2005 Buick Rainier CXL 5.3 V8 from North America




A weld broke leaking AC oil on the floor - Covered under warranty.

Oil pan and front pinion seal were leaking a very small amount (so small, it was not hitting the floor) - Covered under warranty.

General Comments:

Truly one of GM's best automobiles.

I bought the my Rainier V8 in January of 2007. It was exactly what I was looking for. It had the V8 and no running boards.

I started looking at SUVs to replace my aging 1996 Explorer. It was starting to rust and was 10 years old. I looked at new Explorers but they were way overpriced for what you get. So after looking at many SUVs from many different manufactures, I stumbled upon the Buick Rainier. After doing extensive research, it looked to be a great SUV...and once I started to realize how much they depreciated, it was meant to be.

I found one locally. It was a silver V8 with 25K on the clock...for $20,500. What a steal! It only took one drive to convince me that this was a great vehicle.

I ended up buying it and could not be happier.

There were a few things that went wrong with it. The first was a weld in the A/C system broke leaking a small amount of A/C oil on the garage floor. No big deal as the Rainier was still under warranty. The dealer was great, very helpful and got the repair done very quickly.

The second thing that went wrong with it was when it was getting an oil change, the Tech. noticed that the oil pan and front pinion seal were leaking a small amount of oil. At this point the factory warranty expired, but I had purchased an extended warranty. The sheer number of electronics in this car is a great reason to have an extended warranty. GM builds the best American cars and trucks, but I was still hesitant. Anyway, with this one repair, the warranty paid for half of itself...money well spent.

Other than those two small things, my V8 Rainier has been an absolute dream. Great gas mileage (22-24 Highway), wonderful ride, awesome V8 rumble, and it is quick. This thing will move.

It tows very well too. I have a 19 foot fiberglass (heavy) boat. My old Explorer huff and puffed towing the boat, but the Rainier with it's 5.3 V8 has no trouble at all. And as an added bonus, when I hook my boat up, the auto leveling rear suspension makes the car perfectly level...so no more squatting like with the Explorer.

My Rainier has the AWD system. Living here in Minnesota, it is a nice thing to have. It also has the G80 locking rear differential. Between those two devices, there has not been a storm that this Rainier cannot get through. And just as important as being able to move is, being able to stop is just as important...and the Rainier does not disappoint. Rarely does the ABS kick in due to the abundance of traction...and that is with the factory tires. But still, as safe as the car is, you must drive with due regard when the weather is bad.

The Rainier comes with two different engine choices. A 4.2L I-6 and a 5.3L V8. Let me explain the reason why I chose the V8 over the I6. 1) It is a V8. 2) The gas mileage difference was tiny. 3) Performance. As mentioned above, the V8 Rainier moves. It is nice knowing that when I need to get going, I can. My old Explorer was a slug.

Overall, I cannot say one bad thing about the Rainier. It is fast, comfortable, capable, and more feature laden than anything I have ever driven.

There are some areas of the interior that could be improved...but for the price paid, I would not change a thing. The Rainier proves that way back in 2004 (when the Rainier came out), the US Automakers knew how to build a vehicle that would smash the competition. And the Rainier smashes the imported competition from Japan and Europe as well as the domestic competition.

And to think... the Buick Enclave is a BETTER vehicle.

I am crossing my fingers that the Buick Enclave gets the 5.3 V8... because as soon as it does, I will be buying it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st December, 2008

22nd Dec 2008, 18:10

Everything I have read states that there are no plans for a V8 Enclave. However, they are considering a "Super" model with a turbo charged V6.

19th Jun 2013, 21:39

I know that this comment is a tad late compared to when you composed your review, but, I LOVE your first reason for choosing the V8. Why? Well, because "it's a V8"!

2004 Buick Rainier CXL AWD 4.2 Liter DOHC Inline 6 Vortec, VVT-E from North America


A Very Refined and Elegant SUV


Nothing has gone wrong with this vehicle so far.

General Comments:

The interior is well designed. Ergonomics and controls are excellent. All controls are within easy reach, are easily readable, and are not hard to use.

The leather is elegant and the seats are consequentially comfortable.

Chrome is used abundantly in the cabin.

Real burled walnut is accented throughout the cabin too.

The interior fit/finish is first-rate.

The exterior exhibits first rate fit and finish too.

The engine is strong, smooth, and quiet. Even at 5800 RPM, the engine does not exhibit any harshness or vibration.

The transmission is smooth and has great shift patterns. It easily downshifts when you need to, and delivers great gas mileage.

Gas mileage, on average, is about 15 in mixed driving. The vehicle requires 87 octane fuel.

The Rainier is an excellent vehicle that is as quiet, elegant, and refined as they come. I would take one over an Acura MDX, Volvo X40, and even a Mercedes M500.

A 5.3 liter OHV DOD V8 is also available. This engine produces 300 HP and 335 FT LB of torque.

The standard 4.2 liter DOHC Vortec I-6 produces 275 HP, and 275 FT LB of torque.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st August, 2005

11th Aug 2005, 11:08

I used to have a Chevrolet Trailblazer, but I am now looking to move "up the ladder" in terms of price. I love my Trailblazer, and I am seriously considering a Rainier; your review has reinforced this consideration even more. Thank you for your opinions and beliefs.

17th Dec 2006, 19:57

In 2003 my wife traded her Ford Explorer for a new GMC Envoy. We've never been happier with any new vehicle, and the Rainier is even more luxurious. It will most likely be our next SUV, as we like the styling very much, and if the ride and performance are anything like as good as the Envoy it will be great. In 60,000 miles of driving we have yet to have one single problem, and the most amazing thing has been the awesome power of the standard in-line 6 and the fuel mileage. This rather large SUV leaves the old V-8 Explorer in the dust, and on a recent vacation trip with the cruise set on the speed limit we got an incredible 24 miles per gallon. GM is definitely doing something right.