01Malibu

Your opinion about the Chevrolet Uplander

41 posts in this topic

Do you find the GM minivans to be a disappointment? How much longer until GM tries the minivan thing again? I wonder how sales of Uplander, Montana SV6, Terraza and Relay compare to Chrysler or Toyota. Or even Nissan or Hyundai? GM could do better. The 90 Lumina/Transport/Silhouette was a flop. Then the 1997 Venture was an improvement. Seems like the Uplander isn't selling as well as the Venture. Some say minivans are a thing of the past and GM should focus on SUVs and family sedans. Maybe so. The Astro sold as well as the Uplander when it was 10 or 15 years old! GM needs to try a new front end on the Uplander soon as see if that can improve sales.

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I am going to answer my own question. I just checked for May. 17,000 Town and Country minivans. 22,000 Caravans. Less than 5,000 Uplanders. Mr. Lutz, something needs to be done about the minivan problem.

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In Canada, the minivan market is more important than in the U.S. For years, the Caravan/Voyager combo were the #1 selling vehicles in Canada - way ahead of the F-150.

The Venture in '97 was a vast improvement over the dust buster; however, the Caravan still was the market leader. After improvements in 2000/2001 (moving the cupholders, getting rid of the cheaper cloth seats, etc.), it could be argued that the Venture was the clear winner in terms of features, ride, size, etc. ABS was standard. Side air bags were standard. The third brake light being LEDs was a clear advantage. Having both sliding doors the same size was beneficial. Ride and gas mileage were exemplary.

However, as usual, GM fell asleep at the switch and both Honda and Toyota surpassed what the Venture had to offer. Then they began decontenting in 2003.

But in this market where the Sienna and Odyssey are $31,000 plus, and we are selling the base (with OnStar, ABS, 17" wheels, power everything!) Uplander for $19,999 - well, for the average family there is no contest. Undoubtedly, the Sienna is a better van, but for $10,000.........?

When gasoline hits $5 and higher south of the border the SUV craze will die a violent death and minivans or "cross overs" will become increasingly important.

I can only hope that Lutz & Co. have something up their sleeves.

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775 Terazzas in May! 1796 Pontiac Montanas in May! 460 Saturn Relays! Did you know that the Solstice outsold any one GM minivan! 4881 Uplanders!! This is absurd!

Correction: The Uplander is the only minivan that sold more in May than the Solstice.

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the uplander is a flop... here on the west coast, the astro van used to be soo popular... even though it need a refresh after 20 years it still did its job...

the uplander doesnt look as good as the astro, it doesnt tow as much, and people think the uplander is lame... if gm really wants to sell the vehicle they should advertise it... i've seen no advertising for it...

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How do the Caravans do in Southern California? Here in the Hinterland, GM advertises the hell out of the Uplander at $19,999 and so does Chrysler.

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Uplander is a complete flop and as big of a disaster in market positioning as GM could make. Sienna and Odyssey far outsell the GM minivans, in retail numbers they obliterate the GM vans. A harsh reality, but GM is far far from competitive with the real market for minivans. The real minivans feel like they are decades more advanced than the GM vans, and I'm not talking about the interior quality. GM needs to come back with something once they've done the proper homework...they never do it anyway.

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I was under the impression that the upcoming Saturn/GMC/Buick vehicles were a partial answer to this. Aren't they based on a minivan-esque chassis? They certainly have simmilar seating capacity (7-8 people). Still, GM will need a new minivan design that is simply a minivan - they don't all need to be disguised as SUV's.

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How do the Caravans do in Southern California?  Here in the Hinterland, GM advertises the hell out of the Uplander at $19,999 and so does Chrysler.

Funny you should say that. Most of the CSVs (especially the Montana SV6) I see driving on the road here have Ontario plates. The Uplander is doing pretty poorly here and Chevy is #1 in this region. I guess people know crap when they see it.

Edited by Cadillacfan

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Think that the interior is an improvement (stylewise) over the Venture, and it's nice to see the van getting a competitive engine, but I'd still chose a Grand Caravan over one. Stow-n-Go is amazing. The 3.8L isn't bad either-very responsive.

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No, gasoline is $4.50 a gallon here and we can't give away Tahoes or Trailblazers on this side of the border. Probably because of this, GM is just being more aggressive with pricing/marketing in this region.

The vans clearly have their shortcomings, and undoubtedly money was being spent on the full sized SUVs and pickups (again) at the expense of the minivans.

I am glad Saturn is going to start getting Opel product, because in Canada we need more fuel efficient vehicles like Opel and fewer Tahoes.

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I don't mind the GM minivans but they have two strikes against them:

1. That long schnozz sticking way out front serves no useful purpose and makes the vehicle that much harder to park. The big appeal of the minivan concept for me is maximum interior room for the smallest possible exterior footprint. The extended front on the current gen minivans works against that concept.

2. Pricing. You can trash Caravans & T&Cs all you want, but they are really aggressively priced and offer a lot of bang for the buck. You can get a well equipped SWB model w/ V6 for $17.5K, and the longer stow & go models for $19K. Unfortunately, we couldn't get a Chevy or Pontiac minivan anywhere close to that price when we were looking at new vehicles earlier this year.

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Ah, Neon, two fallacies:

1) the longer nose serves two purposes. The first being to give an extra star on the crash rating. The Venture only had a 4-star crash rating; the extra length gave the extra star - more metal between you and them. Secondly, and this is far more subjective, it gets away from the "minivan" look and more toward the SUV. It is very subject, I will admit, but for most people it works.

2) The Uplander is market priced. In the greater Toronto area, the Uplander is $18,999 and the Caravan is $17,999 BUT for the thousand bucks you get:

Onstar

power windows and door locks and mirrors

ABS

17" wheels and 4 wheel discs

the Oil Life Monitor....and a lot more.

The Caravan gives you a/c, Cd, a smaller engine and dubious automatic. That's it. Oh, and 16" wheels. Rear drums. No ABS. No power nothing (I know that is a double negative.)

Maybe you should've come to Canada.

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I like the interior of the Uplander. The exterior is kind of weird but it helps the van stick out in a parking lot. Overall, not bad and much better than any previous GM minivan, IMO.

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Ah, Neon, two fallacies:

  1) the longer nose serves two purposes.  The first being to give an extra star on the crash rating.  The Venture only had a 4-star crash rating; the extra length gave the extra star - more metal between you and them.  Secondly, and this is far more subjective, it gets away from the "minivan" look and more toward the SUV.  It is very subject, I will admit, but for most people it works.

AKA, they couldn't engineer it properly in the first place, so they had to graft extra metal onto the front. Shame they couldn't do the same to the side; the CSVs are the poorest performing vans in the IIHS side crash, even with extra-cost airbags.

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I don't care what the crash test ratings are...

The Uppie is pure POS.

I see very few GM vans in an area where they used to sell alot..

There have been 2 accidents involving these vans, and they didn't fare well- at

all. :angry:

I'm just glad that they plan to end production early....

And the jist of those vans are going to Canada.... :blink:

The only person I know who has one (SV6) does like his, but he has been driving these minivans for years...

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FWIW, I like the interior of the GM minis, especially the Buick & the upper crust Saturn model. Very classy. But that long schnozz is a big turn off for me.

The current gen GM minis are also a lot heavier than the previous models, which means that they don't feel as zippy and they don't achieve the fuel economy of the old ones (EPA for the 3.5L engines is 18/25, compared to the 19/26 MPG of the previous gen with the 3.4L engine).

One other word before I duck: Chrysler has drastically improved their 4-speed ATX over the years. I've had six different Mopar minivans, five of which had the 4-speed ATX. The first two ('89 & '94) were real POSs, though they never failed on me (Just rough shifting). Our '02 and our current '06 are complete different animals--smooth, responsive and apparently reliable. It's a rotten shame that they rushed this tranny to market back in late '88; their reputation was severely tarnished and it haunts them to this day.

Edited by NeonLX

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FWIW, I like the interior of the GM minis, especially the Buick & the upper crust Saturn model.  Very classy.  But that long schnozz is a big turn off for me.

The current gen GM minis are also a lot heavier than the previous models, which means that they don't feel as zippy and they don't  achieve the fuel economy of the old ones (EPA for the 3.5L engines is 18/25, compared to the 19/26 MPG of the previous gen with the 3.4L engine).

One other word before I duck:  Chrysler has drastically improved their 4-speed ATX over the years.  I've had six different Mopar minivans, five of which had the 4-speed ATX.  The first two ('89 & '94) were real POSs, though they never failed on me (Just rough shifting). Our '02 and our current '06 are complete different animals--smooth, responsive and apparently reliable.  It's a rotten shame that they rushed this tranny to market back in late '88; their reputation was severely tarnished and it haunts them to this day.

I have to agree with you on the tranny....A co-worker has an 04...and she can't drive to save her life, and both tranny and engine are holding on pretty well...

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The interior of the Uplander looks nice, but it's not pretty on the outside, and remembering back to the side impact photos of it and a new Sedona...and how bad the Uplander looked....I wouldn't buy it. Plus it's underpowered. It'd take a caravan...Stow `n go, decent interior, good looks for a minivan, good power.

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On a recent vacation, the wife & I ended up with a Caravan & her mother was in an Uplander... not sure who she rents from, but she's always got a GM product.

The trip was 5 days long & after only a couple of days, the various passengers perferred the Caravan. I was driving & never got in the Uplander, so I can't attest to why they preferred the Dodge...

From a styling standpoint, the Uplander just looks stupid with that big ugly nose on it. Although the Caravan is as exciting as an afternoon nap, I'd rather have that than ugly...

On a previous trip, they'd ended up with a Montana or SV6 or whatever the heck they call it. It too was ugly & I did get to spend some time as a passenger. Granted, it was the basest of base models, but the seats were horrible & the thing squeaked & rattled like a 15 year old Kia.

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I just came back from a trip over the weekend, and we drove in a borrowed Chevy Venture. The seats were not the most comfortable, but it got great gas mileage. We had 6 people in it with luggage and were doing 75-80+ with the air on and it got over 400miles to a tank. Not bad I would say. You can also get the 3.9L in the Uplander now which is 240hp and 240lb.-ft of torque, a nice improvement over the base engine.

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You can also get the 3.9L in the Uplander now which is 240hp and 240lb.-ft of torque, a nice improvement over the base engine.

...not sure what was in the rented one my MIL had, but I must say the exhaust note sounded awesome. It would have been fitting on a Camaro! The Caravan just quietly hummed.

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