Buick is joining the van market for 2005. Rather than calling its new Terraza a minivan, however, Buick is calling it a “crossover sport van.” Marketers also use the term “premium midsize passenger van,” noting that the Terraza presents “the tough, rugged appearance of an SUV.”
The Terraza features sliding side doors and a low step-in height, like a minivan, but that body style has suffered from image problems in recent years. General Motors wants to attract customers who like the sensible merits of a minivan but are looking for a vehicle with styling cues that suggest a sport utility vehicle.
Two versions are available: the base CX and the uplevel CXL. Both use a 3.5-liter V-6 engine. Front-wheel drive is standard, and Versatrak all-wheel drive is optional. The Terraza goes on sale in the fall of 2004.
SUV-like styling features of the Terraza include its closer-to-vertical squared-off front fascia and its tall hood. Prominent C-pillars and wide tires on 17-inch wheels are also supposed to bring SUVs to mind. Gently sculpted forms, on the other hand, are strictly Buick in nature. The Terraza’s familiar grille is a variant on the traditional Buick design. Vertical bars and a chrome surround are meant to reflect Buick’s Centieme concept vehicle.
The Terraza’s exterior is highlighted by bright chrome accents on the door handles, among other places. “Buick” is embossed into the bright-finished rear license plate brow. Two optional wheel types are available: one finished in bright aluminum with cylindrical spokes and another with a bright chrome finish. A roof rack with tubular, satin-finished side rails is optional. Terrazas are equipped with a Ride and Handling package that promises a “premium ride,” according to Buick press material.
Built on a 121.1-inch wheelbase, the Terraza is 204.7 inches long overall and 69.4 inches tall.
Seven occupants fit inside the Terraza. The seats have contrasting-colored piping. The CX’s seats have cloth inserts with leather bolsters in the first two rows, and the CXL gets leather seats. The third row features a 50/50-split, flat-folding bench seat. Both the second- and third-row seats may be folded and removed.
The three-spoke steering wheel has leather and burled wood accents. Matching woodgrain is used on the center console and instrument panel. A wood-trimmed gearshift knob is used in the CXL.
An overhead console and rail system are standard, and a DVD-based rear entertainment system is optional. Cargo volume is 74.1 cubic feet with the rear seat folded and 26.9 cubic feet with all the seats up.
Under the Hood
An overhead-valve 3.5-liter V-6 engine produces an estimated 200 horsepower and 220 pounds-feet of torque, and it works with a four-speed-automatic transmission. Versatrak all-wheel drive is optional for Terrazas that don’t have GM’s StabiliTrak electronic stability system. When properly equipped, the Terraza can tow a 3,500-pound trailer.
All-disc antilock brakes are standard on the CXL and all-wheel-drive models and optional on the CX. StabiliTrak is optional.