Like a rock, 390,000 km and still going
In 5 years of ownership:
Been in the shop only once for new muffler & catalytic converter (was rusted) $600+/- (includes labour).
Otherwise I have done all service & maintenance myself:
- 1 set of front & rear shocks replaced at the same time, $200+. Cheapo Monroe shocks from Canadian Tire. (Crappy Tire... xD)
- 1 alternator, $120.
- 1 starter, $70.
- 1 radiator (had a small leak, decided to replace for new one), $120.
- 1 battery, $80.
- All done at the same time: Set of brake rotors $100, brake pads $50, calipers (both sides) $80, repacked wheel bearings with new grease + new seals. $20.
- Pair of new rear brake shoes + springs, $80+/-.
- When changing rear brake shoes, I found one brake wheel cylinder had a minor leak. Replaced both sides. $45.
- Tires worn out, bought a set of used tires for $400.
- Replaced windshield. $250. Old one was cracked because of driving behind dump trucks on rural roads.
- Paint started to peel on hood & one front panel. Common on older GM vehicles.
- Dashboard and plastic paneling rattles frequently. That's what the radio's for ;)
$2,215 total maintenance expenses over 5 years. I purchased this van for about $1,500.
So $3,715 grand total. That's $743/year, or $62/month.
For comparison, monthly payments for a new car is about $350+/month.
This van has plenty of space, about 8ft from the back of the front seats to the rear barn doors.
All camping gear tools, building materials will fit. The two benches behind the front seats can be removed for full cargo space.
Astro/Safari van's came with two available back doors:
"Dutch doors" (Two half doors on the bottom, with a lift up glass hatch on the top)
"Barn doors" (Two full doors swing open)
It is based on the C/K 1500 GM trucks. Solid body on frame construction.
Typical van ride quality (leans to one side when in a sharp corner & "boat like" ride on rough streets).
To me, the seats front & rear are as comfortable as the living room couch.
4.3L V6 is powerful & very reliable. Fuel economy isn't great, but not bad either. About 16-17L/100km city (14 MPG), and 12L/100km highway (19 MPG). About 15 MPG mixed city/highway.
The 4-speed automatic transmission always shifted smoothly. Regular ATF & filter changes every 30,000+/- km is the key.
There are two "D's" on the transmission. The one with a circle around the "D" is overdrive. The one beside it, also a separate gear, is just regular "D" Drive. Use it for going around town. On flat ground or at highway speed, I shift it into overdrive to save fuel. Shift to regular drive for the hills.
It leaks a bit of oil now, but doesn't burn any, no blue smoke. Frame is still solid, minor rust on the underbody.
One of my friend's bought the van from me last year. It's still going with just over 400,000 km.
Engine, tranny & axle are still original, never rebuilt.
Like a rock. The most dependable, longest lasting vans out there.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 28th August, 2012