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Chevy Uplander/Pontiac Montana SV6/Saturn Relay/Buick Terraza



  • irgirg Posts: 197
    Maybe I should - then I could get a commission. Funny, I was wondering if you worked for GM ;)
  • kcoreykcorey Posts: 130
    I bought a Buick Terraza about 4 months ago. The sticker was about $30,000 with heated seats. I ended up paying $26,000...but leasing it for about $370/month (in NYC). My wife and I love it. Sure, it doesn't have stow-a-way rear seats, but we never need to fold them down anyway (I'm 66). I've got 5 grandchildren, and they love it too...especially the DVD player. (I never would have bought the DVD player, but it's included). Try sitting in the rear seats of a lot of vans...they're really uncomfortable! My Buick is a real winner for us. I know, some other one's may look a little prettier, but I want a car thats's comfortable, and this one rides and handles just great.
  • strstr Posts: 64
    I test drove the Terraza and I too thought it was really comfortable. It has a beautiful interior and I love the class of the outside design. It's really nice to have the DVD included as a standard feature even though you may not use it all of the time there will be times that other passengers will not to mention it is great entertainment for board kids! I personally think you made a really great choice! We are minivan shopping right now and I am leaning toward the Toyota Sienna XLE because it has a lot of features that our family is looking for but the Montana SV6 is still in the running. It just depends on your own personal needs and preferences and the Terraza in my opinion is very classy and comfortable. :
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    Pontiac & Buick minivans may disappear soon:


    irg: I'm really surprised that Buick vans does not have memory seats. Are you sure about that? Because the Oldsmobile Silhouette did offer memory seats on all trim levels but the lowest.

    vanman: Since 2001, every Chrysler minivan (long wheelbase) have 4-wheel disk brakes.
  • strstr Posts: 64
    Ian, Ian, Ian,
    I finally get to tell you something about these vans (what a change), Samnoe is right, the Buick and SV6 have driver memory seats. I am looking at the brochure from the dealership right now and it is listed in the interior features under seats. It is standard on the CXL model but not offered on the CX.
  • irgirg Posts: 197
    Good article samnoe, I read something similar to that last week as well. Seems odd though, that just as they are rolling out the new vans for Buick, Pontiac, etc. they are already discussing cutting these new models - talk about short sighted! But overall I think it is a good move on GM's part. I could never really understand the difference between Buick and Oldsmobile - thankfully no one will have to now. What I don't get though is Saturn. The article mentioned moving it upscale, to be just below Buick. That seems weird to me. Saturn has NO history of being upscale, in fact it made its mark by being down scale and offering an unique dealer experience (I owned one until a couple of weeks ago). So where does that position Pontiac? Just below Saturn? I like the fact the Cadillac will be upscale only, to compete against BMW, Mercedes, etc. Makes sense. Ditto with Chevy, make it run the gamut against Toyota and Ford. Hummer is already niche so need to change anything there. Saab should be cars only, so I imagine as soon as they roll out these new SUVs that are really clones, they will be killing them off in another year or two. IMO, Saab needs to retain a real European feel, as sales in Europe will (are?) probably better in Europe than in the US. I've always liked Saab, I just want them to not be a copycat of a Subaru or a Chevy.

    I'd like to see Pontiac turn into a budget performance division. I like the GTO, the Solstice, etc. and make about 3-4 models, all rear wheel drive, with good performance at very reasonable prices, and an inhouse aftermarket dept. that could take these models to the next level if a customer wanted. I think Buick and Pontiac should not be similar in any way. Buick can continue to offer budget "luxury" enough to lure customers that want comfortable classy cars, without the caddy price tag. Still not sure though where that leads Saturn in all this. I've seen some of their new designs though, and they look killer. Hope they make it to market for more than one year.
  • irgirg Posts: 197
    Ah, so you are correct, although it is memory seat, and not seats ;) (Driver seat only) Does this memory seat have 2 memory positions? (programmable for each driver in a household) I believe I read that Toyota is adding memory seating for 2006. It isn't a necessity, but I think it is a good feature to have overall. I did drive the Buick but didn't realize it had this feature. The one I drove though did not have the heated seat option - again not a necessity but nice to have, especially in the winter here. I did drive a Lincoln LS recently with air conditioned seats. Now that is cool! Literally.
  • vanman1vanman1 Posts: 1,397
    I don't think Pontiac needs a version and Saturn should have the Opel van instead. I think a Chevy and a Buick (upscale version) would be enough.
  • vanman1vanman1 Posts: 1,397
    I never said buy a GM, I said buy what you want and what you like.

    I just don't think people should buy what other people or magazines tell them to. They should buy what they like because in the end, quality is not a big issue with any maker anymore and ultimately you have to live with your purchase for at least a few years.
  • irgirg Posts: 197
    "I never said buy a GM, I said buy what you want and what you like." I have no problems with this. I am just recommending to anyone, to try out what's available, whether GM, Toyota, Ford, etc. Comparing brands is a good thing. I looked at the GM, Honda, Toyota, Dodge the most closely.

    "I just don't think people should buy what other people or magazines tell them to." I don't think so either. But magazines like Consumer Reports or C&D can be more objective than either of us, and they do offer the consumer all of the pros and cons about a product, and their tests are more thorough that what we can do as consumers, most of the time. How many of us can take all 4 vans from different manufacturers and drive them side by side on a closed circuit? I know I can't. All I am saying is that these resources offer good advice that are worth something. Same with owner's advice - finding someone who has owned the product you are considering is helpful. I don' think that should be the basis for making one's decision, but it helps all the same. Better to have the information, than not.

    "quality is not a big issue with any maker anymore and ultimately you have to live with your purchase for at least a few years. " I don't agree. Quality is still an issue and that is why companies like JD Power exist, to measure quality, and why every manufacturer including GM looks at their findings seriously. But quality to me is more than just whether a product works as advertised or breaks down or not. Quality is the comfort of the seats, the fit of the dash, the lack of squeaks and rattels, the ease of features, the gap in the panels, etc. GM has for years lagged in this area, so has Ford and Chrysler. Thankfully they are all getting better, but so has the competition. And some of the real high end rollers haven't faired so well in quality either. Mercedes, Audi/VW have both slipped some, probably because they have overcomplicated features in some cases. And perception still plays a big role. Ask any auto journalist who has higher quality, Toyota or GM and who do you think will be picked more often? The statistics still favor the Japanese at this point. And Hyundai is coming on fast. Once GM figures out what it wants from each division, that will probably help further their quality image as well.
  • vanman1vanman1 Posts: 1,397
    On those points..

    Yes CR and other magazines can test back to back but do they know you and what you like or want in a van? Do they know if remote start or On Star are more important than flip and flop seats? I don't think so. That's why you should buy what you want, not what you or a magazine tells you to.

    On the quality side, the difference between #1 and #5 is probably only 20 problems per 100 cars. Yes some are better than others but in the end, quality is much less of an issue than it used to be. Even the Korean companies seem to be closing in on whomever is #1. Lots of studies (like the latest from JD Power) show GM is pretty darn close to Toyota and Honda now, even ahead in some categories, and every year that passes the gap is smaller.
  • kcoreykcorey Posts: 130
    Yes, the CXL has a 2 position memory seat --- driver 1 or driver 2. (It's kind of silly, really, but my wife loves it.
  • kcoreykcorey Posts: 130
    I have to admit that Vanman is really right, here! I subscribed to Consumer Reports for over 15 years, and woke up and stopped. I worked in the retail paint industry, and every year CR would change their top 10 list. Well, the ingredients in the paint didn't change, so why were they changing their "Top 10"? Look, you try the car (or Paint, or whatever) out yourself. If you like it, and it meets your needs and likes, then buy it. Gee, it's not like you're marrying the darn thing...if it doesn't fit the bill, turn it in in a couple of years. No car today is ever going to be like my "55 Caddy, or "57 Lincoln, or '49 Packard...and I'm not going to be 20 again either. Just enjoy them, and look forward to the next crop of new ones.
  • vanman1vanman1 Posts: 1,397
    I love CR as a reference and I check it all the time before I buy a camera or a PC, but in the end I still buy what I like, not what they do. I did buy their "best buy" digital camera last year but the BBQs they liked were way more than I could afford so I bought something else.
  • irgirg Posts: 197
    When did I ever say people shouldn't buy what they like? Look, I was getting ready to buy an Uplander van. In January, though they were really hard to find. While waiting, the issue of minivans in CR came out, and I read it (also liked it for the mutual fund section, but that's another story.) It made me wonder about a number of points, and at the least I though, I should at least check out Toyota, Honda and Dodge (the 3 recommended vans) to see if they really are that much better than the GM vans, although I had been assuming all along I couldn't afford them. The reality was for me at that time, the GM vans were new, incentives were slim (still not great) and sticker price as well as invoice price, they were really no cheaper than the other 3 vans.

    So I drove the other vans, liked the Toyota and Honda a lot, a lot more than the GM, and then studied all of the features that came with each package to the point that I knew more about each van, than just about all of the salesman I visited. What it came down to was price, and in the end financially the Sienna was the better deal - and at the same time it was easily apparent to me that it was the better van quality wise too - the same basic conclusion the CR came to as well. The article did not make me buy it, it just opened my eyes as to how different one product from another could be, and listed pros and cons about everything. In the end, what convinced me was what vanman has been saying, and what I have agreed with, buy what suits you. It seemed obvious to me, that if 2 vans are close in price, and yet one drives better and has better features, it makes sense to buy that van, which is what I did. So when someone else in van shopping, I have no problems sharing my findings from my personal van buying experience, because I think it will benefit others.

    If you try the GM van and that works for you, find buy it. What do I care? If someone is going to fork over $25k+ for a van, and all they have considered is GM, I will politely mention they should consider the other 3 for comparison sakes, and then decide. If the GM is still the one, great again. That is my main advice to anyone, don't be hung up on brands. Vanman and others are, and it is GM. I am not, I don't think the Sienna is the greatest van ever made, but it's close. The Honda and Dodge all make good vans too, each with their strengths and the Nissan seems to be a good value for some too. Next year the van to get may be the Hyundai, who knows.

    I think CR is a valuable tool for some things. Comparing cars and paint is a silly exercise here. Maybe the ingredients did change - how would you really know what brand has changed what in their ingredients? You said you worked reatil, but that isn't the same thing as working for a paint manufacturer. I would imagine the basic ingredients are the same, but there can be tons of varieties within these parameters. And maybe some paints really do last longer than others, hence the change in the rankings. Are you basically saying that no one ever changes their paint formula year in and year out? I buy a lot of paint for my house, and I can tell you the difference in a Sears brand paint and the Behr paint I've been buying from Home Depot lately, there is a big difference. The Behr is much superior for both coverage, color and durability. Funny, it is CR's #1 pick I believe. I am not a paint or car expert, very few here are on this board. CR can be a good resource, and I don't profess it is the only one, as I have stated before if you read my previous posts. I have yet to see though, any magazine that is neutral (not owned by GM, Toyota, etc.) that has ever in recent memory ranked a GM van first, or even towards the top. The last test C&D did last year, they didn't even consider a GM van to test.

    By the way, I don't subscribe to CR, and I don't think it is great for everything. They test audio equipment (another hobby of mine) in a way that makes me cringe. For speakers, they test the audio frequency, and make judgements that way. Scientific maybe, but it doesn't tell you a damn about how a speaker actually sounds. One year they gave Bose a bad review (they definitely got that right) and Bose sued them. Bose lost, but in the years after that, CR never came right out and gave Bose a bad review again. I didn't like that - I liked the fact that CR stood up and actually published the frequency response of their speakers (something Bose never publishes - the only speaker company that doesn't, as far as I am aware). But I digress.

    I agree with one of your points, no car today is going to be like your '55 caddy, that is a true statement for sure. Because that was 50 years ago. They don't build 'em like they use to, and maybe that's a good thing. Probably wouldn't be any oil left at this point.
  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    I have an Uplander and I really didn't consider any other van because I wanted a SUV and this fit the bill for less money and with better gas mileage. The ride is smooth and quality is top notch, the dash is beautiful. My wife is the main driver but she agreed on the SUV look, she is very happy with her CSV.

    Let me tell you about Toyota Quality.. I leased a Sequoia when they came out and the engine would click all the time. It was so bad that Toyota finally offered to let me out of the lease as it could not be fixed. I was offered another but ended up with a Tahoe instead which was flawless for the 2 years I had it. I then realized that GM quality was back and it was an influence on my wife's purchase as was the quality of my current Grand Prix which has also been flawless.

    No one is wrong for buying anything. We bought the 3rd house we looked at, why? Because we liked it. I have seen many many more homes since we bought and some are very nice but I still love our house. Same goes for cars, if you like something buy it.
  • strstr Posts: 64
    I think irg is just getting tired of always having to justify his opinion every time he gives it to someone. I have talked to him a quite a bit on these forums and he has never tried to persuade me to buy a Toyota but gives his honest opinion which is obviously in favor of them, sometimes it is misunderstood. Maybe I am completely off base but isn't that what these forums are about, opinions and personal experiences?

    Anyway, we are looking at the Montana SV6 and a Toyota Sienna but are kind of stuck in the middle. The first time I saw the CSV's I loved them. I absolutely love the SUV look it sure beats the old boxy out of style body the minivans have had for so long, the change is really nice. I agree, the inside of these vans are beautiful. How is the gas mileage? Is everything holding up well? Did you get the remote starter? I think that would be a really great feature. If you don't mind telling me I'd be interested in knowing what kind of a deal you got on your Uplander.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    For a person who is willing to do some research, CR is quite inrrelevant when it comes to cars or cameras, or most of the things they test. And quite frankly I find some of their tests are pointless. There's very little information on the details of a product's features and strong suits, and they base their ratings on very generalized criteria. They often leave me scratching my head wondering what the article I just read really said. For a person who doesn't care too much or know much about the product, yeah, CR might be helpful. But for any person who cares to do just a little research or knows something about the product (be it a camera, a car or whatever), CR's rational and recommendation are too shallow and general to mean anything. Just my 2 cents. Now fire back you CR faithfuls before the host kills this topic ;)
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    I don't know why you guys and gals are so hung up on this "SUV" look. Maybe I'm just too geeky to care about looking cool :blush: we love the mini van look (well, on a 2nd thought, maybe just the Quest's mini van look ;) ). My wife and I have been dying to get our hands on a mini van, so we won't care one bit being seen driving one.
  • strstr Posts: 64
    I like the look of an SUV on a van but I also like the classy car like look of the Sienna or I wouldn't be considering one. I just don't like the look of the old body style minivans, even Sienna recently changed to a more sleek and modern look. It's just that a lot of the vans haven't and they've had the same body style forever and now with all the new changes they are starting to look out dated, to me it's kind of like when you see someone in 1980's style clothing and your thinking, why, we've already done that can't we move on? That's just my personal opinion though, I guess to the guy wearing the 1980's clothing he does look cool or he wouldn't be wearing it, right? ;) Really doesn't matter does it?
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