At the end of its twenty-year run, the Chevrolet Astro van has no changes for 2005 and is in limited production.

The Astro is basically a box on a rear-wheel-drive truck frame, and while it isn’t as pleasant to drive as its minivan cousins, it offers superior towing and cargo capacity. It’s the same vehicle, with different trim, as the GMC Safari.

The single powertrain is a 4.3-litre V6, mated to a four-speed Hydra-Matic transmission. Three trim lines are offered, in seven- or eight-passenger seating. An on-demand all-wheel-drive system is offered, which sends power to the front wheels if the rear ones slip.

The Base package includes rear panel-type doors, roof rack, 15-inch steel wheels, variable intermittent wipers, trailer wiring harness, front air conditioning, cargo net, cruise control, power locks, full-length carpeting, tilt wheel, power windows, CD player, and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS.

The LS adds power mirrors, 16-inch aluminum wheels, overhead console and keyless remote, while the LT adds three-piece rear Dutch doors with rear washer/wiper and defogger, front and rear air conditioning, auxiliary rear heater, leather-wrapped wheel, premium cloth seats, six-way power driver’s seat and CD/cassette with six speakers.

The Astro is a tough little van, with a tall configuration that makes for exceptional headroom. It lacks the comfort of its front-wheel-drive minivan cousins, though; the driving position isn’t made for long-distance travel, and road imperfections definitely make themselves known. With the Astro’s demise, families who want to tow the boat and all the gear to the cottage for a reasonable price tag will have to look at the Ford E-Series or Chevrolet Express.

The Astro is built in Baltimore, Maryland.

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