2004 Buick Rendezvous Reviews

2004 Rendezvous New Car Test Drive


When it debuted in 2002, the Buick Rendezvous crossed over all the lines that had previously separated sedans, minivans, and sport-utility vehicles. Rendezvous was, and is, a perfect example of the new category of crossover vehicles, a category that defies categorization. The Rendezvous combines aspects of SUVs, minivans, and wagons. Just don't call it a minivan or a wagon. 

Rendezvous is a versatile vehicle seating five to seven passengers. Its styling is nice. It has fine manners on the highway, a benefit of unit-body construction normally associated with sedans. Four-wheel-drive is available to cope with gnarly weather and marginal off-highway tracks with dignity. 

New for 2004 is the Rendezvous Ultra, which comes with a higher level of standard equipment and an all-new, more powerful and more sophisticated V6 engine. 

The Buick Rendezvous is priced well and easy to like, with solid engineering, useful flexibility, and a handsome appearance. The three-row interior compares favorably with the passenger capacity of costlier vehicles. Satellite radio, electronic navigation, and a rear-seat DVD system are available as options. 


Rendezvous is offered in five trim levels: CX, CX Plus, CXL, CXL Plus, and Ultra. All Rendezvous models have automatic transmission, four-wheel independent suspension, and four-wheel disc brakes. Rendezvous CX, CX Plus, CXL and CXL Plus are powered by a 185-horsepower 3.4-liter V6 engine, and are available with front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). Rendezvous Ultra comes with a new 3.6-liter V6 rated at 245 horsepower and all-wheel drive. 

CX FWD ($26,020) comes standard with cruise control, remote keyless entry, a theft-deterrent system, AM/FM/CD/cassette stereo, and power outlets for all three seating rows. CX AWD ($29,170) adds the all-wheel-drive system plus anti-lock brakes (ABS) and side-impact airbags. CX Plus FWD ($27,880) and CX Plus AWD ($31,030) add OnStar, a driver-information center, ultrasonic rear parking assist, manual dual-zone air conditioning and 16-inch alumium wheels. 

CXL FWD ($30,935) and CXL AWD ($33,140) add leather upholstery, six-way power seats, automatic dual-zone air conditioning, heated mirrors, premium eight-speaker stereo with steering-wheel-mounted controls, separate rear-seat audio controls and headphone jacks, tire inflation monitor, and unique exterior trim. Both FWD and AWD CXL models have side-impact airbags and ABS. Additionally, front-drive CXL's come with traction control. CXL Plus FWD ($32,420) and CXL Plus AWD ($34,445) add heated front seats, a memory function for the driver's seat and mirrors, a folding third-row seat (increasing seating capacity from five to seven), XM Satellite Radio, cross bars for the luggage rack and P215/70R16 touring tires (replacing the standard all-season tires of the same size). 

Ultra ($39,045) comes with all of the above, plus the more powerful 3.6-liter V6, leather seats with suede inserts, second-row captain's chairs, a six-disc CD changer, a head-up instrument display, and an electronic release for the rear liftgate. Tires are upgraded to P225/60R on 17-inch aluminum wheels. 

Nearly all of the features that come with the higher-line models are available as stand-alone options. Even the Ultra's more powerful engine is available as an option on CXL models. On models that don't come standard with them, we recommend adding side-impact airbags ($350), anti-lock brakes ($600), and traction control ($175) for their safety benefits. A power sunroof ($885) is available on any Rendezvous except the base CX, and you have to spring for at least a CXL before you can order DVD entertainment ($1,100) or the multi-media/navigation system ($1,995). A towing package ($325) is offered on all models, and includes a high-output alternator, transmission oil cooler, heavy-duty engine cooling and automatic load leveling. Properly equipped, Rendezvous can tow 3500 pounds. 

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