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.