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PERFORMANCE | 6 out of 10
The Uplander's 3.9-liter V6 is a vast improvement”
Kelley Blue Book
The handling, acceleration, and overall performance are vanlike
Car and Driver
“engine is reasonably smooth”
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, are uninspiring, and there's no all-wheel-drive option.
Kelley Blue Book notes "the Uplander's 3.9-liter V6 is a vast improvement over the previous 3.5-liter engine." They go on to say that it offers improved low-end torque and passing power, "as well as smooth vibration-free operation." The front-wheel drive is apparently a good match for this type of vehicle because it provides "good traction in rain and snow." The larger engine also increases the Uplander's towing rating to 3,500 pounds, which is decent for a minivan. Edmunds reports, “The V6 provides adequate power and the engine is reasonably smooth, although its powertrain lacks the finesse of rivals from Honda, Dodge and even Kia.” Car and Driver says, “Even the four-speed automatic transmission seems antiquated.” The Uplander is available with a FlexFuel version of the same 3.9-liter engine that can run on standard gasoline or an E85 blend of ethanol and gasoline.
Car and Driver reports that the Uplander's "handling, acceleration, and overall performance are vanlike. Which is to say, not much fun at all." Edmunds contends, “Chevrolet has tuned the Uplander's suspension to provide a smooth ride and a moderate level of dynamic handling ability,” and notes, “Upgrading to the optional sport/load-leveling suspension provides more responsive handling, though maneuverability in tight spaces is still compromised by the van's large 41-foot turning radius.”
The 2008 Chevrolet Uplander has improved power and handling, but it’s still a minivan—an aged one, at that.