2005 Buick Terraza AWD CXL
The Good: Good quality of interior trim
choices. Large amount of space. DVD navigation offered. DVD entertainment
system standard. All wheel drive.
The Bad: Looks like a mule. Passengers
often complained of the feeling of going fast. Uncomfortable in turns and
at highway speeds. High seating position did not feel stable. Slushy
suspension. Volume of room inside is less than in a minivan with take out
or fold down seats.
Apple QuickTime viewer here.
Watch a movie of the exterior, interior, and sound levels while driving.
Buick Introduces to the market a all new
blend of vehicles, combining SUV with minivan to make the Terraza. Called a
crossover sport van, and placed in a mid-van segment, Terraza ups the ante
for the classic minivan buyer. With a SUV front end and a Minivan rear can
the Terraza rev up sales for Buick?
The Terraza is available in two versions,
the CX or CXL and can be had in four wheel drive or two. Both feature a new
3500 3.5 liter V-6 engine producing 200 horsepower and 220 lb-ft or torque.
The CXL version adds a few optional items such as cargo convenience center
of trays in the rear cargo area. Ultrasonic rear parking assist sensors,
and power rear doors for $3,000 extra. The standard Terraza offers some
high end features such as automatic load leveling rear suspension,
QuietTuning materials for a German car like silence inside, standard rear
DVD system, and OnStar.
drive is standard on the Terraza, GM's exclusive Versatrak on-demand
all-wheel-drive system is available on both CX and CXL models, giving this
crossover sport van even more capability. If one or both front wheels lose
grip, the Versatrak system goes into action progressively, with no buttons
to push or levers to throw. The system is poised to help drivers make use of
the traction available by not only transferring torque from front to rear,
but also from side to side between the rear wheels; an ability not found in
many competitive systems. Terraza models in two wheel drive feature the
StabiliTrack traction control system.
Driving the Terraza can be a daunting
talk. The Terraza is very big and feels such. Moving around in tight
spaces can be tricky but the steering is sufficiently light to offer
feedback and ease of use. The rear parking sensors also help a bit, but we
could never tell how far we were from something when backing up. The engine
powers this big vehicle adequately, but the GM screech as we now like to
call it at high rpm's is still evident. You do not really want to go very
fast in a car this big and now we understood why speed limits were set as
low as they were in our area. In the Terraza you feel like you are moving
quite fast and stopping quickly can be a problem, especially for
passengers. There is nothing to hold onto for passengers, a grab handle on
the doors would be a good idea. The ride is decidedly bouncy and body lean
is highly evident. On smooth roads the Terraza is easily controllable and
easy to drive. Steering feedback is good with a fair amount of precision
while not being overly loose. Passengers found the Terraza high in the
Terror factor. You will get a lot of "slow down" suggestions even when
driving under the posted speed limits on roads and highways. As a passenger
you get the feeling that you are going to move forward off your seat at any
time. Perhaps if the seats were a bit wider and angled back this would not
happen. You also feel worse due to being so high off the ground in the
Terraza and in the second row you feel isolated in the center of the cabin
not able to lean on any door. Both seats cannot be pushed together to make
a large bench seat. Compared to other minivans the Terraza feels big.
Compared to a SUV the Terraza feels less stable. If GM is going to give us
the room of a SUV with the looks of a minivan, you might as well go with the
ride quality of a big SUV which is better than a minivan's.
Exterior looks are on the
strange side. We found ourselves starring at the front end a whole lot
during our test drive. While the overall shape of the Terraza is modern and
refined, the car has a shape of a mule with a long nose. The car or SUV
like front end just doesn't fit well with the body of a minivan. Looking
head on from the front you see a shape that is like a SUV, something a bit
bold. But from the side the minivan overall shape of the Terraza just makes
this entire "thing" look too big. Chrome wheels added a sharp look to the
vehicle. A roof rack on top is also a useful feature.
The front cabin of the Terraza
is elegant and nicely done. We found it hard to believe that GM could make
a car as nice as this up front. Doors have soft leather padding with light
colored stitching. Aluminum and wood is used nicely, even though the wood
looks a bit fake. The upper dash was nicely done with leather look material
of high quality. The steering wheel was wrapped with soft leather and all
buttons felt great. The console featured easy to use dials for stereo and
the six disc built in CD changer. The glovebox is also quite large.
The climate control system is
not fully automatic but was powerful nevertheless. The lower console
featured two additional cup holders and a fold out tray for more storage. A
trip computer is also available which showed us average fuel economy of 15
miles per gallon for our entire mixed travel test. The upper front panel on
the roof contains another storage area as well as buttons for opening the
dual powered rear doors and the third row windows to vent the cabin. Three
Homelink garage door operator buttons are also featured. Our Terraza also
featured a rear backup sensor but we did not find it very useful as it was
quite low in volume and it never really told us how close we were getting to
a object behind us. A visual sensor is needed here. The steering wheel
offers controls for stereo adjustment as well as a one control stalk for
turning, as well as multiple windshield wiper functions.
Headlights are automatic,
another nice touch. The interior of the Terraza glows a wonderful white at
night making for a pleasant experience with a good amount of ambient light
inside. Mirrors did not do a good job of keeping out nighttime light from
behind however, something we would have liked to see in this high-end
model. At night there is plenty of exterior lighting to enable you to find
your vehicle in the dark with bright lamps up front and in back to light up
a area around the Terraza. Headlamps work minimally well and Xenon systems
should be standard.
Front seats are comfortable but we would like to have
adjustable foot pedals for the driver as the steering wheel is very long and
cannot be adjusted to move away from the driver.
The second row of seats are
quite comfortable and pleasant. Both seats have dual armrests which fold
down and the seats are comfortable soft. The sliding powered doors have
great touches of soft leather with stitching that matches the work done on
the front two doors. This was a very unexpected touch and we really liked
it. Up above two compartments hold CD's and other items you may have and
towards the front of the cabin you have a roof mounted DVD player. The
seats are quite heavy and difficult to move around. We found that flipping
the seat back down was difficult because the large headrests would usually
hit the front seatbacks. So you have to move up the front seats first, then
fold down the rear seatbacks and this creates a flat floor that is much
higher than a typical minivans floor. Flipping forward the seats or trying
to remove them proved difficult at best due to the seats being very heavy.
If you want space that can be converted easily we say get a Chrysler
Nifty features are thin
storage areas in the sliding doors, a sliding tray in between the seats for
cup holders and other items. All four captains chairs have storage areas in
their seatbacks for DVD headsets and remote controls. A cargo tray in the
rear cargo area allows you to store things without having them fly all over
the trunk. An available DVD based navigation system is also a great option
to have. Also available is a tri mode entertainment system that lets all
your passengers listed to up to 3 different sources.
The power dual rear doors work
well and can be controlled by remote control. The remote can also start the
Terraza making for a cooler cabin in the summer heat before you enter. The
rear doors both were difficult to open by using their door handles however,
which had to be pulled very far out to start the opening process.
The third row is smaller in
width than the second row and features a sidewall for a cup holder and a
small tray to lay some items down. The seat is flat and hard and your knees
are a bit higher than we would like them to be in the third row. There is
lighting above and hooks to hang even more stuff. Air vents are sufficient
overhead and can be closed when not in use. It is quite nice in this third
row with large windows to keep the space feeling open.
Terraza is engineered to be among the safest vehicles in the mid-van
segment, and is designed for outstanding performance in real-world crashes.
Notable features include structural enhancements to the frame using
high-strength steel. A long front-end compartment provides a large crush
zone to preserve interior space, while long and strong engine compartment
side frame rails increase energy absorption in the event of a frontal
Our test car had a standard
base price of $33,855. Added to this were four 17 inch aluminum chrome tech
wheels for $650. XM sattelite radio added another $325. A stereo system
with six CD changer and MP3 Player was $295. A remote vehicle starter
system which was very useful added $175. This brought out total to
$35,300. $5000 can be taken off by the current employee discount price