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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings all - Im new here and hope that someone has the information I need. I've read quite a few threads including the ones around the Trailblazer / Envoy / Rainier / Ascender / Saab thread and found it opinionated and informative - which is a good thing.

Here's My question.....and then some observations and comments about my recent "study" of the scene in an attempt to make a wise buying decision.

Question - How does Rainier's ALL-WHEEL-DRIVE system ( ibelieve its refered to as SmartTrack ?) differ from the 4 Wheel Drive system available on the TB / Envoy, aside from the fact that there is no user involvement (i.e. turning a knob to select the mode) ??? Is it the same as the 4 wheel version in "auto" mode ??

Is it a PROVEN system that has been in use for a few years in other platforms or is it basically NEW tech / Hardware (read - Watchout !!) I know its been available on the Bravada - have there been any reliability issues that are know ??

Did the Bravada use the Pan-Axle Oil Pan ?? ( quoting Buick's info " The Front axle runs right THROUGH this unique Oil Pan, allowing our engineers and designers to keep the engine mounted low in the chassis...."). This kinda scares me and sounds like a leak waiting to happen ( Or a PITA if repairs are needed)....should it be a concern ??

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I've been a die-hard Buick fan for over 20 years and while I really like that Buick is offering a true Truck-Based SUV, I agree they should have done ALOT more to differentiate it from its siblings. For the Purchase price they are asking it has nowhere near the luxury appointments it should.

Thankfully, I have a Supplier discount available to me, so that takes away the "Sting" factor.

I Currently drive a '94 RoadMaster Estate Wagon equipped smartly from the factory with the LT1. I was so impressed with it, I bought a pristine '95 for my wife. Unfortunately, she doesn't "appreciate" the old Buick's snow / Foul road capabilities hence our shopping for a 4 wheel / AWD to replace hers, as well as having something besides my 140K mile Wagon to Tow with. I tow a 24" boat as well as my '69 GS400 Convertible to some Show / Races each year.

I would not even be looking at the Rainier IF the TB EXT / Envoy XL had a better arrangement for removal of the third row seating, leaving the rear comartment flat and usable. THIS IS A BIG MISTAKE !!! The LARGE wheelbase of the extended versions makes it UNIQUE across the whole SUV community. They really need to re-think this rear design and make it more similar to my dear old wagon - where everything behind the front seats can be one big cargo area if needed / wanted.

.....I know....Envoy XUV To The Rescue !!! :flush:

I was VERY exzcited to go look at this - and was immediately turned off by it finding its glaring faults in the frosty NorthEast winter weather we are having. FROZEN SHUT AND JAMMED WITH ICE. Fit and finish was terrible, and the rear compartment is....well...cheap looking !!

Step it up to a Yukon / Tahoe you say ?? My wife is SCARED of the size of those - I know its not really that much bigger at all but thats how she feels and she will be the primary driver.

It looks like we'll probably get the Rainier AWD with the 5.3 V8 and 3.73 gears.

What I find astounding and somewhat disturbing is that my RoadMaster Estate Wagon (similar weight, same trans and numerically lower gears) Will probably have ALOT more power.....yet can easily knock off 24 mpg while cruising on the highway

.....Why cant the newer SMARTER powertrains do that ?!?!?!?!?

I look foward to any and all comments - and would really appreciate any "GM INSIDE" info anyone has on the AWD system / oil pan concerns

PS - Why does Isuzu offer a FAR superior warantee ?!?!?!?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
No One has any answers to my questions ??? :YMCA:
 

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I have never heard of any issues with Smartrack, I owned a 94 Bravada and its system worked fine and was smooth and seamless, and that was a 94. I am sure there are always the exceptions, but in general I belive its a good system. As for the drive shaft going through the oil pan, I dont see were that would cause any concern, The platform just came out so I guess we will see if it has any negatives, that will over shadow its advantages.
 

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I can address the fear of the Tahoe/Yukon: 24-hour Test Drive. The biggest objection to the Tahoe is its size, and yet its biggest selling point, other than SUV cache', is its outstanding maneuverability. It has just under a 37-foot turning radius, and the old "parking lot test" used to leave a lot of surprised and happy buyers at my desk.

The other big selling point that you should consider, due to your towing, is the hydraulically boosted brakes on the 2004 Tahoe/Yukon, not available on the TrailBlazer/Envoy/Rainier.

Just a few thoughts,

Ghrankenstein
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for replying - interesting that the Bravada used the Pan-Axle pan with the inline-6
 
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