2002 Buick Rendezvous CX from North America


My dream car is great when working... a nightmare for the checkbook otherwise


Thought I got a dream car when I first bought this used from dealer. Ride was smooth, comfortable, roomy, lots of perks.

Biggest problem is how often I had to go to the overpriced dealer instead of regular mechanics for much of the electricals.

Spare key made at hardware store shut down my whole car, and had to be towed to the dealer, only to find out the replacement key didn't have a chip (so why do they sell them and why not any warnings??), electrical & security system had to be reset (have since learned that sometimes unhooking the battery for a short time will reset the system).

Have been locked inside with no way out or to override alarm or door locks manually until the alarm finished sounding and my daughter returned from the store to unlock the doors with clicker/key. (kids still laugh about seeing the stares I got from people walking by).

No key to access the rear hatch. Clicker or inside switch only.

No overhead dome light makes it hard to see at times. But lots of smaller area lights are there.

Battery malfunctioned causing the entire security system to reset, nothing electrical worked, the locks, the odometer, radio, clock, internal lights, only head and rear lights worked. Meanwhile the car clicked and reset all switches and ran through warning notices for 30 minutes. Mechanic could find nothing.

A/C started blowing warmer, but quick trip and $100 of freon recharging later, the mechanic tells me it won't hold a charge and now needs several hundred $$$ more for some compressor.

Front ends have been creaking for some time now. Several trips to various places, yet no one seemed to find problem. Sometimes the obvious is hidden I guess, $1,000 later replaced the control arm bushings and both broken coil springs, along with yet another set of rotors and brakes.

Another year had the front suspension and some kind of torsion bar replaced.

General Comments:

I drive back and forth to work on city public highways. I wonder if I'd have the suspension problems if I actually used this as more of an 'SUV'. Our ATV's require less upkeep.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 6th November, 2007

12th May 2010, 11:24

I am so glad I read this review! We have a 2004 Rendezvous, and if you stay inside the car while somebody goes and they decide to lock the car with the remote key fob, you are essentially trapped, like an animal, until they come back.

You cannot simply push "unlock" inside the car, as it does nothing, and OMG don't even think about just manually unlocking the car, because the car has a fit and turns on the alarm. This has created awkward situations, and tense moments between family members...

2002 Buick Rendezvous CXL 3.4 6 cylinder from North America


Lemons are for lemonade!


I have a 2002 CXL which I bought new. It now has 65,000 miles. It has had many of the same problems described here. I also have the misfortune to get screwed over by a GM service department that pillages and plunders because they see a single woman with kids coming in.

The most recent (current) problem is that out of the blue, the temp gauge suddenly flies over to the red zone and the "hot coolant" light and warning sound come on. But the car is not actually overheating -- no coolant is lost, never had to refill, no boiling over or steam coming out. 2 dealer service depts say it's not the thermostat or engine block sensor. The coolant has been flushed out twice, but that didn't fix it. One service dept said that the actual coolant temp is 224 when the gauge is in the red and that is within the normal temp range for this engine. One service dept wants to open the engine up to see if there is an internal leak in one of the cylinders, but that's a money grab IMHO because there is no residue of burnt coolant on the spark plugs and no coolant coming out the tail pipe, and no engine oil in the coolant reservoir. When the gauge flies over and the warning light come on, turning on the heater or defroster instantly makes the light go off and the gauge go back to normal. Anyone else have this problem? Is it some wacko computer issue that GM should be fixing FOR FREE?

BTW, one of the dealer service depts says that the AC compressor (not condenser) needs to be replaced -- it makes a flapping noise like the wheel of fortune prize wheel -- noise occurs on engine start up and anytime AC or heat or defroster is turned on, and stops when cabin temp system is off. What is that all about??

I have already spent $1800.00 at a crooked dealership service dept trying to "diagnose" the problems re temp gauge and AC compressor.

Other problems with this vehicle include:

I have had the electrical problem twice where the car just won't start. Luckily for me it happened both times in my parking garage. It was covered under warranty, so for me it was inconvenient and scary, but not expensive.

Another electrical problem was that OnStar just stopped working. It looked like it was working -- the lights were all on, but when I had a blowout on the freeway, I pushed the OnStar button and nothing happened. Electrical problem.

I have replaced the tires once.

The brakes occasionally seem to seize up -- it is like slide-bump-slide-bump, but then they catch. Someone said like sliding on gravel - I agree. It is really scary b/c this is a big vehicle and a couple of times I have been afraid I was going to hit another car or pedestrian. It does not seem to be related to speed or road conditions -- seems quite random. Tell this to a service dept and leave with new brake rotors.

I also hear the old man groaning when I make a sharp left, like when the steering wheel was cranked all the way around to make a U-turn out of the service lot.

I have replaced the front rotors.

I just replaced the rear rotors -- but this turns out to be a rip off -- I took the old rotors to another service dept and they said they measured at 11 mm and should have been resurfaced, not replaced.

I would never buy another GM product for two main reasons: GM doesn't give a damn if they put out inferior products -- all they care about is getting your money. Plus, where I live, you can't get honest service at a fair price -- especially if you are female.

~unhappy Bu-ICK driver!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 4th October, 2007

7th Nov 2007, 12:15

Just read a few reviews on this car. Seems they arnt a very reliable model.

9th Dec 2007, 14:06

Brakes are not very "controlled", but the lock-up you describe may be the anti-lock feature. Not nearly as good as the anti-lock system in a Cadillac, but better than no anti-lock feature at all.

Also, as you will read - head gasket is a chronic issue with this GM powertrain, although GM will not admit it. I understand your frustration.

You are a very well-educated car owner. It is not often I see a woman with such a well-understood summary of her vehicle's issues and condition. Sorry about your troubles - if it's any consolation, we are all aggravated with this vehicle.

9th Feb 2008, 17:11

The car overheated, because there was air in the coolant system, and your head gasket did not work properly. The Onstar system is there for you to pay money for it. It is by subscription only.

17th Mar 2009, 22:43

Unfortunately I have the same car, and I have had many problems with my vehicle, and let me tell you one thing, my car has the overheating problem. I replaced the thermostat and the water pump, but one thing they forget to mention when you buy these nickel and dime cars, is that you have an issue with the 3.4 liters and their intake manifold gasket. My car kept overheating, and I didn't have a leak, and replaced these other components of my car. Now I am stuck with an 1800 garage bill to get my car back on the road, because they put a plastic intake manifold gasket on these things, and they slowly leak for a long time, and it really isn't to noticeable until it is too late.

Also just to let you know, they are notorious for eating wheel bearings too. Keep up on those, but best advice is to sell the car. As soon as I am done getting it fixed, I am going to sell the car, most likely trade it in...

I have also had an issue with my A/C, for some reason it doesn't work and they don't know why...

Guess my dad was right, I should of bought a Ford. More reliable.