Photo Gallery:
2013 Buick Verano

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo car test drives daily car reviews buick
Click Image to Enlarge

From a loaded BMW to a loaded Buick; a few years ago the comparison would have seemed completely silly. But today Buick is making some very nice vehicles, indeed, and do compete with the German luxury makes — if one can forgive the front-wheel-drive platforms.

This week it is the smallest Buick, based off the Chevrolet Cruze, the Buick Verano. The 2013 Verano brings some new muscle to the table with a powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. And get this: they offer it with a six-speed manual transmission!

Day by Day Review: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo car test drives daily car reviews buick
Click Image to Enlarge

With the market for smaller cars ever growing in Canada, the Verano makes perfect sense for those looking for a compact car with a ton of luxury features, and with a base starting price of just $22,895 the Verano certainly delivers on that promise.

My tester, the new Turbo model, has a starting price of $28,695 but adds a few goodies, so the as-tested price is $8,000 more than that starting number.

My tester is equipped with the 1ST preferred equipment group, power sliding sunroof, 18-inch alloy wheels, navigation and spoiler package. Some of the features in the equipment group include: dual-zone auto climate control, Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity, 7-inch colour touchscreen, rear-vision camera, rear cross-traffic alert, side blind-zone alert, leather seating and more.

MSRP as tested (including destination): $36,385

For more information on Buick and the Verano visit GM Canada

For even more on this car FOLLOW James on Twitter

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo car test drives daily car reviews buick
Click Image to Enlarge

I was going to try to compare the Verano to the BMW 328i I had last week, but when I opened the rear door and realized how much smaller the Verano was compared to the BMW I decided that was not very fair. What the Verano does compare very favourably to are the Acura ILX and Lexus IS 250 — I was actually a little surprised to find out that the Verano has more interior space than both.

The interior of the Verano is well laid out and ergonomic, unless you plan on using the touchscreen, which I find is a little bit hard to reach. You can control all facets of the display with the dash mounted control knob but it isn’t very intuitive and the “select” button is little bit odd, as you must push the outer rim of the main control knob.

Day by Day Review: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo car test drives daily car reviews buick
Click Image to Enlarge

The rest of the interior is top notch and easily fits in with the segment of compact and entry level luxury. Sometimes the smallest things are the biggest winners — like the adjustable front armrest on the centre console that provides maximum comfort.

The 60/40 split folding rear seats offer that extra cargo space that in luxury cars is often missing, but I have to note that opening the trunk must be done via the remote or a button on the dash — there is no external trunk release.

I’m being a little picky here, but when the car is so good that it is hard to find fault one tends to find the little faults. I’ve complained before about loud signal light relays and the Verano is the opposite, if you forget to shut off the signal light, forget about an audio cue, it’s dead silent.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo car test drives daily car reviews buick
Click Image to Enlarge

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.

Day by Day Review: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo car test drives daily car reviews buick

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!

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3| Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo car test drives daily car reviews buick
Click Image to Enlarge

It seems that week in and week out, lately, I’m being disappointed with my fuel consumption results. Perhaps it is my fault — I think I may be expecting a little too much from my test vehicles as consumption estimates are dropping with each model year introduction.

But this week I had a vehicle with a six-speed manual transmission, and historically these were better on fuel then their automatic counterparts. But with automatics now having more gears, less friction and a higher-ratio cruising gears with lock up torque converters, this is rarely the case with current vehicles.

The six-speed manual has one further factor fighting against it — the fun factor. It’s just too darn fun to not wring out every gear, and as a result, fuel consumption suffers. This week I managed 9.6 L/100 km with the Buick Verano Turbo — I have a feeling, though, it isn’t just the fun factor that hurt the mileage. It seems that many turbo cars suffer from poor real world fuel economy while offering excellent results for the government tests. At 70 km/h the Verano was barely above 1,200 rpm and observed instantaneous fuel consumption was in the fives — but get up to true highway speeds and fuel consumption quickly rises to double digits.

But with the torquey low-end grunt and fun-to-drive factor of the Verano, all the above can be forgiven. As the saying goes: You gotta pay to play!

2013 Buick Verano Turbo
Acceleration Day by Day Review: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo car test drives daily car reviews buick
Handling Day by Day Review: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo car test drives daily car reviews buick
Comfort Day by Day Review: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo car test drives daily car reviews buick
Interior Day by Day Review: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo car test drives daily car reviews buick
Audio System Day by Day Review: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo car test drives daily car reviews buick
Gas Mileage Day by Day Review: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo car test drives daily car reviews buick
Overall Day by Day Review: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo car test drives daily car reviews buick

*Rating based on vehicle’s classification

MSRP as tested (including destination): $36,385

For more information on Buick and the Verano visit GM Canada

For even more on this car FOLLOW James on Twitter




About James Bergeron

James Bergeron is an Ottawa-based automotive journalist. James holds a national FIA race license and actively races and stewards at race events.