- E85 option
- Five-star crash ratings with side airbags
- Dull styling
- Dull drivetrain
- Important safety gear is optional
- Already discontinued
- Rear seats don’t fold into floor
The 2008 Chevrolet Uplander has been put out of its misery, but if you can find one cheap, it’s not a bad cargo carrier.
The 2008 Chevrolet Uplander is the last of the old-style minivans still standing. While the world has adopted seats that fold into the floor, like those in the Honda Odyssey and Dodge Grand Caravan, the Chevrolet Uplander heads into its last year on the market with removable seats, a dated powertrain and style, and an uncompetitive package of safety gear.
The Uplander owes its SUV-like appearance to a slightly higher ride height and unique styling cues, though it retains sliding rear-side doors and offers three rows of seating for as many as seven passengers. Compared to the well-detailed Honda Odyssey, it's forgettable and outdated.
The 2008 Chevrolet Uplander comes with a 3.9-liter, 240-horsepower V-6 that also offers E85/flex-fuel capability. It's teamed with a standard four-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Performance and fuel economy, at 16/23 mpg, is uninspiring, and there's no all-wheel-drive option.
The Uplander features include a 50/50-split rear seat that folds into the floor; the second-row seats are also foldable and removable as needed to maximize cargo-carrying abilities, but they don't stow in the floor like the state-of-the-art seats in Chrysler's minivans. There's also a load-leveling suspension available.
Anti-lock brakes are standard, but curtain and side airbags are options, a near-fatal omission in this segment. With the optional side airbags, the Chevy Uplander receives mostly five-star ratings from the feds for front- and side-impact crash tests. The IIHS rates it as "good" in a frontal crash; in a side impact, it says the Uplander is "acceptable" when fitted with side airbags and "marginal" without them.
An optional roof-mounted DVD entertainment system incorporates a 20GB hard drive for media storage. Tire pressure monitors and OnStar are standard for 2008, as is XM Satellite Radio.