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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Buick Rendezvous Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Buick Rendezvous Overview

Maximum Space, Maximum Comfort

We know there are more SUVs, crossover SUVs and quasi-sort of wannabe SUVs on the market than you can shake a stick at. You can't even make your decision easier by picking just one manufacturer from which to buy, since most carmakers now have multiple SUV offerings within their product lineup. What's a consumer to do?

The folks at Buick have simplified the SUV shopping process by offering one very well equipped vehicle, configurable in a multitude of ways and priced within the working budgets of most American families; it's called the Rendezvous.

The Buick Rendezvous combines the best working features of a minivan/car chassis—on which it is based—with the high seating position and versatility of an SUV. What this means to you is that the Rendezvous' ride and handling is far better than most truck-based SUVs—as is its fuel economy. The versatility comes from the optional all-wheel drive, the large flip-up rear hatch and the configurable seating that includes an optional third row seat. All this wrapped up in a sheet metal package that won't be looked upon as just another SUV clone.

Beneath the Rendezvous' sharp styling are some equally impressive mechanicals. The Rendezvous is a front-wheel drive model but offers the option of GM's new Versatrak on-demand all-wheel-drive system. The Versatrak system is permanently engaged, although only the Rendezvous' front wheels are pulling the car during normal road conditions. Once the wheels begin to slip however, power is sent to the rear wheels in the form of pure torque and remains there until the wheels stop slipping. Power comes from a 3.4-liter V6 that combines power (185-horsepower) and fuel economy (EPA rated 19/24), an important feature for today's world of ever-rising gasoline prices.

The Rendezvous' ride is both smooth and quiet, thanks largely to the independent rear suspension and the gas-filled shock at each wheel. The Rendezvous also offers the option of a load-leveling suspension that uses a rubber bladder that fills with air to keep the vehicle level when fully loaded or towing a trailer. You'll find that the Rendezvous handles sharp turns without feeling tipsy or off balance. The steering feel is first rate, with an evenly weighted steering wheel and good feedback for the driver.

Inside the Rendezvous, you'll find all the traditional luxury one would expect from a Buick, plus a few new innovations to delight passengers. If you're the one doing the driving, you'll find a handsomely styled dash and simple, user-friendly controls all within easy reach; in some cases, you won't even have to reach, as the steering wheel incorporates controls for the audio and cruise control. The only thing you may want to check out is the instrument cluster at night. The Rendezvous uses silver-faced gauges with turquoise lettering that can be a bit hard to see at night. Another really cool option is the Eyecue head up display that projects your speed, audio settings and gauge information onto the lower portion of the windshield; it's like flying a fighter jet without ever leaving the ground.

For 2003, both the CX and CXL trim level can be ordered with the optional second-row seat captains chairs and third-row flip up rear seat. We loved the comfort the wide captain's chairs afforded the rear seat passengers, who commented that they felt more like they were sitting in a modern movie theatre than in an SUV; of course they were watching the optional DVD-based entertainment system at the time. The third-row also drew praise for its comfort and generous legroom. The optional third-row seat can be folded flush with the flip of a single lever, leaving a cavernous 108- cubic-feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats. On the CXL model, an attractive two-tone interior can be ordered in either cloth or leather with optional center-row captain's chairs.

The Rendezvous CX comes standard with manual air conditioning, power windows and door locks, four-wheel disc brakes, rear defroster, auto headlamps, fog lights, AM/FM radio with CD and illuminated entry. The CXL model goes even further with dual-zone manual air conditioning, OnStar (1 year Safe & Sound service), garage door opener, auto day/night mirror, front side-impact airbags, 6-way power seats, leather seat trim, cruise control, ABS and aluminum alloy wheels. There are a host of options including XM satellite radio, DVD entertainment systems and power moonroof.

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