Buick is dipping its toes into the waters of the small-car class by offering the 2012 Verano. This small upscale sedan, based on the Chevrolet Cruze, will base at $23,470, including the $885 destination fee.

The company is looking to expand its market reach by appealing to younger buyers. Buick isn't shy about admitting that, even touting in a press release that the car offers more cargo and passenger space than the Acura TSX or Lexus IS 250.

The Verano will be offered in three trims (the press release doesn't list the designations, but in the past, Buick used CX, CXL, and CXS designations, although for 2012 the company has moved away from that with the flagship LaCrosse) with the top trim costing $26,850, again including destination. All models will have a 180 horsepower/171 lb-ft of torque 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that mates to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Buick's first compact car will offer standard 18-inch wheels along with other standard features such as leatherette seating, a 7-inch LED media system screen with Buick's IntelliLink technology (which links to a driver's smartphone for uses such as voice-activated control of the phone and streaming audio), and 10 airbags. Remote start is also standard.

We'll see if a Cruze in luxury duds can win over the buying public, but keeping the base price below $30K is a good start.