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2006 Chevrolet Uplander Review
Still more of a minivan than a sport utility vehicle.
Reviewed by Automotive on
Chevrolet calls its 2006 Uplander a ""crossover sport van,"" a vehicle that lies somewhere between the practicality of a minivan and sporty fun of a sport utility vehicle (SUV). The vehicle is based on the Chevrolet Venture’s chassis, but taller and with a chunkier fascia. It offers a slick interior, smooth ride, and good handling, but has a weak engine and no finesse. Despite its distinct styling, it still looks and drives more like a minivan than an SUV.
Engines: 3.5-liter V-6, 3.9-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Chevrolet Uplander LS, Chevrolet Uplander LT, Chevrolet Uplander LS Fleet, Chevrolet Uplander Cargo
The 2006 Chevrolet Uplander adds a shorter regular-wheelbase version to the lineup. In addition to the standard 3.5-liter, V-6 engine, there is also an optional 3.9-liter V-6 with 240 horsepower (hp) and variable valve timing available on the all-wheel-drive (AWD), extended-wheelbase models. Second-row side-impact airbags are a new safety option. Lastly, the Sport Suspension package has been renamed the Safe and Secure package.
The 2006 Chevrolet Uplander comes in Regular and Extended wheelbase models. It has a squared-off large grille with chrome accents and exposed C-pillars. Special exterior moldings add to the vehicle’s SUV appearance. The car measures 204 inches long and 72 inches tall, while the wheels measure 17 inches. An optional roof rack with satin-finished rails is available.
The 2006 Chevrolet Uplander features a two-tone interior color scheme and faux metal accents to align it more closely with typical SUV-styling. Folding center trays with cup holders are available, and there is an overhead rail system for entertainment, climate control, lighting, and storage. Entertainment options include a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and XM satellite radio. There is an optional PhatNoise mobile digital media system that allows owners to store MP3s and movies on a 40-gigabyte hard drive. The Uplander comfortably seats seven across three rows. The third row is a 50/50-split and folds flat for more storage. Bucket seats are standard in the second row, but captain’s chairs with armrests are also available.
The regular-wheelbase model is only available for the 2006 Chevrolet Uplander LS trim, while the extended-wheelbase model comes in either the LS or LT trims. The regular-wheelbase LS has optional power windows and air-conditioning, along with a standard CD/MP3 sound system and an OnStar communications system. The LT model has a passenger-side power sliding door, a deluxe rear-seat entertainment system with infrared headphones, a power driver’s seat, steering-wheel-embedded audio controls, and alloy wheels. The optional all-wheel drive on the LT model adds an automatic load-leveling rear suspension and inflator kit. The LT can be upgraded to include leather seating and heated seats. An optional dealer-installed Sit-N-Lift power seat rotates and extends outward via remote control.
The 2006 Chevrolet Uplander has a flexible cargo system with three dividers. Owners can fold half of the third row, all of the third row, or all of the second and third rows allowing for many configurations of passengers and cargo. When the third-row bench seat is folded, the seat and storage system line up to create a level load floor. Total cargo space is 136.5 cubic feet when the second and third rows are folded down; this number drops to 26.9 cubic feet when the seats are in their upright position.
Performance & Handling
The standard engine on the Chevrolet Uplander is a 3.5-liter V-6 with 200 hp and 220 lb-ft of torque, and all-wheel drive drops the horsepower slightly. The front-wheel-drive LT can be upgraded to a 3.9-liter V-6 with 240 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. All models have a standard four-speed automatic transmission. Extended-wheelbase models have optional Versatrak all-wheel drive, which can split torque between the front and back tires as well as the right and left. When properly equipped, it can tow up to 3,500 pounds. Overall, it is not as powerful as competitors in its class and has a soft suspension.
The 2006 Chevrolet Uplander comes with standard four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and daytime running lamps. Front driver and passenger airbags are also standard. Optional seat-mounted side airbags are available for the first and second rows, but not the third. No side curtain airbags are available. Child door locks come standard as well. There is an optional StabiliTrak stability control system on the LT trim’s Safe and Secure package. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded it a perfect five-star rating for front passenger frontal-impact crashes, a four-star rating for front passenger side-impact crashes, and a five-star rating for side-impact crashes for rear occupants.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Roomy passenger space
- Plentiful cargo capacity
- Optional 3.9-liter engine
- Optional PhatNoise media system
You Won't Like
- Still looks like a minivan
- No side curtain airbags
- Weak engine
- Soft suspension
Still more of a minivan than a sport utility vehicle.
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