I had a 95 that only was in the shop a couple of times for non-maintenance work - a bad EGR valve and the exhaust system rusted out at 92k miles. Based on my experience I bought a new 2001. It's five years old and has 120k miles on it. I've had a few non-maintenance repairs. At around 50k miles the turn signal switch went out. This was a $450 repair but about three years later, GM had a recall on the switch and re-imbursed me. I installed new front shocks at around 70k miles. At about 105k miles the fuel pump went out. This cost $750 plus the towing!
This is the second Astro I have owned,
the other being a 1995 AWD that was a
maintenance nightmare. But the Astro is
so ideal for my needs that I traded for
the 2001 AWD. What a difference! So
much more thoughfully laid out, seats
are MUCH lighter (still no picnic) to
remove. The driver controls are
thoughfully laid out easy to reach and
control. The response to driver imput
is much improved and better power when
The rocker arm mouldings are a nice
addition and make the van more
attractive than the 1995.
I am very happy with my purchase and
expect to continue with the
Astro/Safari for yet another one.
I have owned an 85 and a 91. My most
recent Astro is the worst one yet. I
miss the comfort of the seats of my
other vans; I have deflated the back
support completely and it is still
uncomfortable. I cannot adjust the AC
vent to prevent the air from blowing
right on me; it is the same for the
passenger. The rear suspension is too
soft; I had to reinforce it. I have
spent a lot of time at the dealer
(leaking roof, brake light, door lock,
rear axle, brakes, power windows,
etc.). Like my other Astros, the idle
is rough, the rear brakes are weak, and
the check engine light comes on.
The Astro’s greatest merit is its interior space. It has room for 8 large passengers plus considerable cargo. It is also the only newer minivan that can tow 4500 pounds. Otherwise, it’s a humdrum vehicle that delivers dependable, no-frills transportation. AWD, a common option, is valuable for driving in snow, but unfortunately doesn't work in reverse. It also reduces mileage by 2 mpg. Expect 13-17 mpg for an AWD model. The powertrain performance is adequate but doesn’t feel strong, and it’s noisy when pushed hard. The seats are only moderately comfortable, but they were improved in 2002. The Astro offers usefulness and value to owners willing to sacrifice modern design and performance.