• (4.4) 17 reviews
  • MSRP: $2,070–$8,150
  • Body Style: Sport Utility
  • Combined MPG: 18
  • Engine: 275-hp, 4.2-liter I-6 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain: 4x2
  • Seats: 5
2004 Buick Rainier

Our Take on the Latest Model 2004 Buick Rainier

What We Don't Like

  • Five-passenger capacity
  • Fuel economy
  • Step-up height
  • Instruments

Notable Features

  • 290-hp V-8
  • Air suspension
  • RWD or AWD
  • Premium amenities
  • DVD player and navigation system available

2004 Buick Rainier Reviews

Vehicle Overview
As the 2004 model year begins, a midsize luxury sport utility vehicle dubbed Rainier joins the Rendezvous crossover model in Buick’s lineup. Built with full-frame construction, the Rainier carries five passengers and will roughly take the place of the Oldsmobile Bravada, as that brand fades out of the automotive picture.

Rainiers will come with either rear-wheel drive or on-demand all-wheel drive (AWD). They 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 standard, and it is intended to produce a comfortable ride and conforms to Buick’s image.

Either an inline-six-cylinder or a 5.3-liter V-8 engine may be installed. The latter power plant is exclusive to the Rainer among the GM group of midsize SUVs. Sales begin in September 2003.

Though it is intended primarily for driving on regular pavement, the AWD Rainier offers offroad capability, according to Buick General Manager Roger Adams. Specifically, it’s said to be “very capable on a Class III Trail, i.e., an unpaved, two-track road.” Marketers will emphasize the Rainier’s blend of “elegance, luxury and performance,” said Tom Wallace, GM’s vehicle line executive for midsize trucks, but the SUV has “unquestioned truck credentials.”

Exterior design cues — starting with the vertical-bar grille that includes a chrome crown and surround, embossed Buick lettering and a tri-shield center insignia — are distinctly Buick, according to the company. Sculpted wheel flares and shoulders are meant to enhance the Rainier’s rugged yet elegant appearance.

Clear, jewellike headlights have offset high/low beam fixtures. Fog lamps with chrome surrounds are standard, and ruby red taillamps bring up the rear.

Two-tone front and rear fascias are body-colored over gray, with the gray color extending into the rocker panels. Eight-spoke wheels hold 17-inch Michelin tires, and the Rainier has power rack-and-pinion steering. Bilstein shock absorbers are used.

Five adults can fit inside the Rainier. With the 60/40-split rear seats in their down position, the Rainier has more than 85 cubic feet of storage space. Embossed chrome sill plates greet each entering passenger.

Perforated leather upholstery is standard, and the door panels are trimmed in soft-touch materials. The front seats are equipped with a memory feature, and heated seats are optional. The monochromatic interior features chrome accents as well as dark burled walnut woodgraining.

A cockpit-oriented driver’s command center includes gauges that are reminiscent of those in the Rendezvous, as well as an easy-to-use Driver Information Center. The instruments feature green needles. A standard dual-zone automatic climate control permits up to a 25-degree difference between settings for the driver and front passenger. GM’s OnStar communication system is also standard, and it features concierge services and a DVD-based navigation system. A DVD video system and XM Satellite Radio are also offered.

Like other Buicks, the Rainier can be personalized for automatic door locking, remote keyless entry, mirror positions and other settings. An optional Bose CD stereo system features digital technology and six speakers. Steering-wheel controls can operate the stereo and climate systems.

Under the Hood
GM’s Vortec 4.2-liter inline-six-cylinder engine is standard; it produces 275 horsepower and 275 pounds-feet of torque. Soon after the Rainier goes on sale, a 5.3-liter V-8 that delivers 290 hp at 5,200 rpm and 325 pounds-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm will become available. A four-speed automatic is the sole transmission. Towing capacity with two-wheel drive (2WD) is 6,300 pounds. Traction assist is standard on 2WD models.

Side-impact airbags will be available for the driver and front passenger. All seating positions have three-point safety belts. All-disc antilock brakes are standard.


Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com;
Posted on 4/24/03

Consumer Reviews


Average based on 17 reviews

Write a Review

Super nice ride

by melz828 from Sycamore, IL on November 15, 2017

Got this used. It is a really nice ride. Super optioned out. Has air ride suspension. Do not know why GM stopped making these.

Read All Consumer Reviews

4 Trims Available

Photo of undefined
Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2004 Buick Rainier trim comparison will help you decide.

Buick Rainier Articles

2004 Buick Rainier Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports


There are currently 2 recalls for this car.

Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $4,800 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained


Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.


Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years