2004 Buick Rainier Road Test Specs | Edmunds

2004 Buick Rainier - Road Test Specs

2004 Buick Rainier SUV

(4.2L 6-cyl. 4-speed Automatic)


Model year2004
Base MSRP$38,295
As-tested MSRP$42,955


Drive typeAWD
Engine typeV8
Displacement (cc/cu-in)5.3
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)290 @ 5,200
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)325 @ 4,000
Transmission type4-speed automatic


Suspension, frontDouble A-arm independent
Suspension, rear5-link solid axle with air suspension
Steering typePower-assisted rack-and-pinion
Tire size, frontP255/60R17
Tire size, rearP255/60R17
Brakes, frontfront and rear ventilated disc

Track Test Results

0-45 mph (sec.)Not tested
0-60 mph (sec.)7.8
0-75 mph (sec.)11.5
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)16
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)30.6
60-0 mph (ft.)133
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)54
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)36.4
Sound level @ idle (dB)below 50
@ Full throttle (dB)72
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)68

Test Driver Ratings & Comments

Acceleration commentsThe Rainier's V8 provides solid acceleration; not surprising when you consider it's the only non-extended model on this SUV platform that comes with the V8. The engine is relatively well behaved most of the time, but it can get a little course at higher rpm, so much so that it overcomes the Buick's "quiet tuning" efforts. The transmission offers positive upshifts, but there's no redline on the tachometer so you must assume they are happening at the appropriate time (using the highly technical "seat of the pants" meter, they are). Doing 0-to-60 in 7 seconds doesn't sound incredibly quick these days, but for a vehicle as heavy and luxurious as the Rainier it's quite impressive.
Braking ratingAverage
Braking commentsOver three panic stops the Rainier's braking distances varied less than a foot, so brake fade wasn't an option. The numbers themselves aren't stellar, but are solid for such a large, heavy vehicle. Pedal response was a weak spot, as it sunk toward the floor during each panic stop. Pedal feel was aceptable in non-emergency braking situations.
Handling ratingPoor
Handling commentsThe Rainier is built on the same platform as the Trailblazer and Envoy, and like both of those vehicles its at-the-limit handling isn't up to 21st century SUV standards. The Buick deals with initial turn-in adequately, but when transistioning between hard left to hard right (or vice-versa) in the slalom the back end will snap around unexpectedly. The Rainier's unpredictable nature at the limit can be very disconcerting, and it continues to be the Achilles' heel of this platform. Obviously SUVs aren't meant to be driven fast through slalom courses, but the vehicle's behavior in this test is indicative of how it might behave in an emergency maneuver situation. — Karl Brauer

Fuel Consumption

EPA fuel economy (mpg)Auto 15/21 Manual /
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)22

Dimensions & Capacities

Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)4628
Length (in.)193.4
Width (in.)75.4
Height (in.)74.5
Wheelbase (in.)113
Legroom, front (in.)43.1
Legroom, rear (in.)37.1
Headroom, front (in.)40.2
Headroom, rear (in.)39.6
Seating capacity5
Cargo volume (cu-ft)39.8
Max. cargo volume, seats folded (cu-ft)80


Bumper-to-bumper3 years / 36,000 miles
Powertrain3 years / 36,000 miles
Corrosion6 years / 100,000 miles
Roadside assistance3 years / 36,000 miles
Free scheduled maintenanceNot available


Front airbagsStandard
Side airbagsOptional
Head airbagsNot Available
Antilock brakesStandard
Traction controlNot available
Stability controlNavailable
Emergency assistance systemOnStar
NHTSA crash test, driverAverage
NHTSA crash test, passengerAverage
NHTSA crash test, side frontNot tested
NHTSA crash test, side rearNot tested
NHTSA rollover resistanceGood

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