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



  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Posts: 588
    Wow. Thanks for the clarification.
  • cmyers300mcmyers300m Posts: 206
    Ok, I've been reading posts from many forums here and had to add my 2 cents. I am a current '03 Chevy Venture owner and my lease is nearing its with the decision to get another van I've been watching the posts here. I've had little problems with my Venture, the only being was power sliding door problems when it was new. Although I've noticed ANY make with pwr doors has had problems. I'm a little troubled by all the problems with the new Uplander, so I'm not sure if I will stay with GM or not. A co-worker of mine has an Uplander and has had a few miner issues, but nothing major. My sister-in-law has an '05 Sienna and seems to be happy with it, but the cost is a too high for me. Honda, whether people want to admit it or not, is having growing pains. I think they're are producing more than they can handle and problems are on the rise. My wife and I don't really care for the interior all that much either on the Honda Odd. (I do think the exterior is awesome though) Don't take this as Honda bashing, we used to have an '03 Civic and it was great..but it seems the minivan division is having problems.
    The Mazda MPV is being discontinued, but it is kinda small for my wife and 3 kids. The Kia and Hyundai are not bad, but too new. Don't see a whole lot of bad things about the Ford minivan, but I don't care for the looks or steep pricing. Can anyone convince me otherwise on this comparison?

    My past minivan experience was an '96 GC, and it was a lemon from day one. The funny is, I always liked the functionality of it...but hated the $$$ spent on fixing it! My wife and I thought the new '06 GC or TC seats were uncomfortable, unlike the '96 we had.

    Back to GM's, the one thing I liked about the GM vans is the good leases on them. However, seeing that the resale on them is low kinda makes you GM's prisoner...because they're more likely to give more on trade to keep you in a GM. I would take a hit if I look elsewhere that doesn't offer big discounts, like Honda or Toyota. I still may pursue Toyota, but I would have to give up some options... well maybe a lot of options.

    Anyone have any suggestions?? THanks.
  • 535353535353 Posts: 10
    One suggestion... if you find the van you want on the dealer lot, ask them if you can take it for a 24 hour test period (or even over the weekend). While you won't be able to confirm for sure it's not a lemon, it should give you a little more assurance that there aren't any major problems.

    I know GM used to do this (they even advertised it a few years ago)... not sure if they still do. My wife & I were looking at a Pontiac Vibe a few years ago on a Saturday & the dealer gave me the keys for the rest of the weekend (we bought it.. and traded it in last year on an Uplander when babies #2 and #3 made there presence known).

    Whether it's still a formal marketing tactic or not, I can't imagine a dealer not doing this if they think there's a good chance you'll actually buy the car (assuming it doesn't fall apart on the test drive).

    FYI - We have an 05 Uplander LT & love it (no towing package). A few minor issues (horn springs, DVD buzzing), but they were easily fixed during an oil change. I couldn't expect too much more from a first year model (although it was made / sold late in the 05 model year... so maybe some of the issues others had w/ the 05 were resolved by the time mine was built?). In general a good car, & a great value... just do what you can to avoid buying a lemon (as is the case w/ any car).
  • dannodanno Posts: 114
    The solution could be as simple as changing the oil filter. It is designed to hold oil in reserve to allow quick oil pressure up when the engine is started. If the valve in the filter is not working properly, it could cause the low oil pressure warning at startup. An oil filter change could be a cheap, quick fix. Other more expensive fixes - oil warning sensor is bad or bad engine oil pump.
  • Would that be a cause for concern if the valve in the filter is not working properly? or would just checking if there is enough oil occasionally be ok?

    But then again the warning do not stay on. In a week, it could appear three to five times only. If there is problem with the valve, the message should stay on. Right?
  • dannodanno Posts: 114
    I would change the oil and filter just to be on the safe side. If the valve is defective the low oil would stay on for a couple seconds until enough pressure is in the oil system to turn off the warning - the message would not stay on. In any case, the oil warning is not normal and should be addressed.
  • genmtrfangenmtrfan Posts: 78
    We love our '05 Uplander. I think the LT is must if no other reason than the raised silver rails on top that complete the SUV look. Because ours was one of the first, it has had the common issues, but everything has been corrected except for a slight headlight flicker at times.

    If I had it to do over, I would have waited for the 2006 model and ordered the 3.9. The 3.9 has a traditional charging system so you won't have the headlight flicker issue (or any electrical issues). It isn't necessary to order the towing package with the 3.9 to eliminate the flicker. Also, the 3.9 should have more power, although I think the 3.5 is plenty adequate in most situations. You also won't have the whistling sound on acceleration with the 3.9. However, that has probably been fixed by now on the 3.5. It's just a little PCV hose that has to be replaced on the early production models. Also, for 2006 the body side moldings have probably been revised to "stick" better and more than likely the front passeger airbag rattle has been resolved. All of these issues have been taken care of on my '05, but it was inconvenient to have to deal with them. I'll definitely not by another first year model of any make. By the way, we have had no issues with the electric doors, I think that is an uncommon problem.

    Functionally, we love it. The seats are comfortable, ride is good, DVD player is great. I think it has the best looking front and best looking wheels of any van. Of course I'm partial to the look of the Uplander over the Terraza. For the money, you can't beat it. I expect long term reliability to be very good, it's just got off to a rocky start with typcially minor issues.
  • genmtrfangenmtrfan Posts: 78
    I'm not sure the bigger alternator solved the problem for most. The TSB on the issue, back in Feb. '05 said to replace the 105 amp with the new 105 amp and the 125 amp with the new 125 amp. For most, this helped the problem, but did not completely solve it (thus, the people on this forum who've reported going through 4-5 alternators). Even with my van, I can still notice it even after having my 105 amp changed. If it was as simple as replacing the 105 amp with the 125 amp, wouldn't GM have prescribed that for everyone with the issue instead of buying back vans? Like I said, for us the flicker is very minor, but I'd still like GM to be able to completely fix it. I'm glad they're going to the 3.9 in 2007. With the 3.9 and having refined production quality, I'd say that this will be the best year for the vans. They're currently selling about 100K units per year, most of which are Uplanders. In May 2006, Buick and Saturn only sold about 500 units each and Pontiac sold 1,500. Chevy sold 4,800. No wonder they're discontinuing one of the lesser-selling models. To me the Buick is the most differentiated, with the independent rear suspension. But GM is eliminating that option in 2007. I guess they're just not selling enough to justify that option.
  • morewasabimorewasabi Posts: 58
    Looks like the Pontiac SV6 actually had a sales increase of 11% to 1796 units. The Uplander is the leader among the brands. The Buick Terraza was down 49.9% at 775 units and the Saturn Relay was down 66.8% at 460 units. Given these number I bet you could get a good deal on the Buick or Saturn. I think the Chevy and Pontiac are also sold to the car rental fleets.
  • stobarstobar Posts: 110
    I was wondering how you get your monthly sales figures for the GM van line? Is there a website that lists this info? I've had my new '05 Terraza a month now and have been extremely happy with it. In fact, the little country dealer that I bought it at still had a new '05 Terraza, '05 Uplander, and an '05 SV6 Montana left over. They say that GM is not offering them the incentives to move these vehicles as in years past. I had a friend that was getting ready to buy a Kia on Friday that I told to check out this dealer. I was able to get 8200 off the sticker. You'd think they would be itching to get rid of them with '07's coming out in about 4 months. The Montana and Uplander had a sticker of $34K. Must be fully loaded. I'll find out Monday if he was able to land a good deal on one of the remaining 05's.
  • morewasabimorewasabi Posts: 58
    Go to Then go to the tab in the blue bar "GM News"
    Then go to the article 2006-06-01 GM Delivers 345,157 Vehicles In May
    This will bring you to the May monthly figures. Go to the spreadsheets at the bottom of the article. You can serarch by car, truck, model. Compare to last months sales, YTD and previous months data

    Here is the direct link: - - news/

    I would also check out the current incentive tab to see what they have going in your region.

    My recommendation is to deal from invoice only. Find out what the dealers invoice is.

    Do and inventory search of all Uplanders in your market place. Take a look at the MSRP sticker and see each individual Uplanders make up. Take that information, compare to the dealers invoice from ( Kelly Blue Book). Now you have some fire power:
    1. GM buy power lets you see the inventory and you kind find which dealer has the largest inventory, thus the need to unload those extra Uplanders. Gmbuypower at
    2. You can pull the cost from Kelly Blue Book, so you know the spread between dealers markup and MSRP.
    3. You also know from the GM Corp web site that some vehicles are selling less month to month, so you may be able to get a better deal on a Buick instead of the Chevy
    4. You know the incentives before you walk into the dealership.
    5. I would have my financing already worked out, so you also keep this negotiating to your advantage.
    6. You make your offer and walk if they say no, knowing that you have lots of other options as you can see their inventory.

    MSRP on our 2005 Buick Terazza CXL was $33K. We walked out the door at $26K
    That's with every option except Navigation and Phat Noise.
  • maddmadd Posts: 10
    Well beach15, thats because GM dosen't make 5 speed transmissions - BUT they buy them from Japan....
    My '06 Equinox FWD has an automatic 5 spd made in Japan.....
  • We recently test drove a 06 Terraza CXL FWD, well we have actually test driven it 3 times!. I love it, except for the lack of third row curtain air bags and a funny thing with fan output. I noticed that when you step on the brakes to slow the rear fan output slows down. It happened when on heater and a/c but not every time I applied the brakes. Has anyone had similar experience? Or does anyone know what this is do to?

  • dannodanno Posts: 114
    I noticed the same thing on my 2005 Uplander. It has had the alternator replaced on the lights flickering recall. Seems the electrical system does not compensate quickly enough for the decrease in engine speed and resulting less alternator speed giving less electrical power. Just a theory and no idea what the fix might be.
  • Ok, im new to this forum so ill try to explain everything all the way thru.
    my mother has a 99 Pontiac Montana That has almost 90,000 Miles on it and has had electrical problems for a long time but no motor problems. until now. she was driving,and all the sudden all dash lights came on at once and the van jerked and i pulled over,shut it off, turned it back on, and it just shook. so i shut it off again, had it towed to a mechanic who was supposed to be one of the best.

    He now has had it a little over 2 and a half months, and cant figure out whats wrong. he has tried everything he can think of, ask everyone he knows, and even spent his day off at a nascar race asking everyone he could about it. Now its no longer a job, its an obsession. he has paid all the labor to the other mechanics,isnt charging for any parts except for the 2 injectors he first thought it was and is working alone on it night and day.

    my power sliding door quit working after they installed the "saftey recall", and the passenger side power window motor now needs replaced because it keeps slowing down when i hit the button and speeding back up when its almost all the way down.

    If anyone has any suggestions or needs more details feel free to email me at
    or reply on here. ANYTHING WOULD BE APPRICIATED!!! i need anything anyone can think of..

    Thank you,
  • lmoederlmoeder Posts: 1
    Our '05 Uplander (3.5 liter) mileage computer shows 19.1 mpg. We have never reset it since purchase. 24,000 miles. I'm very disapointed in this mileage. We had 2 Ventures before this Uplander and they both got 24 mpg +/_.
    What is everyone else getting?

    Any thoughts on how to improve this?
  • stobarstobar Posts: 110
    We bought our '05 Terraza with the 3.5 liter engine in April. We reset the mileage computer upon purchase and ours shows 20.2. We do a lot of local running around, and will leave for a trip to Texas next week. I would think we could get better. Would like to know what others with the 3.5 are getting.
  • jerrywimerjerrywimer Posts: 588
    We don't drive in city stop-n-go traffic much, but our Terraza has averaged between 21 and 27. My wife (heavy foot) tends to be on the lower end of the scale, while my normal daily driving gets between 24 and 25. The 27 (a tad higher, actually, but don't have the log to review right now) was all highway. These vans love cruising!

    I actually posted my mileage logs on the EPA's Fuel Economy web site, but haven't updated it since just prior to our long trip that surprised me with the > 26 mpg average both ways. This is a good site to post your own numbers for others to compare, as well as just to see what others with similar vehicles are getting.

    More participation means a better overall feel for what each vehicle's range of mileage is (vs. just my own numbers based on my area and driving style). So please, don't just use it to check your numbers, post them for others to see too!
  • edkleinedklein Posts: 34
    I'm going to be renting a minivan in a few weeks for a vacation trips and I know it's going to be a GM based on the company I picked (they indicated Uplander or similar). In all likelyhood, I expect it is going to be an Uplander.

    But, if I do find a choice available on the lot among the four GM clones, would there be a reason to choose one over another? Is the Buick much quieter than the others as claimed?
  • kcoreykcorey Posts: 130
    I own an '05 Terraza CXL with 17,000 miles on it. I bought a large capacity to haul my 7 grandchildren around in, so safety and comfort were paramount. Other than replacing the alternator, sway bar links, muffler and rear air pump hose (all at GM expense...while the car was having the oil changed), it is a great, quiet, comfortable car...the best i've owned in 52 years of driving. It gets about 20 MPG in the city (New York) and about 27/28 on the highway.
  • morewasabimorewasabi Posts: 58
    I have a 2005 Terraza: Very comfortable, extremely quiet, higher quality leather, great fit and finish. Better suspension, built in Air compressor, zero electrical problems (got the tow package which has the heavy duty alternator). Kids love the DVD and so do we as it keeps them quiet too! ;)
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    The Terraza has QuietTuning, supposedly making it quieter, but I wouldn't know since I don't own one.

    The chances of a Terraza are slim though. I mostly see Uplanders, Freestars, SV6s, and Grand Caravans.
  • iglooigloo Posts: 8
    The Buick version has the only independent rear suspension of the four GM vans. I have not driven the other three, but they are different in terms of packages and styling. As far as I know, QuietTuning and IRS are standard for the Buick. I have seen quite of bit of soundproofing the similar way like my Cadillac, but the Terraza's tire noise on rougher roads are noticeable however.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    A national personal finance magazine is looking to interview consumers who own a car which has cylinder deactivation technology and is happy/unhappy with the fuel mileage it receives. Please send an e-mail to no later than Monday, July 3, 2006 by 2:00 PM PST/5:00 EST containing your daytime contact information and what car you own.


    Chintan Talati

    Corporate Communications

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    Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 9,655
    We have an '05 Uplander LS, bought 7/1/05 and built in 6/05. While we like the styling and rigid construction feel compared to our previous Ventures, here are things that just seem so damn dumb to us:

    1) Even being built in June '05, it needed body side moldings replaced since they were starting to peel in the corners.

    2) Whoever decided that the middle-row seats in the base and LS versions should have no armrests, should be forced to ride in those seats on a five-hour trip! We made a big mistake not looking into that further.

    3) Rotors began showing signs of warpage at around 14K. We have 15.7K miles now. I make it a point to not ride the brakes, and only my dealer has touched the lug nuts on those wheels. Every time they rotate, I remind them to be sure to use a torque wrench/stick and torque them all evenly to 100 ft.lbs. They smile and say "we always use a torque wrench/stick" and assure me it's OK. Still get warpage. I've had a couple friends with different make cars and both said their brake rotor problems miraculously disappeared once they started torquing their own wheels using a torque stick after rotation. said after he got new tires he couldn't believe how p*ss-poorly and unevenly the nuts were torqued to. The other said he couldn't get lug nuts off by any means after his dealer service department had put them on. Guess I'll have to start doing it myself if the shops can't be trusted to do what they're saying they're doing.

    4) We have Goodyear Integrity tires and while they appear to be wearing OK, they have become noisy (HUMMMMMM!) and we have had the feeling of a poor-balance issue since day one. It's currently coming from the back of the vehicle. Have an appt. next week to have tires balanced.

    5) Sometimes it doesn't seem like the A/C is as good as what was in our last Venture. I have heard about alternator issues and flickering lights...while I don't really have any issues with flickering lights, I'm wondering if an undersized alternator could also be contributing to sometimes-weak A/C performance.

    6) At times the vehicle starts before the starter disengages. Not an issue, just kind of embarrassing.

    What we do like:

    1) Styling

    2) Overall value (bought during the "Employee Pricing for All" progran)

    3) DVD feature

    4) Color...ours is "Sport Red". Why did they discontinue this color for '06?? It's the best color they had!!

    Bill P. from OH
  • dannodanno Posts: 114
    1. I have had the newest version moldings put on when the second set also peeled. Check with your dealer. It should be warranty.
    2. LT has the armrests - I agree the base and LS should have them as well.
    3. I have had my rotors turned twice now (under warranty) and they are to the minimums. I torque my own wheels and the rotors still vibrated. Poor OEM quality rotors IMHO.
    4. I have the Conti tires that come with the LT. After 20,000 miles they seem to be holding up very well.
    5. A/C works fine. Have you had the charge level checked?
    6. I believe the starter has some type of electronic control and until the engine is completely firing to the computer's need, the starter is kept engaged.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 9,655
    Wow, will the dealer replace your rotors next time under warranty? My dealer's service dept. is excellent and only one mile from my home. They replaced under warranty, rotors on my '02 Cavalier at 35K and my '02 Venture at 39K miles (rotors are always my biggest gripe). I have been told that GM is cutting down on paying for rental cars during warranty visits, so I have to wonder if they'll be cutting down on warranty expenses in other ways too. I know there is some leeway for the Service Manager to make such decisions.

    Bill P.
  • stobarstobar Posts: 110
    I have an 05 Terraza CXL with the 3.5 engine. It is primarily my wife's vehicle and she has been complaining about the air conditioner. It doesn't seem as if it cools as well as our 01 Silhouette did. It comes with dual air, and when you slow down, the air conditioner slows down with it instead of staying at a consistent speed. Also, it just doesn't seem to cool as well as I would expect. I know this was the first year model and was wondering if anyone else has had similar problems and if it would be worth it to take it into the dealer to take a look at. I drove it this morning and it seemed to work fine, but that was only for a short trip. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
  • morewasabimorewasabi Posts: 58
    Get your AC checked. Just took a 4 day weekend camping trip to eastern oregon. 100 plus degree weather, and the AC was great. Kids asked me to turn it down. Usually the rear is colder than the front. Works great.
  • kcoreykcorey Posts: 130
    I have always noticed that the AC in the front seat was normally on the warm side. Try putting the unit on MAX, the fan speed on 3, and the rear unit on 1 or 2. The rear definately gets colder than the front...probably because thet rear windows are tinted and the front windows are not. Also, the windshield gets very hot...not much you can do about that.
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