The upcoming 2012 Buick Verano will start at $23,470. That's the latest from Buick, which recently announced pricing and equipment details for the upcoming premium compact sedan. Set to rival popular sport sedans like the Acura TSX and Lexus IS 250, the front-wheel drive Verano will feature three trim levels when it debuts later this year.

According to Buick, the base-level Verano will start at $22,590 plus an $880 destination charge, bringing the base price to $23,470. That's considerably less than the Acura TSX, which starts just under $30,000, and the Lexus IS 250, which tops $32,000. But Buick says that despite its low price, the Verano will be loaded with upscale equipment, from a standard automatic transmission and alloy wheels to a 7-inch LED radio display and steering wheel audio controls. Also standard is Buick's IntelliLink, which lets drivers sync smart phones to the Verano's radio for voice activation and streaming Internet radio.

"Rich leather appointments, warm wood tones, metallic accents, soft ambient lighting and intelligent technologies make the cabin an inviting environment," said David Lyon, executive director of Verano's design.

That's especially true on the top-end Verano trim level, which Buick says starts at $26,850 after destination fees. That model features leather upholstery with heated front seats, a remote engine starter and an available heated steering wheel. Also available is a nine-speaker Bose audio system which Buick says was specifically engineered for the Verano's interior.

Under the hood, the Verano will be powered exclusively by a 180-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder. While the EPA hasn't rated the Verano's fuel economy yet, that engine is also used in Buick's Regal and Lacrosse sedans, where it's capable of up to 30 miles per gallon on the highway.

When the Verano goes on sale in the fourth quarter, it will face stiff competition from established premium small sedans. While it may have a difficult battle to fight, the Verano's competitive pricing and generous standard equipment will certainly help earn it a spot on many car shoppers' lists.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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