Like other General Motors vans that debuted in 2005, Chevrolet bills the Uplander as a crossover sport van. Though it has sport utility vehicle styling cues — with a seven-passenger seating capacity, a low step-in height and sliding side doors — the Uplander isn't far removed from the minivans that GM has offered for years, but the company hopes to avoid the minivan's tame image.
The Uplander is related to the Buick Terraza, Pontiac Montana SV6 and Saturn Relay. Front-wheel drive is standard, but the Uplander LT can be fitted with all-wheel drive. A cargo van is also offered.
A new optional 240-horsepower, 3.9-liter V-6 with variable valve timing can be installed on 2006 models. Optional side-impact airbags now protect occupants in the first- and second-row seats.
Chevrolet offers an optional backseat entertainment system. Known as Mobile Digital Media Powered by PhatNoise, the system can store hours of music or movies on a wallet-size 40-gigabyte hard-drive cartridge. Dealers can install a Sit-N-Lift power seat that rotates and extends outward, operating via a hand-held remote control.
The Uplander's squared-off front fascia features a large grille with a horizontal band. Chrome accents are used on the grille. Chevrolet says special exterior moldings enhance the Uplander's "SUV-like character."
Wide, prominent C-pillars are exposed, which is considered another SUV styling cue. The wheels measure 17 inches in diameter, and the optional roof rack has satin-finished side rails. Automatic rear load-leveling shock absorbers are installed. Riding a 121.1-inch wheelbase, the Uplander is 204 inches long overall and 72 inches tall.
Seven occupants fit inside the Uplander, which features three rows of seats. The second- and third-row seats can be folded and removed. Bucket seats are standard in the second row, while captain's chairs with armrests are optional. Uplevel models feature leather seats in the first row, and heated cushions are optional.
The Uplander also features a flexible rear cargo system that has three dividers. When the third-row bench seat is folded, the seat and storage system line up to create a level load floor. Total cargo volume is 136.5 cubic feet with the second- and third-row seats folded and 26.9 cubic feet with all the seats up. The rear bench is split 50/50 and covered in soft vinyl.
Foldable convenience trays sit between the first- and second-row seats. An overhead rail system contains integrated audio and climate controls, lighting and the backseat entertainment system. Entertainment options include a DVD system and XM Satellite Radio.
Under the Hood
GM's 3.5-liter V-6 generates 201 hp and 216 pounds-feet of torque and connects to a four-speed-automatic transmission. With all-wheel drive, output drops to 196 hp. For 2006, a new 240-hp, 3.9-liter V-6 that generates240 pounds-feet of torque is available. When properly equipped, the Uplander can tow up to 3,500 pounds. Versatrak all-wheel drive can split torque between the left and right wheels as well as between the front and rear ones. Traction control is optional.
All-disc antilock brakes and daytime running lamps are standard. GM's StabiliTrak electronic stability system is optional. Optional seat-mounted side-impact airbags provide head and thorax protection for front- and second-row outboard occupants.