Chevrolet Uplander Origins
When the Venture and Astro line built by General Motors went the way of the dinosaur, a replacement vehicle was needed. The Chevrolet Uplander evolved from the detritus of its predecessors, but failed to live very long itself.
The Uplander has the same platform as the Saturn Relay, the Buick Terraza, and the Pontiac Montana SV6.
The plant that made the Uplander (the Doraville, Georgia assembly plant) shut its doors on September 26, 2008, which ended the production of the Uplander. The full-size, SUV crossover Traverse succeeded the Uplander.Chevrolet Uplander Features
The Uplander is a four-door minivan, the last of its kind to have the gear shift mounted on the console of the vehicle (even though other minivan models of the same year have a gear shift mounted in the center of the vehicle). This speaks volumes to the whole GM minivan run; simply put, GM was always trying to catch up with the technical advancements already on display in other minivan models.
The Uplander attempts to set itself apart from other minivans by having a sleeker, sexier appearance. Inside the vehicle are two-tone color schemed materials that look quite nice. Bench seating comes available in the lowest LT base model, but captain chairs can be found in the 2LT and 3LT models. A rail-system is also installed in the unit with control panels inside. The control panels allow passengers in the back of the vehicle to access climate control systems and the entertainment system. The entertainment itself is splashy as well; instead of a DVD system, a hard drive is installed in the vehicle, allowing owners to upload their favorite movies and TV shows. No bulky discs!
Safety-wise, the Uplander slightly improves the model of the previous Venture vehicle. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Uplander top marks for front-end collisions. However, side impacts and offset frontal impacts earn ratings of Acceptable and Poor, placing the driver in danger of serious injury during a crash. Front side impact airbags are only an option on the base LT model but come standard on the 2 and 2LT models. Second row airbags are installed in the second row, but the third row remains unprotected (a big step behind other minivans that offer curtain airbags).
On the outside, the Uplander is an ugly beast. The body mixture between a minivan and an SUV fails to appeal to most consumers. The plastic on the inside of the vehicle is cheap and breaks easily.
Bad driving controls compliment the poor safety and lacking design. The steering is loose, the engine runs rough, and a terrible suspension makes the Chevrolet Uplander a vehicle best avoided.Chevrolet Uplander Evolution
The Chevrolet Uplander earned few improvements during its short lifetime, but there are some differences on year-to-year models.
The first Chevrolet Uplander was introduced with a 3.5-liter, High Value 3500 LX9 V-6 engine. For a big vehicle, it doesn’t pump out the horsepower, producing a mere 200 hp. In 2006, a new engine was added as an option to the Uplander: a 3.9-liter LZ9 V-6 that pumps out 240 hp. This Uplander also has the GM logo adhered to its doors.
In 2007, the abysmal 3.5-liter LX9 V-6 was dropped, leaving the 3.9-liter LZ9 as the base engine on the LT. All-wheel drive was also dropped from the vehicle in favor of front-wheel drive. The all-wheel-drive system cannot handle the torque produced by the 3.9-liter engine. However, the 3.9-liter does add the Flex-fuel option. This allows the consumer to use different fuels when filling up the minivan. The Flex-fuel engine is called the 3.9-liter LGD V-6.
In 2008, Chevrolet discontinued the Uplander in America. The Uplander had a short life in Canada and Mexico as an export, living one year longer in those markets. The final vehicle in the line was a 2009 model for Canadian consumers.
All-in-all, it is best to skip the Chevrolet Uplander entirely. You can easily find a more comfortable ride with the same passenger features and better performance. The Uplander is far behind its competitors due to the poor quality of its mechanics. No amount of interior quality can hide that simple fact.