When your truck rides like a truck...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Dec 01, 1989

Dear Tom and Ray:

We love our '87 Chevrolet Astro Van. When loaded up for a trip, it drives better than most Cadillacs. There's only one complaint. When driving in town with the van empty, it rides like a truck! Is there an inexpensive way to improve the ride or should we wait until Detroit offers better riding models?

RAY: The Astro Van is a truck, Al, that's why it rides like a truck. It's meant to be loaded up with stuff. We suggest you get a part time job making deliveries for a masonry supply house. Seven or eight bags of ready-mix cement in the back ought to give you just the ride you're looking for.

TOM: If that option sounds unattractive, you could consider some of the better riding models already offered by Detroit. The Chevrolet Lumina APV--also known as the Pontiac Trans Sport or the Olds Silhouette--is the new mini-van from General Motors...the same people who brought you your beloved Astro. We often recommend Mazda MPVs and Dodge Caravans to people shopping for mini vans, but if you love the Astro, you'll be in heaven in the Lumina APV.

RAY: The APV is actually a very nice mini-van. It's ride is close to that of a passenger car's. It has plenty of power, it handles pretty well, and it has enough cup holders to take care of a football team at halftime.

TOM: There are two shortcomings you'll notice. First, the APV won't have quite as much room as your Astro--so bring all five kids and their luggage when you visit the showroom. The other problem is that you can't tell where the front of the vehicle is. The APV has a long, sloping nose that's invisible to the driver, which makes it very hard to park.

RAY: That bothered my brother, but it didn't bother me at all. I thought it was a great vehicle. I even parked it in two shots...one shot to the car in front of me, one to the car in back of me, and presto!

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