The name has been changed, and to a degree so has the vehicle.Chevrolet's Lumina minivan has dropped its APV (all-purpose vehicle) cognomen for 1994, and now is just known as the Lumina. Also gone is the long-prow look of the nose piece.While the 1994 Chevrolet Lumina minivan may no longer carry an APV designation, the form and function of the vehicle remain all-purpose.There isn't much you can't do with a '94 Lumina. The minivan is about as versatile as they come, and it performs tasks that range from being an automobile to being a truck.Among the extensive styling updates on the Lumina are exterior components that includes the hood; fenders; front and rear fascias; lights; rocker treatment; liftgate handle; rear step pad; and a high-mounted stop lamp. It's all rather impressive, although to the casual observer there are no radical changes.Drivers will find the interior changes to their liking. A new instrument panel hood and an array of relocated switches are laid out for added ease of operation.Everything is still like an old friend, however, as the Lumina that General Motors Corp.'s P.J. "Pete" Peterson provided for a test vehicle had controls that were easily located and easily identified.One facet about driving a van is that you have a commanding view of the road and surrounding terrain, and this certainly is retained in the '94 vehicle. Another feature is that you don't have to climb up and in to be seated in order to drive the thing.The seating obviously is more elevated than in a passenger car, but it was possible just to step into the seat in positioning one's self behind the wheel. The actual operation was just like any other GM vehicle: Turn the key in the ignition, put it in Drive, and go.There is a considerable expanse of dashboard area ahead of you due to the rake of the windshield reaching out to meet the hood. But it doesn't encumber forward visibility, and you quickly adjust to front-end clearance when parking.The standard engine is a 3.1-liter V-6 that is rated at 120 horsepower and 175 foot-pounds of torque. It's basic GM V-6 fare, a tried and proven engine that has demonstrated ongoing reliability.However, the standard engine is no power match for the 3.8-liter V-6 that was in the test vehicle. This engine delivers 170 horsepower and 225 foot-pounds of torque, has all the design and reliability attributes of the 3.1, and makes a whole new world out of the Lumina.At 231 cubic inches of displacement, you're talking 40 more cubic inches for the 3.8, and that translates into a lot of pulling power.The bigger engine gave the Lumina some life, both in stoplight acceleration and in quick passing. The 3.8 made the minivan drive like a car. And a further enhancement is that it is offered exclusively with GM's better-class four-speed automatic, the highly regarded 4T60-E series automatic.The combination of 3.8-liter V-6 and 4T60-E raises the towing capacity of the Lumina to 3,000 pounds, 1,000 pounds more than with the standard 3.1-liter V- 6.That's the good news. The other side of the picture is you're looking at an investment of $619 for the bigger engine, and $200 for the 4T60-E. But considering what can be done with this package, it is well worth considering.The test Lumina was a seven seater, which gave it the ability to haul everybody in a large household, including the dog. Included in the optional seven passenger seating were new integral child seats.Also on board was an optional power sliding side door that has a built-in obstruction sensor. If something gets in the way while the door is closing, it automatically reverses direction.The Lumina handles about like a minivan is expected to handle.You really can't go roaring through sharp, flat corners with the throttle flat to the floor without engendering a horrendous amount of body lean and the sensation the van is going to bicycle on you. But under normal driving modes, the Lumina's front-drive provid d excellent stability and gave the feeling it would just keep going in any kind of weather.Chevrolet's numerous 1994 changes for the Lumina have been evolutionary, not revolutionary. This new minivan constitutes the continuing development that has taken place since the debut of the first one in 1990. Chevrolet Lumina Model year: 1994.Base price: $23,136.Type: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, seven-passenger, multipurpose minivan.Engine: overhead-valve V-6, 3.8 liters, 12 valves, fuel-injected, 170 horsepower, 225 foot-pounds of torque.Transmission: four-speed automatic.Towing capacity: 3,000 pounds.Mileage: 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway.Dimensions: wheelbase 109.8 inches; length 191.5 inches; width 73.9 inches; height: 65.7 inches; curb weight: 3,554 pounds.Options: preferred equipment group, air conditioning, AM/FM stereo compact disc player with rear speakers, automatic transmission, seven-passenger seating with child seats, sunroof, power sliding door, 3.8-liter V-6, 15-inch aluminum wheels, P205/70R15 tires, roof carrier, two-tone paint.
|George Moore||IndyStar.com||January 16, 1994|
|Jim Mateja||chicagotribune.com||October 24, 1993|
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