Last post on Jan 21, 2012 at 12:26 PM
You are in the Chevrolet Uplander
What is this discussion about?
Chevrolet Uplander, Pontiac Montana, Saturn Relay, Buick Terraza, Pontiac Montana SV6, Van
#2542 of 2925 Re: Consumer Reports review [sschoenberg]
Apr 03, 2006 (10:01 pm)
I strongly disagree with one person's comment concerning “GM vans are not up to the level of Honda or Toyota.” I rented a 2006 Chevy Uplander LT with the 3.5L, a 2006 Toyota Sienna LE, and have carefully examined a 2006 Honda Odyssey EX. We also now own a 2006 Chevy Uplander 2LT with the 3900 engine.
Many people make a big issue about how the Sienna and Odyssey have seats that fold into the floor. The problem is that these seats are rather uncomfortable, and have excessive spinal flexion positioning. The back seats also have minimal leg room, which did not impress our 2 middle-school aged boys. They also result in a van that sits too low to the ground, in my opinion, making the van less functional during camping trips and snowy situations. The Sienna that we drove “moaned” loudly during acceleration, had excessively sensitive steering, and had an annoying stutter at highway speeds (transmission problems? A/C compressor clutch issues?). It was a bit noisy as well…forget about hearing the people in the back seat. The conversation mirror was clever but rather cheap, and was consistent with many of the other controls and features. If you look at the open forum websites for the Toyota and Honda, these vehicles (especially Honda Odyssey) are having some less than cosmetic problems (transmission problems, among them). The GM minivans have solid power trains, and most of the 2005 problems have been corrected for the 2006 model year. After renting the Toyota Sienna, we were ready to turn it back in…no one was impressed with it.
Although the Toyota and Sienna try to make their vehicles look more “modern,” in reality they do not have the luxurious ride or feel of the Uplander and its cousins. The stark, annoying blue night-time lighting on the Sienna instrument cluster is a good example of how Toyota is more glitter than guts. The lack of a spare tire on the Odyssey and Sienna did not make much sense to me either. We were so impressed with the Uplander that we had rented that we recently ordered/purchased one with the 3900 engine. It is very quiet, silky-smooth, and comfortable, and the 3900 has plenty of low end torque. We are getting 30 mpg on flat surfaces on the highway at 55 mph, 26 mpg at 65 mpg. This is better than the real mileage that Sienna and Odyssey are actually getting (they do not get their EPA numbers, but the GM's do). The seats in the Uplander are a cut above the rest, with captain’s chairs that provide proper spinal positioning. I have gone over the van with a fine tooth comb and have found the initial quality to be very good. It was built at the Doraville, GA plant in February. I have not found any significant flaws yet. The 3900 engine does not have the “flickering light” issue that occurred in the 2005’s with the 3.5L engine. We have not experienced any of the other problems that people have published in this forum for the 2005 model year (so far).
One recommendation: buy the GM van with the 3900 engine, not the 3.5L engine. It makes a HUGE difference. Vans with this engine are not being discounted much and may be hard to find, so you may have to do a factory order to get it configured the way you want it. We received ours in about 4 weeks.
I found the reviews by the mass media to be fairly worthless for my van search. Their preferences do not line up with mine. You may find the same to be true for you as well.
#2543 of 2925 Re: Consumer Reports review [technical1]
Apr 04, 2006 (7:37 am)
Technical 1. I couldn't agree more. While there have apparently been some issues with some of these '05 models, mainly regarding the lights, I have also become very frustrated with the negativity of the "professional" reviewers. We have an '05 Uplander that was built in December '04, so it was early in the production cycle. Even so, we've been extremely happy with the vehicle. As I've posted here before, the value that these vans provide is unparalleled. After incentives and GM Card redemption points, we only paid 23,700 for an LT with everything except for traction control and the towing package. I agree with you that fit and finish are very good.
Has the van been perfect? No. We've had some common issues: side moldings, stiff horn pad, and some minimal sporadic light flicker. The moldings are being replaced this week, the horn springs were replaced under a GM TSB. The light flicker is still with us, even after changing the alternator. However, it is so minimal and so infrequent that it's barely worth mentioning and certainly not a safety issue for us. In my opinion these minor inconveniences have be outweighed by the SUV styling, 17" wheels, DVD player(3 kids), 22 mpg in the city, nice looking interior, great seats, and Onstar. All that equipment for around ten grand less than a comparably equipped "whatever" was enough to win us over. By the way, the 200 hp 3.5 liter engine, while not class-leading, does a good job. Yes, I would love to have the 3.9 but it certainly wasn't a deal breaker, neither were the "fold in-floor seats." The seats are a good compromise because the fold almost into the floor, but still provide full-size support. I doubt that most people would have many occasions to take them completely out. Even so, if GM is going to succeed, it needs to do what it takes to appease the professional reviewers by offering the same features as other vehicles and better than average reliability. While Uplander owners know that these vans are fully functional, prospective buyers are likely steered away by the media and savvy Honda/Toyota sales people.
Apr 04, 2006 (5:58 pm)
The new GM vans seem to be selling well, I see them everywhere. I have to admit, the big nose was not a big selling point at first but I really like them now, the vans looks bigger and more SUV like, they have a good presence!
#2545 of 2925 Re: vans [vanman1]
Apr 05, 2006 (4:50 am)
Definitely true. We stopped by the local McDonalds for breakfast one morning a few weeks ago. On the way out a gentleman stopped me and asked me if I liked our vehicle, because he drives a lot for his job and is looking for another vehicle. I told him yes, so he asked me what kind of mileage I was getting from it. I was honest, 22-24 mpg highway so far, not broken in yet though. He said that was good for an SUV. That was when I told him that it's a minivan. He was surprised, and said he thought it was an SUV. The reason he was asking all the questions is that he's looking for the replacement vehicle to be an SUV.
Dunno if he checked out the CSVs or not, and didn't ask if that changed his intentions. But I definitely know that the redesign's intent of having a more SUVish appearance is definitely working.
Apr 05, 2006 (6:16 am)
I have been a loyal GM owner for over 40 years. I have been reading this forum for several months while I was "snow birding". After much research with various van owners where I was staying, I decided to buy a SV6. My local Pontiac dealer is top notch. I was dismayed when they told me that Pontiac recently closed ordering of the 06 model and they were directed not to take orders for 07's. A dealer search did not find what I am looking for. I have not decided what plan B will be. I am unimpressed with the local Buick and Chevy dealers.
#2547 of 2925 Re: Vans [skyhawk]
Apr 05, 2006 (4:34 pm)
Is your local Pontiac dealer a standalone dealer? Nowadays most dealerships are Pontiac-Buick-GMC.
Apr 06, 2006 (7:25 am)
He is only Pontiac. He does move a lot of cars and his service is outstanding.
#2549 of 2925 Re: Vans [skyhawk]
Apr 06, 2006 (6:57 pm)
Have you tried the Saturn dealer? I'm sure they would be more than happy to custom order a Relay for you...
#2550 of 2925 Re: Vans [jchan2]
Apr 07, 2006 (9:38 am)
Yes, and out of all of them, the Saturn is the closest to the Pontiac in the looks department.