The vehicle you're looking at is the new Buick Verano Hatchback, unveiled just days ago at the Guangzhou Motor Show in China – arguably the only market that matters as much to the brand as the United States. Like the sedan revealed this past April in Shanghai, the hatchback is a newer model than the US-market version, based on the new Opel Astra, but with that signature waterfall grille. Otherwise, it looks virtually identical to the version sold as an Opel in Europe and a Vauxhall in the UK.
Buick will be offering two versions of the Verano hatch in China. The base model pairs a 1.5-liter inline four good for 117 horsepower and 108 pound-feet of torque to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. The sportier Verano GS packs a more potent version of the same engine, rated at 166 hp and 184 pound-feet and paired to a seven-speed DSG. That's enough to propel it to 62 in 8.8 seconds, but displacing less than 1.6 liters, both versions come in under the Chinese tax threshold so they're taxed 50-percent less.
Between the Verano and Astra, we've now seen this new model in three different body-styles being sold in markets around the world. The sedans, hatchbacks, and wagons seem to be proliferating like so many jackrabbits, but keep hopping away just out of reach. So here's hoping that the next leap it takes will be to US showrooms.
Priced from RMB 145,900 to RMB 205,900
Guangzhou – Buick launched the new Verano Hatchback and Verano GS this evening in Guangzhou, China. The five variants of the two newest members of the Verano family are priced from RMB 145,900 to RMB 205,900. Buick's 740 dealerships across China have begun accepting pre-orders.
The new Verano models have trendy, sporty styling along with European car-like handling, premium interiors and advanced technology. They are targeted at younger trend-setting consumers who are looking for a driving experience that is "born with sportiness."
Stylish and sporty exterior
The Verano Hatchback and Verano GS have adopted Buick's latest design language for sport sedans. The brand's signature waterfall grille has taken on a creative frameless design, with a newly added piano black finish. The bold, concise and contoured hood lowers the car's stance.
The two models' wedge-shaped silhouette and double-sweep beltline form a dashing profile, with B- and C-pillars in German-crafted gloss black creating a floating roofline.
The models also feature Buick's wing-shaped LED daytime running lamps, which echo their wing-shaped tinted tail lamps. Together with an integrated rear wing that accentuates the sculptured rear end, they provide a stylish, vibrant and captivating feel.
Contemporary and exquisite interior
The cabins of the two new Veranos combine sportiness, premium materials and exquisite craftsmanship. They utilize Buick's iconic 360-degree wraparound layout that exemplifies its driver-oriented design philosophy.
The brand's focus on a high-quality driving and riding experience is also demonstrated by a segment-leading 2,662-mm wheelbase, the generous use of eco-friendly supple materials throughout the interior, a standard three-spoke sporty multi-function steering wheel, considerately designed ambient lighting, rear-row USB charging ports and patented Quiet-Tuning® noise control technology.
The Verano GS is fitted with an exclusive sporty black and red kit inside and out. Aerodynamic exterior accessories, bright red strips on the front and rear bumpers, bright red brake calipers and 17-inch dark-painted five-spoke aluminum alloy wheels look bold and impressive.
Inside, a bright red carbon fiber-pattern strip across the center console and red stitching make a strong impression. Adding to the sportiness are a carbon fiber-pattern finish on the center console, a three-spoke sporty multi-function steering wheel with a paddle shifter, Alcantara® racing car-like seats and Flame Red ambient lighting.
Trend-setting intelligent and safety technologies
The Verano Hatchback and Verano GS come with a wide variety of trend-setting intelligent technologies. They are the first Buick models in China available with the Apple CarPlay system. Users can seamlessly connect their iPhones with iOS 7.1 and above through the new-generation Buick IntelliLink infotainment system. All iPhone features and built-in apps – including phone, messages, maps, music, podcasts and Siri – are easily accessible via the high-resolution 8-inch-diagonal display in the center console.
The Verano GS is offered with segment-exclusive and Buick-first Matrix full-LED headlamps. Behind the headlamps' Big Dipper-like panels are 29 Matrix LED clusters connected to front cameras to intelligently perform a range of functions, including automatically turning on the high-beam headlights, activating the anti-glare high-beam headlights and automatically adjusting the height of the headlamps. They automatically switch between six lighting modes – City, Urban, Expressway, Curve, Parking and Fuel Economy – based on driving conditions.
In addition, the Verano GS comes with Buick's new intelligent safety system, which incorporates features that include Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, Collision Mitigation Braking and Automatic Parking Assist.
While 75 percent of the two Veranos' body structure is composed of high-strength steel, the models incorporate extensive lightweight design features, such as lighter and more rigid structures, all-aluminum engines, all-aluminum sub-frames, all-aluminum front and rear bumpers, and aluminum steering knuckles, as well as imported lightweight damping mats. The result is a 100-kilogram reduction in curb weight.
The Verano Hatchback and Verano GS are built on the same architecture as the new Opel Astra. Their firm chassis has an optimized MacPherson front suspension and enhanced composite torsion bar, along with a new-generation Opel-patented Watt's link rear suspension and all-aluminum six-point full-length sub-frame. The result is a perfect balance between body dimensions, weight and overall efficiency.
Handling and driving pleasure were assured through the adoption of the all-new belt-drive electric power-assisted steering system as well as more than a year's worth of testing and tuning at Germany's famed Nürburgring circuit.
Exciting and fuel-efficient powertrains
Both models incorporate GM's new Ecotec small gasoline engines, which combine powerful performance with exceptional fuel economy. The Verano Hatchback pairs a 1.5L SIDI engine with a six-speed DCG transmission. It delivers maximum output of 87 kW/6,600 rpm and peak torque of 146 Nm/4,000 rpm.
The Verano GS is powered by a 1.5T SIDI engine that was named one of the "China Heart" 2015 Ten Best Engines. It is paired with a new-generation seven-speed DCG transmission. The powertrain combination produces maximum output of 124 kW/5,600 rpm and peak torque of 250 Nm/1,700-4,400 rpm. This gives the model the ability to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.8 seconds while enabling combined fuel consumption of 5.9 L/100 km – which sets a new benchmark for its class.
The engine start/stop feature, which further helps improve fuel efficiency, comes standard across the full Verano lineup. All variants are eligible for China's new incentive plan that cuts the purchase tax in half for cars with engines smaller than 1.6 liters.
The Buick Verano Hatchback and Verano GS, together with the new-generation Buick Verano sport sedan launched earlier this year and the all-new Buick Excelle GT, will strengthen Buick's presence in China's premium mid-range passenger car segment.