The 2013 Buick Verano near-luxury sedan shares its core architecture with the Chevy Cruze, but Buick has successfully differentiated its premium compact from Chevrolet's economy car. With youthful looks, polished manners and a starting price under $24,000, the Verano could attract younger buyers who haven't considered a Buick before. It represents another mile-marker on Buick's return to relevancy.
You'll Like The 2013 Buick Verano If...
If you're a young professional looking for a new car to reward your success without substantially increasing your debt, the 2013 Buick Verano could do it.
You May Not Like The 2013 Buick Verano If...
If you think a luxury sedan is incomplete without a roomy, stretch-out interior, you may find the Verano comes up short. And snug.
Big Verano news for 2013 is an up-power turbocharged engine option. Supplementing the standard Ecotec 2.4-liter, 180-horsepower 4-cylinder is a 2.0-liter turbo-4 tuned for 250 horsepower. This engine is bundled with most of the equipment from the Convenience and Leather option groups to create the Verano Turbo model.
Like its larger LaCrosse sibling, the compact Buick Verano features an interior outfitted in high-quality materials and rich colors, with comfortable seats and an artfully drawn dash that flows gracefully into the doors. Less pleasing is the layout of the instrument panel, which features a confusing array of similar-looking buttons, a fault partially countered by the bright, easy-to-use and intuitively arranged 7-inch touch-screen interface that controls the audio system. Front-seat passenger room and trunk space are both good for a vehicle of the Verano's size, though rear legroom is tight.
The Buick Verano shares its fundamental architecture with the Chevy Cruze but that's a fact largely buried in the Verano's unique styling. Its athletic and tasteful exterior projects an appropriately premium on-road aura, despite its compact dimensions. Standout details include standard 18-inch wheels, a tasteful body-side crease that dips toward the front of the car and high-tech-appearing headlamps with stylish blue-rimmed projectors.
Although the Buick Verano's non-independent torsion-beam rear suspension seems low-brow for a premium car, on the road, this chassis works just fine. It gracefully absorbs surface imperfections without a floaty feeling. Steering is fluid and responsive, a noteworthy achievement considering the Verano uses electric power steering, which typically sacrifices a lot of road feel for a little efficiency. With the standard 180-horsepower 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed automatic transmission, acceleration in the Buick Verano is acceptable but not exceptional. We expect the Turbo's 250 horsepower will move the car much closer to true sports-sedan territory. The no-cost-option 6-speed manual gearbox available on the Turbo is reportedly a new, slick-shifting unit, not the clunky box from the Regal. Revised steering calibration should add sportiness as well. Overall, the 2013 Verano provides the kind of comfortable and capable driving experience move-up buyers expect.
The new-for-2013 Buick Verano Turbo starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $29,990. The normally aspirated base car runs $23,965. There's not a lot to add to the Turbo car (basically, sunroof and navigation), but the base car can be ordered with the Convenience Group ($25,260) or the Leather Group ($27,640). Those numbers compare favorably with many mainstream compacts (Ford Focus, Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima all start right around $24,000), and aggressively undercut true entry-luxury alternatives (Lexus IS250, Audi A4 and Volvo S60 all run over $35,000). For the latest information on what others in your area are paying for a Verano, see our Fair Purchase Price. As for resale value, we expect the 2013 Buick Verano to offer long-term residual numbers similar to the Audi A4's, somewhat behind those of the Lexus IS and Acura TSX.
Standard features offered on the 2013 Buick Verano include Leatherette-trimmed seating, automatic climate control, an electronic parking brake, steering-wheel audio and cruise controls, remote engine start (automatic transmissions only) and a new-for-2013 rearview camera. The roster of standard safety features includes stability control, traction control, OnStar with stolen vehicle location and automatic crash notification, plus a whopping 10 airbags, including front-passenger knee airbags and rear-seat side-impact airbags.
The 2013 Buick Verano's option list includes a heated steering wheel, heated seats, navigation, a 9-speaker premium Bose audio system, premium 18-inch wheels and leather-trimmed interiors available in Ebony, Cashmere and the tasty-sounding Choccachino colors. Most options are bundled into the Convenience and Leather Group packages for the base Verano, and are included as standard on the Turbo. A power sunroof is a stand-alone option on both models.
Buick makes a big deal out of its efforts to reduce interior noise, collectively labeled QuietTuning, and rightly so. The 2013 Verano features an impressively silent cabin that should elevate both occupant comfort and perceived vehicle quality.
Younger buyers love their connectivity so Buick equips all 2013 Veranos with IntelliLink, a system that lets the driver control a smart phone through the standard 7-inch touch-screen display. The system not only enables hands-free calling, but also streams music and podcasts from Internet audio services, including Pandora and Stitcher.
Under the Hood
Last year, the Buick Verano bowed with just one powertrain, a 180-horsepower 4-cylinder matched to a 6-speed automatic transmission. For 2013, a more spirited 250-horsepower turbocharged model joins the lineup. Acceleration figures show 0-to-60 mph in the mid-8-second range for the base 2.4, low-6s for the turbo. The base engine comes only with a 6-speed automatic, but the Turbo offers a choice of the automatic or a sweet-shifting manual 6-speed. Among compact sedans, the base Verano's highway fuel economy of 32 mpg is barely average. Even the larger Buick Regal gets 36 mpg highway thanks to its mild-hybrid eAssist powertrain, a technology that will likely migrate to the Verano in the future.
180 horsepower @ 6,700 rpm
171 lb-ft of torque @ 4,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/32 mpg
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
250 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/31 mpg (manual), 21/30 mpg (automatic)
The 2013 Buick Verano is a compact near-luxury sedan that shares its core architecture with the Chevy Cruze. Such platform sharing has led to disappointing compromises in the past, but in this case, Buick has successfully differentiated its premium compact from Chevrolet's economy car. Coming to market with youthful looks, polished manners and a starting price under $24,000, the Verano stands a good chance of wooing younger buyers who might not have considered a Buick before. In that important respect, it represents another mile-marker on Buick's return to relevancy.