The Buick Rainier shares its body shell and mechanical platform with GM's other mid-size SUVs, the Chevrolet TrailBlazer and GMC Envoy. But of the three, only the Rainier offers a 300-horsepower V8 engine in the handier, standard-wheelbase configuration. Rainier doesn't even offer an extended-wheelbase version like the TrailBlazer EXT and Envoy XL; and that's fine with us, because the stretch-model Chevy and GMC fall short of the standard trucks in handling and stability, while failing to match the space efficiency of GM's full-size Tahoe and Yukon SUVs. Buick offers other benefits. Rainier rides more smoothly than the other GM models, and it's among the quietest SUVs we've driven. Rainier has a uniquely Buick style and a near-luxury sensibility. Yet it still seats five and boasts an engine powerful enough to pull a boat or horse trailer. As with the GMC Envoy, however, choosing the Rainier (especially the six-cylinder model) over the corresponding Chevy may be mostly a matter of image. Just as the GMC badge stands for Serious Trucks, the Buick name has, for over a century now, meant arrival at a certain station in life, an achievement of an elevated socio-economic plateau. From the aptly named Roadmasters of the 1930s-50s, through the sculptured Rivieras of the '60s, a Buick has been about stepping up from the ordinary. The old Chevy may have served you well, and you might still aspire someday to own a Cadillac. But in the meantime you're enjoying the quiet comfort, easy performance, and confidently conservative style of a Buick. With a price range from the mid-30s to the low 40s, Rainier continues this tradition as an appealing alternative for buyers who appreciate strong silent types.