Review 2013 Buick Verano Turbo
By Graeme Fletcher, National Post
Following its critically successful launch, Buick is adding the Verano Turbo to its arsenal.
This model adopts all of the measures employed in the base car, such as the quiet ride and rich cabin, and it adds some welcome spice to the drive – it comes from GM’s 2.0-litre Ecotec four-cylinder turbocharged engine. The use of direct injection and continuously variable valve timing along with the forced-air induction delivers 250 horsepower and, more importantly, 260 pound-feet of torque at a low 2,000 rpm – 90% of which is available between 1,750 and 5,500 rpm. This engine will be offered with six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions. It also benefits from dual exhaust tips, sport pedals and a rear spoiler. These are the lone concessions to the fact it is the sportier model – a body-coloured grille would hint at the Turbo’s potential without moving it away from Buick’s desire to keep it as a sleeper. It also earns a raft of luxury items including heated leather seating and steering wheel to go with a solid nine-speaker Bose sound system and Buick’s IntelliLink infotainment system.
Driving the Verano Turbo proved to be an interesting venture. To the casual onlooker, it comes across as just another Buick; to the driver, it is definitely way more like a sports car – the suspension is 20% stiffer than the mortal car. The proof of the newfound spice is immediately evident the instant the gas is goosed, as the turbocharged torque comes online with but the merest hint of initial lag. Once through that, the Verano Turbo takes off very nicely indeed. And, to Buick’s credit, it does so with virtually no torque steer, even on broken pavement.
When compared with the base 2.4L non-turbo engine, the Turbo is much crisper as is witnessed by the acceleration times – it is, at 6.2 seconds from rest to 96 kilometres an hour, a massive 2.4 seconds faster than its naturally aspirated sibling. The kicker is that the performance arrives almost without penalty. Based on the fuel economy information provided at the introduction, it is 0.5 litres per 100 kilometres thirstier city and highway, but who’s counting?
The Buick Verano Turbo is a welcome addition that left me wondering about the future of the Regal. The Verano gets 30 hp more than the Regal Turbo (and it’s just 20 hp shy of the Regal GS), yet it is significantly more affordable. For me, it puts the final nail in the current Regal’s coffin.