I know the category this piece falls under is “That Had a Manual?” But the Buick Verano, prized by absolutely no one, excluding rental car companies, people who run sweepstakes contests, and retirement community dwellers, can be bought brand-new with a manual. So what you should really be thinking is “That has a manual?” And believe it or not, there’s more than a few hoops to jump through to get a clutch pedal.
To get a manual transmission on a Verano, you cannot simply buy any version of it. You have to pair it with the 2.0-liter turbo engine. Unfortunately, that engine is only available on the highest trim level of the Verano, the “Premium Group,” which has a starting MSRP (including destination) of $29,990. The six-speed manual is available as a no-cost option, like most cars these days, so it’s not as if you’re saving any money.
If you actually do go through with buying a manual Verano, selling it is going to be an issue. People who buy Veranos secondhand are probably purchasing them because they need basic transportation. Chances are those kinds of buyers want the automatic. Individuals who would inquire about a manual Verano would almost certainly be car people who a) want to know what a manual Verano drives like, and b) want to meet the person who would a manual Verano brand-new. They probably aren’t buyers.
Unfortunately, I’ve never actually driven a Verano, so I have no idea of how it handles. Other auto scribes have written good things about it, especially with regard to handling. However, considering the last compact Buick sold was the Skylark, I think auto writers would’ve been hard-pressed to criticize the Verano Turbo, since the Verano has a much better powertrain and interior. Additionally, it’s based on the same platform as the Cruze so chassis tuning can’t possibly be an issue.
As for a manual Verano competitors, there’s the Audi A3, that doesn’t offer a manual at all. The Lexus IS250 and Mercedes-Benz CLA250 don’t offer one either. A six-speed manual is the only transmission available on the Acura ILX 2.4, which is essentially a reskinned Civic Si. A BMW 320i is around $3,000-$4,000 extra. The Verano really is in a class of its own.
Granted, no Buick dealer will ever have a manual Verano in stock. They know having one will take an eternity to sell. As a result, you’re forced to special-order it, possibly at MSRP, and the dealer may ask you to make a deposit in the event you cancel the order and they’re forced to sell it. In fact, the dealer may dangle a tremendous amount of incentives on an automatic Verano Turbo (it’s probably the most expensive Verano on their lot) instead of ordering a manual car.
On the whole, we must respect General Motors and Buick for offering a manual in their entry-luxury car, which doesn’t even offer a performance-oriented version, like the Regal GS. It seems someone among the product planners has a sense of humor and will continue to let you have the option of changing gear on your own. The only problem is some poor sweepstakes winner is going to have to live with the consequences.