Buick Verano Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the Buick Verano engine!"

A site visitor asked for more information on the Verano and how to tune it up and modify it, so we've created an article that covers our go-to modifications that we rate and are the greatest parts you can do to this engine.

This subcompact has proven to be quite popular and it's small light and nimble chassis makes it almost go cart like when it's been modified.

The Buick Verano make a good tuning project and with the right uprated parts like remaps, turbo kits and camshafts you will certainly maximize your driving enjoyment.

In this article, we outline options for your Verano tuning and show the best upgrades.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your Verano. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best mods for your Verano

  1. Verano Suspension Upgrades - Replacing worn bushings and shocks dramatically improves Verano handling Coilovers and Bushings are the usual go to mods
  2. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.
  3. Forced induction upgrades - forced induction is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. Although one of the most costly upgrades you'll see massive gains.
  4. Intake Mods and Sports Exhausts - Please note that on their own these mods won't ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  5. Brake Upgrades - Enhancing your stopping power needs to be listed in your priority list.
  6. ECU Tunes - A Remapped Verano ECU provides the biggest gains compared to cost, replacement ECUs, and inline Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  7. Fast road Camshafts are are often the best upgrade for an engine, but they must be setup by someone who knows what they are doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.

Verano Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Panel air filters, Intake manifolds, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Sports exhaust header/manifold, Fast road camshaft, Drilled & smoothed airbox.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: induction kit, Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, fuel pump upgrades, high flow fuel injectors, Ported and polished head, Fast road cam.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Competition cam, Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression, Engine balancing & blueprinting, Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves), Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Twin charging conversions.

Review your options and then buy your upgrades and set yourself a power target to void expensive mistakes.

History of the Verano Engine

First generation (2011)

  • 2.4 L LEA I4 (gasoline/E85) 180 hp Flex Fuel
  • 2.0 L LHU I4 (turbocharged gasoline)
  • 1.6 L A16LET (LLU) I4 (turbocharged gasoline)
  • 1.5 L LFV I4 (turbocharged gasoline)

Second generation (2016)

  • 1.0 L LIV I3 (turbo gasoline
  • 1.3 L L3Z I3 (turbo gasoline)
  • 1.5 L LFV turbo I4 (gasoline)
  • 1.5 L L2B I4 (gasoline)

Third generation (AKA the Buick Verano Pro, 2021)

The Buick Verano Pro developed by PATAC of SAIC-GM. It boasts an all new 1.5L turbo 4-cylinder engine, (181hp) and 250 Nm 184 ftlb) torque

  • 1.5 L LAH turbo I4 (gasoline)
  • 1.5 L SIDI I4 w/ auto-s/s

1490 cc 87kW (117hp @6600 rpm 146 Nm 108 ftlb @4000 rpm

6-speed automatic & 6-speed manual 2016–2019

  • 1.5 L SIDI turbo I4

1490 cc 124kW (166hp @5600 rpm 250 Nm 184 ftlb @1700–4400 rpm 7-speed automatic 2016–2019

  • 1.0 L turbo I3

999 cc 92kW (123hp @5800 rpm 180 Nm 133 ftlb @1350–4500 rpm 6-speed automatic 2020–

  • 1.3 L turbo I3

1341 cc 121kW (162hp @5600 rpm 240 Nm 177 ftlb @1500–4000 rpm CVT 2020–

Tuning the Buick Verano and best Verano performance parts.

Best Verano tuning parts

When talking about the ultimate modifications for your Verano engine, we are going to concentrate on the mods that give the best power gain for you money.

"Sporty" camshaft profiles helps you to boost top end power which makes it a best mod for NASP and turbo petrol engines, but not so much on diesels.

In most cases you will see top-end power gains through performance camshafts on most engines. So altering your Verano cam will make a difference to the engine power band.

Verano Camshaft upgrades

Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the power torque curve accordingly.

Fast road camshafts tend to raise the performance over the rpm range, you could sacrifice a little low end bhp but your top end will be higher.

Race camshafts, raise the top end band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

For a road car it makes a lot of sense to match your power band to your typical driving style.

I'd be amazed if you have found a Verano Competition camshaft is a pleasure to live with when in heavy traffic.

This is because the lumpy idle will make the car prone to stall and smooth driving at low rpm becomes impossible.

If you are developing a track car this doesn't matter as you are in the high end of your RPM range anyway and that is where you want the power to be.

Each engine responds better to more or less aggressive camshaft durations than others.

The engine timing and fuel pump and injectors also have an effect on the bhp gains you'll hit.

A longer valve duration can alter the bhp band and on most engines the exhaust and intake durations do not need to match, although most cams and tuners use matched pairs there are some advantages to extending the intake or exhaust durations.

ECU Remaps on the Verano

Mapping allows a tuner to fully realize the full potential of all the modifications you've done to your Verano.

(Sometimes flashing the ECU is not an option, so an aftermarket ECU is a route to take, and many of these will outperform factory ECU's but make sure it has knock protection and that you get it setup properly.)

It will usually give around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NA (naturally aspirated) engines, but the end result may differs on the modifications you've done and the condition of your engine.

Verano Turbo upgrades

The more air you can get into an engine, the more fuel it can burn and uprating the induction with a turbocharger upgrade makes significant power gains.

There are reliable limits for every engine, with some being extremely strong and some only able to handle stock power.

Discover these limitations and upgrade to forged components to handle the power.

There are many people spending a lot of money on turbocharger upgrades on the Verano only to have the Verano throw a rod on it's first outing after it's been enthusiastically driven.

Bear in mind when upgrading turbos that bigger turbochargers often suffer a bottom end lag, and little turbochargers spool up quickly but don't have the peak rpm power band gains.

Thankfully the choice of turbo units is always moving on and we commonly find variable vane turbo units, allowing the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end torque.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust gases into 2 channels and push these at differently designed vanes in the turbo. They also boost the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is common that there's a limitation in the air flow sensor MAF/MAP on the Verano when loads more air is being sucked into the engine.

We see 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor limited bhp and torque at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp gains, although harder to install. We have this article on twincharging if you want to read more.

Verano Fuelling upgrades

Don't miss you'll need to increase the fuel delivery when you are increasing the torque - it makes the car more thirsty.

A higher pressure fuel regulator will improve the throttle response, and if you've increased power by 30% you may well start to hit fuelling issues on the Verano so it's time to upgrade the injectors.

We strongly recommend you to over specify your injector capacity.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% to the flow rate when buying an injector, this takes into account injector deterioration and affords a bit of spare capacity should the engine need more fuel.

We think this one is common sense, but you'll need to match your fuel injector to the type of fuel your car uses as well.

Verano Intake Mods

Shoving more fuel and air into your Verano is the main goal to any engine upgrade job.

Intake manifolds carry the air from the filter and allow it to be fed into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

Structure and rate of flow of the Intake manifolds can make a noticeable difference to to fuel mixing and power on the Verano.

Commonly we find the intake are in dire need of motorsport parts, although a few makers provide reasonably good intake.

Adding a Verano larger valve kit, carrying out port work and head flowing will also lift bhp, and importantly will allow you to get raising the bhp increase on other tuning mods.

Verano Performance Exhausts

You may need to improve your exhaust if the current exhaust is actually creating a restriction.

On most factory exhausts you'll see your flow rate is fine even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Sports exhausts will certainly help air flow from the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too big or you will reduce your flow rate. Generally speaking you should stick to around 1.5 to 2.5 inches for best results.

Common exhaust restrictions can be traced to the catalyst and filters installed, so adding a faster flowing performance aftermarket one unlocks that lost power, and rather than doing an illegal catalyst removal, will keep the car road legal.

We note that performance catalysts and filters perform similarly to catalyst removal and have the added benefit of keeping your car street legal, as decat or catalyst removal is illegal in most territories for road going cars.

The performance sport catalysts pretty much removes this restriction, thanks to its larger size and surface area, and will effectively raise the performance to levels you would expect without having a catalyst installed, but keeps the car road legal.

The alternative test pipe mod or catalyst removal should be considered an off road only mod, as removing a catalyst is illegal in most territories and regions for road registered cars (and in some you can't even replace a working catalyst).

Weak spots, Issues & problem areas on the Verano

The Verano engines are fairly reliable and solid as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained, but there were quite a few issues.

Regular oil changes are vital on the Verano, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

Early models (2012 2013, in particular, had many issues)

Electrical problems were rife with faulty sensors, causing engine warning lights to come on or the engine to cut out and stall.

High oil consumption has also been reported on these models, so keep an eye on your oil levels regularly.

If you want to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your Verano engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss Verano tuning options in more detail with our Verano owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Buick tuning articles to get insights into each modification and how effective they will be.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

We love hearing what our members have got up to and which upgrades work best for them on each model of car. We use your comments and feedback to improve the accuracy of these Verano tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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