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2013 Buick Verano

There was a time when Buick, even before Cadillac, was known as the top luxury vehicle of the GM family and the marque was recognized around the world as such. I recently had the pleasure of test-driving one of the newest members of the Buick family, Verano.

Expanding Buick’s footprint into a new category, the 2013 Verano competes in the “compact luxury” segment. It’s a great expression and describes the tidy Buick perfectly.

Three Reasons To Consider The Verano (OK, Three Reasons I Like The Verano)

1. Verano is a luxury sedan with the interior feel, quiet ride, overall look, and styling of larger luxury vehicles but without the price (from $22,585 MSRP).

2. Reasonable fuel costs (Verano is rated at 21-city/32 -highway), and easy maneuverability, which is where the “compact” in compact luxury sedan comes in handy.

3. Acoustic engineering specifically for noise isolation, which delivers a relaxed and sophisticated atmosphere, while the Verano also provides spirited performance and handling.

There’s Also The High Technology For Young’uns

*GM’s Intellilink: Seamless Connection Of Smart Phones
* Voice Activated Pandora Streaming
*Touch Screen Interface
*Voice Activated Hands Free Calling
*CD, MP3 Player, Aux Audio Input 
* Front And Rear 12V Power Outlets To Charge Computers, Or Phones
* USB Ports
* Remote Vehicle Start Heats Verano On Cold Nights/Cools On Hot Days
*Iced Blue Ambient Interior Lighting

Back In The Day...

Those born after the 1970’s, may have yet to learn of the glory of Buick’s past, but Buick began as a history maker. William C. Durant, founder of Buick (driving the first Buick in the image above), made a successful transition from being the largest producer of horse drawn buggies to the largest producer of automobiles. His first Buick was built in Flint, Michigan in 1904. Upon Buick’s success, Durant created a holding company he called General Motors, making Buick GM’s first brand.

By the 1920s, Buick was becoming the car of choice for royalty and political leaders in addition to winning racing competitions all around the world, from Mexico, to South America to Australia, Russia, and in China. In 1930, one out of every six cars on the roads of Shanghai was a Buick. In fact, were it not for the popularity of Buick in China, the marque may well have been laid to rest with the reorganization of GM in 2010.

Buick patented the first overhead valve (later called "valve-in-head") engine. Efficient and powerful, its design permitted more airflow, which, in turn, led to better performance. With this powerplant, Buick became a top winner of auto races, including at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the races which later became known as the Indianapolis 500.

Buick’s legacy runs from the 1904 Model B to the 1906 Model D, which was followed by a string of luxurious vehicles, Marquette, Roadmaster, Skylark, Le Sabre, Electra, Centurion, Century, Park Avenue and Riviera. Today’s lineup includes Enclave, Encore, La Crosse, Lucerne, Regal, and now Verano.

Among African-Americans, the venerable Buick Electra 225 holds a special place for those of a certain age. In one of his comedy bits, Cedric the Entertainer recalls the glory days of the “deuce and a quarter”. I may live to regret telling this story and thereby dating myself, but I have memories of riding in a pink Electra 225 with a white top.

Having been a child during the Great Depression, my father believed in keeping things until they broke down completely. This caused us no end of embarrassment, as he absolutely refused to buy new cars just for the sake of buying new cars.  It didn’t help that the craftsmanship was so good; the behemoths just kept running and running and running.

Eventually, we coerced him into buying new cars on a more regular basis to save us from total humiliation as he cruised along, us kids ducking and hiding at stoplights because the style and shape of cars had changed completely — long before my father considered “trading up”. However, my father had a hard and fast rule of only paying cash for new cars. So rather than getting a new car every three years “on time” he saved his money and changed cars every seven years like clockwork, each time plunking down, cold hard cash.

Were he still around, I have no doubt the Verano would be his next cash purchase.