For 2007, the Buick Rendezvous carries over virtually unchanged, with the additional of OnStar’s available new “Directions & Connections” turn-by-turn navigation system. The two V6 engines available in 2006 have been whittled down to a single choice, a 196-hp 3.5-litre V6, and all models are now front-wheel drive; the all-wheel drive option has been discontinued.

Prices are also considerably lower than in 2006: the base CX drops by $2,690, while the top-of-the-line CXL is now $4,625 under its 2006 counterpart.

Available with three-row seating, Rendezvous’ high roofline provides plenty of headroom for passengers all the way to the back; both the second and third row of seats can be removed for increased cargo capacity. The Rendezvous is more of a short minivan than an SUV, and has a softer, more comfortable ride than a truck, with the upright seating and commanding view of the road that minivan drivers prefer.

The CX comes with manual air conditioning, a rear three-bin storage system, cruise control, floor mats, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, power windows, cloth seats, CD player with six speakers, four-wheel disc brakes, power locks with keyless entry, fog lights, power mirrors, side roof rails, 17-inch wheels, variable intermittent wipers and intermittent rear washer/wiper.

The CX Plus adds roof rack crossbars, manual dual-zone climate control and trip computer.

The CXL adds leather interior, heated mirrors, heated seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, chrome accents, leather-wrapped wheel with simulated wood accents, six-way power driver and passenger seats, driver’s position memory, OnStar, traction control, rear parking assist, CD/cassette with eight speakers, and rear-seat audio controls.

The CXL Plus adds second-row captain’s chairs (for six-passenger seating), along with an exterior appearance package, 17-inch aluminum wheels, cargo cover, wood grain accents and six-CD system with eight speakers.

The Rendezvous has been around for a while, and the loss of a second engine and driveline configuration may mean it’s heading into its twilight, especially since it’s unique in the GM line-up with last year’s unlamented discontinuation of its sister vehicle, the Pontiac Aztek. It’s not a pretty vehicle, but it’s a comfortable alternative to a minivan or SUV, and offers enough luxury touches that you know it’s a Buick; the huge price drop from 2006 just sweetens the pot.

Connect with