RICK KRANZ

GM working hard to make Verano unique

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News

Will buyers come running to Buick dealerships for the keys to a Verano?

Give Buick credit for trying to distinguish its newest sedan from the wide range of compacts on the road.

The Verano is Buick's new front-drive compact sedan. Sales begin this fall. The Verano and Chevrolet Cruze share a front-drive platform, but General Motors is making a big effort to differentiate the Buick.

To the eye, the most noticeable difference is styling. Not one exterior panel is shared between the two cars. And the Verano's interior, even the base model, has an upscale look and feel.

But where Buick really aims to make a major effort to distinguish itself from the Cruze -- and the wide range of compacts on the highway -- is the attention to quietness, specifically targeting areas that trigger noise and vibration. Such areas as the transmission, air induction and exhaust, and road and wind noise have been targeted. Buick says a dozen noise-reducing technologies are used throughout the car.

Here's a partial list provided by Buick:

• Triple-sealed doors to reduce exterior noise.

• Acoustic insulation material near the front steel dash panel and under the hood to reduce engine noise.

• Isolated chassis components to reduce vibrations over irregular road surfaces.

• Hydraulic suspension bushings and an isolated engine cradle to reduce or eliminate vibrations.

• Thicker window glass to reduce window noise (5.4-millimeter-thick acoustic-laminated windshield and a 4.85-millimeter-thick acoustic laminated side glass).

• Several layers of acoustic insulation material in the doors to reduce the sound of wet-road sizzle.

Buick cites a long list of other "quieting" technologies.

In the compact segment, some automakers tout mpg. Others, sportiness.

Buick will try to carve out a niche emphasizing Verano's quietness and premium appointments.

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