It needs decent mileage and decent cargo space.
If you’ve enjoyed your experience as a Buick owner, you should consider the Buick Enclave or one of its cousins, the Chevrolet Traverse or GMC Acadia. All three have as much room or more compared with your Rainier (with seats for seven or eight), nearly as much towing capacity and somewhat better gas mileage. In addition, you’d find these car-based crossover SUVs have better ride comfort and lower noise levels than your full-frame, truck-based Rainier.
The Traverse is the least expensive of the three but offers the same qualities and major features, and it’s one of our 2012 Best Bets. Gas mileage for the Traverse is rated at 17/24 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive and 16/23 mpg for all-wheel drive. The Rainier has a best 14/19 mpg with a six-cylinder and rear-wheel drive using the EPA’s adjusted ratings for vehicles prior to the 2008 ratings change. The Traverse finished second in our recent $37,000 SUV Shootout, which was won by the Honda Pilot.
The Pilot, which seats eight, also is the Cars.com Family Car of the Year, so it deserves a spot high on your shopping list. The Pilot offers ample passenger and cargo space, and it has a flexible second row of seats that slide fore and aft and tilt forward for easier access to the third row.
If you need the towing brawn of a truck-based SUV, check out the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon twins, which are larger than the Rainier.
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