With the launch of the $23,470 Buick Verano, General Motors has its work cut out in differentiating this luxury compact from its mass market sibling, the Chevrolet Cruze. Verano's price tag starts less than $500 above a top-of-the-line Cruze LTZ, but GM has a few arrows in its premium-product quiver to insure Verano doesn't come off as a badge-engineered baby Buick.

While we're more interested in the engine upgrade, which puts the 2.4-liter four-cylinder from the Buick Regal underhood, GM is touting the Verano's "1,000-hour" seats. They share leather, foam and padding with the top-of-the-line Buick LaCrosse, and are designed to prevent "hot spots" when driving long distances, says GM in a new press release. (The 1,000 hours GM refers to is the development time that went into the seats, not the duration you can sit in them before experiencing discomfort.)

The icing on the cake is that the Verano's seat head rests are "positioned to accommodate ponytails and other up-dos without compromising the occupants' postural comfort," says GM. Which, of course, makes us wonder whether we might someday see a Steven Seagal special edition Verano. Read the entire press release after the jump.
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Buick Verano Sets High Standard for Seat Comfort
All-new luxury sedan's seats designed to prevent hot spots, accommodate ponytails


DETROIT – Designing for seat comfort in the all-new 2012 Buick Verano required at least 1,000 hours of development to help prevent "hot spots" from happening on long drives and help protect hair-dos from head rest interference.

Engineers benchmarked Verano against key competitors, including Lexus IS and Acura TSX, to deliver the seat comfort and interior craftsmanship that customers have come to expect from the luxury brand.

"When we set out to design a comfortable interior for Verano our goal was for customers to feel like vacation begins as soon as they get in the car, and not when they reach their destination," said Brian Schell, Verano program engineering manager. "By making comfort our first priority, we were able to create seats that will make customers feel more at ease and connected to the car for a more-satisfying ride experience."

Verano uses the same grade of premium leather, support foam and plush padding as LaCrosse, but the compact's seat bolsters are designed to offer more side support to hold passengers in the most-comfortable position possible. The seat is designed to prevent "hot spots" from occurring when driving long distances.

In addition to the 1,000 hours of development, another several thousand hours went into vehicle testing as part of Verano's chassis control work and ride development. Large men and small women spent anywhere from minutes to hours sitting in Verano's seats to give feedback to the engineers.

"Developing comfortable seats is both an art and a science," Schell said. "Knowing how to translate a physiological impression into tangible design elements is the art, and knowing how to execute the design is the science."

Craftsmanship was second only to comfort among the Verano team's design priorities, with French-stitched leather, adjustable console arm rest, padded door arm rests and bolsters designed to help set Verano apart from other compact cars. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter are standard, and a heated steering wheel and heated seats are available.

Verano's engineers also paid attention to ergonomic design. Soft-touch center stack controls are within easy reach and seat head rests are positioned to accommodate ponytails and other up do's without compromising the occupants' postural comfort. Verano will offer more front and rear headroom and rear shoulder room than the Lexus IS 250, and more passenger and cargo volume than the Acura TSX sedan or Lexus IS 250.

Verano offers automatic climate control and standard voice control with Buick's new infotainment system. A dozen noise-reducing technologies are used throughout Verano's body structure for improved cabin acoustics and quietness.

"Verano was held to the highest standards for comfort and interior refinement," said Chuck Russell, Verano vehicle line director. "We're confident that luxury car shoppers will be hard-pressed to find a more comfortable and inviting car at its price point on the market today."

The Verano goes on sale later this year with a starting price of $23,470 including $885 in destination charges.

About Buick
Buick is a modern luxury brand offering vehicles with sculpted designs, luxurious interiors with thoughtful personal technologies, along with responsive-yet-efficient performance. Buick is attracting new customers with its portfolio of award-winning luxury models, including the Enclave crossover, LaCrosse sedan, Regal sport sedan and all-new 2012 Buick Verano sedan. Buick is one of the fastest- growing major brands in the United States and remains a best-selling brand in China, with continuing record growth. Learn more about Buick cars and crossovers at www.buick.com, on Twitter @buick or at www.facebook.com/buick.

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