1992 Chevrolet Astro

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1992 Chevrolet Astro

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Available in 8 styles:  Astro Passenger Van shown
Asking Price Range
$427–$5,995
Estimated MPG

Information Coming Soon

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 1 of 2

By 

Orlando Sentinel

Looking at Chevrolet's two small vans - the Astro and the Lumina APV - side by side, you are tempted to think the names landed on the wrong vehicles.

The futuristic looking Lumina APV should have been called the Astro van. With that long, sloping nose and those high-mounted space-age taillights, it's a vehicle George Jetson, Jane his wife and his boy, Elroy, could love.

The Astro van, on the other hand, should have been given the Lumina moniker. The Astro has shined brightly for Chevy since it debuted in 1984. Sometime next year the millionth Astro van will roll off the assembly line.

Enough, though, of this business of names. Because no matter what you call it, the Astro van is a solid, powerful and versatile workhorse.

Astro can get a bit pricey when you fill it with options, but it starts at a reasonable price, and you occasionally see them go for thousands under sticker price.

PERFORMANCE

There's something new this year under the Astro van's hood: A 4.3-liter V-6 that cranks out 200-horsepower - more ponies than any small or midsize van on the market.

That big engine delivers peppy acceleration, giving the Astro the ability to hustle around town and to zip onto busy interstates with ease.

Unfortunately, the delivery of that power is anything but smooth. The four- speed automatic transmission in the test van shifted abruptly and sometimes roughly -depending on the distance of the accelerator to the floor - giving the vehicle an unrefined demeanor.

On a cruise from Orlando to West Palm Beach, the Astro turned in a solid 19 mpg at a steady 65mph with the air conditioner running.

The test Astro van came equipped with rear-wheel drive, but it can be outfitted with all-wheel drive.

HANDLING

The extended-length Astro has a truck like ride. It's bouncy and jerky over bumps, much like a small pickup.

Indeed, underneath the Astro there is a suspension system - coil springs up front and leaf springs in the rear - that is similar to the setup on Chevy trucks.

And since you must climb up into the Astro, you get the impression that this vehicle is designed more for work and utility then it is coddling passengers in comfort.

The test van can carry a payload of 1,857 pounds and tow another 6,000 pounds.

Over smooth roads the Astro is quiet and well-mannered. It also handles well on gentle, sweeping curves. There is little body roll, and the tires grip well.

The power-assisted steering is responsive and light to the touch. The turning radius is a respectable 39.5 feet.

Four-wheel anti-lock brakes come standard on all passenger versions of the Astro. With discs up front and drums in the rear, the Astro's stopping power is no better than average at best.

FIT AND FINISH

When you open your wallet wide enough to extract $20,000 for a new van, you expect it to be put together exceptionally well. But the test vehicle left a little something to be desired here.

In the cargo area behind the rear bench seat, the carpet was peeling off the side panels. This is a minor imperfection to be sure, but it raised significant doubts and undermined my initial confidence in the way the Astro was assembled.

I looked over the rest of the Astro van carefully. The sloppy application of the carpet in the rear was the only flaw I could find. Everything functioned well and seemed bolted together tightly.

This year a new rear door option opens up some interesting possibilities. The Astro can be ordered with what Chevy calls the ''Dutch door'' option.

The Dutch door is a three-piece affair. The top portion of the tailgate opens up, like the rear of a minivan. The lower halves of the door swing out in opposite directions.

The front seats turned out to be a major surprise. They are comfortable on long drives, even though they don't look like they could be.

Rear passengers are also likely to findt at they can travel in comfort. There's ample head, foot and leg room. The extended length Astro van can be ordered to seat eight passengers. The sliding side door ensures easy entry for the passengers in the middle row. But it takes a bit of maneuvering to get to the rear seats.

The dash in the test vehicle housed a set of easy-to-read analog gauges, though an electronic setup is also available as an option.

I never felt comfortable with the layout of the dash. One must lean forward to reach the controls for the radio, interior lamps and other minor switches. To its credit, the dash houses two cup holders designed for coffee mugs.

The van had a rear air conditioner, a full complement of power accessories, a roof console, aluminum wheels and many other extras.

The Astro van is a competent vehicle, but it is not as smooth and refined as Chevy's own Lumina APV or any of the imported minivans.

Truett's tip: With a 4.3-liter, 200-horsepower V-6, Chevy's Astro can trailer up to 6,000 pounds. With seating for up to eight, it's comfortable too. This year Astro is available with a three-piece rear door.


    Expert Reviews 1 of 2

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