GM Bad Idea: Buick Terraza

GM Bad Idea: Buick Terraza

Ah, the world of minivans. A world that General Motors has tried, unsuccessfully, to enter since the dawn of time: first, with a van shaped like a dustbuster, then with one that could tow stuff. Both vans found a following, though in each case it was comprised of around 900 people that qualified for the GM Friends and Family discount.

Admittedly, GM did make a decent van – the Venture and companions – for a few years in the late 1990s. Of course, it was laughably outclassed by Honda and Toyota immediately after its release, which allowed GM to do what they do best: let it remain on the market almost completely unchanged for five more years.

Which brings us to today’s GM Bad Idea: the Buick Terraza.

After the Venture and companions were no longer good enough to take on rivals, GM finally changed its minivan lineup. The result was five vans: the Chevrolet Uplander, the Buick Terraza, the Pontiac Montana SV6 and the Saturn Relay. The intent was to offer minivan practicality with “SUV styling,” which would’ve been fine – except no one in their right mind believed it looked like an SUV. Instead, they were just ugly.

The Terraza was the very worst simply because of its price point: an upscale CXL model with all-wheel drive started at $34,000. That was more than the newly-redesigned Honda Odyssey in top-level EX trim with leather and a rear-seat DVD player.

Worse, options could bring the Terraza’s price to around $40,000 – though GM’s bottomless incentive budget means we can be sure one never left the dealer at that price. And most of the buyers were probably using GM’s Friends and Family discount anyway.

10 Responses to “ “GM Bad Idea: Buick Terraza”

  1. thelaine says:

    I have never seen one of these vehicles before in my life. I am not better for the experience. “Voyager” I get. “Terraza?” What relationship could that word possibly have to this vehicle? Isn’t that John Kerry’s wife’s name? What the hell does it mean? Is it Spanish for “terrorist?” Is it some kind of decorative tile? Is it a place behind your villa where you stand and look at the view?

    It looks like a Trailblazer rear-ended a Mazda and they just welded it together. What is so hard about making a minivan? If someone has a winning formula in a segment, copy it add marketing. I want to love you GM, I honestly do, but you keep doing sht like this. Just give me my money back and go away.

  2. Remi says:

    I rented one of these in Florida, back in 2006, I was amazed how crappy it was compared to my Odyssey – it did have a DVD player which was a lifesaver, but after the 10 day rental, I was actually excited to get back into my Odyssey.

    It’s not completely fair to single out GM, as the Windstar/Freestar line wasn’t much better…

    • Doug says:

      Very good point. However, the Freestar didn’t have a “luxury” version like the Terraza. There was, of course, the Mercury Monterey – but imagine if Lincoln sold a copy.

  3. Dave Ross says:

    For some reason in, these are used frequently in Mesa Arizona and surrounding areas as temporary photo radar vans. So I guess their claim to fame is …… Parking. And collecting birds from from surprised motorists who just got their portrait taken while trying to hide behind their sun visor.

  4. Cole Carrera says:

    The result was FOUR uplanders, not five.

  5. Beelzebubba says:

    And now we have the Encore….a micro-crossover based on the Chevy Sonic platform, built in South Korea, 1.4L turbo 4-cylinder that makes a whopping 138hp and every interior dimension is slightly smaller than the Kia Soul! But it weighs 400+ pounds more than the Soul…and it is dwarfed by compact crossovers like the Mazda CX-5! Prices start at $25k for the Base and go up to $34k for a loaded AWD Premium….

    The media is being kind so far, but let’s be freakin’ serious- the Cimarron was a better idea!!!

  6. acd says:

    Clearly GM was inspired by Mazda’s success(?)in turning their MPV from an uncool minivan to a hip and happening SUV in the late 1990′s.

  7. Timothy In Boston says:

    Holy Shit. I saw one of these on my morning commute the other day. Green. Gold package? Hard to remember.

    I initially thought it was a Canadian transplant. I had no idea Buick ever sold a minivan.

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