Test Drive: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo car test drives buick
Test Drive: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo car test drives buick
2013 Buick Verano Turbo. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Justin Mastine-Frost

We all remember the Buick from days gone by as the stodgy, conservative sedans or cars that parents or grandparents may have driven at one time or another, but in recent years the brand has been on a mission to shake that geriatric image. Much like Chrysler, Cadillac, and most recently Lincoln, Buick has been going out of its way to appeal to a younger, upwardly mobile crowd. Rather than airing on the performance sedan or “Boy-Racer” side of things, as Buick communications group manager Nick Richards put it, Buick has steered the new Verano into a new segment dubbed “Entry-Level Luxury”. Now everyone knows I love a good oxymoron and how easily I’m irked by anything budget masquerading as “premium product”, but suffice it to say that I couldn’t help but hop behind the wheel to see just how lux this little Buick really is.

First things first, the Verano Turbo’s exterior at its essence is pretty slick. The headlamps add a nice bit of character, and that giant grille up front definitely stands out in a crowd. The issue I take with the Verano is all the added “chrome” trim that sits everywhere from the door handles, to the eyebrows over the rear taillights, and right down to the fake vents glued onto the hood that look like something you’d buy at Canadian Tire. I can appreciate that some people with a warped perception of luxury might think these details make the car look more expensive, but anyone with a discerning eye will agree that a less-is-more approach would have been much, much better. Fortunately, Buick decided to option our tester in their bold shade of Luxo Blue Metallic, which in combination with the blue trim on the headlights kept the Verano Turbo from looking any sort of bland.

Test Drive: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo car test drives buick Test Drive: 2013 Buick Verano Turbo car test drives buick
2013 Buick Verano Turbo. Click image to enlarge

In all fairness, Buick wound up doing a fairly respectable job in the passenger cabin as well. I find it looks remarkably similar overall to the latest Ford Focus and Escape; until you look at button and controls placement, the centre stack is well laid out and aesthetically pleasing. I’m not a fan of such a heavy use of buttons in the grand scheme of things, and although the controls for climate and audio were simple and straightforward, they could have easily presented it all in a somewhat less idiot-proof fashion.

Additionally, having the start/stop button integrated into the centre stack and the same size as its adjacent controls just doesn’t make sense to me. I’m sure Verano owners will get used to it after a while, but there are still plenty of other logical locations for it. As a trade off, the styling of the remainder of the dashboard and especially the instrument cluster is really well executed in form, and the steering wheel controls are kept to a properly minimal level. Buick’s Intellilink system was relatively simple and straightforward to use, and unlike many systems out there it was a very quick one to learn. The option will only set you back an added $795, and is definitely worth the money.

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