By on June 12, 2012

During the short life of the Chevrolet Cobalt SS, the car unfairly became the butt of jokes for my friends and me. Even though we all knew that it was capable of laying waste to whatever we were driving at the time, it was hard not to mock the seemingly endless yellow examples, driven by an anabolic-addled young construction worker, with his right hand at 12 o’clock, and a bumper sticker professing ancestry from one of the PIGS.

Four years after GM forgot about the best front-driver they ever made, they’ve introduced two FWD machines with the 2.0L Ecotec turbo engine. Both are Buicks. The Regal GS, despite claims of it being “wrong wheel drive” is a very nice car for real world situations. Following the GS is the smaller, more affordable Verano Turbo, seen above.

The Verano Turbo uses a detuned 2.0L Turbo engine, with 250 horsepower rather than 270. No matter. A Trifecta Tune should take care of whatever power deficit exists. In stock form, 60 mph comes up in 6.2 seconds, faster than the claimed figure for the Regal GS. There’s a 6-speed manual gearbox, but no Brembos or Hi-Per Strut suspension like the hot Regal. Then again, the only thing distinguishing the Verano Turbo from the base car is the little badge seen above. This is the Cobalt SS I always wanted; a nicer interior, no yellow paint, no giant wing and a proper back seat. And it’s totally discreet. Forget the V6 Camry. This is my candidate for the best sleeper money can buy.

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47 Comments on “My Candidate For Murilee’s Ultimate Sleeper: Buick Verano Turbo...”


  • avatar
    daveainchina

    Heck I’ll even agree with you ONLY if one thing. Is the front drivers seat a power seat? I can NEVER seem to get a manually adjusted seat to fit me right no matter how much I try.

    The version of this here in China so far as I know is not a power seat and I tried it and couldn’t get it adjusted so that I would be comfortable.

    As a side note, being someone who has frequently done 12+hours driving at a time, being able to move the seat on a trip like that makes those highway miles a bit more comfortable. Moving a power seat isn’t really dangerous, on the other hand, a manually adjusted one would be very dangerous.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      It does have power front seat since that is part of the convenience pack and according to Edmunds that pack (along with the leather group) is standard on the Turbo.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      @ daveainchina

      After a week in the passenger seat of a rental Mustang, I’m at least a partial convert to your stance. Toward the center of the seatback’s travel, I found one notch that was raked too far back and one that was raked too far forward. It was miserable. The continuous range of positions available via a power adjustment would’ve made a huge improvement to the car. Well, that and if previous renters hadn’t destroyed the front air dam and suspension.

      I will opine—and I think you’ve said as much—that this issue is person-and-model-specific. I have no problem with the vast majority of manual seats and generally roll my eyes at comments denigrating them.

      The look of the wheels and front fascia on the Regal GS are a deal-breaker for me; I’m excited about this Verano.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        The Europeans generally manage to make multi-adjustable non-power seats with nearly infinite adjustments. I don;t get why the American and Asian companies can’t manage this as well. Especially for seat rake adjustment, notched adjusters are stupid and at least somewhat unsafe to use while in motion.

      • 0 avatar
        jimbo1126

        Funny – the rear end of the Verano is an absolute deal-breaker for me.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Jimbo, get used to seeing the Verano rearend when the light turns green. Moving “Fast with Class” is back.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ jimbo1126

        Oh, I’m no fan of the Verano’s eyebrows, but they don’t compromise the whole look of the car for me the way the Regal GS’s fangs do. And the GS’s wheels both are heinous (IMO) and confer a penalty in terms of acceleration, fuel economy (see http://www.caranddriver.com/features/effects-of-upsized-wheels-and-tires-tested), ride quality, and durability. I’ll grudgingly concede a benefit in slalom speeds and braking, but those don’t outweigh the disadvantages in non-track driving. Yes, I realize the kids love the look of ultra-low-profile tires. It doesn’t make it right. FWIW, I think the non-GS Regals are some of the best looking sedans on the road today.

        @ NormSV650

        +1 for trotting that phrase out.

        @ krhodes1

        Are you referring to, for example, the rake adjustment knob in VWs? (I *think* my friend’s ’99 Passat has that.) Those are a disadvantage if the car is shared among multiple drivers, because they take much longer to adjust than do lever-actuated seats. That said, I can see the advantage after riding in the rental Mustang. I wouldn’t blanket indict Japanese and American manufacturers, though. In my immediate family’s collective stable of vehicles, we’ve had six cars with manual adjustment going back to the late ‘70s. All were lever/notch type rather than wheel/continuous type. I’d categorize our current Toyota as mediocre (I go back and forth between two notches depending on how long I’ve been in the car) but not nearly so bad as the Mustang. I’d categorize the other cars (a Chevy, a BMW, a Dodge, a different Toyota, and a Pontiac) as perfectly acceptable though not quite as comfortable as the seats in the three power seat-equipped cars we’ve also had. A friend had a 2000 Mustang that was more comfortable than last week’s rental. And a special shout-out to my late grandmother’s Celebrity, which didn’t have rake adjustment! Power locks and windows, but no rake adjustment. Go figure. In fairness, the General seemed to have picked the right angle (at least for me), and I found the car comfortable on the three or four 14-hour drives I did in it.

        Way off-topic, but the only unreliable car in the bunch was the BMW. I think Detroit generally gets a bum rap from journalists and internet commenters vis-à-vis reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        daveainchina

        @featherston

        GM and Detroit’s interiors are pretty bad and that’s what people see. BMW and most germans do a better job there. On the other hand detroit vehicles will get you home whereas many germans won’t necessarily do so. You may be a limping smoking wreck by the time you get home, but they will do it.

        I’m not sure that type of reliability is as important anymore with AAA and factory warrantee/service agreements. Also the factory roadside assistance programs combined with cell phones makes that much less important.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Holy ass crackers – this has moved to the top of the list of a potential commuter cars.

  • avatar

    My cousin used to own the Cobalt SS before they had kids. It was a damn fun car to drive, but he hated the spoiler. He said it made his rear view mirror useless.

    We named the car “Eva”. Why Eva? Becasue of the SS symbol on the back and we thought of Eva Braun. We could call her Eva, knowing why to ourselves, without everyone else knowing our little joke (haha).

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’ll never fully understand the appeal of the Q-ship. I generally prefer my car to be as flamboyant as possible. Even the slow ones, I’ve been seeing if I can get a custom “318 Wedge” hood decal for my Diplomat -similar to what you could get on a Duster 340.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      I’ve removed half the badges from my car. Why should I advertise my engine to the guy sitting next to me at the traffic lights.

      People who know cars will recognize what I’m driving. Others won’t. I think that pretty much defines Q-ship …

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Aw man! I WANT THIS CAR! I wanted a Regal GS last year but they weren’t available and were a little out of my price range. This is PERFECT! Ugh, I need a 2nd job so I can get this car. I could pay it off in just 2 years!

    I’m sure my fiancee wouldn’t mind one bit… :-|

  • avatar
    brettc

    According to an article from Edmunds, the Turbo model will be top of the line so it’ll have all of the other equipment packages rolled into it. So I guess it will be impossible to get a strippo Verano with the turbo engine and a 6 speed. Sounds like a fun car though.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I believe I was the first person to mention the Verano:

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/question-which-new-car-would-make-the-sneakiest-sleeper/#comment-1897116

    “Buick Verano with 2.0 Turbo from the Regal.

    Or, Chevy Cruze Eco with 2.0 Turbo from the Regal.

    Or, Chevy Sonic sedan (the hatch seems too obvious) with 2.0 Turbo from the Regal.

    Or, Zoo York skateboard with 2.0 Turbo from the Regal.

    I could do this all day…”

  • avatar

    The suspension tuning won’t be remotely like that of the Cobalt SS. Much different mission. Will it even be tighter than that of the regular Verano?

    Note that this car isn’t a GS, so they’ve left room for a power powerful, more aggressively suspended car if there ever seems reason for one.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Yup. The Cobalt SS was not an exercise of slapping a 260 HP engine up front and attaching it to a Saab manual transmission. GM did a lot to massage the suspension, upgraded big Brembo brakes, 18″ wheels with performance rubber and Recaro seats.

      The “sleeper” version is finding the rare Cobalt SS sedan – no goofy spoiler. Take the SS badge off and the only hint of what is going on is the dual exhaust and 18″ rims. The sedan was pretty sedate. I’ve only seen one — and I thought to myself how that would be a terror of the traffic light sprints.

      • 0 avatar

        Would rather have the SAAB. GM & Lutz can still $ukit.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          @fred diesel: I bought a blue one like the picture above and also have owned half dozen late model 9-5′s, there really is no comparison beyond paper. From seamless electric steering to the very responsive twin scroll turbo it drives like a dream. Of course I’m comparing it to decade old Saabs but it is very, very nice.

          This is post Lutz and is also shared as an Astra and Excelle in China.

      • 0 avatar
        Campisi

        Didn’t the SS sedans “only” have the naturally-aspirated 2.4 liter engine in them?

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @Campisi

        No, there were three different flavors of Cobalt SS.

        The 2005 – 2007 Cobalt SS was available as coupe only, and came with a supercharged 2.0L 4-cylinder that produced 205 HP and 200 pound feet of torque. GMPP offered three upgrade packages Stage1, 2, and 3. Three was for track use only. Stage 2 would add 47 HP and 30 pound feet of torque and increased redline to 7,000 RPM. All three GMPP offerings maintained the factory warranty.

        In addition there was a 1SS package from 2006 to 2007 that was offered with a 171 HP 2.4L 4-cylinder. This could be added to the coupe or the sedan.

        In 2008 the 1SS 2.4L 4-banger package lost its Super Sport designation (thank God) and was just called Sport. The 2.4L 1SS package was dropped in 2009.

        In mid-2008 the Cobalt SS got its fourth engine, the GM LNF engine. A direct-injected turbo charged 2.0L 4-banger with 260 HP and 260 pound feet of torque. In the 2008 model year it was offered only in the coupe.

        For 2009 the SS could be had in coupe or sedan with the LNF engine. In late 2009 an upgrade kit from GMPP was made available bumping HP to 280 and torque to 308 pound feet.

        Here is one for sale in Omaha:

        http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/2009-Chevrolet-Cobalt-SS-Rare-Sedan-Pioneer-Sunroof-Stage-1-Upgrade-Nice-/130704967488?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item1e6e9f8740

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      The turbo Veranos get a front suspension that has been firmed up roughly 15-20 percent (tuning isn’t final) and the ZF electric steering rack has altered tuning for better firmness. They also get dual exhaust and a lip rear spoiler out back.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Glad you like my hint toward the Regal, a week before turbo Verano arrived. The Regal GS is just too heavy all gussied up. Be the first at Trifecta and I’m sure they’ll compensate.

    My Saab make similar power and more torque with a tune and a few bolt-ons. I hope you see about 2.5 mpg increase after tune like I did.

    Now go look for some 2.0T Koreans and Germans to to beat up on.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I may not be quite old enough yet to be in the Buick target demographic but I find myself strangely attracted to this vehicle. If they get the suspension right then this may be the ultimate commuter.

  • avatar
    jdowmiller

    After reading this article, did anyone else find themselves on Buick’s website for the first time ever? At 35 years old, I don’t know if this is good or bad ;)

    • 0 avatar
      omer333

      yeah. i went there a few weeks ago to check out the Regal GS, and it’s price-tag is too rich for my blood. even though I’m leasing a Crosstour, the Verano Turbo could be in my price-range when the lease is up.

    • 0 avatar

      Ever since the LaCrosse I’ve been more and more into Buick…but I’ve always liked understated luxury (Volvo, SAAB, Acura). Then the Regal arrived, beautiful car…and I find myself very partial to the Verano as well. That’s right…I like THREE of the current Buicks, and I’m 23. Well done Buick, couldn’t have seen that coming.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Had a 2012 LaCrosse with the 3.6L V6 and leather (I think package one???) as a rental car. I was damn impressed. Whisper quiet, smooth power, stable at 110 MPH, and the interior was pretty good (the configuration of the stereo took me a while to figure out and the display was a bit dated for a 2012 – I believe that is now addressed in 2013). The interior is bathed in soft blue light at night – nice touch.

        It didn’t feel like my father’s Buick.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        I suppose they did something right if they have the twenty somethings interested. My only quarrel with them is when the ‘reinvented’ Buick (and Cadillac) they said a pox on everything the brands stood for up until that point. Regal and Verano are looking pretty good, but turbos break and I may want to keep my car outside of a warranty period. I still prefer an available pushrod NA V6 and an H-body and so would a lot of Buick buyers. Narrowing their choices to turbo sedans and an ugly Camry-esqeue ‘full size’ Lacrosse and you might as well drive them to the Toyonda dealership for that Avalon test drive.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Modern turbos are actually impressively reliable. For a sample, I went to truedelta and semi-randomly selected a 10-year-old VW Golf/GTI, which are not highly revered on these forums for their reliability.

        It averages about 1.4 repair trips per year, not bad for a 10-year-old car. And the histories show only one turbo replacement, and that for a car with 350,000 miles (likely a TDI).

        I don’t think a turbo alone should dissuade you from keeping a car beyond the warranty period.

  • avatar
    VelocityRed3

    I’ve been promising myself a 4 or 5 year old CTS-V, when my daughter graduates from college. Maybe a new Buick instead. I mean, I will be almost 50. ;-)

  • avatar
    iainthornton

    I wonder if they’ll do a GS version with 280bhp and HiPer strut and LSD etc like they’re going to roll out in the Astra VXR soon…..

    • 0 avatar
      dave-the-rave

      If it comes with LSD, be sure to get the trip computer.

    • 0 avatar
      BNRacing

      If the fuel system is anything like the LNF and the LUJ, we should be able to run full E85 without needing bigger injectors or any modifications to the fuel system. On our LNF project car we were able to pull out 394WHP and 404WTQ with just a high-flow catted downpipe and full E85. If this car’s fuel system is where we expect it will be, 400+WHP stock turbo Veranos are not out of the question.

  • avatar
    BNRacing

    Just an update, Trifecta already has this tune available for when the cars come out because the car uses a similar/same ECM as the Regal and other 2.0T cars. It should only take about a day to get the tune from beta to production. I work very closely with Trifecta in developing tunes and features and we’ve already got this tune listed for sale on my site. The Trifecta site listed in the article is no longer being updated that I know of. They are relying more on their dealers now instead of doing direct sales. If anyone is interested in a Trifecta tune or talking about upcoming vehicles and tune features, feel free to drop me a line here- http://www.badnewsracing.net

    I’m actually Trifecta’s largest national dealer.

  • avatar
    300zx_guy

    would be nice if Buick would use the rear end of the Opel model, much better looking. They eyebrowed taillights really kill the looks of this car for me. If I owned one, I’d back into parking spots so I wouldn’t have to look at the tail.

    Wonder if/when they’ll offer the turbo without the forcing buyers to pay for all the extra options just to get the go-fast parts.

  • avatar
    dvdlgh

    You say Buick, I say Opel.

  • avatar
    28-cars-later

    Coupe! Coupe! My kingdom for a coupe!

  • avatar
    alluster

    Love it or hate it, i think it’s awesome that we are getting cars like this. This car hits the sweet spot for me on so many levels. The compact size, decent understated looks, 3 pedals, 6 speed, 4 doors, turbo!!, very nice interior, great seats and priced very reasonably.

    Buick needs more cars like this to slowly get their buyer age down and change perceptions about the brand. A good example is the Regal GS with an average buyers age of 36 vs the average buyers age of a luxury car buyer at 52.

    No fan of the eyebrows (which hopefully find their way out in the first MCE) but the Verano looks really nice in person especially in white. I only wish the styling was more aggressive for sport trims. that need to stand out with polished rims, blacked out grille, brembos, two tone racing seats, spoiler and of-course LED’s.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      I picked up a used one for under well under $25K. About $10K less than a comparable used GS.

      The styling is different than cars a decade ago with their very small window height these days. The styling grows on you but it is definitely not the traditional 3-box car designs of yore.

      It is an impressive package considering where is comes from. For really spirited types you’ll just need s rear sway bar but for most the electric steering is super quick and communicates well. Besides I can see 40+ mpg on the highway if you keep your foot out of it.


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