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Buick has dabbled in luxury compacts off and on for the past 40 years. Remember those 1980s ads touting the Skylark as your "little limousine"? So there's certainly precedent for the plush 2013 Verano sedan. Its styling cues, interior appointments and standard 18-inch wheels will remind you of a much larger car. But anyone with a tape measure knows that the Verano rates as a compact. It also has a smallish price and sporty driving characteristics that are bringing under-40 buyers into Buick showrooms for the first time in years.
The base engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 180 horsepower matched to a six-speed automatic—about what you would expect in this price range. What's not expected is an optional 250-horsepower, 2-liter turbo engine that can even be ordered with a six-speed manual transmission. The turbo propels the Verano to 60 mph in about 6.2 seconds, two seconds quicker than the 2.4-liter.
The upgraded engine helps the Verano live up to its marketing image as a luxury car for those who don't want to spend a bundle. On the performance end of the market, we could see a turbo Verano winning over enthusiasts who might appreciate the comforts of a Buick interior, especially when equipped with the stick and optional performance axle ratio.
The standard cabin accommodates five in cloth seats with premium fabric inserts and leatherette bolsters. Up front, you get a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and dual lighted vanity mirrors. In the back, there's a split-folding seat to augment the 14.3-cubic-foot trunk. Other features include dual-zone climate control, power windows and locks, remote start, and a six-speaker sound system with 7-inch color display. Buick's Quiet Tuning technology keeps the interior remarkably hushed for a car this size.
The available Convenience Group gives a major injection of safety technology with its rear-vision camera, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking assist, and side blindspot alert. You also get an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated power side-view mirrors, and a power six-way driver seat.
The Verano hits its true luxury potential with the Leather Group, which adds premium-grade leather seats (heated in front), a heated steering wheel, a Bose audio system, keyless entry with push-button start, and eye-catching multi-spoke wheels.
What about the turbo with all that extra power? For that, you'll need the Premium Group, which delivers the best the Verano has to offer in both luxury and performance.
Buick's compact, four-door Verano is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with direct injection and ECOTEC emissions-reducing technology. Coupled with the standard six-speed automatic transmission, the engine makes 180 horsepower and gets 21 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. Even in basic form, the Verano comes very nicely equipped with 18-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, power windows with driver express up/down, power locks, remote start, a leather-wrapped shift knob, Buick's cabin-hushing Quiet Tuning technology, and a six-speaker sound system with AM/FM/SiriusXM stereo, MP3 and CD players, a seven-inch color touchscreen, and USB/iPod, Bluetooth, and Smartphone compatibility.
The cabin seats five and is trimmed in cloth with premium fabric inserts and leatherette bolsters. A rear split-folding seat is standard, as are map pockets, leather-wrapped steering wheel, illuminated vanity mirrors, and other nice touches that give the interior an air of comfort and style. All Verano models can be ordered with the dealer-installed Premium Exterior Appearance Package, which adds a bright chrome finish to the grille and a flush-mounted rear spoiler.
Adding the Convenience Group makes manuevering your new Verano safer and easier. The package includes a rear-vision camera, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking assist, side blindspot alert, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated power side-view mirrors, and a power six-way driver seat. You can also order several upgrades not available on the base model, such as a Bose nine-speaker audio system, a sunroof and a navigation system.
Opting for the Verano's Leather Group gets you everything in the Convenience Group plus a whole new level of interior luxury. The seats that are heated up front and trimmed in premium-grade leather—available in three colors. You also get a heated steering wheel, a Bose nine-speaker audio system, keyless entry with push-button start, an express up/down passenger window, and multi-spoke 18-inch machined alloy wheels.
The Premium Group takes the luxury of the Leather Group and adds a healthy dose of power and performance. At the heart of this line-topping package is a 2.0-liter intercooled turbo four-cylinder that pumps out 250 horsepower and a turbo-specific six-speed automatic transmission. Interestingly, a six-speed manual transmission is also offered, something most buyers will be surprised to find in a Buick. Overall performance improves dramatically with the turbo and its extra 70 horsepower under the Verano's hood.
Other upgrades include a sport pedal kit and rear spoiler, both of which are dealer-installed, and an available performance axle ratio.
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|Build & Price|
More space and available V6, lacking some high-end features and refinement
Same size and lower price, but can compete only with the base Verano
More room, but less luxury and fewer options
A loaded turbo Verano aims for the entry-level Lexus and comes surprisingly close