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

Buick Rainier - 2005 SUV Buyer's Guide

by Martha Hindes

Buick Rainier
Buick Rainier

Mmmmmm. We loved the Buick Rainier when it first came out a year ago, for its true rear-drive, full-frame athletic capability in handsome dress, its pampering amenities and its trademark Buick "hush hush" ride: A kind of rugged-elegant blend in a premium package for the private club set, the horsewoman towing a horse trailer to the next steeplechase event, the weekend countryside browsers in search of last century's treasures at a chanced-upon barn sale.

Now, with a year of activity under its classically defined beltline, Buick has added some nice upgrades to this five-seat midsize sport model for '05. Buick's gutsy 300-horsepower Vortec 5.3-liter V-8 is available on all rear- and on-demand all-wheel-drive models. (While Buick's recent move to V-8s ended years of sixes only, a 4.2-liter Vortec inline six powers the more fuel efficient 275-HP 4200.) Real mahogany and burled walnut wood and more chrome accents inside are standard on all 2005s. Both models -- CXL and CXL Plus AWD -- get premium all-season tires as standard equipment.

Available is radio-data sound with MP3 player, speed-compensated volume and TheftLock. The nav system radio gains a touch screen. Tops for safety is GM's new Advanced Automatic Crash Notification system, paired with OnStar satellite communications, to trim previous seconds from an emergency response. A front passenger sensor is standard. Optional six-spoke polished aluminum wheels, plus Titaniun or Deep Saphire metallics add outside interest.

Continuing is a long list of comfort amenities from perforated leather seating, dual-zone auto AC, memory seat and mirror settings, to Buick's notable whisper-quiet cabin for conversations in normal voice. Rainier sports luxuriously smooth yet agile driving dynamics thanks to such underpinnings as premium Bilstein shocks, power-assist rack and pinion steering, and traction assist for rear-drive-only. Packages with XM Satellite radio, power adjustable pedals, side curtain airbags and even a luggage rack for the hardy traveler are a few of the add-on goodies.

For this enhanced Rainier that exhudes attractive, old-money style, near luxury class with a touch of performance brass in the attractive $34,470 to $36,295 price range, we still say "Mmmmmmmm!"