crossover-style SUV (as opposed to the new, truckier Rainier) 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.
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.
the gutsy Rainier (which comes with a 275-hp inline-six or a 285-hp V-8), the
Rendezvous is powered by a rather anemic 185-hp V-6 (an unfortunate but unavoidable
factor of this particular minivan architecture). The powerplant is neither terribly
powerful nor fuel-efficient, although it does get better mileage than virtually
any other 7-passenger SUV on the road. Front-wheel drive is standard, 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.
said, the Rendezvous is worth considering on account of an elegant interior, generous
interior space and appointments, as well as its slew of options like OnStar, DVD
entertainment, XM radio, head-up instrument display and power liftgate. Furthermore,
its low price of entry (less than $26K for the base CX) means that you can actually
check some boxes on the options list and still have room to fill up that generous
cargo hold with some impulse buys at the outlet mall.