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The history of Chevrolet's minivan models has been one of consistently trying to catch up with the other guy, but ultimately falling short. Through three generations and names, the Chevy vans and their various GM siblings struggled to match, let alone better, "mom-mobiles" from Chrysler and import competition. The final variant was the Chevrolet Uplander.
Introduced in 2005 as a "crossover sport van," the Uplander was designed to be more hip than the average mom-mobile. But this makeover did little to improve on its Chevy Venture roots. True, the Uplander succeeded in providing the expected features and creature comforts, but it lacked the refinement and ingenuity that other top minivans from Honda, Kia and Toyota provided.
Not finding much success, Chevy finally discontinued its van in favor of the Traverse large crossover SUV. In general, we suggest skipping over the Uplander (and the previous Chevy Venture) and looking at other, more desirable used minivans.
Most Recent Chevrolet Uplander
The Chevrolet Uplander was a minivan sold from the 2005-'08 model years. At the minivan's debut, it came with a 200-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and a four-speed automatic driving the front wheels. All-wheel drive was available as an option. For 2006, a short-wheelbase version was added to the lineup, while a 3.9-liter V6 with 240 hp became an option on front-wheel-drive Uplanders. The base 3.5-liter V6 was dropped for 2007, as was all-wheel drive.
The Uplander came in LS and LT trim levels, both of which seated seven with a fold-flat 50/50-split third-row seat. The short wheelbase was only available on the LS, while the LT initially came in three different equipment subsets: 1LT, 2LT and 3LT. For '08, the LT was pared down to a singular version.
Standard and available equipment included 17-inch wheels, rear parking assist, power-sliding doors, a power driver seat, heated front seats, leather seating, dual-zone automatic climate control, an innovative multimedia overhead console, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, satellite radio and a "PhatNoise" digital media system.
The Chevrolet Uplander did an OK job of protecting its valuable human cargo but fell short of other minivans. Antilock brakes were standard on all trim levels, while stability control initially came on all but the short-wheelbase LS, to which it was added for '08. Front side-impact airbags that protect the head and torso were optional on the LS and standard on the LT. The 2LT and 3LT packages added side airbags for the second row. Although these airbags essentially did the same job as the side curtain airbags offered on all other minivans, there was no side protection available for the third row.
Inside, the Chevy Uplander had a two-tone color scheme with decent materials and a pleasing overall look. Lower-level Uplanders came with GM's old-school modular seating in the second row, while the 2LT and 3LT were upgraded with fixed captain's chairs. In the all-important minivan gizmo department, the Uplander had a few aces up its sleeve. An overhead rail system on the LT provided easy rear-seat access to climate and entertainment functions. The PhatNoise digital media system eliminated the hassle of shuffling through CDs and DVDs on road trips by providing a hard drive that could store music and movies.
Previous to the Uplander, Chevrolet offered the otherwise similar Venture.