Car Tech Video
2013 Buick VeranoBuick's smallest car shows off their big changes.
-Verano, it means summer in EspaÃ±ol, which kind of fits because Buick is trying to make hay while the sun shines on compact premium cars. Let's drive this 2013 Verano premium T for turbo and check the tech. So, what is a Verano? Well, it's got a lot of GM DNA that you'll recognize. It's a cousin to the Chevy Cruze in terms of platform And it's a sibling to the Opel Astra. We don't get that here in the U.S., but you can see it's part of a very big broad platform for General Motors. Spot a Verano by its tiny size kind of three series looking rear quarter and by the trademark Buick grill, a toothy affair that comes almost as far back on the hood as the freakish headlights on a Nissan Leaf. Also spot one of these guys by the ventiports. I think the only Buick and maybe Maserati do these things. They are fake port holes that date back to 1949. Even back then, they didn't actually go through the hood. They are decoration but they are signature Buick. There's this complicated formula that you Buick buffs know for how they decided if there are three or four on each side, great Buick trivia, some combination of trim and number of cylinders. All I know is this that can be the first era for which there are more ventiports on the hood than there are cylinders under it. The first thing most folks noticed when they get in the Verano is, wow, it's kind of fancy in here. You got 3 different kinds of metal trim, metallized trim. Two or three shades of soft trim around that. To my eye, this is my opinion, it's fantasy the way and olive garden is Italian, which isn't to say that neither are but there's something kind of ersatz about it. Now, the bell of the ball is this screen right here. This is the Intel little link interface in a seven inch touch LCD but kind of sat back into the cowl. All the Veranos have the IntelliLink screen. Not all of them though have DVD and navigation. You have to option up into that. Standard sources include Bluetooth streaming, Pandora, and Stitcher via Bluetooth link and on the more mundane side AM, FM, CD, satellite, USB plus iPod, aux jack, all the hits you want but notice no HD radio. Here's what maybe the oddest starts stops would have ever seen on a car. it's fiddly and dainty. It took me like a full minute to figure out how to start this thing the first time. I'm looking over here for a big old engine button. That thing is weird. Also weird and more substantially so are some interface gaps on this car. Just three that come to mind. For example, let's say I'm listening to Pandora or radio or satellite, doesn't matter. From that screen I can't get to the tone controls. To do so, I have to go to home, then I have to go next, then I have to hit the tone app. And now I can adjust the sound. That's interface for interfaces sake, I think. Here's another one, the climate control navs just have a couple of representative temperatures on, and I don't really know where I am to find out I have to actually move the temperature, then about a second later this comes up at the bottom of the display. Now I see what temperature I'm on. Then, I can move the temperature where I want it by then the display is gone and it has to come back to confirm what I just did. That's a mess. And you use temperature controls a thousand times in a car like this. And like many Fords, this screen is set too far in surrounded by this tons of kind of plastic garnish. It's hard to get to these buttons that are down here. And in many cases they're just too damn small, and noticed this, these buttons here on the Pandora screen and many others are very small hard to hit. You got this plastic in the way, but I can't use my control not to get to them. You have to touch them or nothing. Now, our little Verano has got a high tech motor up front because we have the premium trim. All other cars get a fairly routine 2.4 liter four. We have a smaller two liter side settle four with an inter-cooled turbo and direct injection variable valve timing just about everything has been thrown at it. That gives you some nice numbers from our little motor, 250 horse, 260 foot pounds of torque. Zero to sixty for this 3550-pound car, takes a tidy 6.2 seconds while delivering 21/30 rated MPG. Front-wheel drive on this car only. Two choices for transmission, six-speed automatic or six-speed manual. That's a pick. Now, Buick says all Veranos get quite tuning, not sport tuning that's very telling and the driving is exactly what's promised, smooth and quiet at all times. It's a capable handling car, but it doesn't reach into the serious driving realm at any time. As for the engine, the revs float too high and for too long between gears lot of modern cars do this, although this car has no lift shift, which means you can keep your foot flat on the accelerator what you work the clutch and the gear shifter, and it'll handle rev matching, a weird sort of hot hatch feature to find on a car like this. Okay, let's price our Verano, 30,000 dollars on the nose delivered for the premium the top trim that includes the Turbo engine, 900 bucks for that glass power sun roof. That's a nice addition. 795 to add nav and DVD playback to the IntelliLink head unit or like 31,700 with just about everything CNET style. Now, here's my take on this car. It slots above Accord, Camry and Fusion, but below three series and C class and it's got it's won sort of an identity crisis. It's got sporty things like turbo motor. No lift shift and the available six speed, but it's mostly a very nice car with lots of Chrome and Bling and a very comfortable ride. I'm not sure it knows what it wants to be, but for you, it's the car to consider when you wanna get a compact that feels like you're driving more than you paid for.