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2005 Chevrolet Uplander

2005 Chevrolet Uplander Road Test Review

by Jeff Voth

The line between van and SUV has blurred steadily over the past five years. All-wheel drive urban transportation capable of carrying up to seven people is now the industry standard by which most "utility" vehicles are measured.

2005 Chevrolet Uplander Review

For some, a mid-van is still their vehicle of choice. Large side doors with easy access and spacious cabins capable of holding enormous volumes of cargo are accepted as the trade off for boat-like handling and bus-like steering.

For others, if it can't be taken off-road, handle paved highways with at least a modicum of dexterity, yet still pack in four kids, a dog and most of their gear, it's not an acceptable form of mobility.

The 2005 Chevrolet Uplander attempts to bridge the two designs by offering van-like size and comfort, with SUV-like handling and styling cues.

The marketers at Chevrolet refer to the new shape as a crossover sport van. But a quick glance at the Uplander and its three siblings, the Buick Terraza, Pontiac Montana SV6 and Saturn Relay, proves the styling is solidly in the camp of the van.

The all-new Uplander is available in four trim levels: the Uplander Base, LS, LT and LT AWD. A 3.5L, 60 degree V6 powers all models. It offers 200 hp @ 5200 rpm and 220 lb-ft of torque @ 4400 rpm. This translates into plenty of performance in three critical areas: acceleration, highway cruising and pulling power.

In my experience, more often than not, poor fuel mileage is the trade-off realized for having the additional space of a van. This was not the case in my week of driving the Chevrolet Uplander.

A 4-speed automatic transmission provides smooth, quiet shifts for both the base FWD models and the Versatrak AWD system. The all-wheel-drive model offers both front and rear fully independent suspension, with MacPherson struts and coil springs in front and a double wishbone with cast aluminum short- and long-arm control arms arrangement in back.

Potholes and confined parking spaces are no problem for the 2005 Chevrolet Uplander. Wheels are 17" steel, with 5-spoke aluminum available as an option. Tires are all-season on the base, TL and LS models, or all-season touring on the AWD.

2005 Chevrolet Uplander Cargo Room

Inside the new Uplander offers plenty of storage space and convenience features. Seven-passenger seating is standard, as is a 50/50 split-fold rear seat and an innovative rear-storage system. Included with the fold-flat rear bench seat, it hides a variety of small items and even offers a water-resistant compartment for things such as swimwear and beach towels.

My test vehicle was equipped with the Premium Seat Package, which includes leather seating surfaces, a power driver and passenger seat, as well as heated seats. I found the front seating position to be less bus-like than many mid-van models available, with good back support, leg room and unobstructed visibility.

For those times when only a large space will do, both the middle and third row seats are removable.

Surprisingly, it is in the second row where the new 2005 Chevrolet Uplander struggles to provide adequate room for passengers taller than 5' 8".

With the driver's seat comfortably set for my 6' 1" frame, my oldest teenage daughter was unable to sit behind me, forcing us to re-arrange her seating position to the middle seat behind my wife. In my opinion, this is a significant oversight on the part of Chevrolet and one I hope they fix when the next new design arrives later in the decade.

Power windows, mirrors and door locks are standard, with a power driver-side sliding door and park assist optional. Dual stage airbags are standard in front, with side-impact driver and passenger airbags standard on LS, LT and LT AWD models and optional on the base Uplander.

A new overhead rail-system allows for a unique solution to the common dilemma of where to store sunglasses, garage door remotes and yet still offer mid and back seat passengers the option for DVD entertainment. It includes a 12"x10" snap-in storage box as standard equipment, with optional boxes available to increase overall storage capacity.

Standard on all Uplanders is an 8-speaker AM/FM stereo system with CD/MP3 player. A unique, optional feature available on all but the entry level Chevrolet Uplander is the PhatNoise entertainment system by Mobile Digital Media. This 40 gig unit connects easily to your home pc and is capable of storing and playing up to 40 full-length movies, 10,000 songs or multiple video games. XM satellite radio is also available as an option.

Chevrolet hopes to convince those looking for AWD performance and van-like seating with extra storage to consider the new Uplander sport van. If you consider that most of us rarely take all-wheel-drive vehicles off-road, but rather prefer the added safety it offers over traditional FWD and RWD vehicles, they may just be on to something.

2005 Chevrolet Uplander
Description: Mid-size crossover sport van
Model options: Uplander Base
Uplander LS
Uplander LT
Uplander LT AWD
Wheelbase: 121.1 inches
Overall length: 204.9 inches
Engine size: OHV 3.5-L V6
Transmission: Auto/4 Hydra-Matic 4T65-E
Drive: FWD
Braking: FWD: Power 4-disc, ABS
opt. StabiliTrak
AWD: Power 4-disc, ABS
Air bags: 2 (front) + opt. 2 (side)
Fuel mileage city/hwy: FWD: 21/32 mpg
AWD: 20/30 mpg
Base MSRP: Uplander Base: $ 24,350
Uplander LS: $ 26,955
Uplander LT: $ 29,385
Uplander LT AWD: $ 32,100

For More Information Click: Chevrolet Uplander
For the Chevrolet 2005 Model Guide : Click Here