History of the Chevrolet Astro Van
We cannot miss to mention the history of the Chevrolet Astro Vans in this car review. They were first manufactured in 1985, and they had the purpose to be both suitable for delivery and for a family ride. Of course, the more modern models come with many improvements regarding comfort and the quality of the drive. The first models were strictly built to serve the purpose, with as few additional features as possible. The Astro vans were known for their durability and they had the fame of the workhorse of the industry for quite some time. There were several Chevy Astro problems regarding the design as the engine was placed very close to the passenger area, which caused overheating in the cabin from time to time. It also left very little space for the two front passengers, insufficient for a comfortable ride. The van was also a bit raised, in order to provide carrying capabilities, but this proved to pose difficulties for the passengers when getting in and out of the car.
Having in mind the focus on effectiveness, rather than comfort, the Chevy Astro vans still provided good handling, and suspension. Some models came with an all-wheel-drive system, which was suitable for tougher road conditions involving ice and snow. The feel of the vehicle, however, resembled that of a truck more than that of a car. Still it covered the necessary key components to be called a van, as it had removable back seats and a large amount of luggage space. For the twenty years following its first release, the Chevy Astro vans were a very profitable model for the company.
The next generation of Chevrolet Astro Van 1997-2005
Most of the Chevy Astro vans sold in the first years since production were four-speed automatic, however the five-speed automatic gear box soon became more preferable. In 1990 the company introduced a longer version of the van, which included a third row of seats, making the total capacity for passenger to be eight people. In 2003, the models started featuring power-steering, air-conditioning, and stereo radios.
While the standard for the braking system up to 2003 were the four anti-lock brakes, when the new century came, all vans were equipped with disc brakes. Other improvements included an airbag for the driver side, which was further improved on later when all passenger seats were equipped with airbags as well. In 1996, there were also modifications on the media and the dashboard panel, which was redesigned to guarantee ease of use for both the passengers and the driver. The additional security features were a reason for the manufacturer to increase the price of the Chevy Astro vans. The car still received a rating of “Poor” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but this was mainly due to the lack of changes in the structure and built of the models.
Throughout the years, the standard features of the Astro vans included 15-inch wheels, but this changed in 2003 when the model started appearing with 16-inch ones. Other optional features included rear air-conditioning, leather interior, an upgraded stereo system, and a rear differential with a locking system.
The Chevy Astro vans are one of the historic vehicles in the van sector, and ever since they were first released in 1985. Their impeccable functionality, and the comfort and security updates, which were developed in the later models, make it a remarkable all-purpose ride.