Road & Travel Magazine

Auto Advice & Tips
Auto Buyer's Guides
Car Care Maintenance
Climate Views & Videos
Auto Awards Archive
Insurance & Accidents
Legends & Leaders
New Car Reviews
Planet Driven
Road Humor
Road Trips
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Teens & Tots Tips
Tire Buying Tips
Used Car Buying
Vehicle Model Guide

Travel Channel
Adventure Travel
Advice & Tips
Airline Rules
Bed & Breakfasts
Cruises & Tours
Destination Reviews
Earth Tones
Family Travel Tips
Health Trip
Hotels & Resorts
Luxury Travel
Pet Travel
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Spa Reviews
Train Vacations
World Travel Directory
Bookmark and Share

2004 Minivan Buyer's Guide
by Steve Siler

Chevy Astro / GMC Safari
Chevy Astro minivan

If the Chevy Astro and GMC Safari look a whole lot like those that were introduced way back during the Reagan administration, it's because they are basically the same. Sure, they have been updated somewhat regularly with the requisite additions of safety and emissions equipment, but ultimately, they still look-and feel-the same.

Now, if that sounds like a criticism, let us clarify: it is more of a raised eyebrow of sorts that the rear-wheel-drive not-so-mini van continues to be built alongside so many other fresher competitors, including the Chevrolet Venture and its brethren.

Why, then, does it survive and sell in such surprisingly strong numbers? Because it offers a sturdy truck frame and a torquey V-6 motor (252 lb-ft!) that makes easy work of towing and hauling. It also offers all-wheel drive for added traction in winter or on slippery boat ramps. It remains a favorite of delivery companies as well as conversion van outfits. Starting to see its appeal? Thought so. It's just like a big van, just not so big.

Of course, it's not quite as comfy or carlike as the others, but it's not trying to be. It doesn't offer dual sliding doors, nor does it give you a miles-long options list to choose from like many other vans. Still, the $22K-$30K Astro/Safari has a place in this market, and as long as people continue to buy it, General Motors will continue to make it.