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3/4 Front Glamour 2005 Chevrolet Uplander

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MPG 18 City / 24 Highway

Introduction

With its current counterparts from other General Motors divisions, the 2005 Chevrolet Uplander is easily the best minivan GM has ever built. The Uplander is enough to make the world forget GM's original "dustbuster" minivans. It beats the 2004 Chevy Venture, which it replaces, in virtually every respect. Chevy says Uplander's long-nose, truck-type styling conjures up images of an SUV more than a minivan. We say no one will mistake the Uplander for anything but what it is: a minivan with the flexibility features and family-friendly conveniences buyers expect. Uplander comfortably seats seven, with a choice of individual captain's chairs or a two-place bench seat in the second row. Even the base model offers a high level of standard equipment, including a basic subscription to GM's in-demand OnStar tele-aid service. Uplander also offers the unique PhatNoize removable hard drive, which allows its onboard entertainment system to play or display everything from MP3 music files to family photos to video games to the latest movie releases. Our test vehicle's finish and build quality matched the best in class, and Uplander offers all-wheel drive to those who need it. With the optional towing package, it can pull up to 3,500 pounds. If Uplander falls short of the best minivans, it's most obvious in the driving. This Chevy's cam-in-block engine makes less power than those in all of its primary competitors, and while Uplander is pleasant enough to drive, it feels less responsive and perhaps less satisfying than the minivans from Dodge, Honda, Nissan and Toyota. The Uplander's real strength lies in its value. Comparably equipped, it sells for thousands less than class standards such as the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. And that's before the attractive dealer incentives GM frequently offers. Uplander's suggested retail prices start $135 lower than the Saturn Relay, which sits next up the pecking order in GM's minivan hierarchy. That said, while minor styling and equipment differences may apply, there isn't a lot to separate the Chevy Uplander, Saturn Relay, Pontiac Montana and Buick Terraza. When comparably equipped, the retail prices are very close. The choice between brands could come down to satisfaction with a particular dealership, lot location or which dealer is willing to cut the best deal, or which styling or feature set you like the best.
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