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Buick’s 2013 Verano Turbo Priced From $29,990 9
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2013 Buick Verano Turbo, Automotive, Buick, Kurt, News, pricing on 08 9th, 2012

2013 Buick Verano Turbo – image: GM Corp

Try to wrap your head around this one for a moment: Buick, long the brand of AARP members and those who consider 4:00 p.m. to be too late for dinner, has become the new Pontiac. In terms of sport-themed sedans, Buick already has the Regal Turbo and the Regal GS, and now it’s adding a third forced-induction luxury sedan into the mix with the debut of the 2013 Verano Turbo.

The Verano Turbo gets the same 2.0-liter Ecotec turbo found in the Regal GS and the Regal Turbo. The good news is that the Verano is a smaller and lighter car than the Regal, so the 250 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque that Buick’s given the Verano Turbo should prove entertaining, If you’re keeping score at home, that’s more horsepower (but the same amount of torque) than the Regal Turbo gets, but it’s nowhere near the Regal GS’ output. Buick may want to attract new buyers, but not by pirating sales from the higher-margin Regal lineup.

2013 Buick Verano Turbo – image: GM Corp

The Verano Turbo is even available with a six-speed manual gearbox, proving again that Buick has the enthusiast driver in mind. If there’s bad news, it’s that the Verano is front-wheel-drive, so don’t expect the handling to be on par with the Cadillac ATS or the BMW 3 Series.

We’re on the fence about the Verano Turbo’s $29,990 sticker price (which includes the required $885 destination charge). On the one hand, that’s less than a stripped Cadillac ATS and it includes plenty of luxury content (such as leather seating, Bose audio, rear park assist, rear view camera, blind spot detection and cross path detection). On the other hand, $30k buys a lot of other front-wheel-drive (or all-wheel-drive) cars with less luxury and more entertainment value.

2013 Buick Verano Turbo – image: GM Corp

If you’re looking for a car to take to the Tail of the Dragon and run track days in, the Verano Turbo probably isn’t it. On the other hand, if you want a comfortable daily driver with some entertainment value, the Verano Turbo looks to be a reasonable alternative to the Honda Accord, the Toyota Camry and the Acura TSX.

Is The U.S. Ready For A $35,000 Kia Optima? 3
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited, Kia, Kurt, News, pricing on 07 3rd, 2012

Option out a Hyundai Sonata Limited, and you wind up with a sticker price of $31,170. If that seems high for a Korean sedan, it likely is, and Hyundai sells the bulk of its Sonata models in the middle-trim range, where a well optioned Sonata prices below $27,000. Once you top the $30k price point, stepping into Hyundai’s near-luxury Azera (which begins at $32,875) starts to look like a reasonable alternative.

That’s why we’re so surprised at Kia’s latest move. Its range-topping 2013 Optima SX Limited sedan will price from a jaw dropping $35,275, including destination charge. Sure, the car comes well equipped, boasting such amenities as unique front and rear fascias, LED running lights, genuine wood trim and Nappa leather upholstery and trim. Buyers get a panoramic sunroof, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a premium Infinity audio system and navigation, too.

Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four, which generates 274 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The sole transmission option is a six-speed automatic, but Kia also includes steering wheel paddle shifters for buyers wishing to choose gears for themselves.

While we admire Kia’s boldness, we can’t help but question its sanity. Hyundai was careful not to price the Sonata (its equivalent to the Optima) into the range of its Azera, which, in turn, is priced below its Genesis and Equus sedans. Perhaps Kia is taking the Optima upscale because it lack the depth of model range that Hyundai has, but we don’t see the Optima as a near-luxury car, no matter how well equipped it is.

We wish them the best of luck, since $35,275 also buys you a new Hyundai Azera, an Audi A4, a Cadillac ATS, an Acura TSX or a Volvo S60, all of which we’d choose over the Kia Optima. There’s a reason, after all, that Burger King doesn’t offer a $50 Whopper with foie gras, shaved truffles and Kobe beef.

Hyundai (Sort Of) Prices The Veloster Turbo 5
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo, Automotive, Hyundai, Kurt, News, pricing on 06 5th, 2012

The 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo. Image: Hyundai

Hyundai is expected to release full pricing on the 2013 Veloster Turbo tomorrow, but it’s already let slip on Twitter that the high-output hatch will begin at $1,600 more than a comparably-equipped, normally-aspirated Veloster. Since the Turbo model will start with more standard features than a base Veloster, the only thing we can say with certainty is that the 2013 Veloster Turbo will start at under $24,900 (the price of a loaded Veloster, with the turbo up-charge).

That money will buy you a Veloster with a 201 horsepower, turbocharged 1.6-liter engine, mated to the buyer’s choice of six speed manual or automatic transmissions. To ensure that the Veloster Turbo can carry speed into corners, too, the steering is re-calibrated and stickier Kumho Solus tires are added. Aside from these changes, the Veloster Turbo uses the same suspension and brake components as the rest of the Veloster family.

Inside, expect to see a significant amount of content for your money, ranging from leather seats to a standard infotainment system and a “Supervision Cluster” driver information display. There’s Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system, too, ensuring that information or assistance is just a press of a button away.

We’ll be driving the Veloster Turbo next month, so we promise a full report upon our return.

2013 Subaru BRZ Priced 6
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2013 Subaru BRZ, Automotive, Kurt, News, pricing, Subaru on 04 6th, 2012

The 2013 Subaru BRZ. Image: Subaru

Blame it on a strong yen against a weak dollar or blame it on waiting for the competition (in this case, Scion) to show its hand, but Subaru has finally priced the BRZ sport coupe. First, here’s a reminder: the Scion FR-S will start at $24,930 with a six-speed manual transmission, or $26,030 with a paddle-shifted six-speed automatic. Of the two, the Scion is meant to be the bargain brand, making it accessible to a wider range of buyers.

Per Subaru, the BRZ will be priced from $26,245 with the manual transmission, or from $27,345 with the automatic. That buys a car in Premium trim, which comes standard with things like a navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity and USB and auxiliary inputs. Opt for the Limited version (which starts at $28,250 for the manual, or $29,350 for the automatic) and you’ll get amenities like heated front seats, leather and Alcantara upholstery, dual-zone climate control, a security system and remote keyless entry.

The $1,315 difference in base price can easily be justified by the BRZ’s standard features (like the nav system) that don’t come in the Scion FR-S. It’s clear that Subaru is aiming the BRZ at a slightly older audience, and it’s also importing fewer examples to keep demand (and thus pricing) high.

Subaru still hasn’t announced an official “on sale” date, but we expect to see the first shipments arrive at dealers by Memorial Day weekend.

2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Pricing Posted 16
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2013 Shelby GT500, Automotive, Ford, Kurt, pricing on 03 16th, 2012

The 2013 Shelby GT500. Image: Ford Motor Company

Ford’s 2013 Mustang Shelby GT500 promises to deliver a mind-warping 650 horsepower and a 200 mph top speed, both in stock form. You can’t take delivery of one just yet, but now we know what the pricing on Ford’s latest uber-Mustang will be. The Shelby GT500 coupe will start at $54,995, including the required $795 destination charge, while the Shelby GT500 convertible is priced from $59,995, including the same destination charge.

Ford’s configurator for the new Shelby models is up, too, allowing you to build the GT500 of your dreams. Major option packaged include the $3,495 SVT Performance Package, which gives you a Torsen limited-slip differential, adjustable Bilstein dampers, unique rear springs, unique wheels and a few interior upgrades. If you want navigation, you’ll need to add the $2,340 Electronics Package, which also gives you HD Radio and dual-zone climate control. Get crazy checking option boxes, and you can add about $10k to the base price of a Shelby GT500.

That’s still not bad, and we’d be hard-pressed to name another car that starts from $55k and delivers a 200 mph top speed. While it’s likely that the new GT500 will be faster than the Camaro ZL1, no one has run a side-by-side comparison yet, so it’s still just bench racing. If you’re a Ford guy, the GT500 is clearly superior to the Camaro ZL1 (which starts at $54,095, excluding destination charge). If you’re a Chevy guy, you’ll insist the ZL1 is faster until you personally get beaten by a new GT500. Who’s right? We’ll know for sure in a few weeks.