2006 Buick Rainier SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Buick Rainier SUV

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Buick Rainier Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.2 L Inline 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All 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

  Average Consumer Rating (21 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


Truly useful

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

I purchased this former short-term rental vehicle with 13k miles on it in Dec '06. Now with 65k miles on it, the only thing that has malfunctioned was a headlight relay, quickly replaced under warranty. It's dead reliable, smooth, comfortable, great in snow and good at towing a 4k lbs, 26ft sailboat. Milage average is 19 mpg with mostly highway driving. Quality of materials and assembly is very high - the leather upholstery is actually better than that in my '04 Mercedes.




Sharp ride

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

Bought suv to replace 2002 saturn. Drove the rainer beause it had options like the SL 300 saturn.The mileage at 41000 was 19.7 now meaning 10 months later mileage 16.7.All is far better in safety and road control with this vehicle.Sharp and great ride.




Impressive

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

Great driving, it does not feel like I'm riding in a truck! - The look of the vehicle is what I love the most.




Awd issues

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

From week one, the Rainier has attempted to shift into AWD when in reverse. The shuddering that results makes it very difficult to back out of a parking space. Changing the rear differential fluid ($125) didn't help. Now the bearings in the front differential just burned up. Thankfully, the Buick dealer covered it even though I am 4,000 miles out of warranty. I am considering dumping this vehicle as I drive 30,000 miles per year and can't afford to be towed to the dealer on a regular basis.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Best car i ever drove

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

After driving a Ford Explorer for almost 200,000 miles, my Buick Rainer has been a pleasure to drive. The ride and features are great--especially air adjustable load levelers. Great car.




Great mid-sized suv

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

Really like this vehicle. It's super quiet and smooth riding. Has a classy look to the exterior and the interior is quite comfortable. Absolutely no problems in a little over 33,000 miles. Gas mileage over the long run is 18.2 mpg in 95% city driving - very few freeway miles. Not bad for the size and comfort of this vehicle. Back seat passengers don't have much legroom, but it's not designed to be a full-size SUV. Cupholders are a little quirky, but only a minor concern.



Full 2006 Buick Rainier Review

What's New for 2006

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

Introduction

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.

Safety

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

EPA-Rated MPG

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