2002 Buick Rendezvous

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2002 Buick Rendezvous Review

All new midsize crossover SUV that looks like a sedan, but handles like a minivan.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

The 2002 Buick Rendezvous is a brand new crossover SUV from the premium car manufacturer. The new midsize crossover SUV shares the same platform as the Pontiac Aztek and is marketed as the vehicle that will provide the functionality of a minivan with the look of a sport utility vehicle and the comfort and handling of a luxury sedan. As well as being the first SUV manufactured by the company, the 2002 Buick Rendezvous is the first truck-based vehicle to be produced by Buick since the early 1920s.

The Range

Body Styles: four-door SUV
Engines: 3.4-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Buick Rendezvous CX, Buick Rendezvous CXL

What's New

The 2002 Buick Rendezvous is a completely new vehicle that is being launched for the 2002 model year. With the introduction of the Rendezvous, Buick is extending their model lineup and entering the SUV class for the first time. Two models are available, the base CX model and the more upscale CXL model. The base model can be equipped with either front or all-wheel drive, while the CXL model comes as all-wheel drive only. Both models are powered by the same V-6 engine, and differ in trim and features that are included.

Exterior

Although the 2002 Buick Rendezvous is based on the same platform as the Pontiac Aztek, that’s where the similarities end. Buick intends to attract the younger demographic with this new vehicle, and as such, it has created an SUV that has the general shape and lines of an SUV, but has a much more youthful look. Crisp lines lead to a rear that is significantly less boxy than that seen on most SUVs and the design of the eight-spoke wheels is much more aggressive than seen on other Buick vehicles. The signature Buick grille is mounted at the front of the car, but instead of being chrome, it is body colored. Most trim is body colored instead of chrome, and the overall shape of the 2002 Buick Rendezvous couples a top half that is refined like a luxury sedan and a bottom half that is rugged and looks ready to be taken off the road.

Interior

The interior of the 2002 Buick Rendezvous seats five comfortably in a plush interior that is available as all leather, fabric with leather trim, or just fabric. By including an optional third row of seating, up to seven passengers can be carried in the 2002 Buick Rendezvous. The seating in the cabin can be configured in several different ways. The front row of seats is made up of two bucket seats, while the second row can be a three-person bench with a split fold, or two captain’s chairs. The captain’s chairs can have footrests included, and fold down to allow access to the third row of seating for additional cargo space. All seats in the second and third row can be folded flat to provide the maximum cargo space.

Standard features for the base model of the 2002 Buick Rendezvous include air conditioning, power windows, locks, and mirrors, and an audio system. A driver information center is included with the CXL model. The OnStar communications system is available as an option, although no navigation system is available.

Performance & Handling

The 2002 Buick Rendezvous is equipped with a 3.4-liter, V-6 engine that produces 185 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission available is a four-speed automatic, although it can come as either front-wheel or all-wheel drive depending on the model. The all-wheel drive models have the GM Versatrak system installed, which maintains the vehicle in front-wheel drive unless slipping by the tires is sensed. When slipping occurs, the system automatically adjusts the power to the rear tires.

Acceleration of the 2002 Buick Rendezvous is adequate, but not quick no matter whether it is a front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicle. The transmission is generally smooth and responsive, providing for a better overall ride. The suspension is soft, but the ride can still be bumpy, and handling is more like in a minivan than in a sedan. Steering can feel unresponsive, and there is significant body lean when cornering.

Safety

Standard safety features for the 2002 Buick Rendezvous include anti-lock brakes, a tire pressure monitoring system, and front and side front airbags. The front airbags have two modes of deployment that vary the deployment of the airbags based on the severity of the crash and the position of the passenger. Traction control is an option for front-wheel drive models, and a rear obstacle / parking assist system is optional for all models.

EPA Fuel Economy

Buick Rendezvous: 17/24 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Roomy and comfortable interior
  • Cargo space
  • Optional third row of seating

You Won't Like

  • Less powerful engine
  • Steering and handling like a minivan

Sum Up

All new midsize crossover SUV that looks like a sedan, but handles like a minivan.

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