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2013 Buick Verano Turbo Update 6: The Road Trip

Scott Evans
Dec 11, 2013
To some, an 800-mile road trip is extreme. At this point, I can do it in my sleep. You see, I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, which is 400 miles from Los Angeles. That means anytime my wife and I visit family, we make an 800-mile round trip, plus whatever driving we do while we’re there. In all that driving, I’ve found one, inescapable fact: cruise control only works if there’s nobody on the road, or everybody’s using it.
What does this have to do with the Buick Verano? I was just getting to that. See, since so many people don’t use cruise control, and because Californians like to drive whatever speed they feel like in whatever lane they choose, I find myself speeding up and slowing down a lot. In a lot of cars with tall, fuel-efficient, overdrive gears, that usually means changing down and back up. Not the Verano. This little car has a surprising amount of low-RPM torque, even when the turbo isn’t spooled up. Not only does it happily pass people on the highway without a downshift, it’ll even do it uphill. On my most recent trip north and back, I was continually surprised how quick it was in top gear.
When I did need to change gear and really go fast, it was good at those things, too. The manual transmission in our Verano isn’t the greatest I’ve every driven, but it’s not bad. The throws are a bit long and clunky, but I never missed a gear or got hung on a gate. That turbocharged engine, as I mentioned, is an overachiever and will burn through those gears surprisingly quickly when merging on the highway. It even handles a corner fairly well.
Aside from being quick, the Verano did a number of other things well. It’s a small car, but it’s fairly spacious inside, so we didn’t feel cramped even after hours in the car. It also let us carry tall adult passengers in the back without complaint. The seats are soft and comfortable, leaving us with no aches or stiffness after six hours on the road. We also had no headaches to complain of, thanks to that thick Buick glass and sound insulation that kept the outside world’s noise out, for the most part.
If I had one real complaint about the Verano as a road-trip car, it’s with the entertainment system. More specifically, with the controls. The touch screen works fine, but it’s a long reach from where you’re sitting. The redundant controls, meanwhile, make no sense. After countless hours behind the wheel, I still can’t fathom the logic used to determine where to locate each button. Nor can I determine why Buick felt the need to invent new buttons not found in any other car, such as the “AS 1-2” button. I still have no idea what it’s supposed to do. By the end of the trip, I still found myself having to stare and hunt for whatever button I wanted, rather than being able to reach over and work the controls by touch while keeping my eyes on the road.
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
Verano Turbo Update 3: Go North, Small Buick
Verano Turbo Update 4: Not Your Grandpa's Buick
Verano Turbo Update 5: Justifying the Automatic



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