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2005 Buick Rainier Sport Utility

4dr CXL RWD

Starting at | Starting at 16 MPG City - 21 MPG Highway

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  • $33,785 original MSRP
Printable Version

2005 Buick Rainier Sport Utility

Printable Version

2005 Buick Rainier Sport Utility

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2005 Buick Rainier

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

The Buick Rainier shares its body shell and mechanical platform with GM's other mid-size SUVs, the Chevrolet TrailBlazer and GMC Envoy. But of the three, only the Rainier offers a 300-horsepower V8 engine in the handier, standard-wheelbase configuration. Rainier doesn't even offer an extended-wheelbase version like the TrailBlazer EXT and Envoy XL; and that's fine with us, because the stretch-model Chevy and GMC fall short of the standard trucks in handling and stability, while failing to match the space efficiency of GM's full-size Tahoe and Yukon SUVs.

Buick offers other benefits. Rainier rides more smoothly than the other GM models, and it's among the quietest SUVs we've driven. Rainier has a uniquely Buick style and a near-luxury sensibility. Yet it still seats five and boasts an engine powerful enough to pull a boat or horse trailer.

As with the GMC Envoy, however, choosing the Rainier (especially the six-cylinder model) over the corresponding Chevy may be mostly a matter of image. Just as the GMC badge stands for Serious Trucks, the Buick name has, for over a century now, meant arrival at a certain station in life, an achievement of an elevated socio-economic plateau. From the aptly named Roadmasters of the 1930s-50s, through the sculptured Rivieras of the '60s, a Buick has been about stepping up from the ordinary. The old Chevy may have served you well, and you might still aspire someday to own a Cadillac. But in the meantime you're enjoying the quiet comfort, easy performance, and confidently conservative style of a Buick.

With a price range from the mid-30s to the low 40s, Rainier continues this tradition as an appealing alternative for buyers who appreciate strong silent types.

Model Lineup

The 2005 Buick Rainier comes in just one well-equipped trim level, called CXL. The Rainier is available with two-wheel drive ($35,080) and four-wheel drive ($36,905).

Leather seating surfaces are standard along with a comprehensive list of luxury features: eight-way power for the front bucket seats and memory controls on the driver's side; automatic dual-zone climate controls; temperature and audio controls on the tilting steering wheel; cruise control; power windows and remote keyless locks. The driver-information center monitors 13 on-board systems, a center console houses front and rear cupholders, and an overhead console includes a digital recorder, HomeLink garage-door transmitter, and OnStar button to access one year of Safe & Sound service. The electrochromic rearview mirror features a compass. All Rainiers also come with CD and cassette players and rear-seat audio controls, a cargo storage well and bins, fog lamps, intermittent wipers, and power heated outside mirrors with built-in turn signal indicators.

Standard equipment includes a four-speed automatic transmission, electronically controlled rear air suspension with automatic load-leveling, locking rear differential, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and dual-stage driver and front passenger airbags. Traction control is standard on 2WD models.

The standard engine is GM's highly regarded Vortec 4200, an inline-6 that provides an impressive 275 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. Optional is the Vortec 5300 V8 ($1,500), up-rated for 2005 to 300 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque, and now available with either two-wheel or four-wheel drive.

The Sun, Sound & Entertainment package ($1,115) bundles a tilt-and-slide glass sunroof with XM Satellite Radio, Bose premium audio, a six-disc CD changer, and rear-seat DVD player; each of these features is available separately or bundled in smaller packages. Other options include power adjustable pedals ($150), heated front seats ($275), side-curtain airbags ($495), chrome side steps ($450), luggage rack ($45), and a cargo storage system ($165). New for 2005 is an optional ETR AM/FM stereo ($135) with CD/MP3 player, speed-compensated volume, TheftLock, auto-reverse cassette and Radio Data System (RDS).

Safety features abound. Available head-curtain side airbags ($495) act like a protective curtain when deployed, unfolding from the roof rail between the A-pillar and side window header. When the bag deploys in a moderate to severe side impact, it is angled somewhat toward the window to help provide protection for front- and second-row outboard passengers. Rainiers equipped with these optional airbags also come with a new rollover protection system that, should you tip your truck, triggers both the side curtain airbags and the safety belt pretensioners.

Walkaround

Rainier takes its name from the 14,410-foot mountain in Washington and from the royal family of Monaco. One of the Rainier's designers told us that Mount Rainier "reflects majesty with ruggedness and independence," while the late Grace Kelly and her husband's family symbolize "quality, sophistication and elegance."

The Buick Rainier is based on the GM360 platform, a mid-size, truck-based SUV also marketed as the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, and Isuzu Ascender. It's a solid platform featuring a frame that incorporates hydroformed steel members for optimum strength and rigidity. This strong frame helps Rainier tow up to 6,700 pounds.

Rainier features unique styling cues to differentiate it from the other GM models, including a distinct grille, hood, front quarter panels and rear hatch door. Its large, oval-shaped grille helps soften the boxy SUV architecture. The upper section of the chrome grille provides a bold background for the Buick name, with a large Buick tri-shield badge set in the midst of the grille's vertical bars. The Rainier's face also includes wide, three-element headlamps, with separate fog lights and side marker lights in the lower front fascia. A creased hood lends an elegant strength to the Rainier's appearance.

Rainier's stance is enhanced by Buick-exclusive, eight-spoke brushed aluminum wheels. Six-spoke aluminum wheels with a polished finish have been added as an option on 2005 models. Just as the front grille alerts you to the fact that this SUV is a Buick, the rear view includes a prominent chrome eyebrow bearing the Buick name as part of the license-plate holder. The rear liftgate features a separate glass hatch to offer quick access to the cargo area. Lifting the rear hatch requires some initial effort, however.

Interior Features

Buick has upgraded the Rainier's interior for 2005, with real wood and leather trim on the steering wheel, a woodgrain gearshift lever, and additional chrome accents. Rainier's interior disappointed us last year, with its obviously fake woodgrain and distinctly plebian plastics. While the GMC Envoy has very attractive, metallic colored heating and cooling outlets, the up-market Rainier's are color-matched to the instrument panel and comparatively plain. Nor are Rainier's cupholders of the jumbo-size we've found in competitive vehicles. On the other hand, there are two power outlets up front, so both driver and passenger can recharge their cell phones and power other devices.

The standard leather seats are ventilated by perforations in the center back and lower cushion areas, but the material almost looks more like vinyl than leather. Also, the seats could use more side support. However, we do like the feature that incorporates the shoulder belt into the seat back rather than having it mounted way up on the door pillar.

We also liked the instrument cluster, with its platinum-colored gauge faces and turquoise pointers that almost appear to light up against the metallic background. Not only are these gauges very attractive, but we found them easy to read, even through polarized sunglasses, which is certainly not the case with the electroluminescent gauge clusters on many other so-called luxury vehicles.

Another nice feature is the large dot matrix shield on the windshield above the rear-view mirror and between the sun visors that helps block direct sunlight through this usually neglected gap. We were disappointed again, however, that the Rainier had only single sun visors on either side, instead of dual visors so you could block the sun both ahead and to the side, a useful feature on winding roads.

The rear seats offer decent legroom but not quite luxurious proportions. However, there's plenty of cargo room behind them: 39.8 cubic feet, in fact. An optional cargo organizer ($165) appears to be an excellent way to keep your stuff from sliding around. When more cargo capacity is needed, the split rear seats can be folded forward to open up to 80.1 cubic feet of interior cavern.

Driving Impressions

The six-cylinder engine that comes standard on the Rainier is a wonderful engine, delivering plenty of power, as we've seen in the GMC Envoy and Chevrolet Trailblazer. Called the Vortec 4200, it's an inline-6, a classic design with inherent balance. The Vortec 4200 has been engineered to deliver power across a wide range of engine speeds, giving it responsive acceleration in all driving situations.

The optional V8, however, provides much better acceleration. Tweaked for 2005, the Vortec 5300 V8 now rates 300 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque (torque being the force that you need to pull around a trailer). We found the V8 to be extremely quiet in the Rainier.

Regardless of our quibbles about Rainier's interior appointments, there's no debate about its quiet ride. This very likely is the quietest body-on-frame SUV we've ever driven. Buick used the Lexus LX 470 as the target for Rainier, but we think Rainier itself sets a new benchmark when it comes to a quiet cabin. Double-pane, laminated glass was used for the windshield and front doors; acoustical foam sound-deadening material was used liberally to fill the doors, roof pillars and other empty spaces in the body.

 

Rainier rides on an independent double A-arm front suspension, and a live rear axle with electronically controlled air springs providing automatic leveling. Bilstein shocks dampen the bumps all around. This is, essentially, the optional suspension for the GMC Envoy. Combined with quiet Michelin tires and all that extra sound dampening material, Rainier's suspension provides a smooth, comfortable and quiet ride. But it isn't soft or sloppy. We found the Rainier sure-footed even when being hustled along narrow, winding country byways.

Rainier's rack-and-pinion steering is nicely weighted. The big disc brakes responded immediately to pressure on the pedal and slowed our Rainier in a nicely composed and orderly fashion.

All-wheel drive makes the Rainier a good vehicle for driving on snow and ice. Rainier's available on-demand all-wheel-drive system is lightweight, quiet and efficient. If one or both front wheels lose grip, the system goes into action progressively. The driver need do nothing; there are no buttons to press or levers to throw. The system works all the time, poised to help drivers make use of the traction available by transferring torque from rear to front tires as needed.

The optional navigation system ($1,995) features an amazingly clear screen that seems almost immune to glare from sunlight, which often renders such screens unreadable in other vehicles. We found last year's system awkward to operate, but Buick claims to have fixed this with new touch-screen controls for 2005.

GM's OnStar safety and security system is standard on all 2005 Rainier models and includes a one-year subscription to the Safe & Sound plan. It's a great safety feature. On the 2005 Rainier, OnStar service includes the new General Motors Advanced Automatic Crash Notification (AACN) system, making crash data available to 911 centers to potentially dispatch the appropriate life-saving personnel and equipment to crash scenes faster. New-generation hardware for 2005 means upgraded hands-free voice recognition capabilities including more intuitive continuous digit dialing and improved voice recognition accuracy. OnStar is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and information services in the United States and Canada. Using the GPS satellite network and wireless technology, OnStar provides core safety services and OnStar Personal Calling that allows drivers to make and receive hands-free, voice-activated phone calls using a powerful three-watt digital/analog system and external antenna for greater reception. Press a button and an OnStar operator's voice comes over the speakers, ready to give you directions to the nearest five-star restaurant or provide other assistance.

Summary

Buick Rainier's strengths are its quiet, comfortable ride and powerful performance. Although built on the same platform as the Chevrolet TrailBlazer and GMC Envoy, only the Rainier offers the combination of V8 power in the preferred standard wheelbase length. And while less tangible, Rainier's Buick style is appealing.

The Rainier is a great vehicle for drivers who need the superior towing capacity or off-road ruggedness that a truck-based SUV can provide.

New Car Test Drive correspondent Larry Edsall is based in Arizona.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
$35,080
Model lineup:
Buick Rainier CXL 2WD ($35,080); CXL 4WD ($36,905)
Engines:
275-hp 4.2-liter dohc 24-valve inline-6; 300-hp 5.3-liter ohv V8
Transmissions:
4-speed automatic
Safety equipment (Standard):
dual front airbags; antilock brakes; traction control
Safety equipment (Optional):
curtain side air bags; all-wheel drive
Basic warranty:
3 years/60,000 miles
Assembled in:
Moraine, Ohio
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP):
Buick Rainier CXL 4WD ($36,905)
Standard equipment:
automatic dual-zone climate controls, auxiliary power outlets, cargo storage well and bins, center console with front and rear cupholders, overhead console with travel note digital recorder, cruise control, driver information center, electrochromic rearview mirror with compass, HomeLink universal transmitter, illuminated visor mirrors, leather seating surfaces, driver-seat memory, OnStar with one-year Safe & Sound Plan, PASS-Key III theft-deterrent system with alarm, power windows and programmable power locks, eight-position power driver and front passenger seats with power lumbar, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, rear-seat audio controls, leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel with controls for audio and HVAC, daytime running lamps, fog lamps, intermittent wipers, luggage rack side rails, power heated outside mirrors with turn signals, rear liftgate with independent liftglass, remote keyless entry, solar-ray tinted windows, heavy duty battery, premium smooth ride air suspension, seven-lead trailer wire harness, AM/FM/CD/cassette stereo, locking rear differential
Options as tested:
Vortec 5300 V8 ($1,500), rear-seat DVD entertainment system ($1,295), front side-curtain airbags ($495), heated front seats ($275), cargo management system ($165), power adjustable pedals ($150)
Destination charge:
685
Gas Guzzler Tax:
N/A
Price as tested (MSRP)
$41,470
Layout:
all-wheel drive
Engine:
5.3-liter ohv V8
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):
300 @ 5200
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):
330 @ 4000
Transmission:
4-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:
14/18 mpg.
Wheelbase:
113.0 in.
Length/width/height:
193.4/75.4/71.9 in.
Track, f/r:
63.1/62.1 in.
Turning circle:
36.4 ft.
Seating capacity:
5
Head/hip/leg room, f:
40.2/55.5/44.6 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:
N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r:
39.6/58.1/37.1 in.
Cargo volume:
80.1 cu. ft.
Payload:
N/A
Towing capacity:
N/A
Suspension F:
independent, upper and lower A-arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Suspension R:
live axle, upper and lower trailing links, Panhard rod, air springs, anti-roll bar
Ground clearance:
7.7 in.
Curb weight:
4628 lbs.
Tires:
P245/65R17
Brakes, f/r:
vented disc/vented disc, w/ABS in.
Fuel capacity:
22 gal.

Printable Version

2005 Buick Rainier Sport Utility

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Head Air Bag Opt
Rear Head side Air Bag Opt
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Std
Fog Lamps Std
Intermittent Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Std
Anti-theft System Std
Telematics Std
Printable Version

2005 Buick Rainier Sport Utility

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Corrosion 6 Years/100,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance 3 Years/36,000 Miles

Buick Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

2-Year/24,000-Mile1 CPO Scheduled Maintenance Plan.

12-Month/12,000-Mile2 Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty.

5-year/100,000-Mile3 Powertrain Limited Warranty for model years up to 2012. 6-Year/100,000-Mile3 Powertrain Limited Warranty for 2013 model year and newer Certified Pre-Owned Buick vehicles (as of 6/24/13).

1Covers only scheduled oil changes with filter, tire rotations and 27 point inspections, according to your vehicle's recommended maintenance schedule for up to 2 years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. Does not include air filters. Maximum of 4 service events. See participating dealer for other restrictions and complete details.
2Whichever comes first from date of purchase. See participating dealer for limited warranty details.
3Whichever comes first from original in-service date. See participating dealers for limited warranty details.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 2009-2014 model year / Under 75,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 172-Point Vehicle Inspection and Reconditioning
Download checklist
Return/Exchange Program 3-Day 150-Mile Satisfaction Guarantee
Roadside Assistance Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $0

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2005 Buick Rainier Sport Utility

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