With the depths of winter weather approaching, the Farmer's Almanac predicts lower-than-normal temperatures chilling New England, the Midwest, and the Southwest. For many drivers that means frigid upholstery, icy windows, and the fear of being let stranded on a snowy roadside.
Inside the 2012 Buick Verano, the forecast calls for safe, comfortable driving.
Buick's new newest luxury sedan offers stay-warm features generally reserved for more expensive vehicles. Its optional heated steering wheel, for example, isn't available in a Lexus IS250, Acura TSX, Infiniti G25, or Audi A3.
Customers have noticed. Karen Schindler, who bought her Verano at Dave Sinclair Buick in St. Louis, described the heated steering wheel as a "big surprise," adding that she "really loves it" and that it gives Verano "great value for the price."
Leather-equipped Veranos also come standard with heated front seats that warm automatically via remote start when the ambient temperature is below 45 degrees. The key fob-controlled starting feature standard on every Verano also activates the car's climate control, rear defroster, and optional heated side mirrors.
"We wanted to go the extra mile to give Verano that ‘wow' factor," said product manager Michael Danowski. "Everyone has heated seats, but no one in the segment has a heated steering wheel or our remote start and automatic-warming features. If you park outside in the winter like me, you'll start wondering how you ever lived without them."
The six months of free OnStar service included with every Verano extends remote start capability for smartphone users. The RemoteLink app – offered at no cost for compatible Apple and Android phones -- allows the car to be started, locked, or unlocked from beyond the key fob's 200-foot range. The app can also be used to pre-load a turn-by-turn navigation destination or check engine oil life and tire pressures.
OnStar subscribers are also protected by Automatic Crash Response and roadside assistance. A reliable link to these services can prove invaluable during a winter storm.
Snowfall is expected to be above normal this year for most of the country. Verano comes standard with StabiliTrak electronic stability control, which can apply braking at each individual wheel to keep the car on its intended course. Additionally, standard Bluetooth and steering wheel-mounted radio controls keep both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
Safety systems like these, plus 10 standard air bags, helped Verano be named an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2012. Every Buick model sold today is a Top Safety Pick.
The 2012 Buick Verano is available at dealerships now with a suggested starting price of $23,470.