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.
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.
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.
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.
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