Sunday, September 15, 2013

Buick Verano Turbo test drive

The Buick Verano is basically our version of the Opel Astra.
I drove the “regular” model a while ago, and was curious to see if the Turbo was much.

It is a fine looking car. But pretty invisible. No one would ever notice it in a sea of semi compact looking sedans out there.
It’s quite generic. Much more so than the Regal.

Inside, it is pure Opel. Things are nicely put together and everything feels solid. But again, not as much as in the Regal.
The back seat is not roomy. At all. The front seats are fine. But not great.
There is no lumbar adjustment. At least on my car. And they are not fully powered either. The passenger seat is even fully manual.

My car had the Bose stereo option. Which sounded fine, but not great. Which is a problem with many Bose car units these days. Most of the time, they just don’t sound that great. 

I am not a fan of wood trim, and this one doesn’t look too good either. At least, its use is pretty limited throughout the cabin.

There are still a few cheap looking bits here and there. Even though most plastics are soft and of high quality.

The worst part of the interior, and the car in general, is GM’s entertainment system used in my test car. It is one of the worst ever.
I had the same experience with the 2013 Malibu and Regal GS. It is very slow and worst of all, won’t read iPhone playlists correctly.
To be fair, this system has been replaced by an all-new one for 2014. I used it in the 2014 Impala a few weeks ago and that one is one of the best. I know the new one is available in the 2014 Regal and Lacrosse. Not sure about the Verano…(Which by the way, doesn’t even get upgraded to the newer 2.5 Liter engine for 2014…)

On the road, the car is great to drive. The steering is light but precise.
The suspension is always comfortable. And the 2.0 Turbo is a gem.
And what a rare pleasure to be able to drive the car with a 6-speed manual.
It is always very quiet and refined.

The Verano Turbo I was testing had only one option, an Audio System with navigation for $795. For a total of $29 900. A sunroof seems to be the only other option on top of that.
There are a few things missing for this price. Like a full power seat.  At least give us one.
Rear seat vents for the climate control. An audio system that actually works.

A similar Regal is just a few thousands more. Which to me is worth it. It looks and feels better than the Verano Turbo. And has the same great engine.

I think the Verano is a great 1st try as a compact car from Buick. It’s almost there.
With a few details fixed, it could be great.

In Europe, this car mostly competes with models like the Golf and Focus. Buick is trying to sell it here as a small luxury car, which is a bit of a stretch.

This is the European version. The Opel Astra sedan. 
As usual in Europe, most Astras are hatchbacks, and the sedan is actually quite rare.


Anonymous said...

Foro the $ I would rather own the Malibu over this car.

Bob said...

I would have to be a much bigger GM fan to buy this car.

The features, or lack of features, don't sound like that of a brand that can even pretend to be a luxury car maker.

Just another example of GM trying to do something they had no business trying in the first place. Either do it right, and make this a vehicle at least as good as the competition, or don't do it at all. If you don't do it right, don't expect me to care.

Anonymous said...

This is about what I'd expect from a entry level premium car. It stacks up well against the competition. Wish it were better though.

It never ceases to amaze me what constitutes a "luxury" vehicle in the marketplace today. I rented a Lexus ES... total and complete rubbish. I had a Jaguar XF as a loaner last week. The amount of plastichrome, satin painted plastic and low grade leather was astonishing. Creaks in a car with 2,000 miles is not acceptable in even the cheapest car today. In a car that starts at around $50k, that would not me money well spent, if it were my decision.

I don't think the Buick is a bad car considering what it's up against. But it's certainly not over-delivering either. And in order to get noticed, it needs to.

Anonymous said...

Making the turbo standard in the Regal basically just killed this car. Although they will still sell more than the ILX....I hope.

- FusioptimaSX

Anonymuse said...

Meh. Gauges look nice, not much else catches my attention. Blose is called that by audiophiles for a reason. Not a fan of the chrome eyebrows over the taillights. Enormous interior front door handle looks like the handle on a shield. Maybe they could paint stars on the door and sell a Captain America Edition, lol.

carlitics said...

the two major modifications GM made to change the look from Astra to Verano - from sleek nose to waterfall grille and from sleek taillights to those odd chrome-browed units - ruin the look of the car.

(Not that it would make much difference in the market, as Buick is a dead brand who needs *very unique* or stellar entries to get any traction from new buyers.)

good job, GM.

Carl said...

I just think that center stack is tacky, that push button start is such last minute it's not funny...That being said I'd like to drive this along with a Regal turbo.

Anonymous said...

... I rented a Lexus ES... total and complete rubbish. I had a Jaguar XF as a loaner last week....

Are you sure?