Road & Travel Magazine

Auto Advice & Tips
Auto Buyer's Guides
Car Care Maintenance
Climate Views & Videos
Auto Awards Archive
Insurance & Accidents
Legends & Leaders
New Car Reviews
Planet Driven
Road Humor
Road Trips
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Teens & Tots Tips
Tire Buying Tips
Used Car Buying
Vehicle Model Guide

Travel Channel
Adventure Travel
Advice & Tips
Airline Rules
Bed & Breakfasts
Cruises & Tours
Destination Reviews
Earth Tones
Family Travel Tips
Health Trip
Hotels & Resorts
Luxury Travel
Pet Travel
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Spa Reviews
Train Vacations
World Travel Directory
Bookmark and Share

Coloring Outside the Lines: 2003 Crossover Buyer's Guide
by Steve Siler

Buick Rendezvous - Class and Space in One
2003 Buick Rendezvous

Buick's crossover blends the functionality and space of a 7-passenger minivan with the styling and all-wheel-drive capability of an SUV. Sure, General Motors offers all-wheel-drive versions of its Pontiac Montana and Chevrolet Venture minivans (with which the Rendezvous shares its mechanical bits), and in effect, the Rendezvous is more minivan than sport-ute. And in many respects, that's a good thing.

For example, not many sport-utility vehicles boast as much room in the third row seat when so equipped (the Rendezvous comes with seating for four, five, six or seven passengers, the latter two capacities indicating the presence of a third-row, two-person bench). Not only that, but getting into the back is much easier affair in the Rendezvous than in most SUVs, as the tall bodyside means less ducking as you step past the tumbled second-row seat. Also nice about having some minivan in your pedigree is the low center of gravity, low floor and pleasant ride quality.

What's not so hot about this particular minivan platform is the engine that comes with it, a rather uninspiring 185-hp V-6 that is neither terribly powerful nor fuel-efficient (it does get better mileage than virtually any other 7-passenger SUV on the road). It comes standard with front-wheel drive, while all-wheel-drive is a worthwhile option for those who live in inclement climes. Its modest ground clearance, however, renders it most comfortable on the road, not the trails.

But all said, the Rendezvous is worth considering on account of its elegant interior, generous interior space and appointments, and its slew of options like OnStar, DVD entertainment, XM radio, head-up instrument display and power liftgate. Furthermore, its low price of entry means that you can actually check some boxes on the options list and not go broke by doing so.