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Chevy Uplander/Pontiac Montana SV6/Saturn Relay/Buick Terraza



  • We purchased our 2005 Relay in early July. We now have around 1450 miles on it. We have not yet experienced any of the problems posted but I have to admit I am now quite concerned. My Relay was manufactured in Dec. of 2004 We have an after market remote start (this was put in by the dealership before we were even looking at the van). We have the Relay 3 with a healthy amount of options. We don't have the AWD with load leveling suspension, the 6 disc in dash CD changer, Stabilitrak, the Phat Noise system or the optional Navigation system. We do however have every other available option. The "Stow N Go" seating has never been an issue for us as we don't normally do the type of hauling that would require the extra inches of room. We did go to Kmart and bought a new patio set (table and four chairs) all in one large box and the table top was in it's separate large box. Plus we had a whole stash of bags from other items we had bought. There were 4 large adults on that shopping trip that day. I have to admit when I saw the size of the boxes and was looking in at the flat load floor after folding down the two rear seats that I was concerned that perhaps it wouldn't fit (the box was enormous). I was pleasantly surprised when both boxes went right in and there was still room for all the bags of other "goodies". The tailgate closed all the way easily and the two second row captains chairs were able to be left in the full rear position (the seats are adjustable fore and aft via a bar located under the front of each seat as well as a second bar behind the seats, nice feature!) I was truly stunned and amazed! The divided rear cargo holder behind the 3rd row seats has already been put to good use. I have to admit that if I needed more room I could have folded down the second row seats (just couldn't have had all four of us at the time) and if still more was needed they could be tumbled forward which we tried before we even bought it. We found that between the second row seats being adjustable fore and aft and the fact that they fold down and can be tilted forward with relative ease that the third row seat is very easy to get to. If we knew we were going to be carrying something that needed even more room both the second row and third row seats could be removed as well as the storage bin behind the 3rd row seat and we would have a truly enormous amount of room! I really like the high seating position, really gives you a commanding view of the road and the big SUV's don't look so big when I am in it. The dual power doors are fantastic and have come in amazingly handy on a lot of different occasions. The DVD player came in handy when me and another person were left waiting for two others for two hours one day. It allowed us to watch a movie in comfort and the time flew by. By the way, the second row seats also recline making for a variety of comfortable seating positions. I did find via the owner's manual a way to have the doors remain locked until the key is removed from the ignition. This can be done via the personalization options which are accessible through the information display located below the tachometer and using the buttons on the dash above and to the left of the radio (one is marked with the letter "i" and another has up and down arrows on it (this is available if you have the DIC option which is part of the Uplevel vehicles- more information may be found on page 3-67 of the Saturn Relay Owner's Manual). I bring this up because I read in several posts that there was some concern about the doors unlocking when shifting into park. The OnStar has paid for itself in spades and frankly I think is better than navigation in that not only can they give you directions to anywhere you want to go from where you are at the moment as well as telling you where the nearest gas station, restaurant etc. etc. is and even make reservations for you if you need that. Frankly I don't know of any navigation system that will notify help should you be in an accident and you are unable to get the help yourself because you are unconscious etc. Imagine this scenario: You are traveling along at night during snowy weather in a relatively remote area where there are no other cars on the road and you hit a patch of ice etc., lose control and go off the road and hit a tree etc. knocking you unconscious. With OnStar help will be notified and on it's way, without OnStar you are literally left out in the cold, scary! Now that is what I call safety! I am also not aware of any navigation system that should you be having a medical emergency or any other emergency can connect you to police, fire or ambulance etc especially when your cell phone battery is dead and you left the car charger at home or you are outside of your regular cell phone carrier's coverage area. To me, that peace of mind is priceless! I would have liked to have a power rear liftgate however I have noticed that on some models the mechanism protrudes out into the opening of the doorway (I have even noticed them through the rear window of DC minivans) and I can just imagine the time when you have a large package and the extra room taken away from the opening by the mechanism could make the difference between it going in or not. As long as the struts are in good repair the effort needed to open and close the liftgate isn't difficult to speak of. Anyway, I am hoping that I don't experience the troubles I have read about here (some are real horror stories!). I do know that from past experience I have bought a car and later was reading posts much like this and I heard real horror stories there too and that was not an American car. I guess you only hear when things go really wrong and not so much when they don't. It sounds like there were a number of problematic vans built but hopefully it is all relative and not indicative of wide spread problems. This could be why there have only been TSB's and no recalls yet. I sincerely hope so! :shades: I'll keep you posted if anything comes up (I hope not LOL!) :)
  • I have had nothing but noise in my 05 Terraza. When going over bumps it sounds as if the entire back of the van is falling off! Check out

    This is a great website and you can see all of the technical bulletins as well as recalls and see what others have had problems with. There is a TSB regarding the rear suspension noise (noise or clunk in the rear suspension).

    When I took this back to the dealer, though, he didn't fix it. He just told me that there are so many parts on the Terraza, there is bound to be noises and because so many of the parts are plastic, this will happen! :(
  • I purchased my 05 Terraza in February. So far, it has been back in for repairs 12 times!!!

    The first were minor problems: chiming when putting the van into gear, sliding door making grinding sounds when closing and the door locks opening and closing when driving. This was related to a bad fuse or sensor, which was replaced and recalibrated. (Although this still happens, so not convinced that this sensor is any good either!)

    The car started moving forward when using the remote start, was told that sometimes gas stays in the lines thus causing the forward movement.

    Twice had to be returned for repairs regarding the radiator support coming in contact with the frame rail. First time replaced the right support - still had noise. Second time per service bulletin they reworked the frame channel.

    Then had a recall on the harmonic balancer bold, which needed retorqued.

    At 5819 miles, the brakes began to pulsate and grind when going down hills - found that both front brake rotors were scored and they decided to grind down the rotors rather than replace them.

    But the biggest problem was two weeks ago, driving on a Saturday afternoon on a very busy major highway, at about 50 mph the steering completely locked up on me! This caused the van to swerve from side to side, making it all but impossible to control! The van quickly decelerated to about 30 mph and I was in the fast lane! The brakes and the gas also wouldn't work, so I was at the mercy of the other drivers. The traction control light was on, even when I tried to turn the TC off, and the "Service Stability System" light was flashing! Somehow, by the grade of God, I was able to use all of my power to get the van to turn a very hard left and went flying into an empty lot. There I sat, shaking and trembling. I called roadside assistance and they said not to drive it again and they would take care of towing it to the dealer.

    Found out that there was a faulty steering wheel sensor in the van and this had to be replaced! I have absolutely no faith in this new part, as the other parts replaced in the van still malfunction. And this is the steering sensor! Talk about safety issues.

    Started a case file with Buick, and got nowhere with them. There are satisfied that the new part will be fine and they closed the case. Got nowhere with the dealer, either, as he offered to buy back the van (which I have had for seven months and have only 5979 miles on it) for $16,500.00! What an insult to my intelligence!! This van stickered at just under $30,000.00. Or they offered to put me into an 06 Terraza but I would have to pay the difference of $7,500.00!!!

    So, the van now sits in my driveway! I am absolutely terrified to drive it again. I guess Buick will either wait for an injury or a fatality to occur before they realize that there is a MAJOR safety problem with my van.

    Has anyone else had any of the problems that I have had, especially the steering problems :cry: ? (I did see on the NHTSA board that one other person also had the same steering problem as me, but I didn't even know about that web site until a friend of mine emailed me the link)
  • Yep, also had this problem. Had to have moldings on both sliding doors reglued. They said if they keep coming off they will just order new ones. Good think I don't have a job, since I spend many of my days in the dealership's waiting room!
  • kcoreykcorey Posts: 130
    Before I bought my '05 Terraza CXL, I owned a '02 Olds Intrigue. When I brought that in for service at 20,000 miles, I had a real problem with the service writer. I went right to the owner of the dealership and he straightened everything out. With my Buick, I have never had any problem with service. I make a list of anything that I want done, and everything has been done. If you're not getting the type of service that you want, go to a different dealer. It doesn't have to be Buick, or the place that you bought the car from. Any GM dealer will be glad to have your business. Hey, you paid a lot of money for you car, and you have a right to have it perform properly. When you bought it, the salesman didn't say anything about rattles or plastic parts, did he? I have the best and quietest riding car that I've ever owned. I only tried the Buick on-line customer service once, and I wasn't too pleased with it... I think they (GM) only have some part-timers working there who just key things into a computer, and hope for an answer. If you're having a problem that the dealer can't resolve, WRITE A LETTER!!
  • StabiliTrak issue. My wife had a similar experience with her StabiliTrak system going off on its own. She was driving on the highway, on drive pavement, going straight when the wheels made a grinding noise (brakes pulsating), and the StabiliTrak system light came on. She had to fight the wheel from veering right, she also try to give it gas, but had no response (traction control on these cut fuel off), then the Service StabiliTrak system light came on. She called OnStar to document and to get a diagnosis. They came back and told her to take the car in with in 7 days to get the StabiliTrak serviced. We took it in the next day, and the technician found a reading that the steering sensor had given a “zero out” reading. He tested and everything was in specs. I later read your note and also went to the NHTSA complaint board and printed out a copy of both your Edmunds post and the complaint on NHTSA. The service Manger called GM and opened a case on the car. Found out that they have had issues with a wiring harness rubbing and fraying causing the StabiliTrak system to short out. They checked for the wiring harness on our Terraza and it was ok. So, we’re just going to monitor. Please issue a complaint on NHTSA. I am. Need to keep this documented, as it is a safety issue. Best thing if this happens again is to keep the wheel straight and coast out.
  • Maybe you should have kept the vibe! Friends of mine have purchased a Pontiac Montana SV6 same vehicle. I hope they are not having the same problems. Your displeasure with your vehicle is the reason I would never by any automobile from what use to be the big three, in their first model year. They seem to like to use the customers to work out the bugs.
    Hope everything works out in the end sounds pretty frustrating. :(
  • Hi everyone, so we have been driving our new 2006 Terraza for about three weeks. We opted for the CXL, with the new 3.9L V6 - more power to pull that boat I am hoping to get some day. So far, everything is fantastic. The leather heated seats are excellent, remote start is great, especially in cold weather, it runs beautifully, does NOT pull to the right, no squeaks or noises, no headlamp flickering, just a great smooth ride with lots of power. I will try and post every few months just to let you know how things progress but I should add that I just returned a Buick Rendezvous after 3 years and other than all 4 hubs being replaced under warranty, I didn't have any problems with it either, despite what you read in these forums. Lets all hope for the best! Dave
  • dirkworkdirkwork Posts: 210
    Hey, can we get some comments on how you rate the 3.9 vs the old 3.4 that is in the Rendezvous? Many folks have been waiting for this motor.
  • jk27jk27 Posts: 244

    I, too, would love to hear any compare/contrast comments you have between the Terraza and the Rendezvous. I currently own a 2002 AWD RDV CXL but I'd like a bit more cargo room. How does the ride/handling compare? Acceleration (I'm assuming with the 3.9, you have a lot more get up and go)? Creature comforts? Visibility? Usable cargo room? Thanks!

    Can you share with us what you paid for your 06 Terraza?

    I was doing some research and I was bummed to read this snippet from Consumer Reports on the Terraza:

    "The Terraza is one of four freshened GM minivans. As with the Chevrolet Uplander, Pontiac Montana SV6, and Saturn Relay, the Terraza is powered by a coarse 3.5-liter V6 engine. A more-powerful 3.9-liter is optional. The heavy second-row seats can be folded and removed, while the third-row seat folds flat on the floor when not in use. It drives very similarly to the Saturn Relay we tested, with a stiff ride and noisy interior. Handling is reluctant. The interior trim is insubstantial. The new snout can't disguise the fact that these are essentially outdated minivans that are not competitive in their class. First-year reliability has been much worse than average."

    Thoughts? Other cross-over alternatives with a car-like ride?
  • dirkworkdirkwork Posts: 210
    What you are driving now is a good vehicle, and similar to the vans as you noted. The new vans have somewhat improved ride and features but are similar to the older models. Your Buick Rendvs has a better rear suspension design for a smoother rear ride than you are likely to get with the van. But there is a ton of room, and with the new motor, they are not a bad choice. Some people think the sun rises and sets with Toyota and Honda, but they have issues too. Personally I think the Toyota is too mushy riding and pedestrian for my taste (sort of like a big camery, tells people you really don't care your vehicle has the personality of a rock), my Olds seems bolted to the road (rims & tires make a big difference though) and can handle turns beyond what the passengers wish to experience! The GM vans are typically somewhat less costly (watch the options) but have a steep depreciation curve. If you do buy new, hope you keep it a long time. Otherwise, perhaps lease or buy a used one - as the recent deals on new vehicles have hurt used resale to the point you could score big.
  • Are you sure the Rendevous's rear suspension is better than the Terraza's? I know all Terraza's have the fully independent rear suspension. The other GM minivans only get this if they are AWD.
  • Well, I loved my Rendezvous but with three kids, on long trips there just wasn't enough room. This new 3.9L engine is fantastic - nice smooth acceleration and yet very powerful. I drive on the highway every day and I do not notice the constant up/downshifting that others seemed to notice with the older engine. The ride is quite similar to the Rendezvous - perhaps a bit softer, easier on the bumps etc. Handling is great, the sight line for driving is excellent, there is much more room for cargo, and passengers yet the handling is good and parking isn't much more difficult, which my wife likes. The CXL Terraza has all the creature comforts of the Rendezvous except for the HUD. As one final note, I made sure they took off those Goodyear Integrity tires that came standard, they were horrible on our camry - the new Continental tires seem fine. Dave
  • Just noted the comment from Dirk about depreciation - we leased this Terraza and they do depreciate it heavily over a 3 year period, so if you buy, be sure to get every possible discount going at the time. We had trouble getting a Terraza up here in Canada, but I suspect it would be easier in other cities, esp in the US. I cant share the price as we are GM Family Plan members - my Dad worked at GM for 35 years so we get a slightly higher discount than most could likely negotiate (just my impression - go ahead and negotiate heavily! - GM is still not doing very well these days). Some 06s still come with the 3.5 engine, so be sure you know what you are buying. Good luck. Dave
  • cla1cla1 Posts: 27
    I have read and mostly appreciated CU for years, but have learned to take their subjective assessments as that. We have an 05 Terraza and while I certainly agree that the second seats are heavy and clumsy to remove (my God, who designed these things anyway?)and difficult to adjust fore and aft--I certainly don't find the engine coarse, the trim insubstantial, and the interior noisy. They tend to generalize findings from one "sibling" to all. Plus, after living with this thing a year, we like the "snout" and overall are very pleased with it.
  • nymomnymom Posts: 17
    I test drove an 06 terraza yesterday and overall really liked it. I just have one question? I currently have two children in car seats and have an 04 jeep grand cherokee which i use the tether(spelling?)straps that hook into the roof. Is there a place in the terraza to use this same system or will i have to use the latch system? Any advice would be great.
    Thank you
  • I would confirm with the sales staff but I am using a back seat tether for my little one's car seat (third seat - right behind the seat). There is only one tether location at the back though, but each middle seat has its own location at the bottom of the seat, according to the owners manual. Dave
  • NHTSA Probes Windshield Wiper and Headlight Problem in Some GM Models

    December 5, 2005
    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a preliminary safety investigation of the Chevrolet Uplander, Pontiac Montana SV, Saturn Relay and Buick Terraza because of a flaw that could cause the headlights to go out.

    All of the vehicles in the investigation are from the 2005 model year.

    NHTSA has received information that the actuating bar of the windshield wipers might cause damage or even cut a wiring harness that results in loss of the headlights.

    In a related problem, General Motors issued a bulletin to dealers on February 21, 2005 warning that the wiper motor crank arm could contact an under-the-hood electrical center and "Some customers may report a stall and the no start condition after the wipers are used." :lemon: :lemon:
  • I noticed that GM decided to add second row seat mounted side airbags on it's Vans's for the 2006 model year, but one thing I saw on Saturn's website was that if you got the side airbags for the second row, you could not remove the second row of seats. This made me wonder, is it really worth it? (put aside the fact that is is a necessary feature for minivans)
  • nymomnymom Posts: 17
    Thanks for responding, i was able to find the one in the third row section. I also found what i believe is the ones on the back of the second row captians chairs but i could not get the tether hook in the hole. The hole seemed too small. has anyone else had this problem? thanks
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