February 11, 2013
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I keep reading about the vault-like quietness of the Verano, so this morning I turned off the radio then turned off the heater. Which I should mention is really loud for a luxury vehicle – just to note, I could barely hear the fan in the Lexus GS I drove a few months ago.
I was cruising on the highway, still toasty warm thanks to the amazing seat heaters and steering wheel heater. Road noise was slim to none but there was some presence of wind noise; I’m fairly certain the BMW 328i I drove last week was quieter. But then the BMW was nearly $20,000 more. So that begs the question, is the Verano quiet? Yes, yes it is, and it is plenty quiet for its category and price range, but it isn’t the quietest thing on the road that some make it out to be.
That aside, what is more important, at least to me, is driving comfort and driving feel. Road comfort is good with a suspension that absorbs the bad but still transmits enough information to offer some road feel and sense of connectivity. The steering is not delivering the goods, though; it is light and vague. As a result, on the highway it feels like the car wanders excessively back and forth.
I noticed this very same thing on the Cruze when I drove it over a year ago, and it was also in the winter. I do wonder if this vehicle is more susceptible to softer side-walled winter tires than most.
I have a feeling most of these vehicles will not be purchased with the six-speed manual that my tester is equipped with. But it certainly makes this car fun-to-drive as the torquey 2.0-litre engine delivers the goods in pretty much any gear at any time. The shifter itself offers a great mechanical feel and the clutch has a reasonable weight to it.
What I dislike the most is the electronic parking brake. It doesn’t matter how often I use it, I forget, is it pull or push? Oh right, I have to keep my foot on it, I have to wait until it is completely engaged. Just give me a handle to pull, please!