Despite popular perception, Buick’s 2013 Verano sedan is not your grandfather’s car. Far from it. Given a chance, grandpa would probably love to spice up his driving life and make him feel 20 years younger. And the front-drive Verano Turbo would be the car to do it.
Verano is based on the Chevy Cruze but resembles the popular selling midsize Buick LaCrosse sedan. In comparison, Verano is just as quiet riding, smooth and long-trip comfy as it’s big brother.
Powered by a 2.0L, 250-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder that produces a potent 260 lb/ft of torque, it’s available with an optional (but no charge) 6-speed manual transmission. A 6-speed automatic is standard.
Our test car had the manual and despite its light clutch and relatively smooth shifter, it’s doubtful anyone over 60 would opt for the manual. In this car, the stick shift offers a level of involvement and control that’s absent in the automatic version.
With the 6-speed manual, Verano is EPA rated at 20 city, 31-highway mpg and according to Buick, can do 0-60 in 6.2 seconds.
Along with the manual trans comes the “hill-hold-assist” whereby when stopped on an incline and releasing the brake, the car stays stationary until the clutch is engaged. A nice feature for those who have a habit of riding the clutch prior to engagement.
Acceleration is lively from a standing stop and really comes on when the turbo kicks in. Although 2.0-liters doesn’t sound large, the same engine is a detuned version that’s in the hot Cadillac ATS sedan. Passing power too is robust.
While Verano’s exterior carries a conservative yet handsome look, Buick designers did a nice job on the interior. Front leather seats are soft and slightly supportive and the rears are sofa comfy but only practical for two abreast.
All HVAC controls are nicely placed on the vertical stack and a 7-inch color touch LCD screen displays audio and GPS, rearview camera and Buick’s Intellilink system comprising Sirius radio, OnStar and other goodies. Standard too is a heated steering wheel/outside mirrors and a sport pedal kit. Door panels are swoopy and meld nicely with the overall decor.
Trunk space is impressive for its size. Two golf bags with the long clubs stacked atop the bags or a pair of medium size roll-a-longs fit nicely. Or, flip the rear seatbacks and space doubles.
Handling is nimble and parking is easy thanks to its compact dimensions and electric assisted steering. Ride quality is smooth with just enough absorption to melt road imperfections and unimproved railroad crossings on 18-inch Continental tires.
As for competition, Verano has loads of it and far too many to list. In that respect, patriotic buyers will buy pure American.
Price wise, a base Verano with 2.4L, 4-cylinder can be had for $23,080. Our test car started at $25,105 but after adding a premium audio system with navigation ($795) and white Diamond Tricoat paint ($495) that resembles a metalflake job, the bottom line reflected $31,280 including delivery ($885). This price includes an exhaustive list of safety features like rear cross traffic alert, a myriad of airbags, tire pressure monitoring, power everything, remote start, ultrasonic rear parking assist, halogen headlamps, even a spoiler kit.
Intellilink, incidentally, provides Pandora Internet Radio, Stitcher SmartRadio, Bluetooth and USB Connectivity.
For a graciously loaded conservative performance sedan, Verano may be tough to beat. And best of all, it’s made right here in the U.S. of A.
To test drive a Verano, stop by Star Buick in Easton or Kelly Car & Truck Center in Bethlehem. And to automatically receive auto news and reviews from Nick Hromiak, click on the “Subscribe” notation on this page.