My wife and I have a '94 Astro LT EXT AWD. I cannot say the vehicle is perfect. In fact we've had to replace the intake manifold gasket twice in seven years. It now has 114 k miles on it. THAT IS THE ONLY BAD NEWS. It gets as good as 23.7 MPG on the highway, it has plenty of power, room and comfort. It is sure footed in foul weather. I feel it is an adults minivan. The rear seats can indeed seat adults. OK it failed an insurance safety test, let's face it no vehicle can guarantee your safety in all accident scenerios. Bottom line, drive defensively, drive at a safe speed and you will maximize you chances of living long, thus avoiding a fatal vehicle accident.
I have owned two Astro's. The first one was an 87. Except for every exterior door handle breaking off the darned thing, it probably was the most reliable vehicle I ever owned. It was very high mileage when we got it, around 150k, but my wife always got compliment about it looking like new.
We currently own a 2001, and are very happy with it. Great power, easily equal to my full size 1988 GMC pickup with a 350, with much better hi way mileage, best of 24.5.
Studded snow tires are a must during winter. The rear tires will spin at stop lights without heavy brake pressure.
Being a mechanic, the only Astro/Safari's I would stay away from are the early 4 cyl. (under powered) and all the 4 wheel drive (Expensive to repair).
The Astro and Safari are the only kind of minivan that cannot be generalized as a soccer-mom's car. Now, despite their notable faults, might these two vans be the minivan for the man of the house? I think so.
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