The Baby Buick is back! It's the successor to the wretched Skylark, and it’s supposed to be extremely good.
Buick has always been known as an entry-level premium brand catered towards the aging population. In an attempt to make their lineup more youthful, Buick decided to re-introduce a compact sedan, which hasn’t been seen under the brand since the Skylark ceased production in 1997. The 2013 Buick Verano Turbo is the successor to the wretched Skylark, and it’s supposed to be extremely good.
The Verano Turbo is a well-executed, sharply-designed little car which genuinely took me by surprise. To my amazement, my Luxo Blue Metallic test car had a nicely appointed interior with off-white leather seats. These seats are soft but in all honesty, lack the premium feel of true luxury. Seats aside, this little bad boy goes well past the preconceived notion I had of it being a glorified Chevrolet Cruze.
Fitted with a 2.0L Ecotec 4-cylinder, boosted to a more-than-adequate 250 horsepower, the Verano Turbo features 260 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a 6-speed automatic, the car has a lot more get-up-and-go compared to the regular 4-cylinder model we tested in the fall. Buick claims a 0-100 km/h time of 6.2 seconds, identical to its bigger brother, the Regal GS. These aren’t record-breaking times by any means, but the Verano Turbo will hang right in there with the Acura ILX, Audi A3, and even the (plagued by torque steer) Mazdaspeed3.
The main focus of the Verano was always its ride. After all, what’s a Buick without a ridiculous amount of comfort? The triple door seals, the five-layer interior roof liner, sound-absorbing mats and the acoustical laminated glass all add up to the virtually library-quiet interior. It left me befuddled as to how little road noise gets into the car. That being said, the welcome sound of the turbo spooling is definitely something I didn’t miss! Despite being ridiculously quiet, the Verano does lack in rear passenger space. The soccer dad taking his teenagers to practice would definitely be getting an earful about buying a car with such little rear leg and headroom.
Buick’s IntelliLink™ system is extremely user friendly. I am a huge fan of its easy in navigating through all its functions; whether it be satellite radio, navigation, or iPod. It’s nothing short of awesome. I like the fact that unlike setups from other manufacturers (ahem, Kia?), I can use a regular iPod USB cable to unleash full capabilities of my iPod or iPhone through the car’s system. I find that the Buick multimedia system works noticeably better than Cadillac’s lag-filled “CUE”. I’m sure with software updates in the future, CUE can only improve.
The Verano Turbo is an absolute hoot to drive in straight-line situations. It not only has enough power to keep you going; gassing it up doesn’t exactly hurt the wallet either. My average fuel consumption over the period of my test was an acceptable 11L/100km. To be honest though, when a car is this responsive to my right foot, I don’t mind spending an extra few dollars at the pump. As they say, you have to pay to play. The Verano Turbo is really a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The Verano’s suspension uses independent MacPherson structs for the front, and a Watt Z-Link design in the rear to center the car’s rear axle during turns. Z-Link is based off a design by James Watt in 1784, which provides greater lateral stiffness and helping keep the rear suspension and front suspension in line.
The 2013 Buick Verano Turbo is far from being an unattractive car. It has the sleek Opel styling, a huge Buick corporate grill, and of course I can’t forget the slightly out-of-place portholes in the hood. It’s definitely apparent that this thing is very similar to the Regal, but that’s a good thing. Not only is it cheaper, it’s also a little quicker in the quarter mile. Despite my preconceived notions, I have developed a great amount of respect for this car. It’s attractive, it’s adequately-sized for my needs, and it comes with the punch needed to get around traffic. I’m sure that with the 6-speed manual, the Verano can only be more fun. For now, Buick has an excellent product at a wonderful price point ($35,000 as-tested). As Charlie Sheen would say, the Verano is “winning”.
2013 Buick Verano Turbo Gallery