2006 Buick Rainier

  • 2006 Buick Rainier Base Sport Utility

    Base Sport Utility

    • MAX MPG
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      4.2L I6
    • MSRP
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2006 Buick Rainier Review

Powerful and quiet, the Buick Rainier does not act nor look like a luxury SUV.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2006 Buick Rainier is a midsize SUV that was introduced in 2004. Built on the body-on-frame chassis, the Rainier has many distinguishable features. Some of its luxury-oriented highlights are the unique taillights and headlights, as well as the elliptical Buick grille. Also exclusive to the Rainier is the Quiet Tuning initiative, which applies sound-deadening materials throughout many of the trouble areas, such as doors, engine compartment, and quarter panels, to ensure a smooth and quiet ride.

The Rainier SUV has acoustic laminate coating on the front side windows and windshield, as the reinforced seals are intact on the D- and C-pillars. The interior is trimmed in wood and features other upgrades to provide a comfortable passenger experience, but the SUV may come in behind others in its class for off-roading and hauling more than five passengers. Some of the competition may have better handling composure compared to the Rainier, but the quiet ride and extra refinement make them about even in competition. The smooth ride is one of the Rainier’s best properties, along with the array of power features that are available on both the standard six-cylinder and optional V-8.

The cabin is elegantly designed and has many standard features that one would expect from a luxury SUV, but it can only hold four passengers comfortably. Overall, when it comes to smooth driving and quiet comfort, the 2006 Buick Rainier holds up against any of the rivals in the segment.

The Range

Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 4.2-liter six-cylinder; 5.3-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Buick Rainier CXL

What's New

The 2006 model of the Buick Rainier comes standard with stability control and an optional rear differential that locks.


The exterior features of the 2006 Buick Rainier are four-wheel disc-brakes, a wiring harness, a trailer-hitch chassis, and 17-inch alloy wheels with the CXL model. Other exterior enhancements include rear privacy glass, foglights, roof rails, a theft-deterrent system, and cornering lights. Optional items are a power sunroof, a cargo organizer, chrome side steps, special paint, polished alloy wheels, and other convenient packages that can be purchased when ordering.


Inside of the 2006 Buick Rainier, the looks are about the same as other GM offspring, but with sporty-looking gauges and real wood trim. The cabin of the Rainier is very quiet, as previously stated, and the laminated glass and sound-deadening materials set it apart from other SUVs. Although the Rainier will only hold five passengers comfortably, seat comfort is adequate and it boasts an impressive cargo size of 80 cubic feet.

Standard features on the Buick Rainier CXL include leather upholstery, power seats, wood accents and trim in the cabin, automatic dual-zone climate control, a CD player, seat and mirror memory, and OnStar system telematics. Other available options are seat heaters, adjustable pedals, a rear entertainment DVD system, satellite radio, and a DVD-based navigation system.

Performance & Handling

The two engine choices of the Buick Rainier are the 4.2-liter six-cylinder with 291 horsepower (hp) and 277 lb-ft of torque and the 5.3-liter V-8 with 300 hp with 330 lb-ft of torque. Both engines come standard with an automatic four-speed transmission that is electronically controlled for well-timed and seamless shifting. Both all-wheel or two-wheel drive is available, and the V-8 is equipped to tow about 6,700 pounds for hauling trailers or boats.

The Buick Rainier’s standard, six-cylinder engine is powerful and smooth, which should be great for most drivers, but for a bit more grunt, the V-8 option is perfect. Towing is one of the benefits of opting for V-8 power, but with the rugged truck-based underpinnings, the off-roading ability is satisfactory as well. The majority of Rainier SUV buyers cite the comfortable, smooth ride as the main reason to purchase the luxury vehicle.


Stability control and an Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) are standard features for the Buick Rainier. Complete length curtain airbags are an optional feature, but front side airbags aren’t offered. The Rainier received a five-star rating for rear and front seat passengers when equipped with the optional airbags. In front-impact tests, it received a rating of three out of five stars for the driver’s seat, and four out of five stars for front passenger seats.

EPA Fuel Economy

Buick Rainier CXL: 14/20 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Optional powerful V-8
  • Easy access getting in and getting out
  • Respectful off-road capability
  • Especially quiet ride

You Won't Like

  • Lacks the main safety features
  • Small cargo space
  • Handles sloppily
  • Subpar materials and build quality

Sum Up

Powerful and quiet, the Buick Rainier does not act nor look like a luxury SUV.

If You Like This Vehicle

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