The Buick Rainier is a mid-size luxury SUV that was manufactured by General Motors and marketed by Buick for the 2004 to 2007 model years. It was named after Mount Rainier, and — along with the Saab 9-7X — served as the replacement for the Oldsmobile Bravada.
The Rainier was introduced on July 28, 2003, for the 2004 model year, in a 5-door, 5-passenger configuration, yet was one of only five GMT360 SUVs to offer a V8 engine — along with the GMC Envoy Denali, Isuzu Ascender EXT, Saab 9-7X 5.3i and Aero, and Chevrolet TrailBlazer LT (optional) and SS. Both rear and all-wheel drive models were offered. The only trim available was CXL. An available Sun, Sound and Entertainment package for 2005 (previously called CXL Plus,) added a power sunroof, better Bose stereo, and XM Satellite Radio. For the 2004 model year only, there was a CXL Plus trim level, this became the aforementioned Sun, Sound, and Entertainment package for 2005. A touchscreen DVD-based navigation system was also available with the CXL Plus/SSE package. The 5.3 V8 was also available with the "V8 Power Play" package, which added a "V8" designation to the "RAINIER" script on the left side tailgate.
Buick also debuted the QuietTuning sound insulation on the Rainier, where a vehicle's sound dampening featured triple door seals, side acoustic laminate glass, and thicker sound-absorbing pads on the hood and firewall. The Rainier was the first production vehicle to use side acoustic laminate glass.
The Rainier was discontinued after the 2007 model year and was replaced by the Buick Enclave in 2008. GM ended production of the related Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, and Saab 9-7X after the 2009 model year.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2004 Rainier an overall Marginal score for front impacts while the 2005 and newer models are given an Acceptable score. In side impacts the Rainier was given an overall Marginal score with side airbags present.
The Rainier debuted with a standard LL8 4.2 L (254 cu in) straight-six engine producing 275 hp (205 kW), and an optional LM4, a 5.3 L (325 cu in) V8 producing 290 hp (216 kW). For 2005, a new LH6 V8 with Active Fuel Management increased output to 300 hp (224 kW). For 2006, the output of the six-cylinder, base option increased to 291 horsepower.
The Rainier was only offered in the CXL trim level, with an available CXL Plus package for 2004 only.
The Rainier debuts in July 2003 as a 2004 model year vehicle, to directly replace the Bravada. This also resulted in a much more luxurious twin for 2006, the Saab 9-7X. The body of the Rainier/9-7X is largely carried over from the Bravada, only the front sheetmetal and taillights differ from the Bravada. The Rainier was the first short-wheelbase GMT360 to use the 5.3 V8 option, the V8 was previously only available in the extended GMT370 variant in 2003 prior to the Rainier. The Rainier, along with the Bravada and 9-7X, did not receive a GMT370 extended wheelbase version, and was therefore only available as a 5-passenger configuration for its entirety.
The Rainier's interior and options list is directly carried over from the Bravada, with only a silver faced gauge cluster with ice blue needles (and a cluster font similar to the Rendezvous CUV,) along with a Buick Tri-Shield emblem adorning the steering wheel. Seat-mounted side impact airbags are optional.
The CXL Plus package was renamed Sun, Sound, and Entertainment package for 2005. The Tri-Shield emblem on the front grille was updated. Revised interior appointments were added in 2005, including a revised steering wheel with wood trimmed accents and chrome Buick Tri-Shield jewelry, revised leather shift knob with wood trim, and new blackface gauges with chrome trim rings and updated font. The Generation III LM4 in the 2004 Rainier V8 was replaced with the Generation IV LH6 V8 for 2005. Power adjustable pedals are now an available option. The Voice Memo Travel Recorder has been dropped. The optional seat-mounted side airbags have been replaced with standard side curtain airbags.
For 2006, StabiliTrak Control System with built-in traction control, OnStar, and auto-dimming interior rearview mirror are standard equipment.
Final model year. Carryover from 2006, no revisions made.
In 2012, General Motors had recalled more than 258,000 SUVs in the U.S. and Canada to fix short-circuits in power window and door lock switches that could cause fires. The recall covered Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Isuzu Ascender, and Saab 9-7X SUVs from the 2006 to the 2007 model years. The SUVs were sold or registered in 20 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and in Canada, where salt and other chemicals are used to clear roads in the winter.
Media related to Buick Rainier at Wikimedia Commons
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