What's New for 2002
A multi-port fuel injection system has been added for smoother operation along with a revised catalytic converter for better emissions control. Synthetic gear oil is now standard in the rear axle for reduced wear during heavy towing. Keyless entry has been added to models with power door locks, and gray cloth seats and a rear heater have also been added.
A staple in Chevy's lineup since 1985, this hard-working cargo hauler is a solid alternative to full-size vans or trucks.
No, you don't get the curvaceous contours or the ergonomics of a modern machine. What you do acquire is a highly practical heavy-duty hauler that can be equipped to suit just about any business.
Available in a single trim level, Astro cargo vans include a host of appealing features. Automatic headlights come on in low-light conditions, a tow-haul mode for the transmission reduces gear hunting when hauling heavy loads and battery rundown protection assures that you won't get stranded by neglecting to turn off your lights. Buyers also get front air conditioning, gray cloth seats and an AM/FM stereo.
Aluminum wheels with white-lettered tires can be added to dress up the exterior, and a number of window glass configurations can be ordered. Power windows, locks and mirrors, as well as a tilt steering wheel and cruise control, are optional. Cloth upholstery is now standard, and an upgraded sound system with both cassette and CD players is also available.
Taller than many of their rivals, Astros are admittedly more truck-like in temperament, but deliver a pleasant highway ride with competent handling. Interior room is generous, with 170 cubic feet of total cargo space. Unfortunately, small footwells make the front seats seem cramped for such a large vehicle.
A 190-horsepower 4.3-liter V6 is the sole engine choice, sending power through a smooth-shifting four-speed automatic transmission. Standard rear-wheel drive allows the Astro to tow up to 5,800 pounds when equipped with 3.73 rear axle gears. If adverse weather is something you have to contend with, the Astro offers a full-time four-wheel-drive system that automatically shifts power to the front wheels when it senses a loss of traction in the rear.
Dual depowered airbags and antilock brakes are standard, but Astro doesn't score well in crash testing. Still, with its body-on-frame construction and standard rear-wheel drive, Astro is the one small cargo van that can boast big-van capacity and versatility. Perfect for heavier-duty jobs, Astro makes sense for those with plenty to haul in any kind of weather, especially if modern design is not a priority.