The addition of General Motors' OnStar Turn-by-Turn voice-activated navigation system and a tire-pressure-monitoring system are the most noteworthy changes to the 2007 Rainier as it enters its final year of production. Other changes include a new voltage control regulator and the addition of two new exterior colors-Midnight Blue Metallic and Graphite Metallic.
The Rainier has been associated with firsts since it debuted in 2004 as the only midsize, short-wheelbase sport utility vehicle (SUV) in the General Motors family available with a V-8 engine. And although 2007 marks its last year of production, the Rainier benefits from the fact that Buick is the first GM division to offer OnStar's Directions & Connections package with Turn-by-Turn Navigation across its full line of products.
Although the 5-passenger Rainier is big for a midsize SUV, it does not cramp occupants with a third-row seating option. The Rainier only comes in the CXL trim level but offers two engine choices: the standard Vortec 4.2-liter inline 6-cylinder, which was upgraded to 291 hp last year, and an optional Vortec 5.3-liter V-8 rated at 300 hp that is available on either rear-wheel- or all-wheel-drive models. The V-8 features Active Fuel Management, which deactivates four cylinders to save fuel under light load conditions, yet is rated to tow up to 6,700 pounds when the need arises. Both engines are mated to an electronically controlled 4-speed automatic transmission.
The truck-based Rainier benefits from an automatic load-leveling (a plus for towing), rear air-suspension system that provides a soft, quiet ride. It's a nice complement to Buick's QuietTuning technology that utilizes several sound-deadening components such as an acoustic window laminate and other sound-absorbing materials in the engine compartment and side panels. Other standard features include leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, OnStar telecommunications, and StabiliTrak enhanced vehicle control. Side curtain air bags with rollover deployment are optional. Other options include power-adjustable pedals, heated front seats, a navigation system, satellite radio, and DVD entertainment. All 2007 Buicks come with a limited, 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
The Buick Rainier competes in the Midsize Utility segment, which consists of 16 models. Buyers in this segment look for performance, reliability, and comfort, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Avoider StudySM and the Escaped Shopper Study.SM
The top sellers in the segment during calendar year 2006, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM were the Honda Pilot (152,154 units sold), Jeep Grand Cherokee (139,148), and Ford Explorer (131,759). The Buick Rainier sold 12,691 units in 2006, a decrease of 16.9 percent compared to the previous year. Other models offered in the Midsize Utility segment include the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Toyota 4Runner, Jeep Commander, Nissan Pathfinder, and Dodge Durango. Joining the segment in 2007 is the Chrysler Aspen.