|Body Style||5-Door SUV|
|Transmission||4-Speed Automatic, FWD/AWD|
|Engine|| 3.4L (207 cid) V6 (2002-2005)|
3.5L (211 cid) V6 (2006-2007)
3.6L (221 cid) V6 (2004-2006)
The Buick Rendezvous, introduced in the spring of 2001 as a 2002 model year vehicle and produced through the present, is a sport utility vehicle produced by the Buick division of General Motors. The Rendezvous (and Rainier) were replaced by a new crossover SUV, the Enclave, on the GM Lambda platform for 2008.
Given the fact that the vast majority of SUVs were rarely taken off-pavement by their owners, much less driven under serious off-road conditions, a new type of car-based "crossover SUV" was developed that was hoped would provide all the elements that customers actually wanted from their SUVs such as cargo carrying capacity, elevated seating height and the suggestion of an active outdoor lifestyle with less of the negative attributes typically associated with traditional SUVs such as poor gas mileage, uncomfortable ride, high step-in height, propensity to roll over, etc. The formula of a car-based "soft-road" luxury SUV had proven marketable by the highly successful Lexus RX300 and was thought to be a promising new market category for Buick to exploit within this extremely profitable portion of the ever-expanding SUV category.
Technology and notable features
Buick's first "truck" in its lineup since 1923, the Rendezvous was billed as a combination of the best attributes of a minivan (large cargo capacity, seating for up to seven), a luxury automobile (ride, handling, smoothness) and a sport utility vehicle (truck styling and available all wheel drive).
The Rendezvous was produced at General Motors' Ramos Arizpe, Mexico assembly plant, where it shared an assembly line with the Pontiac Aztek.
In lieu of four wheel drive, the Rendezvous offered Versatrak, a full-time, fully-automatic all wheel drive system which provided sure-footed traction in the snow and wet could handle moderate off-road surfaces, but was not meant for boulder-climbing Rubicon Trail-type activities.
Like the Pontiac Aztek, the Buick Rendezvous is based on a shortened version of GM's 2nd generation U platform minivans.
Buick benchmarked their Park Avenue luxury sedan as the prototypical target for ride and handling for the Rendezvous. In order to provide a luxurious and responsive car-like ride, all Rendezvous came equipped with a fully independent rear suspension system regardless of optional content or trim level.
The Rendezvous' instrument cluster detailing featured teal illuminated needles and numbers set in a silver face accented by chrome trim rings that was meant to evoke the luxurious look and feel of an expensive watch or designer bracelet.
The Rendezvous boasted the ability to carry seven passengers when equipped with a third-row bench, a class-leading feature that Buick brought to market before its competitors.
The Rendezvous is able to carry within its interior the proverbial 4'x 8' sheet of plywood, a common and useful task most of its competitors are unable to perform.
In support of the Rendezvous' intended role as a versatile accoutrement for busy, upper-middle class people with families, it provided a center console with storage space and power points for a laptop computer as well as a separate spots to hold a woman's purse, a cell phone, pager or other small items that the owner would want to keep organized and readily accessible as well as an optional rear cargo organizer system and rear seat stereo system controls with headsets.
On the uplevel CXL model, a driver information center on the instrument panel provided the outside temperature, compass functions, a trip computer that included readings of fuel economy, range and fuel used. An optional second generation heads-up display was also available.
An optional tire inflation monitoring system provided readings of tire pressure and warned if out of the specified range was a clever feature in the wake of the Ford Explorer/Firestone debacle that was in large part attributable to underinflated tires.
The Rendezvous was a badly needed success for Buick, given the literal die-off of its aging customer base, and singlehandedly brought a large number of younger, wealthier "conquest" buyers into Buick showrooms who otherwise wouldn't have considered purchasing a Buick.
Certainly a major contributor to the Rendezvous's success was an aggressive value-pricing strategy that made the Rendezvous $6,500 less than a comparably equipped Acura MDX and $8,000 less than the Lexus RX300.
The Rendezvous handily exceeded GM's predictions of 30,000 to 40,000 units a year by a large margin, which helped offset the poor sales of the Pontiac Aztek with which it shared its Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, assembly line.
Year to year changes 2002–2005
- All new model available in base "CX" or uplevel "CXL" trim, either equipped with front wheel drive or all wheel drive.
- Front turn signal/parking lights changed to clear from the previously used amber.
- A new trim level, called the "Ultra" was added as the top-of-the-line model, with all comfort options on the lesser models as standard, standard Versatrak all wheel drive as well as a monochromatic color scheme with a body-colored grille, 17" aluminum wheels, leather and ultrasuede seating and a theft deterrent system as well as GM's then-new 245 hp 3.6 L LY7 High Feature 3.6 (217 in³)V6 engine that debuted in the Cadillac CTS.
- A 3.6 L LY7 High Feature 3.6 (217 in³)V6 engine was added as an option for the all wheel drive "CXL" level Rendezvous.
- A wood package consisting of mahogany trim on the steering wheel, dashboard, console and doors was made optional on "CXL" models and was standard on the "Ultra".
- An optional touchscreen satellite navigation system was added to the options list.
- "Ultra" model available with front wheel drive.
- The 3.6 L LY7 High Feature 3.6 (217 in³)V6 engine was newly available as an option for the front wheel drive "CXL" level Rendezvous.
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|David Dunbar Buick||Corporate website||A brand of General Motors|