the money. It doesn't hurt that it looks great, inside and out.
The whole package reads as a 7/8 scale Regal.
As anticipated, Verano's sub-200hp mill fell of short everything else we drove in our search, so it was hardly an exhilarating ride. A turbo model coming in 2013 will bring more fun to the table (please please please let it come in a manual transmission). But in these waning days of austerity measures, I found myself pulling out my checkbook.
Long story short, if you are looking for a small four door in the $22,000 - $30,000 range, it's ABSOLUTELY worth your time to give it a ride, particularly if you're shopping brands from Japan and South Korea. You will be impressed at what Buick has become.
Ultimately (and obviously), I changed the VIN on the memo line of that check. A twist of fate afforded me the opportunity to land in our larger, more powerful Regal Turbo. Did I mention it's a stick shift?
Had this good fortune not shined up on us, we certainly would have lived well with the Verano. What it lacks in forward thrust it certainly makes up for in overall appeal.