The long-running ruler and only member of the midsize van category continues going strong in its second decade of production. The 1998 Chevrolet Astro provides practicality and adequate performance by having the passenger and cargo capacity of large vans with a slightly slimmer, smaller profile. A capable, V-6 engine and available all-wheel drive gives the Astro the hauling and cargo capabilities of a midsize truck.
Chevrolet has done very little to change the Astro van over the years. The current model year looks no different, with no performance changes and only minor safety and cosmetic changes.
Body Styles: midsize van
Engines: 4.3-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Chevrolet Astro, Chevrolet Astro LT, Chevrolet Astro LS
The new model year sees very few updates. The most important new feature on the 1998 Chevrolet Astro is a standard anti-theft system. The only other functional addition is new composite headlights. Cosmetically, Chevrolet adds three new colors, and the clearcoat upgrades to be more scratch-resistant. All models also come with the same grille styles.
The Astro line of vans has long avoided the exterior smoothing that has become a major exterior design point of the minivan segment. The 1998 Chevrolet Astro does not deviate from that design. The boxy design mimics the designs of other full-size vans on the market. The Astro sits higher off the ground and stands taller than its minivan counterparts.
The interior of the 1998 Chevrolet Astro gives passengers plenty of room while allowing for a full load of cargo. Seating accommodates either seven or eight passengers. Due to the engine placement and vehicle configuration, the foot wells of the front seats suffer, making for a cramped ride for taller passengers. Thanks to the taller body and upright stance, visibility from inside the cabin looks extremely good.
Performance & Handling
Unlike the minivan segment, the 1998 Chevrolet Astro performs and handles more like a truck than a large station wagon. The height plus the relatively small wheelbase makes the Astro slightly top heavy. With passengers and a load, the Astro actually handles better than it does empty. The Astro’s engine also proves very capable when hauling a load. The engine gives the Astro great cruising speed on the highway as well as the ability to accelerate at a good clip.
The 1998 Chevrolet Astro comes standard with four-wheel anti-lock brakes and driver and passenger front airbags. As mentioned before, the Astro seems slightly top heavy, which causes some safety issues when the van reaches high speeds while making sudden maneuvers. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration awards the Astro slightly above average scores for passenger and driver front-impact collisions. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Astro poor marks in frontal-impact collisions.
EPA Fuel Economy
Chevrolet Astro: 14/18 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Astro LT: 14/18 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Astro LS: 14/18 mpg city/highway
- Lots of cargo and passenger room
- Available all-wheel drive
- Easy cargo loading
You Won't Like
- Poor fuel economy
- Old design
- Front seats feel cramped
Capable cargo and passenger hauler.
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