The 2007 Buick Rainier is a luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV) in name only; it has more in common with basic GM SUVs than it does with any of the competition in this vaunted and sought-after segment. The engine power is respectable, but doesn't lead the class. Handling is subpar, and the cabin is far from what buyers would expect from an expensive luxury SUV. It is difficult to recommend the Rainier when there is a plethora of vastly superior choices available.
Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 4.2-liter six-cylinder, 5.3-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Buick Rainier CXL
For 2007, the Buick Rainier sees very few noticeable changes. The OnStar system now has ""turn-by-turn"" navigation and there has been a shuffling of some color choices.
The Buick Rainier five-passenger, four-door SUV is available in one CXL trim level. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, and a sunroof is optional. For a truck-based SUV that should handle off-roading, the Rainier is noticeably lacking in exterior features that would improve tough duties, overall safety, or luxury items that improve navigation. It is hard to call the Rainier a luxury SUV with such paltry gear offerings. Those who want to transport outdoor equipment, do work with their SUV, or enjoy the luxuries of 21st century automotive equipment are highly encouraged to look at other in class options. The fact of the matter is that the Rainier is simply not a luxury SUV, despite Buick’s labeling. This vehicle has almost nothing to offer in the way of a luxury SUV and is really outshined by the competition.
In the cabin, the one trim level comes standard with the bare-bone basics needed to get away with calling it a luxury SUV: leather upholstery, simulated wood accents, power front seats, memory positions for the seats and mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, a CD player and OnStar telematics. Stand-alone options include power adjustable pedals, satellite radio, heated seats, a six-disc CD changer, a navigation system and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. This is a respectable list of cabin gear, but given how many items some makers manage to cram into an interior, the Rainier once again seems to be lacking. Overall, the interior of the Rainier is too derivative of GM’s lower level SUVs.
Performance & Handling
While the Rainier SUV has only one trim level, there is a choice of two different powerful engines. A 4.2-liter inline six used by many GM SUVs comes standard and produces 291 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. While the performance of the six is adequate, buyers who need heavy towing capacity should consider the 5.3-liter V-8. This engine produces 300 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. With the V-8, maximum towing capacity is rated at 6700 pounds. Both engines mate to a four-speed automatic, the only available transmission. This gearbox proves to be sufficient as it makes smooth and efficient shifts that handle all driving conditions. The Rainier can be had in two-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions.
Luxury SUVs are expected by most buyers to handle more like sedans than trucks, even if off-road duties are a consideration. The Rainier is based on a truck platform and handles like it. It can do off-road work, but on pavement, it handles poorly with some slipping and moves that do not inspire confidence. Like most truck-based GM offerings, this SUV falls behind more capable rivals in the handling department.
Standard safety features for the Rainier include stability control, anti-lock disc brakes, and a one-year subscription to OnStar. Full-length head curtain airbags are optional. Although seat-mounted side airbags are not available, a side curtain airbag-equipped 2007 Buick Rainier received the highest rating possible of five stars in NHTSA's side-impact testing for front- and rear-passenger protection. In the same agency’s frontal-impact tests, the Rainier garnered a three-star rating for the driver and four stars for the front passenger. In IIHS frontal offset testing, the Rainier managed just the second lowest of four ratings with a ""marginal.""
EPA Fuel Economy
Buick Rainier CXL: 14/20 mpg city/highway
- Quiet ride
- V-8 option
- Easy entry and exit
- Decent off-road ability
You Won't Like
- Build and materials quality
- Sloppy handling
- Lack of safety features
- Lack of storage space
Not up the standards of a luxury SUV.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Infiniti FX
- Acura MDX
- Nissan Murano
- Saab 9-7x
- Nissan Xterra
- Chevrolet TrailBlazer