We bought the '95 in 2004 for $4000.
It had A/C, AWD and seating for 8.
We had just had our 4th child so needed something that could seat 6 so that threw out most of the cars from the equation.
I loved this van but it started to cost money and working under the hood was a real pain due to the engine compartment being so small and the "dog house" in the interior having to be removed to work on anything.
Mechanics automatically charge more to work on these types of vehicle since there is a lot of effort to gain access to the parts that need to be replaced.
Luckily, I could do a lot of the work my self.
For the 5 years we owned it, I put about $1000-1500 each year into it.
Lots of power, lots of room, cool even without A/C due to angle of windows, great hauling capacity and winter traction with AWD.
Excellent driving position.
Serious lack of convenience features.
Almost no console storage, it has ash trays for all the kids (not cup holders-what were they thinkging).
Only one sliding door, only driver and passenger windows that open other than a crack.
Abysmal gas mileage.
Poor handling on rough roads.
No room for feet for driver or passenger due to van configuration.
For a van it has major power, with a rwd transmission (700r4) and a 4.3 L 262 Chevrolet v6 you have to respect this van. And only Chevrolet can deliver a vehicle with great performance and ride comfort. Horse rating at 190; mine has a little more due to some engine work; and torque at 262, this van out performs tons of v6's, some v8's, and a 4 cylinder won't come close to this van's power, great van built by the best motor company ever. Love that Chevy!
Engine size, transmission power, strong built body, high stock performance for a van
The only improvement would be to drop a gm 383zz haha!
This has been the 'family truckster' for the past 10 years and 90K miles, and has pulled a camper 1/2 across the country, and has hauled the family on many long (13 hour drive) trips. Only let us down twice - once for a fuel pump (managed to get it going, no tow needed) and once with a cooling system blowout. Now, at 200K miles, it's got headgasket problems (maybe it's had those for a while now) ready to retire it.
Lots of room for long trips, reasonable power for the highway, even when pulling a camper with 8 people, topper full of stuff, etc. Rear AC was great while it worked. rear heater. Pretty reliable, needed little major maintenance.
Legroom for front passenger; handling bad - especially on slippery roads - feels like you're riding in a sailboat if a truck passes. Engine repairs / maintenance access is horrible! Need better power window motors. Needs better door hinges /mechanism.
Bought the Luxury Touring addition with all the extras and have been very glad we did. The astro appealed to us because it offered better cargo space, better payload, and had better ground clearance. Most minivans just cant do what an astro can. We have had great luck 185,000 miles and only an alternator and window motor. and brakes and tires of course. The all wheel drive works great in all conditions. The one thing you have to watch for with these is the dutch doors. We have also bought a 97 and they both sucked water under the carpet via the plastic thresh hold. But the only way you know is by reaching under the carpet because there's a rubber backing keeping the water from coming through.
Love the seats found in the Luxury Touring addition. The other models don't have these. Also love my digital instrumentation and rear heat/air.
There is little to no foot room on the front passenger side. Fix the rear doors so they don't suck water and cause mildew problems.
I can't say enough about how good this van has been for me. It has an engine that is snappier than V-8s,when it's only a V-6. At 16-18 mpg it's not very economical, but very good for a van and excellent for the performance it delivers. It has hauled kids, motorcycles, lumber, brush, furniture, rocks and has always, always handled the load with competence, and cleaned up very well afterward. The rear bench seats can be removed in under 3 minutes bu 1 person, leaving enough floor space for an 4x8 sheet of plywood, and using the between-the- seat space I've gotten 11.5-foot things in there. If you can handle the mpg, get this van!
Snappy, friendly engine. Ease of maintenance. Little need for repairs with regular ordinary maintenance (oil/air changes, etc.).