Buick Rendezvous Research & Reviews

Overview & Reviews

Average Score

4.21/5 Average
846 Total Reviews
Model Overview:

At its debut for the 2002 model year, the Buick Rendezvous midsize crossover SUV was touted as a cross between a luxury sedan, an SUV and a minivan. But in reality, the Rendezvous didn't offer the level of interior design and driving excitement that luxury car buyers expected. And although Buick's crossover could seat up to seven and had the requisite fold-flat third-row seat, it was too small to appeal to minivan buyers, and it didn't have much of a styling advantage over them anyway.

An optional all-wheel-drive system made the Rendezvous a less costly alternative to true SUVs for buyers needing a snow vehicle, but otherwise this Buick wasn't particularly rugged. Over the years, the Rendezvous fell behind the rest of the crossover SUV crowd, which exploded into a very competitive market dominated by the leading import brands.

Rather than update the Rendezvous, Buick decided to halt production midway through the 2007 model year. For used car consumers who can accept the Rendezvous' faults, it could still prove to be an affordable, practical choice for a family vehicle. But we think the vast majority of shoppers would be better served by other, more refined crossovers, including Buick's own Enclave.

Most Recent Buick Rendezvous
Sold from 2002 through the first half of 2007, the Buick Rendezvous was typically offered in two basic trim levels, CX and CXL. There was also a high-line Rendezvous Ultra model in 2004 and '05. Since Buick considered the Rendezvous a premium crossover, even the base CX trim came with a decent list of standard features, including keyless entry, power accessories, air-conditioning and a CD player. The Rendezvous CX came with a five-passenger seating arrangement.

You could pick up a third-row seat on the CXL as a standard or optional feature, depending on the model year. This was also your ticket to leather upholstery, power front seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, wood-tone cabin trim and alloy wheels. In addition to a more powerful engine, the Ultra model came with second-row captain's chairs (dropping seating capacity to six), satellite radio and a head-up display. These items were moved to the CXL's options list when the Ultra was discontinued.

But Buick stopped short of its competitors when it came to high-end amenities. Key safety features like ABS and front-seat side airbags were moved to the options list after the '02 model year, and items like stability control and side curtain airbags were never available. Buick did at least offer a DVD-based navigation system (starting in 2004) and a rear DVD entertainment system (starting in 2003) as options.

Although the Rendezvous' interior design and materials were better than most General Motors fare of the time, it wasn't quite up to import-brand standards. It was, however, one of the roomier crossover SUVs on the market, with plenty of passenger room in the front and back. It wasn't quite a minivan substitute, though, as the third row was best left to the kids. Cargo room was generous, too (with a maximum capacity of 109 cubic feet), though Buick's packaging of the third-row seat made for an uneven load floor.

Three different engines were offered on the Buick Rendezvous, and all were paired with a four-speed automatic transmission. For 2002 and '03, the only choice was a 3.4-liter V6 with 185 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque. Acceleration was sluggish, but fuel economy was above average for this class. In 2004 and '05, you could get either this engine or, on the Ultra model, a more sophisticated 3.6-liter DOHC V6 good for 245 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque. For 2006, Buick replaced the old 3.4-liter with a more vigorous 3.5-liter V6 rated at 201 hp and 216 lb-ft of torque. It still wasn't a very refined engine for this class, but acceleration was improved. The 3.6-liter V6 remained optional for '06, but was discontinued at the end of the model year.

All-wheel drive (AWD) was standard on all 2002 Rendezvous models, but lower-cost front-wheel-drive versions were added the following year. Oddly, AWD was discontinued altogether for 2007, making the Buick Rendezvous the only crossover SUV not to offer any kind of all-weather capability.

In road tests we found the Rendezvous similar to most other Buicks in its driving characteristics, which is to say it focused on comfort at the expense of road feel. The vehicle's handling was sloppy, with considerable body roll around most corners. Neither the 3.4-liter nor the 3.5-liter engine was particularly competitive when it came to response or refinement, and the four-speed automatic's wide gear ratios didn't take full advantage of the power reserves. Although Rendezvous models equipped with the 3.6-liter V6 still had this old-tech transmission, they felt much stronger during passing and merging maneuvers. The 3.6-liter's power delivery was smoother and quieter as well.

Consumer reviews of the Buick Rendezvous have generally been favorable, as owners are pleased with its combination of interior space, ride comfort, fuel economy and overall value. Resale value has never been a strong point for the Rendezvous, so if you're in need of an affordable family vehicle, it might be worth a look on the used car market. We'd advise you to zero in on 2004-'06 models equipped with the 3.6-liter V6.

User Reviews:

Showing 1 through 10 of 846.00
  • Great ride for 9 years! - 2006 Buick Rendezvous
    By -

    We were not looking for bells and whistles. No major repairs. Many good trips. Very good head and leg room for tall occupants.

  • Stay away from this vehicle - 2003 Buick Rendezvous
    By -

    Always needs work. As soon as one thing is fixed, something else goes wrong.

  • Worst car ever - 2006 Buick Rendezvous
    By -

    This is by far the worst investment I have ever made. It is one thing after another with this car. Once you fix one problem another arises. To start with it was a speed sensor(wheel bearing) then is was the oil sensor. Then it got to the point where EVERY TIME I fuel up the car would not want to start again. I would literally have to wait 2-3 minutes and still press the gas before it would start again (how embarrassing) very inconvenient. And to top it off last night the battery light came on. I know what you r thinking "simple fix" turns out no. I will have to put it I The garage to find out if it is a problem with the computer, transmission, or the engine. I have had it with this car. I will NEVER PURCHASE ANOTHER BUICK EVER!!! All of these problems I am having seem to be common problems if you check other reviews however, there have been no recalls or even attempt to fix these problems. I am done with this vehicle. I also now have a light that says reduced engine power and it will not go more than 30mph.

  • I feel like the assembler - 2005 Buick Rendezvous
    By -

    I bought this car and immediately had to basically rebuild the whole car under the hood. The whole cooling system failed the computer went bad, had to replace many parts to the engine, the battery holder, the windows quit working and i had to rebuild the transmission. No go for me i would never get another­čĹ┐

  • Do Not Buy - 2004 Buick Rendezvous
    By -

    Having owned this car and model for over 3 years now, I have seen some things that scare the living crap out of me when driving this car now. The car seems to be slowly falling apart and breaking piece by piece. The AWD Disabled light comes on at least 4-7 times monthly which is indicating that the cars wheel bearing has been broken so the wheels could potentially lock up at any given moment while driving. The air conditioning vents have been leaking gas fumes into my car even though I have taken it to get fixed many times for that reason. So many things are wrong with this car so don't bother buying one and save your money for a Non Buick automobile.

  • A Love Hate Relationship - 2006 Buick Rendezvous
    By -

    Bought this 06 in 2010 with 37,000 miles. Great handling and very comfortable car with lots of cargo for hauling my music gear. Then it left me stranded with a radiator problem at about 85,000 miles. Trial and error to fix that left me stranded several times. Kind of been down hill from there. Chrome fell off the wheels, had to replace those. Have LOTS of problems with the front end, wheel bearings and such. This winter got extremely cold and the fuel sensor went out, left me traveling with a maximum speed of 30 MPH several times till we replaced that. I'm at 137,000 and the front axes is grinding and will need to be replaced. I think it's time to replace the car.

  • Full of issues-American made POS - 2006 Buick Rendezvous
    By -

    It's really too bad we have to take so many shortcuts in the USA with cars. I have had more problems with US made vehicles than any foreign vehicle I've owned. This car has multiple major issues: Power windows fail, often due to wiring shorts and breakage. LIghter/phone charger fails also due to faulty wiring. Fuel indicator failure and the part is in the tank so extremely difficult and expensive to fix. Tachometer intermittent failure.

  • Nice Suprise - 2007 Buick Rendezvous
    By -

    Iwas not particularly fond of the looks of this but thought it was a good deal. Suprisingly after owning it for 6 monthsI am in love with my rende!Understand reasons for the discontinue but I have had rendezvous owners stop me and talk about why they love their rendezvous. Only the owners really know why it is a fabulous vehicle. The alternatives are too pricey, so will wait patiently until they come up with something affordable. Until then til death due us part!

  • don't waste your money - 2003 Buick Rendezvous
    By -

    after buying this auto it failed in many ways first it was the brake lines that rotted out, then the over heating problem and the engine repair then the rotors and pads, the wheel bearing next. all of this with in 1.5 yrs of owning it and less than 5000 miles this is nothing as to having to tear the front end apart just to change the battery . so far I put another 3000 dolars into it since I got it. and to top that off the window fell down and I found that all the plastic parts that hold the window had broken lol this is the auto for you if the bank is yours.

  • 2004 Buick Rendezvous CXL - 2004 Buick Rendezvous
    By -

    My grandmother bought her Rendezvous brand new back in July of 2003. It's been to Flordia, Texas, Arizona, etc... It's fully loaded (CXL), although it's missing roughly 4-5 features. As far as reliability goes, it's not that bad. It starts up every single time no matter how cold it is. Sadly it's starting to break down. Within the past 6 years, parts have been going out, or just not working at all. But hey it's a 10 year old car, and the parts are not going to last forever. The Rendezvous is a great SUV, and I recommend it to anyone with a large family. Gas mileage isn't that bad either, my gma averages 23-26 (80% city driving/20% hwy driving).

Buick Rendezvous Reviews By Year:
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