Buick Rendezvous

I am looking into purchasing a Buick Rendezvous and would appreciate your input on the following:
- The recommended trim level - Ultra, CXL Plus, CXL etc.;
- The reliability, especially with the basic operability, but less with the optional accessories; - Is the AWD version recommended; and - The mileage that is low enough to be in relatively good condition, yet high enough where the issues have already been experienced and addressed.
I would appreciate your comments on other issues that I may have missed.
Thank you in advance ...
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Higher trim levels mean: More trade in value More toys to play with (comfort convenience factors) More profit for GM Slight increase in reliability issues for the fancier gadgets.
I'd rather have the highest trim level of a mid priced car than the base trim level of a higher priced car.

Where do you live, where do you drive, do you ever go off road, back road, winter sports? If I lived on top of a big hill in New Hamspshire, I'd get it. If I cruised around town in the south, I'd probably not.
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Not necessarily, Ed. The trade in value is influenced heavily by the brand and client interest. Some brands and models hold their values well. I really don't think a Buick Rendezvous is in this category.

Just what we need. More GM BS to go wrong.

I don't think so, Ed. The more gadgets, the more eventual failures and the more expensive they tend to be. GM in general and Buick in particular are known for geegaws that come back to bite you in the butt.

GM loves you.
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I'm sure they do. I have a couple of Limiteds instead of the Custom. If you take a Custom and add all the options that come standard on the Limited, you definitely pay more for a little trim. Since I tend to keep cars for a long time, the added cost over 10 or 15 years becomes negligible.
I do like some of those gewgaws though. Rain sensing wipers is one. Climate control another. I can do away with many of the passenger amenities though, but we have no choice. 99.9% of the time it is just me and maybe my wife so I don't care about rear AC vents, armrest, etc. I was looking at an Avalon and it had reclining rear seats. If there were four of us on the daily commute or frequent vacations, it may be worth something, but not much to me. YMMV.
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wrote in message

I definitely have a hard on at GM right now. They produce shit geegaws, but are possibly better than most of the species.
We have a LeSabre (1998) and a Reatta (1990).
I have had it up to my ass with GM/Buick hype and pisspoor dependability.
Will I buy another?? Maybe,.............
but certainly not a Rendezvous.
GM needs to get its act together. Right now, it is a poor choice.
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Pretty much the way I feel right now. I've had plenty of good GM cars over the years, but my 2001 LeSabre is a disappointment. An expensive disappointment. I just don't know if anything else is going to be better.
I have a list of will NOT buys too. Like anything from Chrysler Corp, Saab, Volvo, Audi. Under consideration will be Buick Lucerne, Nissan, Toyota.
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wrote in message

Well, after over 35 years of owning mostly GM products, and being a steadfast dyed in the wool GM guy, I bought a Hyundai for my wife last year. We will see how the reliability really is on that decision, but the car is a very nice car at this point. It's an 04 Sonata.
--

-Mike-
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Mike Marlow wrote:

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I never buy anything that costs over a few hundred dollars without researching the options. You can research cars online now. Carsurvey.org & Edmunds.com are good places to begin. Of course, getting only a hundred or so comments you will get mostly extreme experiences and views, people who are very angry and people whose experience is exceptionally positive.
Given that, the Buick LeSabre, anywhere you look, is mostly positive. Not so for the Buick Rendezvous.
Buick Rendezvous: 2002 and 2003 get overwhelming negative comment from owners. The 2003 generates a shorter list but some of the big problems over lap. A consistency in buyer comments is no help from the dealer and once GM sells a person a vehicle it does not care about you. Front wheel bearings, electrical problems, fuel gauge failures, Manifold gasket failures, fluid leaks, transmission failures come up a lot in comments. 2004 seems to be a bad year and 2005 generates significantly less complaints. Complaints tend to begin at 25,000 miles and again complaints cluster around 50,000 miles. 2002 and 2004 AWD model owners complain about excessive gas mileage for a CUV; though roomy inside, the CUV seems to have a shorter wheel base than a Ford Taurus.
The Rendezvous does have a lot of bells and whistles, and considering many of them are electric, that spells trouble in a CUV that is cheaper than a less luxurious similar vehicle. It is not unusual for owners of 2002 to 2004 models to complain of having to replace two sets of wheels bearings within 45,000 miles! Air Condition condensers tend to crack between 20,000 & 45,000 miles. Again, there are owners who complain of having to replace their condenser more than once. The Rendexvous 2002 to 2004 comes with the troubled GM Series II 3400 V6 engine which was used in several GM cars, including the remarkable Buick LeSabre.
The series I 3800 V6 was dropped after 1995 or '96. That was one reliable engine! The Series II 3400 seems to be an excellent engine with one flaw, the composite plastic manifold. By the way, GM is not the only auto maker to have problems with its first stab at a composite manifold. Toyota Camry and Honda Accord 1996 to 1999 generated considerable owner complaints that at about 45,000 miles (Consumer Reports rates cars based on surveys of their loyal reader-followers, who tend to be middle class salary people who buy a new car every 2 to 3 years, so CR doesn't know much about Japanese cars on the long term) engines would self-destruct. A defect in the composite manifold would case engine oil to gel and if not caught early enough it would cause an engine seize of the heat caused type.
Well, the Buick Series II V6 had (or still has) a manifold problem. Symptoms are usually the car suddenly starts using engine coolant but the owner does not see any leaking to the ground. The coolant "use" is internal caused by the plastic manifold gasket warping from heat. If this is taken care of immediately, the expense is much less than if the failure is allowed to reach the point where the gasket blows.
Get this, there is a third party solution that a handy owner can buy and do himself for under $100. Go to Ken-co.com/manifold/default.htm to read the details. This modification kit for the LeSabre will prevent the major engine problem from happening. Cost is under $100 including a new gasket, you must buy for the minifold. 1-800-263-4283
A thought for Rendezvous owners. A few mechanically inclined owners (wife had to have a Rendezvous) solved the repeat failures problem by using replacement parts made by companies other than those that supply GM/Buick. Top local mechanics tell me that GM in general has been having problems with their wheel hearings.
Some owners say Buick resolved the bearing failure problem somewhat by putting 16 inch wheels on 2003 and later models. I am not sure about this because 2003 owners still complain about front bearing failures.
Owners seem to have a love-hate with the Rendezvous after a year or so of ownership. They love the looks, features, ride, etc but hate the repairs. Several call their Rendezvous a 'money pit'. Resale is so low that many people are tempted to buy a one to two year old model. I would stay away from 2002 and 2003 for SURE. I notice the 2007 models are going for considerably less than the 2002-2003 models. Today's new Rendezvous seems to go at Buick LeSabre list price, about 24,000 to 27,000. Not a bad buy, if you are a mechanic
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I believe we decided that 1995 may have seen some Series I's used but that year was ostensibly when the Series II blew onto the scene.

I haven't researched the 3.4 l engine very much, but believe that some of them had intake manifold gasket failure problems. Some have complained about fragile crankshafts, but I cannot speak to this. The freaking twin cam 3.4 was apparently a bitch from hell.
.

AFAIK, all Series II 3800s had this plastic, or composite as the case may be, problem. Some failed quickly, some not. I suspect they all have the tendency to fail if you keep them long enough. The new bit costs about US$150 from NAPA. Installation charges vary, dealerships sometimes charging $600-700 if they can get away with it.

Is this the stainless steel tube you epoxy into place? Have heard of this fix, but the parts are apparently only available to their distributors. Might be a good deal, but the improved manifold is not too expensive either, especially if you DIY:
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

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