Buick used this week’s 2015 Shanghai Auto Show to reveal its all-new Verano compact sedan. The version shown in Shanghai has been designed specifically for the Chinese market, where it will be labeled a Wei Lang and go on sale later this year. The U.S.-spec Verano should differ slightly but the basic styling and proportions will be the same.
Look for a debut of the U.S.-spec car either late this year or early next. It’s due to go on sale in the second half of 2016, as a 2017 model. The staggered release between the two markets is a strategy General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] has also employed for the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze, which has already been launched in the Chinese market.
The new Verano, Buick tells us, features styling inspired by the Riviera concept of 2013 as well as the more recent Avenir. Up front is Buick’s signature waterfall grille, which is complemented by Avenir-style wing-shaped headlights with incorporated LED daytime running lights.
Moving rearward, there’s a steep windshield that joins a fastback roof and streamlined C-pillar curves. This gives the new Verano a coupe-like form much like the one found on the Mercedes-Benz CLA. A set of 17-inch, 10-spoke aluminum wheels and integrated dual-exhaust tips add to the stylish look.
Underpinning the Verano is an updated version of GM’s Delta II compact car platform which is doing the rounds as the D2XX. The same platform underpins new versions of the Cruze and Volt and will also appear in a new Opel Astra.
Only one powertrain has been announced for the Chinese market, a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder that delivers 166 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and spins the front wheels only. It’s not clear what powertrain options the car will offer in the U.S. As a guide, the current Verano is powered by a 180-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder in base trim and a 250-hp 2.0-liter turbo four in Verano Turbo trim.
This is the first time the Verano is being offered in the Chinese market. It will be sold alongside another Buick compact sedan, the Excelle GT, which is positioned as a more budget offering. Key rivals for the Verano include the Acura ILX, Audi A3 and aforementioned CLA.