2008 Uplander New Car Test Drive
The strength of the Chevy Uplander lies in its value. Comparably equipped, the Uplander sells for thousands less than class standards such as the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.
Uplander comfortably seats seven, with a choice of individual captain's chairs or a two-place bench seat in the second row. And it takes care of its passengers in a well-designed, nicely finished interior. The base LS model offers a high level of standard equipment, including a subscription to GM's OnStar tele-aid service. StabiliTrak electronic stability control is now standard on all extended-length passenger models. A removable hard drive called Phatnoise is available that allows the onboard entertainment system to play or display everything from MP3 music files to family photos to video games to the latest movie releases.
Uplander's main shortcoming has been a lack of performance, but Chevrolet addressed this last year by offering a new, 3.9-liter V6 with 240 horsepower. For 2007, the weak 3.5-liter V6 has been dropped from the model line and the more potent 3.9-liter is standard. With the optional towing package, Uplander is rated to pull up to 3,500 pounds.
Chevrolet would be happy if you thought of Uplander less as a minivan and more as a blunt-nosed SUV crossover. Uplander's pouty snout was calculated to suggest this. Regardless, the Uplander is the best minivan Chevrolet has ever offered.
The Chevrolet Uplander LS ($23,208) comes with fabric upholstery, air conditioning front and rear, power windows and locks, tilt steering column, a rear-window defroster and wiper, dark-tinted rear glass, power rear vent windows, OnStar, and a CD player with MP3 capability. Its second-row seat is a two-place bench, and its third-row seat splits 50/50 to increase passenger/cargo flexibility. The LS comes standard with StabiliTrak.
Uplander LT ($27,405) comes with a power driver's seat, second-row captain's chairs, a power sliding door on the passenger side, and a single-screen DVD entertainment system with two infrared headphone sets. LT comes in three trim levels: 1LT, 2LT and 3LT. The 3LT package ($5,645) adds XM Satellite Radio and PhatNoise Mobile Digital Media along with many other features.
Options include a remote starter ($190), Cargo Convenience storage bins ($385), XM Satellite Radio ($199), traction control ($195), roof rails ($180), chromed wheels ($650), a 6CD changer with MP3 playback ($295), and the towing package ($25). The Premium Seating Package ($1,350) adds leather surfaces for the first and second row, power front passenger seat and front seat heaters. The Convenience Package adds a power sliding rear door on the driver's side combined with a 115-volt power outlet and rear park assist ($720).
Safety features include the mandated front airbags. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS) come standard. StabiliTrak electronic stability control is optional on the short-wheelbase LS, standard on other models. Traction control is optional. OnStar comes standard with a one-year subscription, which features automatic notification when airbags deploy, a great safety feature. Side-impact airbags are optional. All-wheel drive, which Uplander offered through 2006, is no longer available. Curtain-style head-protection airbags are not available.
Fleet buyers can choose E85 flex-fuel (up to 85 percent ethanol) capability as a no-cost option. StabiliTrak can be deleted for credit. Also available is a long-wheelbase cargo van ($22,105).
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