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



  • My point about the Astro and its continuation as a family vehicle was to highlight deficiencies in the current Astro.

    Wouldn't it be nice if GM designed a new Astro (based on the Colorado) and styled it along the lines of the new Sienna or Quest? Families who own boats or pull trailers would have the option of purchasing a minivan with an impressive towing capacity. As it currently exists these families are forced into the SUV market.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    I agree. You see a lot of families with boats trade that Caravan on an Excursion just because they just bought a boat! A next gen Astro could be built wherever the Colorado/Canyon are going to be built. Style it more along the lines of a SUV, add a sliding door and add a fold-flat 3rd row seat to the Astro and you have big business. Then again- Suburban Sales would tank. I guess this isn't a win/win situation.
  • So what if Suburban sales tank? I think GM would be doing the average American driver a favor by replacing some Suburban sales with modern Astro sales.

    GM wouldn't care about losing Suburban sales to Astro sales as long as the profit per vehicle on the new Astro would match the Sub's. Not likely, I know, but if GM is interested in returning to prominence it better start thinking outside the box.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Are built in Louisiana in a recently rebuilt facility. It probably could be tooled to make 25k or so rwd mini-vans without much disruption to the pick up truck production.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Maybe we could tone down Suburban production and make a next-gen Astro too. The interior would have to look nice- ya know- people want leather, NAV, and all that junk in their cars. (NAV might be worth a few dollars- but DVD rear seat entertainment? Just tell the kids to look out the window and appreciate what Nature has instead of watching Spongebob.)
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsPosts: 11,114
    Looks like it's official - the Venture will be re-named Uplander, and the Montana is now the Montana SV6. Good move or bad?


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  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    IMHO :-)
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    although Venture seemed to be a good conservative name for a conservative market.

    Adding SV6 to the existing name seems somewhat indecisive. GM is moving Pontiac away from basic transit. To demonstrate this, it is switching to more performance style names such as GTO and G6.

    GM should show its faith in the trend by naming the mini-van just SV6.
  • lennxlennx Posts: 73
    I like Venture and Montana better.

    Its rare that a name would influence what I would buy but If there is little other differences, the next van will be a Montana SV6 rather than an Uplander. I would not want to be confused with a Highlander or an Outlander
  • lennxlennx Posts: 73
    And Saturn's identity is gone. It is just another Chevy, Pontiac or ... the Oldsmobile.

    Why buy a Saturn when I can buy essentially the same vehicle at my Chevy dealer and pay lots less. Its why I own a Chevy rather than a Pontiac. Saturn atleast gave you something unique.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    all is probably lost. Let's try to save it by writing GM. Saturn was something special- it gave buyers not just a car but a whole ownership experience. The dealer in my city gives their customers (current and old) tickets to a local holiday festival that is held at the rec center next door. Now, Saturn is just like any old Chevrolet or Pontiac or (gasp!!!) Oldsmobile. yes, the cars were inferior towards modern day (2000 and beyond) but the early 90's, which was the beginning for Saturn, was a great time period. I really want to buy a Saturn but if the Relay loses the plastik body panels, then I'm moving on. Let's hope that the bean-counters don't override the whole motto of Saturn: IT'S DIFFERENT IN A SATURN.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    the cars were different and could actually compete!!! But then- no redesign after 6 years and then the products couldn't compete anymore.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    let's hope that the Saturn van gets the Honda engine!!!
  • i read all of the posts in this discussion, and everyone has good points: especially about having a more powerful engine, better safety results, and keeping Saturn unique

    there is a rumore that GM will stick the new 3.6L Global V6 in the new minivans, but they'll be tuned less than the CTS and Rendezvous..probably about 240-245 HP only..but still a great improvement over the old ones!!

    and why is it names Montana SV6?? Remember the Transport?? It was called Transport, then Transport Montana, then Montana, and now Montana SV6....GOODNESS!!! just call it SV6 to blend closer to the upcoming G6!
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    or come up with a better name entirely.
  • theo2709theo2709 Posts: 476
    Insider reports have it that the new CSVs will look like the current vans from the A-pillar back, as they are riding on the same platform. No word yet on the interiors. The truly all new vans riding on the Lambda platform won't arrive until MY 2009!! I don't know how GM is going to keep these vans competitive for that long. There is only so much you can do to an old platform.

    Sorry this is really off topic. I remember a few months ago libertycat was probably the biggest poster here, then he sort of disappeared. Does anyone know what happened to him?
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    how much improving can GM do to a platform dating to 1997?????
  • lennxlennx Posts: 73
    I thought the new van is coming out this year or in 2005. If it is 2009, they need a major make over of the existing vans.

    As everyone else upgrades, they go from being a decent van having a few unique or key features (such as the 8 passenger seating, good mpg) to a dinasoar that can only be sold at a low price.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    the question remains- how much improving can they do to a 1997 platform? cosmetic surgery only goes so much.
  • Isn't the Rendezvous based on these minivans? If I recall correctly, this Buick did score better than the triplets in crash testing, so improvement can be attainted. The Rendevous is a pretty good all-around crossover, so maybe that is the direction that the new vans will take. As for platform age, isn't the Odyssey based on the last gen. accord? Also, the Mustang has sold well for years off the 24 yr old Fox chassis, with refinements.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    are both based on the GM minivan platform. I think the Odyssey sits on the 1998 Accord platform, but the Odyssey will be redesigned for 2005.
  • For a model only a year away, I would have expected some photos by now, unless they're afraid of what you might not want to see!
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    models under wrap until late in the game. The company has many facilities and a paranoid culture.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Saturn Relay and Buick Terraza will launch at the LA Auto Show.
  • i read that too on the Car Connection about the Saturn Relay and Buick Terraza being reveiled at the L.A. auto show...does anyone know if those will be concept models, preproduction models, or the real thing??
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    is taking a leaf out of Honda's book. Keep everything secret until the last minute, when brochures are coming out.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    way to early for that.

    At best pre-production. I am betting concept and that you will not have the final interior, exterior details.
  • I think it is way to close to production time to be anything but the real thing. They will be showing the production Pontiac G6 which will start production about the same time as the vans.
  • does anyone know if GM is ACTUALLY up to the challenge of putting a decent engine in their minivans?? or are they sticking to the old-tech 3.4L pushrods?
  • infinia1infinia1 Posts: 174
    the old 3400 is still in the following 2004 gm models: buick rendezvous, pontiac aztek, pontiac montana, pontiac grand am, oldsmobile alero, oldsmobile silhouette, chevrolet venture, chevrolet impala, chevrolet monte carlo, and it will be in the 2005 chevrolet equinox.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Maybe we are differing on terminology.

    To me, a concept is is either a prototype or an design exercise put together by hand in a studio, a pre-production model uses actual parts for the final vehicle but is assembled by mechanics rather than on the assembly line, and a production model is the final vehicle, made on the assembly line.

    Per the attached from Saturnfans, the Relay will not be available until Fall, '04.

    http://www.saturnfans.com/Cars/Future/saturnvanandconvertible.sht- ml

    If that is correct, I doubt the models at the LA show will consist of actual parts for the final vehicle as there would be none made yet. It certainly would not have rolled off the assembly line. Clearly, it will look exactly, or very close to exactly how the final product will look.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Will they use the Malibu's 3.5 V6? or will they go ahead and stick in the Rendezvous Ultra's 3.6?
  • theo2709theo2709 Posts: 476
    I would guess the base models would use the 3.5L, with a higher level Chevy and Saturn maybe using the 3.9L. I would hope the Terraza gets the HF 3.6L standard. Maybe Pontiac will get the 3.9L standard, but I still think they should not have a minivan.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Really. If you're shooting for the sporty image, you should have more SUVs, not just a minivan and a Crossover that's really ugly.
  • Remember, Pontiac and GMC are one division. For SUV's they have GMC already.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    then get rid of GMC and badge all of them Pontiacs. Up here in Ohio, the GMC dealer is next to the Chevy dealer which shares a spot with the Buick dealer and also the Hummer store.
  • AMI Auto World, a monthly mag, is out with pictures of the Terraza and Relay. They are both front with right side shots. Couldn't find the same stuff at their web site.
    Relay looks very Volvo like at first quick glance, is an appealing green with charcoal lower accent. Terraza has the new big round Buick grille, and big Buick chrome wheels (car is red). Very car like hood-fender-grille set ups. Look to share parts from grille back. On the sliding door on the right, no visable parts to indicate that it opens like the previous GM vans. Maybe it is just from reading about them, but they do look a little less "van" like then the current Generation. Says 3.5L 200hp V6, removeable second row seats, fold flat third row, stability control, all wheel drive, "overhead rail system with optional DVD player".
  • "then get rid of GMC and badge all of them Pontiacs."

    That would go over well, (not)
  • theo2709theo2709 Posts: 476
    Could you scan it? Inquiring minds want to see the Terraza! ;))
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    just get rid of both brands. They're both gussied up Chevrolets. (well, Pontiac has gone by itself styling wise.)
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    the Terraza and the Relay!
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    3.5L 200hp V6

    not enough power to move a big minivan.
  • reg: thats sooo tru..GM needs to take a hint
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    I just don't get it. I was checking out the new Freestar the other day. What a frickin joke. Why did they bother?

    It'll probably be the same thing with this.....when they need an all new blockbuster, lets just rehash an underpowered engine, slap a really ugly exterior on it, and a cheeseball interior.....but give em HUGE rebates!

    OK, I haven't seen the new GM vans yet, but if the level of effort is comparable to Fords PIECE OF CRAP freestar.........

    Relying on a 200hp engine for a slug van does not give me good vibes about the rest, especially knowing its not a brand new chassis either.

    No wonder all the domestics are going down the tubes.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    You can always use the 3.6 high feature. The engine WILL fit, since it is being used in the minivan based Rendezvous Ultra.
  • 200hp, 230hp, whatever - it doesn't matter. What matters for a minivan buyer is smooth power delivery, not peak horsepower numbers. The Freestar is a great example of why horsepower numbers are meaningless.

    The van, in 4.2 liter form, has 201hp and a mountainous 265 ft-lbs of torque hooked up to a very smooth shifting four speed automatic. On paper, this looks like a huge loser, but as a practical matter, it performs quite well. The engine never has to work hard, stop and go traffic performance is on par with the best, and hopefully through intense development, will prove to be a reliable pairing. It isn't going to scare Honda, Toyota or Nissan in absolute performance, but that isn't why people buy minivans. Would I be happier if Ford put a 220hp SOHC 4.0 liter V6 and a five speed automatic in the Freestar? Of course, but it isn't necessary. Most drivers will tromp on the throttle during a test drive and realize that the Freestar squirts away from a standing stop quite nicely.

    GM could do the same thing with its new vans. There is no reason why the 3.5 liter V6 from the Malibu couldn't power a minivan. If memory serves me correctly, Mazda produces a fine van with a 3.0 liter Ford V6. Nobody complains about that van being under powered.
  • yea its true that horsepower numbers really don't matter for a minivan, but smoothness does..

    OHC are generally more efficient in use, and its probably best that GM use the 3.6 in their new minivans
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    We have already established that the 3.5 gets the best mpgs in the Malibu. Apparently the idea is too keep beating the dead horse and create a reality that does not exist.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    the malibu 3.5 has 200/220 spec's which is not enough to move that size of van to a level that would impress a potential buyer or really satisfy an owner to a high level over the long term.

    the mazda van is noticeably smaller and can 'get by' on its smaller mill, but would benefit greatly from more power. Overall, to me, the Mazda van is the most attractive minivan currently made. Its not a FAT SLUG like all the other ones. A nicer dash and shifter similar to the Siennas would be welcome improvements.

    I do like the Venture aside from powertrains and the fisher price thing. To me its a no nonsense design and has good space utilization. The short model to me just looks to be a useful vehicle.

    I did like the simplicity of the new Freestar dash design, but on the whole the interior screams CHEAP and TACKY. Why not just keep the Windstar? Why bother putting out CRAP? Go look at the inside of a Sienna and look at the Freestar. Why didn't Ford just buy a bunch of Siennas and rebadge them?

    GM has a big opportunity here to get a leg up and out do Ford and Chrysler at least. history suggests they can't match the interior quality of the 'imports', but maybe they can get close.

    I would like to see minivans here evolve to vehicles more like the Japanese Mitsubishi Grandis, Toyota Wish, and Japan only new Odyssey.

    If the new 3.6 fits that would be a welcome upgrade that would really help these products stand out and be more competitive. Sure the 3.5 will start and run, but it won't make an impression to a potential buyer as anything superior to the competition.
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