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  • 2013 Buick Verano Turbo Long-Term Update 3: Go North, Small Buick

2013 Buick Verano Turbo Long-Term Update 3: Go North, Small Buick

Alex Nishimoto
Oct 30, 2013
Because our long-term Buick Verano Turbo has proven to be an excellent highway cruiser, it seemed an ideal candidate for a road trip to Reno, Nev. for my family reunion. I needed space to shuttle my fiancée, friends, and relatives around town, plus a decent-sized trunk for luggage and fishing gear. On paper, the Verano sounded like a good enough fit.
As expected, the 540-plus-mile highway ride was mostly uneventful thanks to the Verano's comfort-tuned suspension and quiet cabin. The car's 250-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 didn't hurt either, though as fellow online editor Christian Seabaugh also found, I learned downshifting is a requirement if you want to pass at speed. On the way back, the turbo also helped us climb the Grapevine's punishing grade, but contending with uphill traffic meant a slight rise in underhood temperature. There were no immediate consequences of that increase, however, and we were glad we weren't stuck on the side of the road overheating in the triple-digit weather like a few other cars we saw. The serene interior vibe was occasionally interrupted by a humming noise whenever I passed a large truck or bus. Other staffers have reported this as well, and we all seem to agree the sound is coming from the roof-mounted satellite radio antenna. At the first pit stop for gas, I checked the antenna to make sure it was secure. With no signs of anything out of place, we pressed onward.
Photo 2/10   |   2013 Buick Verano Turbo Rear Three Quarter Midtown Reno
Whether or not the antenna was the culprit, I was thankful for it and the three-month trial subscription to Sirius-XM satellite radio during the nine-hour drive to Reno. The Verano's standard IntelliLink infotainment system as a whole is nicely executed with easy-to-navigate menus and applications that just work. My only problem with it is how far you have to reach to interface with the touch screen. The navigation system, our Verano's only piece of optional equipment, was also a welcome feature when I felt the need to explore some Northern California back roads.
Once we arrived in Reno, the novelty of a Buick with a manual transmission amused my relatives at first, but likely wore off after a lengthy drive around the city. As Christian noted in a previous update, the manual Verano is difficult to shift smoothly -- especially shifting from first to second gear. It's hard to pinpoint exactly where the problem lies, but it feels like a combination of the clutch's vague engagement point and the shifter's unusually long throws. All the finesse in my body couldn't prevent a jerky one-two upshift. Another attribute that undoubtedly got very old very quick for my passengers is the Verano's laughable rear legroom. A 5'4" friend had minimal knee room to spare sitting behind my 5'2" fiancée.
When it came time for the annual family fishing derby, the Verano's trunk was adequate for our tackle and other gear. A pass-through slot in the rear seat would have been nice though, as our fishing poles needed to be taken apart to fit. Getting to the reservoir was easy, and -- surprisingly -- so was venturing off pavement to get to the secret family fishing spot. Though it's designed to soak up imperfections in the road, the Verano's suspension performed admirably in the dirt, transmitting less-than-expected vibration to the cabin. Given that we had the ground clearance of a compact sedan, we needed to navigate around deeper ditches, but we were able to reach the water without incident.
Though it may not have been the perfect road trip car, the Verano Turbo met about 80 percent of my needs, and even exceeded expectations in a few areas. But for my next reunion, I may choose something different if I want to remain the favorite auto-journalist nephew.
Photo 3/10   |   2013 Buick Verano Turbo Profile Reservoir
More on the Buick Verano Turbo:
2013 Buick Verano Turbo Arrival
Verano Turbo Update 1: Power and Mileage Balanced
Verano Turbo Update 2: This Thing is Confused

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