2006 Chevrolet Uplander Review

Pros & Cons

  • Smooth ride and handling, lots of nifty interior storage spaces, innovative multimedia storage system, available all-wheel-drive.
  • The 3.5-liter V6's power and refinement not up to class leaders, second-row seats aren't side-to-side adjustable, side airbags don't cover all three rows.
Other years
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List Price Estimate
$1,882 - $2,740

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Although the 2006 Chevrolet Uplander features a slick interior and distinctive styling, it doesn't have the on-road finesse of its minivan competitors.

Vehicle overview

Chevrolet's Venture minivan has never sold in the numbers General Motors would like -- the competitors have outsold it for several years running. Part of the problem, according to GM's marketing team, might be due to the "mommy mobile" image minivans confer upon their owners -- some of whom ultimately ditch their vans for SUVs.

In response, Chevrolet has introduced the more rugged-sounding Uplander, a "crossover sport van" based on the outgoing Venture's chassis. Compared to the Venture, the Uplander takes on a taller stance and chunkier front fascia more evocative of a truck. The result, Chevy hopes, is a perception that the van is more of a hip and stylish SUV-like van, and not so much a boring soccer mom van.

Despite the change in name and outward style, the Chevy Uplander does not represent a full redesign of the Venture -- passenger and cargo space are nearly identical. It does, however, incorporate more of the features that today's minivan buyers are looking for, along with a more powerful engine. Seat-mounted side airbags for front- and second-row occupants are optional for 2006, certainly a worthwhile addition, although many competitors now offer three-row airbag coverage. Inside, the Uplander seats seven, and the fold-flat third-row seat offers a 50/50 split, allowing families to carry a mix of passengers and cargo.

An overhead rail system provides rear-seat access to climate and entertainment functions, and can be customized to families' liking with various storage containers. In addition to the usual rear DVD entertainment system, the Uplander is available with a PhatNoise mobile digital media system that allows owners to store thousands of MP3s and/or several dozen movies. We're not entirely sold on the whole "SUV/van" concept. To our eyes, the Uplander looks more like a minivan with a really big and flat front end. Subjective styling issues aside, the 2006 Chevrolet Uplander offers budding families a myriad of interior features and solid overall competence, but still doesn't match the driving dynamics or conveniences of the best-in-class minivans.

2006 Chevrolet Uplander models

The Chevrolet Uplander comes in regular- and long-wheelbase sizes. Regular-wheelbase models come in LS trim only, while the extended versions are available in LS or LT trim. The LS offers power windows, air conditioning (optional on the regular-wheelbase van), a sound system with a CD/MP3 player and the OnStar communications system. Pop for the LT trim and you'll get a passenger-side power-sliding door, deluxe rear-seat entertainment system with infrared headphones, a power driver seat, steering wheel audio controls and alloy wheels. The all-wheel-drive system is available on the LT only, and adds automatic load-leveling rear suspension and an inflator kit. The LT can be upgraded with leather seating and heated seats. An optional PhatNoise mobile digital media system allows owners to store thousands of MP3s and/or several dozen movies. Other noteworthy options include dual power-sliding side doors, rear parking assist and a remote vehicle starting system.

2006 Highlights

For the 2006 Uplander, a shorter regular-wheelbase version has been added to the lineup, and a 3.9-liter V6 with 240 horsepower is now an option on front-wheel-drive, long-wheelbase Uplanders. Side-impact airbags for the outboard second-row occupants is another new addition. Finally, last year's Sport Suspension package has been renamed the Safe and Secure package.

Performance & mpg

The standard engine is a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 200 horsepower and 220 lb-ft of torque. A 3.9-liter V6 with 240 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque is optional on the LT, but only on the front-wheel-drive version. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard, and buyers can opt for all-wheel drive on the extended-wheelbase model.


Uplander minivans come standard with four-wheel antilock disc brakes. Side-impact airbags for first- and second-row occupants are optional. Side curtain airbags are not available. The StabiliTrak stability control system is available on the LT when equipped with the optional Safe and Secure suspension package. The NHTSA has performed crash tests; it gives the Chevy Uplander a five-star rating (out of a possible five) for protection of front occupants in frontal crashes. For side-impact crashes, the Uplander earned four stars for protection of front occupants and five stars for the rear occupants.


Our review of the 2006 Chevrolet Uplander finds that the V6 power plant is down on power compared to its competitors, but it still manages to provide adequate acceleration. The Uplander's suspension is on the soft side, though upgrading to the optional sport suspension does provide for a more responsive ride.


The Chevrolet Uplander seats seven, and the fold-flat third-row seat offers a 50/50 split. A two-tone color scheme with faux metal accents dramatically brightens the atmosphere of the van. Folding center trays (with cupholders) between the first- and second-row seats are available. An overhead rail system provides rear-seat access to climate and entertainment functions, and can be upgraded with various storage containers. Springing for the PhatNoise digital media system saves you the hassle of juggling DVDs on road trips, while an optional remote vehicle start system makes it easy to warm up the van on cold mornings.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2006 Chevrolet Uplander.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Too many problems
Car does not start without flooring the gas pedel. Must keep at least an 8th of a tank of gas in van and park on level ground. Van has stopped or not started various of times when the fuel gets to about an 8th of a tank of gas. Even had car stop on my wife with kids in car (youngest 3 on Nov 29, 2008). When it does stop it will not start back up unless you put fuel in it (even though guage indicates adequate fuel). It appears as if the transmission is going out all of the time as it slips. The rear windshield wiper has stopped working and that is pretty sad as I also have one of those old Plymouth mini vans and it has operational rear windshield.
Very Disappointed
I bought the Uplander for it's size and assuming that a GM/Chevrolet would have easy maintenance/repair. First wake up came when I had to get the battery replaced. ABS light comes on frequently, even after repairs. The lock, and mirror adjustment don't work on the driver's side. Anti Theft system shut the car off several times. The engine light is on now. I've gotten a total of 7 different codes. Some related to the transmission. Told by the mechanic I need to decide if I want to spend more money on this van. I drove an old Toyota van that was 10 yrs old before it had any issues. We're only at 126K miles with the Uplander. Just very disappointed in this vehicle.
Not Good!
GM had a good idea but skipped on the build quality. Ours has 60K miles and it has the gas gauge failed leaving my wife stranded, 3 doors become misaligned and wouldn't shut properly, continuous starting issues, the instrument cluster burn out, the DVD player failed, and the seats are ripping. Worse yet, the exterior trim pieces have all faded in the sun and are a different color than the van. It has alot of great options, does average on gas, and rides nice but its all negated by the build quality. This car is one to avoid!
Great product by Chevy
C. Thompson,08/26/2006
We bought our van and within 3 weeks took it on vacation. Averaged 24mpg highway and had a smooth ride the whole way. A/C cooled down quickly and with rear air conditioning the van was comfortable all the time. If I had to pick out a weak point it would be the middle chairs don't have arm rests. Sounds silly but this can be important on longer trips. Our van has the DVD system that was great for the kids. I am not sure the back cargo area is as big as some other vans. But there is more space for the passengers so it is a nice trade. If you are going to drop 30K get a Honda Oddesy but for 20K-23K this is a great choice.

Features & Specs

16 city / 23 hwy
Seats 7
4-speed automatic
201 hp @ 5600 rpm
16 city / 23 hwy
Seats 7
4-speed automatic
201 hp @ 5600 rpm
16 city / 23 hwy
Seats 7
4-speed automatic
201 hp @ 5600 rpm
16 city / 23 hwy
Seats 7
4-speed automatic
201 hp @ 5600 rpm
See all Used 2006 Chevrolet Uplander features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2006 Chevrolet Uplander

Used 2006 Chevrolet Uplander Overview

The Used 2006 Chevrolet Uplander is offered in the following submodels: Uplander Minivan. Available styles include LS 4dr Minivan (3.5L 6cyl 4A), LS 4dr Ext Minivan (3.5L 6cyl 4A), LS Fleet 4dr Ext Minivan (3.5L 6cyl 4A), LT 4dr Ext Minivan w/1LT (3.5L 6cyl 4A), LS Fleet 4dr Minivan (3.5L 6cyl 4A), LT 4dr Ext Minivan w/2LT (3.5L 6cyl 4A), Cargo 4dr Ext Minivan (3.5L 6cyl 4A), LT 4dr Ext Minivan AWD w/PhatNoise Media Player (3.5L 6cyl 4A), and LT 4dr Ext Minivan w/3LT, PhatNoise Media Player (3.5L 6cyl 4A).

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Should I lease or buy a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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