DETROIT - Buick is hoping a plush interior and General Motors' new premium V-6 will woo import buyers for the 2004 Rendezvous Ultra, a new model due in early 2004.
The model is part of GM's plan to move Buick upscale.
Buick spokesman Pete Ternes says the 2004 Rendezvous Ultra will offer "unpretentious luxury. These are luxury features that don't brag that they are luxury features."
In addition, the V-6 engine, with more horsepower and lower noise and vibration, will make the vehicle more refined, Ternes says. The 2004 Rendezvous Ultra will be displayed this month at the New York International Auto Show.
The all-wheel-drive Ultra will take Rendezvous up in price to compete with such vehicles as the 2004 Lexus RX 330, Ternes says.
While Buick prices have not been announced, the awd RX 330 stickers for about $37,000, including transportation.
The top-of the-line awd 2003 Rendezvous CXL is $31,650, including transportation.
The Ultra's interior will feature wood trim on the instrument panel and console. The seats will be covered with suede and leather, and chrome will be added to the gauges and dials. Similar interior styling will be seen on future Buick nameplates such as the redesigned 2005 Regal.
The Rendezvou Ultra will have a monochromatic exterior with a body-colored grille. It will feature GM's all-aluminum 24-valve 3.6-liter engine.
The double overhead cam engine features variable valve timing and will deliver approximately 245 hp. Final horsepower has not been determined.
Preliminary fuel economy is estimated at 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
For comparison, the 2003 Rendezvous is equipped with a 185-hp, 3.4-liter V-6.
The new V-6 will be standard on the Ultra and optional on the CXL model. The 3.6-liter engine will be reserved for Buicks and Cadillacs in the next few years.