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



  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    If power is all that matters then why do most people buy 4 banger Accords and Camrys? Fact is most people do not put power anywhere near the top of the list, especially with vans. If they did the Pontiac GTP would be the best selling car. So long as the vans are well put together and offer good utility/function comparatively, they will sell well.
  • theo2709theo2709 Member Posts: 476
    That is true dindak, but at least the Camcords offer the option of an engine upgrade. These vans need that too. Hopefully GM will remedy that in the coming years. They really need to fast-forward the Lambda platform. A five-year "stopgap" model is a bit of a stretch...
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    I would agree with you that power isnt all that matters. But I dont think your analogy of the Camcords holds well enough.

    People are fine with the 4 bangers in the Camry and Accord because they are producing higher fuel efficiency ratings than ever, more power than ever, accelerating as quicly as V6s of a decade ago, and are smoother and more refined than ever.

    ex. in 1991, the Camry 2.0L 4 banger produced 115hp and EPA figures of 24/30. Today's Camry 2.4L produces 157 hp and 162 lb. ft (more than the 2.5L V6 available in 91) and EPA figures of 23/32.

    Also, in the arena of $20,000 family sedans, about 160 hp has become the norm, and the Camry and Accord are generally regarded asbenchmarks. (And like others have said, those vehicles offer engine upgrades, the Camry now even offers two different ones. Also note that sales of V6 Accords and Camrys have increased with the newer generations...)

    However, when you're cross shopping minivans in the $30K range, as the Terraza likely will be, and even in the $25K range like the Relay, 200 hp is considerably less than the standard powerplants in the class leading minis.

    Personally, I think that its going to take more than the vans being "well put together" and "good utility/function" for these vans to sell. Namely, I think its going to take better crash scores, good utility/function, reliabliity and a competitive powertrain OR rebates. So, we'll be seeing the rebates.

  • jchan2jchan2 Member Posts: 4,956
    I think the rebates will probably total $3000 by the third year of production if it doesn't have the 3.6 for the Terraza, $2500 rebates on the Uplander and SV6 by the third year and $2000 on the Relay by year 3.
  • b4zb4z Member Posts: 3,372
    The Olds Intrigue was supposed to have a DOHC motor for it's debut in '98, but it wasn't ready.
    We all know what happened after that.
  • b4zb4z Member Posts: 3,372
    Power has gone up in recent years but so has weight.
    Honda Accord weighed about 26-2700 lbs in the 80's. Weighs 3500 lbs now.
    Civic weighed about 2200. Weighs about 2900 lbs now.
    Also manufacturers now have engine management systems that retarrd the timing at the top of each gear. Really saps power.
    Also we used to drive cars that did 0-60 in 13-15 secs.
    Nobody would accept that now.
    My sister's '84 Honda Accord would get 40 mpg on the highway. Don't think the new Accord can come close to it.
  • rctennis3811rctennis3811 Member Posts: 1,031
    you are right that power doesn't always matter. but, it also makes a good impression if the power is there. More horsepower is better in that passing acceleration gets improved. also, a more sophisticated engine (like a DOHC engine) will probably produce more torque for when carrying the whole family and luggage. The 3.3 in the Sienna has 242 torque, the 3.5 in the Oddyssey has 242 torque also, and the 3.5 in the Quest has 242 also. Sadly, the Malibu makes a puny 220 torque. You're paying good money, and why can't you get a good enough engine as the competitors!! 200HP isn't enough to carry these big minivans. Sure, it'll work for an MPV, because it's soo small. Think about this: a 200HP Malibu (approximately 3500 lbs. give or take) accelerates to 60 in about 7-8 seconds. a 200HP Relay (im guessing about 4000+ lbs.) will probably accelerate to 60 in about 9 1/2-10 seconds. not spectacular numbers. Why?? It won't look great especially when a family of 7 and luggage are accelerating onto the freeway with other cars speeding by them. Talk about scary! Heavy vans (like the new GM ones) are going to need more power, maybe about 40 more in this case. Well, GM made another loser minivan, because it also has nothing significant. Well, not exactly loser, because it does have some good traits, but just a loser when compared to the Sienna.
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    The way your statements read would lead one to believe that the advancement in hp/torque has been totally offset by heavier vehicles, which simply isnt the case. My point was that 4 cylinders of today are generating the power of yesterday's 6 cylinders while still retain the efficiency of yesterday's 4s. (Same thing can be said of today's 6s versus yesterdays 8s). Comparing an older nameplate to a newer one isnt really the point, because as youve said, cars have grown over the years. That said, that 84 Accord was smaller inside than the current Civic, which easily can get 40 MPG on the highway with the manual (non-Hybrid) while simultaneously SPANKING the 84 Accord in accelerative measures. I feel that is a better comparison to make to show how far technology has come.

    Also, the spec curb weights on the Accord max at like 3350 and on the Civic (non Hybrid) around 2600-2700 TOPS, so you're off by quite a bit. But I digress.

    I wouldnt call the GM minis losers just yet, as there are many measures that may be used to gauge success. They just arent class leading, and GM could have aimed higher. IMO, high regard will continue to follow the foreign makes, and pity, to GM and Ford's minis.

  • regfootballregfootball Member Posts: 2,166
    People like the camcord 4 cylinders because they give really good power and are refined.

    No four cylinder would be adequate for a van, so you really shouldn't use that analogy.

    So we must talk v6's. In a Malibu they can make do with the 3.5 but in these larger vehicles I think you do need the extra power.

    Keep in mind that these vans are still way more efficient and lighter than the SUV's. So i think maybe as a base engine for a price leader the 3.5 may work. As the only engine, I wouldn't like it.

    GM dinks around building 20 different v6 engines.

    Pick one basic design and put it in all your models. Like Nissan and Toyota. Don't dink around with 10 different engine designs.
  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    alpha : The current models already have the best fuel economy of any van and that is expected to be true of the new ones. My analogy is dead on right. For me here in Canada where gas is about 25% more expensive, it's always a factor in my vehicle purchases.

    Reg : The 3.5L gives really good fuel economy and is very refined also. My analogy is dead on right.

    Like I said before guys, the 3.9L (or similar) should be an option on at least the Buick for people who want more power. Almost all our neighbors have vans and I'll tell you, the power and 0-60 aspect is not what they talk about when we talk about the vans.
  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    I see your point but dragging on the freeway in vans is just not what I see anyone doing. Sienna is a good van no doubt about that but there is more than enough power to get on the highway in a Transport so I am thinking these VANS will be fine.
  • chaser04chaser04 Member Posts: 3
    I think the new GM Sportvan line up is pretty sweet, but they do need more power. they look great and have good styling but 200hp isn't enough especially with people and luggage in them and plus they weigh alot. The Dodge Caravan or Chrysler Town&Country which have a veriaty of engines-2.4L w/150hp -3.3L w/180hp-3.8L-215hp they still don't have to much power but its good to have the choice. GM should have more engine choices for there new vans. If I where to get a van it would probably be the new Nissan quest w/240hp and awesome styling.
  • regfootballregfootball Member Posts: 2,166
    25% more for gas means 168 extra year then......

    hardly a deal breaker

    time for a prius or vw diesel then 4u
  • b4zb4z Member Posts: 3,372
    I have a penchant for overstatement sometimes.

    Didn't want you to think that that acceleration
    hadn't increased.

    I will take it 1 step further. Today's 4 cylinder's are producing the power that V8's were making 25 years ago.

    Torque is king and we should probably be talking about that moe than hp.
    How much and where it occurs in the rev ban.
    And how broad it is.

    GM needs a vehicle that provides excellent 0-20 or 0-30 mph performance.

    Lastly, as good as Honda is they still have not figured out how to make their 4 cylinders not vibrate the car while in drive with your foot on the brake.
  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    Reg : $168 each and every year adds up kind of like your cell phone bill. No it's not a lot, but it's a factor as is insurance which is likely to remain low on these vehicles also. Many people ignore these numbers but they do come back to pick your pocket annually.

    Chaser : Interior of the Quest is just weird. Exterior isn't bad but a little over styled.
  • spartanmannspartanmann Member Posts: 197
    Interesting discussion on merits of power in vans but will but its really beside the point. From what I can tell, we have four new vans with

     1- Same old platform and rear sheet metal
     2- Homely new front ends (Buick)
     3- No fold into the floor seats
     4- Less power than the competition

    I don't know what other shortcuts GM took, but the new vans will at best be competitive only with the Freestar. Truly a sad effort. Again - why build products that can only be sold with huge rebates at a loss to the bottom line. Already the Freestar has a 120 supply on hand. Plans for a third shift have been abandoned and the factory has been temporarily shut down to control inventory. Anybody seriously think the GM vans are going to do better?
  • samnoesamnoe Member Posts: 731
    Funny question, but will GM change the front wipers design? The current generation minivans creates a blind spot when the wipers are engaged, but then when turned off it goes down completely hidden which is good for the drivers view and wind noise.
  • just4fun2just4fun2 Member Posts: 461
    Come on, platforms, hp 0-60 times, that is not what the majority of the mini vans buyers are thinking. Only a small group of people come here to discuss this subject and the rest of the world couldn't care less. GM wanted to make their mini's appeal to a different audience. The SUV is hot and they want to cash in on that style and retain some of the looks of a traditional mini van.

    This HP thing of more has to be better is rediculious. How many people here have seven members in their family to haul each day? But, lets buy a mini van so we can if we want to.

    The people who buy ODY, Quest and Sienna are not the people who would even think of buying GM even if it had 1000 hp. There is always something they can find to complain about.
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Member Posts: 588
    I agree with a lot of the criticisms of these new vans. I especially think that the exterior styling could've used hidden tracks, and possibly a shortening of the door window / lengthening of the rear quarter windows a bit, in keeping with the pseudo-SUV (sport van?) theme that gm wishes to convey. I'm not sure exactly how best to accomplish this, given that a true minivan (which these still need to be) needs a larger door on the side to allow the ease of entry and egress that people expect from this kind of vehicle.

    I also think that they definitely need more powerful engines. The minivans have always had a step up over whatever the current small/mid-size sedan has had (Corsica, Malibu / Classic, and now Malibu), and this was for a good reason. These vans don't weigh a heckuva lot less than my Trailblazer does, so I'd expect that with numbers approximately 75 less for horsepower and 55 less for torque, the van will feel especially lacking, most likely at highway speeds (where the overhead cam inline 6 of my tb especially excels). As far as general stop and go traffic, the pushrod engine should be pretty good, but then again, minivans are often used for longer trips, moreso than other classes of vehicle. So owners may notice the difference. I'm sincerely hoping GM offers one of the more powerful engines in ALL of the vans in the next year or two.
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    Excellent points. Personally, I think the 4.2L straight six in your TB shows the kind of engine GM can produce if they try. Its a very good plant from everything I've read, and though I only drove a TB for a very short stint once, seemed to offer excellent power. The 4.2, though, seems overmatched in the TB EXT and similar....

    As Ive stated before, another question mark with the new minis is crash performance. Hopefully GM paid attention this time around. (Will 3 row side curtains be available?). It would seem to me that safety be a very large concern for vehicles of this type, we all know that Ford and Kia beat their 5 star rating to death in years of advertisements...

  • rcf8000rcf8000 Member Posts: 619
    It's intesting that in their introductory press release GM talked a lot about styling but said nothing about air bags. If the new minivans don't have side curtain airbags available they have made a serious mistake in judgement. You'd think they'd have them, since the new Malibu does, but since they are not a totally new design, maybe it cost too much to include them.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    At least the Malibu's V6 seems to be efficient. Not only in EPA number, but CR got 26mpg overall and said it was the best they've ever done in a V6 family sedan.

    Their mileage was better than what they got with the four Accord and Camry.

    Still, this would be a good base engine, for hauling weight they should still offer a step-up engine.

  • wheelz4wheelz4 Member Posts: 569
    Just saw an infomercial on the weekend re: the Freestar, so they really must be having trouble unloading those things. As uninspired as the Freestar redesign is, it pales in comparison to the warmed-over-rehash job GM has done on these 2(4) vans. I expect rebates and infomercials from the get-go. At least Ford gave the Freestar a decent fold-into-the-floor seat (although they could've split it like the Sienna). The GM one looks like it robs you of about 6" of vertical cargo space, not to mention the fact that you don't get a nice storage well when the seat is in use. I guess they delayed showing us the Pontiac/Chevy versions for a while because other than Chevy's bowtie/eggcrate grill or Pontiac's twin nostrills, you won't be able to tell them apart from the other two. Overall reaction to these vans in this forum and elsewhere has been profoundly negative, so that's not a good sign for GM. You can fool some of the people some of the time but....
    If you really want something that looks like an SUV on the outside but functions like a minivan on the inside, buy a Durango.
  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    rcf8000 : I believe side air bags / curtains are available.

    just4fun2 : I agree. Van owners are not looking for wonderful 0-60 times. they are looking for utility, refinement, value and reliability. I think there should be an optional power plant for the few people who might want it but it's just not as big an issue as some here are leading us to believe.

    spartanmann : Sales should rise initially as it looks to be an improvement on the old in every way. It will also partly depend on what the much higher volume Chevy and Pontiac versions look like. Hopefully GM will add an optional engine for 05.
  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    Durango drinks gas like it was 1970. OY!
  • tomcat630tomcat630 Member Posts: 854
    Minivans customers want adequate "pick-up" to merge into traffic, not 300HP to race sporty cars. Nor do they want to be able to "run fast in the twisties".

    With these "sport vans", the jury (customers) will decide what sells.
  • spartanmannspartanmann Member Posts: 197
    Just4fun2 -

    I grew up and live in one of the biggest GM towns around. Many of my friends still work in the various assembly and engine plants. I drive an Odyssey and would love to drive a GM van instead. To assume that Honda or Toyota owners won't buy American is plain wrong. What kind of minivan do you think they bought before the Odyssey and Sienna came out? Even the GM employees tell you that in many cases they only buy GM because of the discount and to avoid ostracism from the diehards.

    Make a class leading product like their pick-ups and SUV's and people will line up to buy them.

    As for the "SUV" look. I believe that has already been tried with the rugged body cladding on the Montana. There is no chance that the new look, even it wasn't so homely would boost sales.
  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    I know lots of people who won't buy American no matter what.

    How do you know these vans are as bad as you say they are? Have you driven or seen one in person yet??
  • just4fun2just4fun2 Member Posts: 461
    How many miles do you have on your Ody? What year?
  • wheelz4wheelz4 Member Posts: 569
    yeah, @ 16-23 mpg, the Durango wouldn't be my cup-o-tea either...I was putting that in for our American friends (see link) who don't seem to be that concerned with fuel economy. As the GM vans DO have excellent fuel economy, it's just all the more disappointing that they didn't put more effort into make REAL crossover sport vans that would both get people into more fuel efficient vehicles and be class-leading vans in their own right.
  • spartanmannspartanmann Member Posts: 197
    99 Ody purchased new. Has 275,000 miles. Virtually problem free until my rear wiper motor quit last week. Have been stalling on getting a replacement until all the new vans came out. Toyota and Nissan are very nice. Freestar is very disappointing. GM looks like it will be the same. DC has announced their new 2005 van with all hideaway seats available in March. I drove 3 DC vans and all were as good as the Odyssey except for the minor problem of occasionally exploding transmissions. Don't know if I have the courage to try DC again as I drive 60,000 miles/yr. I'd like to buy American, but is a Canadian built van owned by a German company really American as opposed to that foreign Toyota built in Princeton Indiana?

    Could also get another Ody. Love the van - hate the company. They definitely have the worst customer relations I've ever seen, and that includes rental cars companies and airlines!
  • spartanmannspartanmann Member Posts: 197
    I didn't say the new vans are bad. They will be very nice, competent vehicles. But they will also be hopelessly last in class, without the features and power of their competition. Ugly styling won't help. My point is still, why make a half assed upgrade knowing full well that you will have to rebate like crazy. If you are going to give Buick and Saturn a new minivan to sell - why give them a warmed over Venture? Why not a best in class product? Car companies have to spend money on engineering or rebates. The Japanese spend it on engineering, Ford and GM on rebates. Maybe it's just as cheap for them, but their customers get killed on resale.
  • tomcat630tomcat630 Member Posts: 854
    The Japanese are adding more and more money for incentives lately. Look at ads for "end of year clearances" at their dealers. They are not just taking orders for cars at $MSRP+ anymore.

    Maybe not all rebates, but deep discounts and low finanace rates.
  • joey2brixjoey2brix Member Posts: 463
    With people out of work, our jobs getting outsourced to India and the economy still doing so-so, don't expect a run for any car other then those for the rich. With a general drop off in interest in mini-vans, even the Japanese models have leftovers. Now someone explain to me why GM needs 4 divisions selling these slug boxes?
  • jchan2jchan2 Member Posts: 4,956
    a 2002 EX bought new. 40K miles and running strong. I do hope that they offer a step up engine for at least the Buick and the Saturn, to distinguish them. They're already doing that with the SEPARATE introductions of the Relay and Terraza together and probably the Montana SV6/Uplander.
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    I would blame the UAW. The domestics have to pay such astronomical rates, abide by union rules, and face such high pension payouts- that it really squeezes free cash flow. Hence lower available $$$ for more R&D into better engines, better interiors, better quality, etc... to put vehicles at the top of heap, which has a snowballing effect of inhibiting sales, meaning rebates are necessary to move cars, further squeezing cash flows....

    Perhaps the UAW was created for the right reasons, but its execution must have been flawed along the line somewhere, as it just may eventually be responsible for the demise of the American automotive industry.

  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    I don't believe these VANS will be last but I don't think they are class leading either. That said, no one has driven one yet and maybe we will all be surprised. I remember lots of naysayers slamming the 04 Malibu before it cam out and the reviews have been great.

    As an asides.. How does one get killed on resale if he gets huge rebates to begin with?
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    The Malibu reviews have ranged from lukewarm to very good. The only real surprise review is that of Consumer Reports, which rated it the best domestic V6 family sedan to date, and 5th behind the class leading Passat, Camry, Accord, and Altima.

  • regfootballregfootball Member Posts: 2,166
    hey, let's just all admit its a throw in the towel effort.

    make all the apologies you want, there just isn't enough improved about these products to create the buzz in the market new products need to be cash cows.

    mpg.....woohoo, the Malibu makes 24 (c/d) mpg or 26 mpg (CR) which means in a fat vehicle like a van were talking 20 tops.

    Malibu's fuel economy isn't such a big deal. My Diamante makes 25-27 routinely in heavy urban stop and go traffic and with my wife's lead foot.

    We are really talking 18-20 real world in these vans if we're lucky. ;amp- ;amp- ;type=promo2

    just in time.....some info on the new DC vans folding seats....

    that's why the 'new' GM vans are screwed from day one.

    actually by now i bet there is a new topic up for these things......looks like the DCX vans have it ALL OVER the ford and GM entries........
  • vcjumpervcjumper Member Posts: 1,110
    Why would GM spend time and money on utility like Chrysler has done, when you could spend time on trying to look like a sport utility and badge engineering?

    Chrysler didn't spend much time on the exterior looks of their vans either though.
  • regfootballregfootball Member Posts: 2,166
    no they didn't but the seat thing will pay huge dividends for them.

    and the DCX vans look okay anyways.
  • dindakdindak Member Posts: 6,632
    I think the Chrysler vans are the best over all value, no doubt. They are excellent and seem well made. I spent a weekend with a Grand Caravan a year and a half ago and really enjoyed my drive. Chrysler sales are awful here in Canada right now so the deals are great. Right now they have 0-60 and 90 days no payments on 04s, better than anyone by a long shot. Not sure why as GM only has 0-48 on their vans and they are older models. Go figure.

    alpha : Have not seen one bad review of the Malibu and that is very positive for a company that has had trouble with cars lately. Have not driven one yet but I suspect the car is better than CRs 5th place finish since CR writers hate domestics.
  • montanafanmontanafan Member Posts: 945
    Chrysler invested $400 million plus to defend their almost 40% of the mini-van market. GM saw a stagnent market that may even be in decline, and went for visual changes. They didn't feel it was worth hundreds of millions of dollars to lower their already flat third row 5". They also remember when they had the most versitile seating and were among the leaders in horsepower and it didn't get them anywhere.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    The GM vans were older and just a couple of years old?

    DCX did a far better job executing the 3rd row folding seats. It even looks like they split, so they one-upped the Odyssey, and matched the class-leading Sienna.

    I don't think reviews for these vans will be nearly as generous as those for the Malibu.

  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Member Posts: 588
    Those fold flat seats look like a really nice not to mention convenient feature. But having the storage space for the middle row in front of them doesn't look so smart to me, especially since it's basically a hollow space with a thin panel over it. Anyone else recall the thin floors in old trailers? A hollow space with a thin cover in a part of the van that will most likely have lots of foot traffic (getting in and out, the second row are the most used seating positions next to the driver and passenger, and it IS a van, after all, meant to carry more than 2 on a regular basis).

    Maybe the seats should've folded back between the second and third rows, since that area is used less often for passengers..
  • bretaabretaa Member Posts: 130
    I agree with everything everyone is saying about these efforts. Which van does someone see coming in last in a comparison test if not these?? Maybe Kia's van? That's all I can think of. I don't care how well they end up driving. They're underpowered, too ugly, too narrow, and not feature competitive. Look at BMW's 5 and 7 series. They are some of the best driving cars out there, but review after review is killing them on styling and feature content.

    I want to know what happened at GM to compromise these vans. I remember reading an interview about 3-4 years ago with a GM engineer lamenting how, to paraphrase, "we had to make these vans way too narrow in order to satisfy the European market. We won't make the same mistake next time."

    Well, guess what... Especially now that DCX introduces its van upgrade with ultra-folding seats and a billion airbags, GM is in trouble (although Chrysler not upgrading their styling appears to be a serious mistake to me).

    Buyers read C&D, Consumer Reports,, etc. before they buy vehicles, and do you think people will readily put down 20-30K for vans that every review they read says are these are just acceptable models that are no more than warmed over versions of previously unimpressive versions? People aren't stupid.


    PS: Regarding the Malibu, while I would agree that reviews are generally favorable, even the most positive review I've read is slamming GM for quite obviously underachieving with these models with an "acceptable is good enough" attitude. I remember similar reviews for the previous version when it was introduced, and look at well it held up competitively over its model cycle... The Malibu, while feature rich and well screwed together, screams "rental care" to anyone who has sat in a '04 Accord, Camry, or Passat.
  • wheelz4wheelz4 Member Posts: 569
    ...those Chrysler middle-row folding seats make Nissan's folding ones look like a half-baked idea. (And the "contraband" storage under the floor reminds me of the Renault Scenic!....would be a pain having to clean out all the kid's junk when you want to fold the seats though!) Rear seat is split like Sienna's and folds over tailgate-party style just like Freestar's. Isn't competition wonderful!(Except if you're GM, I guess). The way I see it, the 2005 Odyssey had better have all these features if it is to remain competitive.
    Oh, and did you notice Chrysler's overhead rails for storage/DVD much for a GM exclusive!
    BTW, the middle seats on the Chrysler probably fold forward instead of back due to the location of the fuel tank.
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Member Posts: 588
    I hadn't thought about the gas tank location. I'm just don't have a lot of confidence that those hollow lidded storage areas are going to seem very sturdy compared to the rest of the floorspace.
  • wheelz4wheelz4 Member Posts: 569
    You'd think the lids would have to support the weight of an adult at least. My only other caveats would be road noise seeping through those storage bins and the fact that seat comfort may be compromised in those foldable 2nd rows. But on first look, it looks like a job well done, DC.
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Member Posts: 588
    I'm sure they will support the weight of an adult. Then again, so did (do) the floors in many old house trailers that I've been in, and they still give a bit and make noise when you walk over them..
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