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:drevil: oooo man.....good interior and bad exterior.....asstec allover again...I'll stick with my '93 Roadmaster Estate lt1, hd towing pkg and room for NINE. Put that interior in the Holden Statesman wagon & maybe you've got my $
 

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Originally posted by desmo9@Dec 4 2003, 01:04 PM
The upper-left small picture must be the Saturn interior?

This might be a home-run had they been playing in little-league, or Tee-ball... but you really think that cloning a Buick and a Saturn -- with all the side metal and glass from a Chevy -- is a good idea? I think you guys are so fucued on the nicely-done interior, you're overlooking the fact that, externally, the thing is a joke. Barely different from the other GM vans, and about identical to the Saturn.

If Buick is to be the "American Lexus" as Lutz puts it, why are they even offering a minivan? Premium brands don't do vans. With the badge-engineeried Rainier in place, the Rendezvous is already occupying as close to a van as Buick needs to go.

With the interior...base hit. Otherwise this is very foul.
Well if it isn't Mr. Cynical again. ;)

I would definitely say.. as of right now... the interior is at least a stand-up triple. I'm waiting for the "touch and feel" of the dash. But I must say... that interior is quite impressive.

As for the exterior... maybe a bloop single.... easily fielded.
But seriously... what can you do with a van??? I think, the last great looking van from the outside was TranSport. I loved that minivan!!! Then it evolved into the Montana... and it went downhill after that.

I wouldn't be caught dead in a minivan, to tell you the truth, but a lot of the US uses 'em, so why not a Buick?
 

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Hard to tell how the interior will really look like from the small pictures. The videos of the Saturn RELAY are better at:

http://www.saturn.com/aboutus2/news/webcas...t.jsp?movie=200

Looks good, but certainly really need to see and touch it in person.

However, there are obvious fundamental flaws in these new GM minivans.

In order to give it the SUV look (vertical front end) in the front, the profile looks really heavy and long. It does not look SUV like in profile because the nose sticks out WAY too far. SUVs have short overhangs to have better approach angles. This van makes no real effort to look really SUV like except when seen from the front.

The sliding windows look like they do not have movable windows in them like the Mazda MPV and Toyota Sienna. I did not see middle power windows switches driver door on the RELAY video. In fact, the doors look like a complete carry over from the previous minivans except the interior plastic looks new.

The sheet metal in the back, including the rear hatch appear to be complete carry overs from the current minivans. If you carefully compare a rear angle shot of a Venture to the new RELAY in the video, it appears the same. The glass, the door, the sliding door "slot" in the rear all look the same. The bumpers and side trim are the only thing that looks different. If the sheet metal IS somehow different, GM wasted its money, because they did not get gain any styling points in the back.

No one seemed to noticed that the third row seat does not fold back into the floor. This is a big "gotta have it feature" in minivans. The GM vans rear seat fold flat by folding foward, but this means the floor is not flush with the seats down. GM tried to cover this problem up by installing some extra plastic organizing unit behind the third row sear. This is how th current GM minivans work too with the fold down rear bench. This means the 3rd row seats will probably be thin (out of necessity to keep the fold down height as low as possible) and unformfortable like the current GM vans or in other similar arrangements like in the Ford Explorer.

Since the rear seats look essentially the same, it probably means GM did not change the bottom floor sheetmetal of the van. It also means the loading height from the back is higher than a Honda, Toyota, Ford, or Mazda where the rear bench fold back and down and into the floor. I guess higher load height make it more SUV like, but for the wrong reasons.

All the part stealing/sharing going on, there is little but the grills to differentiate these vans. Looks like GM is treating their brands like Ford does Mercury or Chrysler did with Plymouth. Different grills, trim, but no unique sheetmetal.

It's unclear if the rear hatch will be powered like the Toyota or Dodge. The RELAY video did not have it, so I doubt we will see this even as an option.

I'm sure GM must have done something with the structure to get better crash ratings. Since it looks like the sheet metal is much the same, this means they probably will bolt on a bunch of steel members like Kia did with their minivans to get better crash results, but this will add weight.

Since they are using the "new" 3.5 OHV engine, I'm guessing they will use the same 4 speed auto from the Malibu.

If we recap the changes we are seeing here:

o The new interior looks promising up at the front seats. The rear interior looks compromised in the rear seats with an inferior fold forward design.

o The exterior is only new in the front fenders. The drive to look SUV like makes the front look ungainly in profile. The rest of the sheetmetal looks carried over from the current generation.

o The engine is outdated and not competitive in HP. The transmission will probably be missing an gear compared to much of the competition.

Faced with these facts I fail to see how anyone here can get excited about these products. I hope GM didn't waste too many development dollars on them, because there isn't much really new here. I feel sorry for the GM guys in the videos trying to pump these things up.

Ford got rightly blasted for is new Freestar as being disappointing since they just updated the old Windstar. At least Ford did the rear seat right and can claim the most torque in its class. I see GM getting similar poor treatment for its new minivans.

Mark
 

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Question: does anyone know if the sliding rail system the same as in the new F150? Do they know if it was supplied by Johnson Controls? It looks really similar, you would think Ford would have better control over it.
 

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usa1 Posted on Dec 5 2003, 04:21 AM

No one seemed to noticed that the third row seat does not fold back into the floor. This is a big "gotta have it feature" in minivans. The GM vans rear seat fold flat by folding foward, but this means the floor is not flush with the seats down. GM tried to cover this problem up by installing some extra plastic organizing unit behind the third row seat. This is how the current GM minivans work too with the fold down rear bench. This means the 3rd row seats will probably be thin (out of necessity to keep the fold down height as low as possible) and unformfortable like the current GM vans or in other similar arrangements like in the Ford Explorer.

I'm surprised as well that GM did not take it's "Flex Space" fold flat system from the OPEL Meriva/Zafira and integrate it for the Sport Vans. Changes to the floor pan would have been required. Must have been too expensive to rework........


Ken
 

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Originally posted by kmacleod@Dec 5 2003, 09:53 AM
usa1 Posted on Dec 5 2003, 04:21 AM

No one seemed to noticed that the third row seat does not fold back into the floor. This is a big "gotta have it feature" in minivans. The GM vans rear seat fold flat by folding foward, but this means the floor is not flush with the seats down. GM tried to cover this problem up by installing some extra plastic organizing unit behind the third row seat. This is how the current GM minivans work too with the fold down rear bench. This means the 3rd row seats will probably be thin (out of necessity to keep the fold down height as low as possible) and unformfortable like the current GM vans or in other similar arrangements like in the Ford Explorer.

I'm surprised as well that GM did not take it's "Flex Space" fold flat system from the OPEL Meriva/Zafira and integrate it for the Sport Vans. Changes to the floor pan would have been required. Must have been too expensive to rework........


Ken
I agree that a fold "completely" flat feature is a big must. However, it doesn't necessarily mean that the seats must be extremely thin. I understand your logic...however when I had my safari, the seats folded completely flat and the seats were extemely comfortable (even more comfortable than the front buckets.) and they were extremely thick with lots of support. :D
 

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How come these vans, sorry sport vans don't have fold-flat seats? Every other new minivan has them. I can already see the auto journalists ripping these things apart for not having fold-flat seats. When will GM learn that, they can't give these AJ's ammunition? :afro:
 

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I guess the front end of the Highlander reminded me of the Sport Vans. The rest of the look of the sports vans remind me too much of the current GM vans, which is not a good thing <_<
 

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I've read the "not completely fold flat" criticism, but I think this was innovative (well, creative at least) and like this a lot more than the deep plasto-pit in the Honda Odyssey when the seats are up:



With the Buick, you can slide something at waist level towards you - with the Honda pit, you have to bend down / lean over to pull the object up and out.
 

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The only annoying thing I noticed is that they made an extra special effort not to show the rear in the Exterior quick time movie. :angry:

I've also never liked the Buick new "blacked out grill". I think it looks better, and less cheap, when chromed.
 

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Originally posted by KnightHawk@Dec 5 2003, 04:50 PM
I don't want to be the bearer of bad or cheap observations, but doesn't the new sport vans look somewhat of a Toyota Highlander?



picture source: toyota.com
Yes it would look like the highlander if it wasn't a MINIVAN! Look people, just cuse GM gets rid of some of the slope in the nose doesn't make this a crossover and the first dealer who tries to tell me about their new CSVs is going to get punched in the nose. Yeah, interior is better but sadly it looks as though these things are behind the competition straight from birth, just wait till the new caravan comes.
 

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Originally posted by Ming@Dec 5 2003, 09:52 PM
I've read the "not completely fold flat" criticism, but I think this was innovative (well, creative at least) and like this a lot more than the deep plasto-pit in the Honda Odyssey when the seats are up:
This is a valid point, but I feel it it outweighed by the fact that the well is good at keeping things like groceries from falling out the back when you open the hatch after driving home. The new GM vans don't have any grocery bag hooks built into the rear seats in like the Dodge and Honda, so I see this being a problem. Also, you can get a plastic liner for the Odyssey's seat "well", so if you have a milk carton spring a leak on the drive home, the milk get captured for easy clean up. The GM has a removable (optional?) storage unit that should help this though, I'm just not familiar with how effective it is.

Mark
 

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Originally posted by frenstall@Dec 6 2003, 10:43 AM

Yes it would look like the highlander if it wasn't a MINIVAN! Look people, just cuse GM gets rid of some of the slope in the nose doesn't make this a crossover and the first dealer who tries to tell me about their new CSVs is going to get punched in the nose. Yeah, interior is better but sadly it looks as though these things are behind the competition straight from birth, just wait till the new caravan comes.
The Sienna is a minivan based on Toyota's Camry sedan platform, and so is the Highlander.

So the Rendezvous is like the Highlander, but basically:

Rendezvous+Venture=New "sport van"

They're not really all that different, as the Highlander shares components and a (modified) platform with Toyota's Sienna.

Toyota just did a better job at jacking up a Camry station wagon into an 'SUV', but its not an 'SUV' like the Trailblazer, even if it looks like one - like most minivans, its a FWD car-based vehicle.

Where Lutz lutzzed up is where he decided not to touch the rear sheetmetal. Surely there could have been a creative way to make them lool less like the Venture from the hood back without spending big bucks. Change a few panels, not everything.
 

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I've watched the web cast of the release of the RELAY and the Terraza, and I can at least say that I am pleasantly surprised by the interior of the Terraza. It's actually quite elegant looking! Admittedly, my expectations were horribly low to begin with, so near crap would have impressed me!

Below is a link to an article in Business Week Online that touches on some of the struggles that the Big Three face. I do think it's a bit unfair to ask someone who owned a 1970 GM product why they wouldn't but one today; it's unfair to use 1970 poor quality experience to comment on 2004 product. However, some of the points in the article, and the link to another article contained within, are more salient.

http://aol.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflas..._0591_db016.htm

Despite some negativism, I think GM, and to a lesser extent Ford and Chysler, are on on the right track. I guess I am a bit impatient, though. I want consistently awesome Pontiacs, Buicks, Saturns, et cetera now!

G-
 
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