Technology and notable features

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 2nd 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, a common and useful task most of its competitors are unable to perform.

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.

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.

    See also:

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