As the 2004 model year began, a midsize luxury sport utility vehicle dubbed Rainier joined the Rendezvous "crossover" model in Buick's lineup. Built with full-frame construction, the Rainier can carry up to five occupants.
For 2007, a one-year subscription to General Motors' OnStar Turn-by-Turn navigation system and a tire pressure monitoring system now come standard. There are also two new exterior colors: Midnight Blue Metallic and Graphite Metallic.
Rainiers come with rear- or all-wheel drive. All are built on GM's short-wheelbase midsize SUV architecture, which is also used for the Chevrolet TrailBlazer and GMC Envoy. An electronically controlled rear air suspension is intended to produce a comfortable ride.
An inline-six-cylinder engine is standard, and a 5.3-liter V-8 is optional.
Though it is intended primarily for driving on regular pavement, the all-wheel-drive Rainier offers offroad capability, according to Buick, and is said to be "very capable on ... an unpaved, two-track road."
Clear headlights have offset high/low beam fixtures. Fog lamps with chrome surrounds are standard. Two-tone front and rear fascias are body-colored over gray, with the gray portion extending into the rocker panels. Chromed accents outfit the side roof rails and exterior door handles, and the grille features a large Buick tri-shield emblem.
The Rainier features 17-inch wheels, power rack-and-pinion steering and Bilstein shock absorbers.
Heated front seats are optional, and perforated leather upholstery and front bucket seats come standard. The monochromatic interior features chrome accents along with dark woodgrain trim on the instrument panel, doors and center console. Standard steering-wheel controls operate the stereo. With the 60/40-split rear seats folded, the Rainier has 80.1 cubic feet of storage space.
The instrument panel features green-needle gauges that are reminiscent of those in the Rendezvous. Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard, and the Rainier is equipped with GM's OnStar communication system. A navigation system, DVD video system and XM Satellite Radio are optional.
Under the Hood
A 291-horsepower, 4.2-liter inline-six-cylinder is standard, and a 302-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 is optional. A four-speed automatic is the sole transmission.
Optional side curtain airbags incorporate a rollover sensing system. All seating positions have three-point safety belts, and all-disc antilock brakes are standard. GM's StabiliTrak electronic stability system is also standard.