2013 Buick Verano Turbo Update 1: Power and Mileage Balanced
As one of the newest additions to the Motor Trend Garage, the 2013 Buick Verano Turbo was ripe for an 1800-mile road trip over an extended weekend. A trip from Los Angeles to the Rocky Mountain and back added nearly 50 percent more miles to the Verano's odometer reading in five days, to just over 6000 miles.
Powered by a 250-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 mated to a six-speed manual transmission, the Verano Turbo is EPA rated 20/31/24 mpg city/highway/combined. We planned the route to avoid rush hour traffic to better evaluate how closely the entry-level luxury sedan could match its fuel mileage ratings. Once on I-15, the Verano Turbo cruised quietly along with the flow of traffic north of the 70-mph limit.
While the trip toward Las Vegas has several elevation changes, the Verano effortlessly maintained speed in top gear with cruise control. After the first 400 miles on the road, the Verano Turbo used a little more than 12.6 gallons of gas for an EPA-beating 32 mpg. At that rate the remaining fuel in the 15.6-gallon fuel tank would have lasted approximately 90 miles more.
With the cruise control set just above posted speed limits (some as high as 80 mph) the Verano Turbo never struggled with the higher elevation of the Rocky Mountains including several summits at 6000-6600 feet above sea level. After arriving at the primary destination, the Verano Turbo was then used to chauffeur three adults on a day trip with about 230 miles of driving. While the Verano has five seat belts, the cozy interior is better suited for four occupants, though rear seat entry and exit proved difficult even for the most athletic adults. The additional passengers had no noticeable negative effect on fuel mileage or power delivery.
The Verano Turbo makes most of its 260 lb-ft of torque in the midrange, but there is a bit of lag down low and a power drop off about 500 rpm short of the 6500-rpm redline. While the turbocharged 2.0-liter's power was more than adequate in most driving situations, it fell short in a few instances. After highway speeds dropped to about 60 mph, the Verano struggled to accelerate back up to 70 or 80 mph in fifth and sixth gears necessitating downshifting into fourth or even third gear.
Although the first fill-up netted the highest fuel mileage, the Verano Turbo managed 29.8 mpg average over the course of the trip with 28.1 mpg being the lowest observed mileage.
After so much time behind the wheel of the Verano in just five days, I have come away with a few likes and grievances. The keyless entry buttons on all four door handles make access to the back seat easier and the well-insulated cabin offers a quiet ride. Conversely, the front seats are as flat as the rear bench and don't provide adequate lumbar support. With a $30,785 price tag, a driver seat lumbar adjustment - even manually - and privacy glass should be standard.
The Verano is a comfortable road-trip car for those who want a smooth quiet ride as well as to occasionally carry a couple of rear seat passengers. While more seat bolstering and better lumbar support might be too much to ask for, an aftermarket UV protecting window film like the one on our now-gone Scion FR-S long termer could make a huge improvement in temperature and glare management.
Want more on our long-term 2013 Buick Verano Turbo? Stay tuned as we share details about our experience with the car every other Wednesday, only on WOT.
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