The Uplander was initially designed to have an appeal beyond the average market perception of the average Minivan. It achieved success by providing buyers with the appropriate features and comfort for its market segment. For 2006, a short-wheelbase version was added, with a 3.9-litre -V6 engine boasting an output of 240-horsepower became an option for those who preferred the front-wheel-drive model. 2007 saw the base 3.5-litre V6 engine and the AWD discarded!
The Uplander Minivan and the Marketplace
The years between 2005 and 2008 saw the launching and marketing of the Chevrolet Uplander, a minivan that on debut boasted a 200-horsepower 3.5-litre, V6 engine, and a 4-speed automatic transmission to drive the front wheels. All-wheel drive was marketed as an available option, with two trim levels, LS and LT offered. Both trims were offered with seating for seven passengers with folding-flat 50/50-split for the third row. The short wheelbase was only an option for the Chevrolet Uplander LS trim while the LT alternative was supplied in three different equipment configurations, namely, 1LT, 2LT, and 3LT. However, in the 2008 model year, the LT trim was refined to a single version.
The available and standard equipment was offered as:
Rear parking assist and power-sliding doors
Powered driver seat and heated front seats
Dual-zone automatic climate control
Multimedia overhead console, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, satellite radio, together with a "PhatNoise" digital media system.
Safety and Protective Features
The Chevrolet Uplander provided significant protection for driver and passengers, including antilock brakes as standard on all trim levels. Initially, stability control was included with all trims, except the short-wheelbase LS, however, this feature was added to all in 2008. Other important safety features included front side-impact airbags, designed to protect the head and torso, which were available with the LS, but fitted only as standard on the LT trim. Side airbags for the second-row seating were added to the 2LT and 3LT packages and performed the same functions as the side curtain airbags offered with competitive brands.
The Chevrolet Uplander is generally recognized as being a vehicle designed to meet the demands of the minivan market, and with a pedigree which was significantly influenced by its predecessor, the Venture of 1997 vintage. Although regular- and extended-wheelbase versions of the Uplander are available in LS trim; an LT model version is only available in the long wheelbase version.
As far as the 3.9-litre V6 engine is concerned, it does generate a reasonable 240-horsepower, but it could also be argued that it is not over-competitive with its opposition! Regarding the important issue of driving comfort and overall innovation in product presentation, this appears to have been neglected, with even the four-speed automatic transmission seemingly outdated!