Buick's all-new Rendezvous crosses over all the lines that used to separate sedans, minivans, and sport-utility vehicles. The word "crossover" is now becoming a word, as manufacturers are no longer putting quotation marks around it. No matter what you decide to call it, the Buick Rendezvous is well-priced and easy to like.
The 2002 Buick Rendezvous is versatile, seating five to seven passengers. It's nicely styled. It has fine manners on the highway, a benefit of its unibody construction normally associated with sedans. At the same time, the four-wheel-drive version can cope with gnarly weather and marginal off-highway tracks with dignity. The three-row interior compares favorably with costlier vehicles.
There is much to like here in terms of engineering, flexibility, and appearance.
Buick Rendezvous comes in two models: CX ($24,924) and CXL ($27,452).
CX comes with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The more luxuriously appointed CXL is available in AWD only.
All models come with a 185-horsepower 3.4-liter V6 engine that's used in GM's minivans and an electronically controlled four-speed automatic. Notable is the independent suspension, both front and rear, and anti-lock disc brakes all around. Both models come with 16-inch wheels, the CLX with fancier ones.
Dual-stage airbags with side airbags (seat-mounted) for front-seat occupants are standard. Also standard on all models: roof rack, remote keyless entry, theft-deterrent system, AM/FM/CD (the CLX adds a cassette player), and power outlets in all three rows.
CXL adds, among other features, dual automatic climate control, odor and pollen filter, ultrasonic rear parking aid, leather or upgraded cloth seating, and foot rests for second-row passengers. A tire inflation-pressure monitor will also be available.
A number of options are available including a six-CD changer, OnStar and a head-up display, which projects salient information on the windshield (low enough to be unobtrusive but clearly visible). The driver can read with a minimum of eye deflection the car's speed and radio or CD information.