The History Of Buick Rendezvous
The Buick Rendezvous, introduced in the spring of 2001 as a 2002 model year vehicle, was a sport utility vehicle that was sold by the Buick division of General Motors.
Given the fact that the vast majority of SUVs were rarely taken off-pavement by their owners, much less driven under serious off-road conditions, a new type of car-based "crossover SUV" was developed that was hoped would provide all the elements that customers actually wanted from their SUVs such as cargo carrying capacity, elevated seating height and the suggestion of an active outdoor lifestyle with less of the negative attributes typically associated with traditional SUVs such as poor gas mileage, uncomfortable ride, high step-in height, propensity to roll over, etc. The formula of a car-based "soft-road" luxury SUV had proven marketable by the highly successful Lexus RX300 and was thought to be a promising new market category for Buick to exploit within this extremely profitable portion of the ever-expanding SUV category.
Buick's first truck in its lineup since 1923, the Rendezvous was billed as a combination of the best attributes of a minivan (large cargo capacity, seating for up to seven), a luxury automobile (ride, handling, smoothness) and a sport utility vehicle (truck styling and available all wheel drive).
The Rendezvous was produced at General Motors' Ramos Arizpe, Mexico assembly plant, where it shared an assembly line with the Pontiac Aztek.
In lieu of four-wheel drive, the Rendezvous offered Versatrak, a full-time, fully-automatic all-wheel drive system which provided sure-footed traction in the snow and wet, could handle moderate off-road surfaces, but was not meant for boulder-climbing Rubicon Trail-type activities.
Like the Pontiac Aztek, the Buick Rendezvous is based on a shortened version of GM's second generation U platform minivans.
Buick benchmarked their Park Avenue luxury sedan as the prototypical target for ride and handling for the Rendezvous. In order to provide a luxurious and responsive car-like ride, all Rendezvous came equipped with a fully independent rear suspension system regardless of optional content or trim level.
The Rendezvous' instrument cluster detailing featured teal illuminated needles and numbers set in a silver face accented by chrome trim rings that was meant to evoke the luxurious look and feel of an expensive watch or designer bracelet.
The Rendezvous boasted the ability to carry seven passengers when equipped with a third-row bench, a class-leading feature that Buick brought to market before its competitors.
The Rendezvous is able to carry within its interior the proverbial 4'x 8' sheet of plywood.
In support of the Rendezvous' intended role as a versatile accoutrement for busy, upper-middle class people with families, it provided a center console with storage space and power points for a laptop computer as well as a separate spots to hold a woman's purse, a cell phone, pager or other small items that the owner would want to keep organized and readily accessible as well as an optional rear cargo organizer system and rear seat stereo system controls with headsets.
On the uplevel CXL model, a driver information center on the instrument panel provided the outside temperature, compass functions, a trip computer that included readings of fuel economy, range and fuel used. An optional second generation heads-up display was also available.This was also available in the CX model.
An optional tire inflation monitoring system provided readings of tire pressure and warned if out of the specified range was a clever feature in the wake of the Ford Explorer/ Firestone debacle that was in large part attributable to underinflated tires.
The Rendezvous was a badly needed success for Buick, given the decline of its aging customer base, and single handedly brought a large number of younger, wealthier "conquest" buyers into Buick showrooms who otherwise wouldn't have considered purchasing a Buick.
Certainly a major contributor to the Rendezvous's success was an aggressive value-pricing strategy that made the Rendezvous US$6,500 less than a comparably equipped Acura MDX and US$8,000 less than the Lexus RX300.
The Rendezvous handily exceeded GM's predictions of 30,000 to 40,000 units a year by a large margin, which helped offset the poor sales of the Pontiac Aztek with which it shared its Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, assembly line.
Commercials featuring Tiger Woods aired during the Buick Classic golf tournament. "Tornado" featured a tornado picking up Woods, three waitresses and their minivan, two storm chasers in a competing SUV, and one man in a luxury car. All the participants ended up inside a Rendezvous, with Woods driving and saying, "I guess we're not in Kansas anymore." "Igor" had three vehicles driving from a cemetery at night into a castle, followed by a lightning strike, and Woods exiting the castle in a Rendezvous as "Frankenstein" plays. Woods says, "What? You were expecting Igor?".
The 2008 Buick Enclave replaced the Rendezvous (as well as the Rainier and Terraza when it was introduced in summer of 2007. It is much longer and rides on a lower wheelbase GM Lambda platform. The Rendezvous was discontinued around the same time, in mid-2007. Sales of the new Enclave have been strong so far.
The Rendezvous Premiers available in 2 trim level.
- CX, CXL
- Optional Rear DVD system offered
- Optional XM satellite radio offered
- Front turn signal/ parking lights changed to clear from the previously used amber.
- The Ultra was added as a top-line model, with all comfort options standard,, 17 inch aluminium wheels, leather and ultrasuede seating as well as a theft deterrent system.
- The rear long red light reduced by 2 inches in width.
- The Ultra was available with front-wheel drive.
- The 3.6L V6 was now an option for the front-wheel drive CXL.
- The Rendezvous also received a chrome Buick tri-shield in the grill
- A black faced instrument cluster replaced the all silver one used in prior years
- Quiet Tuning added to model
- Onstar, Rear Park assist standard
- 3.5 liter V6 Standard
- OnStar Direction and Connections with Turn by Turn Navigation
- Available in CX, and CXL Trims
- Available only in Front Wheel Drive
- Standard Mahogany Trimmed Wheel on CXL, Optional on CX
- Standard Third Row Seat on CXL Trim
- Last Year for the Buick Rendezvous
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