Considered as the successor to the Oldsmobile Bravada, the Buick Rainier was a mid-size luxury SUV produced by General Motors from 2004 to 2007. This vehicle was also the first SUV sold under the Buick marque since the 1920s. Here’s a quick look at the Buick Rainier and its short but solid run.
Design and development
Though the Buick Rainier looked much like the Oldsmobile Bravada—save for its front fasica—there are a lot of firsts that can be found in this vehicle. For instance, it’s the first body-on-frame, V8 engine-powered, rear-wheel drive Buick since the 1996 Roadmaster. It was also the first Buick model to have the QuietTuning sound insulation feature, which gave the vehicle sound dampening features infused in its design. For instance, the hood and the firewall were furnished with thick, sound-absorbing pads and the vehicle also had triple door seals and acoustic laminate glass.
The GMT360 platform
The Buick Rainier was made available to the market in one configuration only, and it was built to carry five passengers comfortably. It shared the GMT360 platform with five other vehicles—the Oldsmobile Bravada (its predecessor), Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Isuzu Ascender, and Saab 9-7X. The 360 platform replaced the GMT330, but it shared nothing with its predecessor. It featured new technology and was notable for its hydroformed frame rails and independent front suspension.
Like all the other vehicles created under the GMT360 platform, the Buick Rainier was only made available with a 4-speed automatic transmission. Buyers were also given a choice between two kinds of engines. The first one was a 4.2 L Vortec I6 engine, which had its cylinders arranged in a straight line along the crankcase. The second one was a 5.3 L Vortec V8 engine, which packed a punch in terms of power.
In 2007, Buick came up with a special CXL trim for the Rainier and this served as the upscale model for the vehicle. This Rainier CXL was furnished with a superb sound system, thanks to its Bose stereo and XM Satellite radio.
2007 was the Buick Rainier’s last year in production. And for this final year model, the brand threw in several features in the vehicle. For instance, it was made available in the upscale CXL trim, which was packed with luxurious features. The Rainier was also offered in an all wheel drive option and it was also furnished with a standard rear air suspension. It was also equipped with several other features like the OnStar directions and connections for navigational purposes, a Standard StabiliTrak, and a heads-up display, which projected the speed of the vehicle as well as other important information on the windshield. The following year in 2008, the Rainier was finally replaced by the Buick Enclave, which was a brand-new crossover SUV.