2006 Buick Rainier SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Buick Rainier SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Buick Rainier Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.2 L Inline 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 291 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 14/20 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2006 Buick Rainier

  • Quiet and powerful, especially in V8 form, the 2006 Buick Rainier fails to look and act the part of a luxury SUV in most other respects.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Exceptionally quiet ride, strong optional V8, easy to get in and out, decent off-road ability.

  • Cons

    Subpar build and materials quality, sloppy handling, lacks key safety features, not enough storage space.

  • What's New for 2006

    Stability control is now standard, and a locking rear differential is newly optional.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Love my buick!

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Vehicle: 2006 Buick Rainier CXL 4dr SUV (4.2L 6cyl 4A)

After owning many other cars, incl. a Mercedes C230, my Buick Rainier is by far my favorite car, maybe ever. I'm in my early 30's, and a few years ago I probably would have scoffed at driving a Buick. In 2011 we were looking for a work SUV for my hubby (trailblazer, etc) and came across it at a dealership and got it for a steal. The next year he bought a truck, and I happily took over the Rainier. It is so comfortable, air ride is fantastic and it drives great. We got an extended warranty and had to have some of the suspension fixed (airbags and sensors) right after we bought it, but really no issues since. Have taken it on several long trips and it's just so comfortable! Really a great SUV.


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Vehicle: 2006 Buick Rainier CXL 4dr SUV (4.2L 6cyl 4A)

My grandmother bought this car used for me. She purchased the v8. Of course mpg is terrible. Great power and acceleration. Not enough storage room inside car though. Have had many problems and it has been in the shop for about 2 weeks with some sort of engine problem. ugh!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great vehicle--no more van!

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Vehicle: 2006 Buick Rainier CXL 4dr SUV (4.2L 6cyl 4A)

I love my Rainier. I have the PGA Tour edition. The only drawback is the odd cup holder and storage situation, but otherwise I am very pleased. MPG average is 17-18 (I drive on country roads to work each day.) It gets 22- 24 on the highway. I had a loaded Honda Odyssey. I'm so glad to be out of the van!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Falls short

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Vehicle: 2006 Buick Rainier CXL 4dr SUV (4.2L 6cyl 4A)

Our Buick Ranier has plenty of interior room, and has so far been very reliable. However, the interior build quality leaves alot to be desired! Everything from the door handles, and door power panel mouldings, to side door mouldings has fallen off and the seatbelts stick. The rear end makes an "undetermined" noise and it does not handle great if you have to do any sudden "avoidance manuevers" while driving. I drive mostly highway and have never seen anywhere near the supposed 21mpg mark. I average 17.2mpg in a 2WD. It should not be in the luxury class, as it is just another mediocre GM SUV. Admittedly disappointed. Can't wait til my lease is up! Terrible resale value. GM will never listen to what buyers really want...Thats why Toyota & Honda have really taken off. They listen to concerns and work with them to build vehicles people want.

Mostly satisfied

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Vehicle: 2006 Buick Rainier CXL 4dr SUV (4.2L 6cyl 4A)

I just purchased this vehicle, but was not looking for it. Wanted an Envoy, and could not get one, so this was suggested. Overall, I am happy with the vehicle. I have always owned a minivan, so this is different. However, the sad part about this vehicle is the gas mileage, it stinks! I was not prepared for the little gas mileage that it gets, but I am keeping it and just have to get used to it. Hopefully it will not let me down.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

My car

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Buick Rainier CXL 4dr SUV (4.2L 6cyl 4A)

Very limtied cup holders. Front seats need to go back another couple of inches for taller people. The settings should be key linked and not linked via remote

Full 2006 Buick Rainier Review

What's New for 2006

Stability control is now standard, and a locking rear differential is newly optional.


Introduced in 2004, the Buick Rainier is a luxury-oriented midsize SUV. It's built on GM's body-on-frame midsize SUV platform also used for the TrailBlazer and Envoy. To help distinguish it from its GM siblings, the Rainier has an elliptical Buick grille and unique headlights and taillights.

More importantly, the Rainier benefits from an initiative called "QuietTuning," whereby additional sound-deadening material has been applied in various trouble spots (engine compartment, doors, quarter panels). Further, the windshield and front side windows are coated in acoustic laminate, while the C- and D-pillars have reinforced seals. Aside from this upgrade and some extra wood trim in the cabin, the Buick Rainier looks, feels and drives like any TrailBlazer or Envoy. Interior materials and fit and finish are subpar compared to that of other premium-brand SUVs, while accommodations for the Rainier's five passengers offer mediocre levels of comfort and space.

Out on the road, this Buick SUV is as quiet as they come but lacks the handling composure expected of a luxury vehicle. Ride quality at least is smooth, and power is more than adequate with either engine choice. Problem is, building a good luxury SUV isn't just about making it quiet and smooth-riding. It should also handle with confidence out on the road. If you're mainly interested in a GM midsize SUV, choosing the Rainier for its extra refinement could make sense. But compared with SUVs like the 4Runner or Touareg, the 2006 Buick Rainier is simply outclassed.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The five-passenger Buick Rainier comes well equipped in one trim, CXL. Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, leather upholstery, wood accents in the cabin, power seats, memory for the seats and mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, a CD player and OnStar telematics. Various options include adjustable pedals, seat heaters, a DVD-based navigation system, a rear DVD entertainment system and a sunroof.

Powertrains and Performance

Two engines are available in the Buick Rainier. The standard power plant is GM's 4.2-liter inline six that makes 291 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. For added towing power, an optional 5.3-liter V8 offers 300 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. Both engines use the same transmission, a four-speed electronically controlled automatic that delivers seamless, well-timed shifts in almost all situations. Both two-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions are available. Equipped with the V8, the Rainier can tow up to 6,700 pounds.


Four-wheel antilock disc brakes and stability control are standard. Full-length head curtain airbags are optional, but seat-mounted side airbags (for front occupants) are not available. The Buick Rainier earned five stars for both front- and rear-passenger side-impact protection when equipped with the optional airbags. Frontal impacts resulted in a three-star rating for the driver and four stars for the front passenger. The IIHS rated the Rainier's mechanical twin, the Chevy TrailBlazer, as "Marginal" (the second lowest score on a four-point scale) after conducting its frontal offset crash test.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside, the Buick Rainier looks similar to its GM cousins but offers sporty gauges similar to those found in the Rendezvous, along with real wood trim. The Buick's cabin is certainly quiet compared to a its cousins or any other SUV for that matter, as it includes extra sound-deadening material and laminated glass. There's adequate room for five passengers, but you're out of luck if you need a third-row seat. Seat comfort is average front and rear. With the rear seat folded down, there's 80 cubic feet of cargo space.

Driving Impressions

The Rainier's standard inline six is smooth and powerful, and should be adequate for most shoppers. Those who wish for a little more grunt will be pleased with the Rainier's optional V8. With 300 hp available across a wide-rpm range, you'll rarely find yourself wishing for more. With its tough truck-based underpinnings, the 2006 Buick Rainier has a fair amount of real off-road capability. For the majority of buyers who won't be off-roading in their Buick SUV, it offers a smooth, comfortable ride. Handling is not what it should be, however, as the Rainier's poorly tuned rear suspension gives it a skittish feel when taking turns at higher speeds. Placed in similar situations, competitors feel much more confident.

Talk About The 2006 Rainier

Gas Mileage


  • 14
  • cty
  • 20
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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