Minivan; Built in USA
  • 3-door van
  • 3-door van
  • 3-door van
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $7,000*


1991 Chevrolet Astro AWD extended length


1993 Chevrolet Astro CL extended length


1995 Chevrolet Astro CL


1996 Chevrolet Astro interior


1997 Chevrolet Astro LT AWD

Pros:
  • Antilock brakes
  • Optional AWD traction
  • Passenger and cargo room
  • Trailer-towing capability
Cons:
  • Entry/exit
  • Fuel economy
  • Ride

Like the now-extinct Ford Aerostar, the Astro and its GMC Safari cousin are truck-based vehicles, better suited to heavy-duty work than are front-drive minivans. Trucklike behavior could be a turnoff unless you need Astro’s brand of brawniness for towing or other demanding applications.

Overview

Introduced for 1985, Chevrolet’s rear-drive minivan and its GMC Safari counterpart are taller, tougher, and more trucklike than Dodge/Plymouth rivals (which are front drive). A properly equipped Astro could haul up to 6000 pounds. Five-passenger seating was standard, but Astros could be equipped to hold up to eight occupants. Starting in 1990, antilock brakes acted on all four wheels (front-disc/rear-drum). Full-time 4-wheel drive also arrived as an option for 1990. An extended-length body was added during the model year, with ten inches tacked onto the rear for nearly 19 extra cubic feet of cargo capacity.

Yearly Updates

1991 Astro
A more powerful, high-output V6 became available in 2WD models during ’91. All outboard seats now had lap/shoulder belts.
1992 Astro
Still another high-output engine joined the Astro option list. This one developed 200 horsepower. A new “Dutch” rear-door option featured a one-piece glass liftgate with separately opening split panel doors below.
1993 Astro
Astro’s 4-speed automatic transmission gained electronic shift controls, plus a second-gear start feature for improved slippery-surface traction. The base engine gained 15 horsepower, and speedometers now were calibrated to 100 mph instead of 85.
1994 Astro
The driver-side airbag became standard in all Astros. Side-door guard beams went into front doors and the sliding side door, while a center high-mounted stoplamp was installed in the roof.
1995 Astro
Facelifted with a new grille and nose for 1995, all models now came with extended bodies and a 190-horsepower engine. CL and LT option groups featured new composite headlamps and body-colored fascias.
1996 Astro
A passenger-side airbag went into Astros for 1996, along with a new dashboard that contained rotary controls and a locking glovebox. Horsepower remained at 190 but torque dropped by ten pound-feet, peaking at lower rpm than before. New spark plugs were said to last 100,000 miles. A new engine cover increased front foot room and contained molded-in cupholders.
1997 Astro
Speed-sensitive power steering and daytime running lights went into the ’97 Astro. Optional leather upholstery became available later in the model year.
1998 Astro
Astro gets only exterior color changes and a revised transmission for ’98.
1999 Astro
Astro’s all-wheel-drive system was revised so that power was only sent to the front wheels when needed for maximum traction. Other changes included a standard overhead console on LS and LT trimmed models.
2000 Astro
Eight-passenger seating became standard this year, so no more 5-passenger models were available. A 7-passenger setup with two second-row buckets remained as an option. Chevrolet claimed that internal changes made the Astro’s engine quieter and smoother for 2000. A Tow/Haul mode was added for more-efficient shifting when carrying heavy loads. New standard features included headlamps that switch on automatically in low-light conditions, a larger fuel tank made of plastic instead of metal, and retained accessory power that permits operating electrical accessories for up to 20 minutes after shutting off the ignition.
2001 Astro
A tilt steering wheel, cruise control, CD player, remote keyless entry, and power windows, mirrors and locks were newly standard in 2001.
2002 Astro
Cargo models offered remote keyless entry and a rear heater for 2002.
2003 Astro
The standard antilock brakes are upgraded to an all-disc setup and wheels are increased by one inch to 16-inches on all models.
2004 Astro
There were no significant changes made in 04.
2005 Astro
There were no significant changes made in 04.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear- or all-wheel drive

In all Astros, a 4.3-liter V6 engine hooks to a 4-speed automatic transmission. The standard engine in 1990 was rated 150 horsepower, but an optional 175-horsepower edition joined during the ’91 model year. A year later, the optional HP (High Performance) V6 put out 200 horsepower, available only in 2WD models. Base-engine horsepower rose from 150 to 165 in 1993. For 1996, the V6 became part of GM’s Vortec family, reaching 190 horsepower but dropping from 260 to 250 pound-feet of torque.

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.3/262
Engine HP 150-165
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 230-235
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

16/21

14.5

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.3/262
Engine HP 175-200
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 250-260
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

16/20

15.0

Road Test

Spacious inside, Astro vans can be fitted to tow up to three tons and seat up to eight. The penalty that must be paid for its brawn is a rough, bouncy ride–definitely less carlike than front-drive minivans, which serve as replacements for the traditional old family station wagon. Clumsy handling also ranks as subpar. Even the least-potent V6 engine has plenty of torque for hauling heavy loads and towing, but that muscle does not translate into brisk acceleration. As for economy, we averaged just 14.5 mpg in an early AWD, regular-length Astro. Expect around 15 mpg in urban driving, and not a whole lot more on the highway. Another demerit: Servicing isn’t so easy.

Entry/exit to the front seats is hampered by doorways that are narrow at the bottom. There’s also a tall step-up to get inside. Interiors offer loads of passenger and cargo room, though front-seat riders must deal with uncomfortably narrow footwells. The dashboard, as revised for 1996, has a convenient layout with plenty of built-in storage space. With eight seats, a regular-length Astro has little rear cargo room.

All-wheel drive offers better rain/snow traction, but with even more thirst for gas. It also makes the Astro an inch higher, adding to step-in height.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2002 Chevrolet Astro 2WD LS

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 3
30%
Ride Quality - 3
30%
Steering/Handling - 3
30%
Quietness - 3
30%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 3
30%
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
60%
Cargo Room - 10
100%

Other

Value - 4
40%

Total: 45

Specifications

3-door van
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
111.0 176.8 77.5 76.2
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
151.8 27.0 8
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.2 37.9 41.6 36.5
3-door van
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
111.0 186.8 77.5 76.2
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
170.4 27.0 8
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.2 37.9 41.6 36.5
3-door van
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
111.0 189.8 77.5 76.2
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
170.4 27.0 8
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.2 37.9 41.6 36.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Astro 3-door van

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 3
60%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 57
Injury 75
Theft 36

Trouble Spots

Doors
Description: Improper adjustment of the sliding door can make it hard to open or close. (1990-93)
Engine knock
Description: A knocking sound may be due to three possible causes and may be fixed with either an oil filter having a built-in check valve, a revised PROM or replacement of the main bearings. (1990-95)
Engine misfire
Description: New valve-guide seals should eliminate the blue smoke from the tailpipe during cold starting. (1990-93)
Engine misfire
Description: The fuel injector wires tend to get pinched when the air filter is reinstalled. (1990-93)
Engine noise
Description: An engine noise might be caused by the exhaust valves sticking in their guides. New valve-guide seals should correct the problem if the guides are not worn. (1996)
Engine temperature
Description: Overheating and coolant loss may be due to rough surface on radiator filler neck. Neck should be sanded smooth and cap replaced. (1999-2000)
Transmission leak
Description: The rear seal on the transmission (extension housing seal) may leak on vans with a one-piece drive shaft. (1990-94)
Transmission leak
Description: Fluid may leak from the pump body on 4L60-E transmissions due to the pump bushing walking out of the valve body. (1995-96)

Recall History

1990-91
Description: Bucket seat’s knob-type recliner mechanism with foam or vinyl “soft joint” may loosen and cause bolt failure, allowing seatback to recline suddenly; could produce loss of control.
1992-94
Description: Front seatbacks do not conform to height requirements.
1994
Description: Airbag-advisory labels may be missing.
1995 w/L35 engine
Description: Fuel lines at tank were improperly tightened and could loosen, allowing leakage and possible fire.
1995
Description: On a few vans, left lower control-arm bolt could loosen, fatigue, and break.
1995-97
Description: The windshield-wiper motor may fail on certain vehicles. Dealer will inspect and replace affected parts.
1996-97
Description: Outboard-seatbelt webbing on right-rear bucket seat can separate during crash.
1996-98 w/integrated child seats
Description: Seatbelt-retractor clutch spring and/or pawl spring in child seat may be missing.
1998
Description: On certain vehicles, the outside rearview mirror switch may short circuit. Dealer will inspect and replace affected parts.
1999
Description: Audible fasten-seatbelt warning may not sound or may not sound as long as is required by the standard.
2001-02
Description: Multifunction switch may develop an open circuit, causing stop lamps and hazard lamps to become inoperative.
2003
Description: Poorly manufactured steering knuckles on some vehicles may allow for road contamination to enter and wear down the ball joint, resulting in difficulty controlling the vehicle

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.