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August 2005
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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. 

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            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. 

            While front-wheel 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 minivan. 

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 impact.

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 plan. 


Base Pricing 30,995 33,875
Destination 740 740
 PCI Driver's Confidence Pkg  Alarm System, Power Sliding LH Door & Rear Parking Sensors 502 605
AQWSeat, Power Second Row RH Sit-N-Lift  Includes Slide-Out Foot Rest, Handheld Remote Control & Dual Front Side Impact Air Bag Restraint System. 3,931 4,795
AP3 Engine Start, Remote Control 145 175
UMS Entertainment Sytem, Mobile Digital Media by Phat Noise 576 695
U3U Radio, Multimedia Navigation 1,655 1,995


  2006 Buick Terraza
CXL 4dr Minivan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 4A)
2005 Chrysler Town and Country
Touring 4dr Ext Minivan (3.8L 6cyl 4A)
2005 Honda Odyssey
EX 4dr Minivan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
2005 Nissan Quest
3.5 SE 4dr Minivan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
2005 Toyota Sienna
XLE 7 Passenger AWD 4dr Minivan (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
MSRP $33,875 $27,755 $28,195 $32,600 $32,430
Invoice $30,996 $25,532 $25,367 $29,809 $28,862
Basic 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi.
Drivetrain 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 7 yr. / 70000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi.
Base Engine Type & Cylinders V6 V6 V6 V6 V6
Base Engine Displacement 3.5 liters 3.8 liters 3.5 liters 3.5 liters 3.3 liters
Valvetrain 12 Valves
overhead valves (OHV)
12 Valves
overhead valves (OHV)
24 Valves
single overhead cam (SOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
Horsepower 196 hp @ 5600 rpm 215 hp @ 5000 rpm 255 hp @ 5750 rpm 240 hp @ 5800 rpm 230 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque 213 ft-lbs. @ 3200 rpm 245 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm 250 ft-lbs. @ 5000 rpm 242 ft-lbs. @ 4400 rpm 242 ft-lbs. @ 3600 rpm
Independent Suspension four-wheel front four-wheel four-wheel front
Stabilizer Bars front front front front and rear front and rear
Self Leveling Suspension Standard Optional Not Available Not Available Not Available
Tires P225/60R17
all season
all season
all season
all season
run flat
Wheels alloy rims
17 x 6.5 in.
alloy rims
16 x 6.5 in.
alloy rims
16 x 7.0 in.
alloy rims
17 x 6.5 in.
alloy rims
17 x 6.5 in.
Front Air Conditioning Zones dual dual dual dual dual
Rear Air Conditioning air conditioning air conditioning air conditioning air conditioning automatic climate control
Rear Air Conditioning Zones single single single single single
Video Games Standard Not Available Not Available Optional Not Available
Telematics Terraza Town and Country Odyssey Quest Sienna
Navigation System DVD optional DVD navigation system - Optional Not Available DVD navigation system - Optional DVD navigation system - Optional
Satellite Communications System OnStar Not Available Not Available Not Available Not Available
Phone hands free phone hands free phone - Optional Not Available Not Available Not Available
Handling Terraza Town and Country Odyssey Quest Sienna
Turning Circle 41 ft. 39.4 ft. 36.7 ft. 40 ft. 36.8 ft.
Hauling Terraza Town and Country Odyssey Quest Sienna
Max. Cargo Capacity 137 cu. ft. 168 cu. ft. 147 cu. ft. 144 cu. ft. 149 cu. ft.
City 15 mpg. 18 mpg. 19 mpg. 18 mpg. 18 mpg.
Highway 20 mpg. 25 mpg. 25 mpg. 25 mpg. 24 mpg.
Length 205 in. 200.5 in. 201 in. 204.1 in. 200 in.
Width 75.2 in. 78.6 in. 77.1 in. 77.6 in. 77.4 in.
Height 72 in. 68.8 in. 70 in. 71.9 in. 68.9 in.
Weight 4646 lbs. 4279 lbs. 4475 lbs. 4209 lbs. 4365 lbs.
Wheel Base 121.1 in. 119.3 in. 118.1 in. 124 in. 119.3 in.
Ground Clearance 5.5 in. 5.4 in. Not Published 5.8 in. 6.9 in.
Interior Terraza Town and Country Odyssey Quest Sienna
Front Headroom 39.8 in. 39.6 in. 40.9 in. 41.9 in. 42 in.
Rear Headroom 38.9 in. 39.5 in. 40 in. 42.8 in. 40.2 in.
Front Shoulder Room 59.9 in. 62.9 in. 63.5 in. 63.7 in. 63.8 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 61.2 in. 64.9 in. 63.1 in. 66.2 in. 64.9 in.
Front Hip Room Not Published 57 in. 57 in. 65.6 in. 58.4 in.
Rear Hip Room Not Published 67.6 in. 64.4 in. 67.4 in. 67.5 in.
Front Leg Room 39.9 in. 40.6 in. 40.8 in. 41.7 in. 42.9 in.
Rear Leg Room 38.9 in. 37.5 in. 39.6 in. 41.3 in. 39.6 in.
Maximum Luggage Capacity 26.9 cu.ft. 26.4 cu.ft. 38.4 cu.ft. Being Researched 43.6 cu.ft.


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