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2006 Chevrolet Uplander Van

4dr Ext WB

Starting at | Starting at 18 MPG City - 25 MPG Highway

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  • $21,150 original MSRP
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Printable Version

2006 Chevrolet Uplander Van

Printable Version

2006 Chevrolet Uplander Van

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2006 Chevrolet Uplander

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

The Chevrolet Uplander is hands-down the best minivan GM has ever offered. With its counterparts from Buick, Pontiac and Saturn, the Chevy Uplander puts GM on much better footing in one of the auto industry's most competitive segments.

Uplander comfortably seats seven, with a choice of individual captain's chairs or a two-place bench seat in the second row. And it takes care of its passengers in a well-designed, nicely finished interior. The base LS model offers a high level of standard equipment, including a subscription to GM's OnStar tele-aid service. Uplander also offers the unique PhatNoize removable hard drive, which allows its onboard entertainment system to play or display everything from MP3 music files to family photos to video games to the latest movie releases.

For 2006, Chevy will address one of this minivan's most glaring shortcomings as it introduces a new 3.9-liter V6. This optional engine is the world's first cam-in-block V6 with variable valve timing, and delivers 22 percent more horsepower (240) than the Uplander's standard 3.5-liter V6. That quickly, the Uplander will change from one of the least powerful minivans on the market into one of the most powerful. The 2006 Uplander also offers the availability of side-impact airbags for second-row passengers for the first time.

Uplander's real strength lies in its value. Comparably equipped, it sells for thousands less than class standards such as the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.

Chevrolet says Uplander's long-nose, truck-type styling conjures up images of an SUV more than a minivan. We say no one will mistake the Uplander for anything but what it is: a minivan with the flexibility features and family friendly conveniences buyers expect. Our test vehicle's finish and build quality matched the best in the class.

Uplander offers all-wheel drive, a great feature in the snow country. GM's VersaTrak system adds relatively little weight to the vehicle, and it can do things some similar systems can't. In short, if you need all-wheel drive, you've come to the right place. With the optional towing package, the Uplander is rated to pull up to 3,500 pounds.

Model Lineup

Chevrolet has re-aligned the Uplander model line for 2006. There are two basic models for consumers, sharing the same 121.1-inch wheelbase, standard 3.5-liter overhead valve V6 engine, four-speed automatic transmission and 17-inch tires and wheels.

The base Uplander has been dropped for 2006, making the well-equipped Uplander LS ($26,995) the entry level model. The LS comes standard with air conditioning, power windows and locks, tilt steering column, cruise control, a rear-window defroster and wiper, dark-tinted rear glass, remote keyless entry, power rear vent windows and a decent stereo with a single CD player and MP3 capability. Its second-row seat is a two-place bench, and its third-row seat splits 50/50 to increase passenger/cargo flexibility.

The Uplander LT ($29,385) is more elaborately equipped, with a power driver's seat, second-row captain's chairs with a folding utility table between them, a power rear sliding door on the passenger side, brushed aluminum roof rails and a single-screen DVD entertainment system with two infrared headphone sets. In Chevy's dealer nomenclature, there are actually three subdivisions for the Uplander LT: 1LT, 2LT and 3LT. The 2LT and 3LT are essentially option groups that add more equipment.

All-wheel drive, which GM calls VersaTrak ($2000), is now optional only on Uplander LT. Chevy also offers a front-drive, empty-box cargo Uplander for commercial use and conversion companies.

Our favorite option is the remote starter ($175), which allows the Uplander to be started from inside the house or across a parking lot. The aftermarket has made a mint with remote starters for years, and it's a welcome feature when it's cold. Other stand-alone options include rear Cargo Convenience storage bins ($285), XM Satellite Radio ($325), traction control ($195), roof rails ($50) and the towing package ($170). Popular option groups include a Premium Seating Package ($1,350) with leather surfaces for the first and second row, power front passenger seat and front seat heaters, a six-CD changer with XM ($620), and a Convenience Package with a power sliding rear door on the driver's side and rear parking assist ($545).

Safety features include optional side-impact airbags ($350) for the second row seats. Front passenger side-impact airbags are standard on the LT and optional on the LS. Front airbags come standard. GM's StabiliTrak skid-control system ($450) is an option on front-drive Uplanders. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS) come standard. Also standard is a one-year subscription to OnStar, which features automatic notification when airbags deploy, a great feature. Uplander falls short of best in class when it comes to safety equipment, however, because it still does not offer curtain-style head-protection airbags, which are now available in some other minivans.

Walkaround

Chevrolet claims the Uplander's innovative styling combines the best attributes of vans with the bold look of a sport-utility vehicle. This is accomplished, according to Chevrolet, with a long hood and a large, chromed-ringed grille sporting a big Chevy bow tie. In profile, wide roof pillars, 17-inch wheels and tires wider than the typical minivan's are supposed to reinforce the SUV look. Gray molding covers the rocker panels and connects the lower bumper plastic front and rear, designed to look like a skid-plate.

We're not sure about any of this SUV stuff, because to us the Uplander looks like a minivan with a prominent, slightly awkward snout. It won't fool many people. In virtually every respect the Uplander is a minivan, with the many advantages minivans offer, including a low step-in and load lift heights compared to the typical SUV.

One thing that impresses during an Uplander walkaround is the overall quality of its assembly and finish. The seams on our test vehicle matched precisely and consistently, and the paint had a thick, deep luster with very little orange-peel effect. It was among the best we've seen from Chevrolet and as good as any other minivan currently offered, including those known for their build quality.

Few absolutely must have power sliding side doors, but they're something we like and are handy in a number of situations. GM actually invented power doors years ago, so it's a bit perplexing that those on the Uplander seem a little slow to open, close and lock (as are Nissan's). Perhaps GM's engineers designed the operating mechanism with safety foremost in their thinking. More likely, they were responding to cautionary intervention from corporate liability attorneys. We were also struck by the lack of any power liftgate assist, despite Uplander's overall high level of standard equipment.

The Uplander is one of four minivans offered by GM's various brands. It shares its engine, transmission, chassis and general dimensions with the Buick Terraza, Pontiac Montana and Saturn Relay. There are slight styling differences, to be sure, and each division has its own rational as to why its minivan looks like it does and why it will appeal to a certain type of buyer. Whatever the thinking behind each might be, price differences between the four are negligible when comparably equipped. At the bottom is the Uplander, with suggested retail prices $135 lower than those for the Saturn Relay, which sits next up the pecking order in GM's minivan hierarchy. Above them are the Montana with the Terraza at the top of the line. The choice between brands could come down to satisfaction with a particular dealership, lot location, which dealer is willing to cut the best deal, or, most likely, which styling you like the best.

Interior Features

The 2006 Uplander's strengths are most obvious inside. Its interior is a major improvement over Chevrolet's old Venture model, or any of GM's previous minivans. It also stacks up well against its current competition.

Interior finish and materials are surprisingly good, considering some of GM's efforts just a few years ago. Plastics are generally rich in touch and appearance, and while other media have bashed the fake wood trim, we find it as good as that in cars that cost considerably more. Uplander's instrument panel doesn't try to get cute. It's clean, straightforward design is efficient and easy to get comfortable with.

The instrument binnacle prominently features a large tach and speedometer. The dials are sharp and legible, and trimmed with a thin chrome ring that adds a classy touch. Window, mirror and lock switches are located in the driver's armrest, right where we like them. Lights are on the dash, next to the steering column; wipers on a stalk to the right. There are redundant audio controls on the steering wheel hub.

The center stack is particularly well done. Audio controls sit above the climate controls, also as we like them, and the knobs are not only big, but pleasant to touch. There's a pair of pull-out cupholders and a swing-out storage bin at the bottom. There's also a folding utility table between the front seats with more cupholders and indents to keep phones or glasses handy without allowing them to slide off.

While the Uplander's cabin is good, it's hardly perfect. The glovebox door feels a bit flimsy; the same applies, more so, to the bins behind the front seats. These are well designed, with secure storage for headsets and discs, but they feel cheap. The front fan moves a ton of air, but it's quite loud at full bore. Perhaps most annoying is the view through the rear-view mirror. It's noticeably restricted by the rear-seat headrests, with a relatively narrow scope.

Our Uplander LT had second-row captain's chairs, which are amply spacious and comfortable for good-sized adults. The third-row bench will be no problem for kids through age 15 or 16, even on long drives, but access to the third row is not the best. The pathway between the individual second-row seats is narrow, hampered further by the folding utility table. For access from the outboard side, a one-button mechanism folds the seatbacks forward and slides the entire seat toward the front. That said, it doesn't make climbing in back much easier than walking between the second-row seats.

The interior roof rail system mounts storage bins, DVD screens and lighting under the headliner in modular fashion. It also holds the optional, removable PhatNoize hard drive, which is one of the coolest things going in minivans.

PhatNoize adds a second video screen to the single-DVD entertainment system and a wallet-sized 40-gig hard drive that slips into the overhead rail system. That's enough storage space for 10,000 audio files in virtually any format, or 40 feature films in the MPEG format. PhatNoize has a voice-browsing feature that allows the driver to cycle through menu offerings with buttons on the steering wheel hub. A USB port allows photographs to be loaded directly from a digital camera. Moreover, the PhatNoize hard drive is easily removed and attached to a PC, to be loaded with whatever an Uplander owner chooses. The system is improved for 2006 with pre-loaded promotional content, including TV shows from Nickelodeon, music from eMusic, audio books from Audible and video games from Capcom.

The available onboard inflator generates enough pressure to inflate just about anything. It's integrated in the left-side trim behind the third seat. On the right, there's a standard 110-volt plug that allows Uplander to operate small appliances without a separate power inverter.

The Cargo Convenience center has its advantages. It can keep certain items out of site,

Driving Impressions

The big news for the 2006 Uplander comes in the driving category. Sometime in calendar 2006, Chevy will begin offering Uplander with a new, 3.9-liter V6 with variable valve timing. We expect this more powerful engine to be a significant improvement, but we'll have to wait and see.

On paper, this optional engine should be a significant improvement. It will generate 240 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque, compared with 201 horsepower and 216 pound-feet of torque for the standard 3.5-liter V6. (All-wheel-drive versions generate slightly less power.) The upgrade will transform Uplander from one of the least powerful minivans available to one of the most powerful.

Moreover, GM continues to take conventional overhead-valve engine technology to new heights. The 3.9-liter V6 will be the first cam-in-block engine with fully variable valve timing. This technology should deliver a nice, broad power curve, with lots of acceleration-producing torque at all engine speeds. It should also help optimize fuel mileage. We expect the bigger engine will deliver real-world mileage comparable to the standard V6.

The Uplander LT we tested was equipped with full-time all-wheel drive. In climates where snow, slush or icy roads are a fact of life, we highly recommend it. GM's VersaTrak system adds relatively little weight to the vehicle, and it can do things some similar systems can't. When the Uplander's front wheels lose traction, VersaTrak automatically shifts engine power to the rear wheels, increasing the odds of continued forward mobility. Yet it can also shift power from side to side between the rear wheels. If the inside wheel encounters slush build-up near the edge of the road, for example, VersaTrak sends power to the outside wheel with grip.

StabiliTrak, GM's electronic stability control, is also available, but buyers must choose between the stability system and all-wheel drive. StabiliTrak is only offered on front-drive Uplanders. In the northeast or mountain states, we'd choose the all-wheel drive. It brings a slight penalty in fuel mileage (about 1 mpg), but in the right climate it's well worth it. StabiliTrak helps prevent skidding in corners on wet or slippery conditions or on dry pavement.

The standard 3.5-liter V6 is the Uplander's most obvious weakness when compared with the best minivans. Its old-fashioned cast-iron engine block dates back decades. That doesn't necessarily mean it's bad, but it doesn't offer the power of the competition's engines.

At interstate speeds the 3.5-liter V6 is smooth and quiet, and there's enough quick-burst acceleration for safe merging onto busy freeways. The engine is aided by first-rate performance from the automatic transmission. GM makes some of the best automatics anywhere, and while the Uplander's has four speeds (compared to five in some competitors), it responds quickly and appropriately to the driver's commands via the gas pedal. Shift quality (smoothness) is as good as it gets.

That said, the Uplander's 3.5-liter V6 isn't likely to stir much emotion, and we wouldn't relish the thought of towing something at the rated capacity of 3500 pounds. In short, Uplander's engine delivers less horsepower and torque than any in the class, and it's noticeable on the road. It simply can't match the power, smoothness or fuel economy of the overhead cam engines in some competitors, nor the torque of cam-in-block engines in others. The engine more or less sets the tone for Uplander's driving dynamics in general.

Handling is reminiscent of old-school GM. This is no doubt by design, because GM is perfectly capable of building vehicles with a more contemporary ride-handling balance. In other words, Chevy thinks Uplander buyers want a soft ride and side-to-side sway in any corner taken faster than parking-lot speed. We prefer more responsive handling and don't mind putting up with a little road v

Summary

The Chevrolet Uplander holds its own amongst stiff competition in passenger comfort and flexibility, not to mention the gizmos buyers increasingly expect in their minivans. Its styling doesn't do much for us, but it might for some buyers and it's innocuous at worst. Fit, finish and build quality rank with the best in the class. Uplander is easily Chevrolet's best minivan yet. It falls short when it comes to power, ride and handling, although a new, larger V6 option should improve things considerably when it's available later in the model year. However, few minivans deliver as much room or equipment for the money.

J.P. Vettraino filed this NewCarTestDrive.com report from Detroit.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
$26,995
Model lineup:
Chevrolet Uplander LS ($26, 995); Uplander LT ($29,385); Uplander LT AWD ($31,385)
Engines:
201-hp 3.5-liter V6 (196 hp with AWD); 240-hp 3.9-liter V6
Transmissions:
4-speed automatic
Safety equipment (Standard):
daylight running lamps, front passenger front-impact airbags, ABS, OnStar tele-aid system
Safety equipment (Optional):
StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, front and second-row side-impact air bags
Basic warranty:
3 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in:
Doraville, Georgia
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP):
Chevrolet Uplander LT AWD ($31,385)
Standard equipment:
front and rear air conditioning with separate controls, power windows, power rear vent windows, power locks, remote keyless entry, leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, cruise control, AM/FM/CD/MP3 system, power driver's seat, second-row captain's seats with utility table, overhead rail system, DVD entertainment system with two infrared headphone sets, OnStar tele-aid system with one-year subscription, antilock brakes, power sliding passenger-side rear door, rear window defroster and wiper, brushed aluminum roof rails, carpeted floor mats
Options as tested:
Premium Seating Package ($1,350) includes leather surfaces for first and second row, power front passenger seat and front seat heaters; six-CD changer with XM satellite radio hardware($620); Convenience Package with power sliding rear door on driver's and rear parking assist ($545); Cargo Convenience Center rear storage bins ($285) StabiliTrak ($450); dual front air bags ($350); XM Satellite Radio ($325); traction control ($195); remote starter ($175); 115-volt power outlet ($175); CD/DVD storage and first aid kit ($100); entertainment package and headphones ($75); roof rails ($50); 3500-lb towing package ($170)
Destination charge:
715
Gas Guzzler Tax:
N/A
Price as tested (MSRP)
$35,420
Layout:
all-wheel drive
Engine:
3.5-liter ohv 12-valve V6
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):
196 @ 5600
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):
213 @ 3200
Transmission:
4-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:
17/23 mpg.
Wheelbase:
121.1 in.
Length/width/height:
204/72.0/72.0 in.
Track, f/r:
62.4/62.9 in.
Turning circle:
N/A
Seating capacity:
7
Head/hip/leg room, f:
39.8/59.9/39.9 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:
38.9/61.2/38.9 in.
Head/hip/leg room, r:
38.1/48.7/36.2 in.
Cargo volume:
136.5 cu. ft.
Payload:
N/A
Towing capacity:
3500 lbs.
Suspension F:
independent, MacPherson strut
Suspension R:
independent with cast aluminum short and long control arms, coil springs
Ground clearance:
5.5 in.
Curb weight:
4608 lbs.
Tires:
P225/60R17 Continental all-season
Brakes, f/r:
disc/disc with four-wheel ABS in.
Fuel capacity:
25.0 gal.

Printable Version

2006 Chevrolet Uplander Van

Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Opt
Passenger Air Bag Opt
Side Air Bag Opt
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Std
Intermittent Wipers Opt

Security

Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2006 Chevrolet Uplander Van

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Corrosion 6 Years/100,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance 3 Years/36,000 Miles

Chevrolet Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

2-Year/24,000-Mile1 CPO Scheduled Maintenance Plan.

12-Month/12,000-Mile2 Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty.

5-year/100,000-Mile3 Powertrain Limited Warranty.

1Covers only scheduled oil changes with filter, tire rotations and 27 point inspections, according to your vehicle's recommended maintenance schedule for up to 2 years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. Does not include air filters. Maximum of 4 service events. See participating dealer for other restrictions and complete details.

2Whichever comes first from date of purchase. See participating dealer for limited warranty details.

3Whichever comes first from original in-service date. See participating dealers for limited warranty details.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 2009-2014 model year / Under 75,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 172-Point Vehicle Inspection and Reconditioning
Download checklist
Return/Exchange Program 3-Day 150-Mile Satisfaction Guarantee
Roadside Assistance Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $0

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2006 Chevrolet Uplander Van

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