For 2007, the Chevrolet Uplander narrows down to one engine: the 3.5-litre V6 is gone, leaving the 3.9-litre V6. The all-wheel drive option available on the extended wheelbase model in 2006 has also been discontinued, with all models now front-wheel drive only. There are also three new exterior colours: Silver Plum Metallic, Gold Mist Metallic and Polar Blue Metallic.

The Uplander is available in regular or extended-length wheelbase with seating up to seven passengers, and in LS, LT1 or LT2 trim; all models now use the 3.9-litre V6, mated to a Hydra-Matic four-speed automatic transmission. A flexible-fuel version of the V6 will be available, capable of running on E85 (85 per cent ethanol, 15 per cent gasoline), although that fuel is still difficult to find. A commercial cargo-van version of the Uplander is also available, which receives StabiliTrak stability control program as standard equipment for 2007.

Base models include power heated mirrors, 17-inch steel wheels, variable intermittent wipers, intermittent rear washer/wiper, air conditioning, tilt wheel, power front windows, CD/MP3 stereo with four speakers, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, power locks with keyless entry, and OnStar.

The LT lines add roof rack side rails, cruise control, floor mats, overhead storage bin, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, power swing-out rear quarter windows, power six-way driver’s seat, front and second-row utility trays, and remote starter.

An available overhead rail system accepts snap-in storage and accessory modules, including an available rear-seat DVD system; other available storage units include convenience trays on the second-row captain’s chairs, or a second-row utility box between bucket seats. Both the second- and third-row seats are foldable and removable.

Several optional entertainment choices can be added, including XM Satellite Radio and PhatNoise, which includes a 40-gigabyte removable hard drive that can be loaded with music, movies and video games from a home computer or laptop for in-vehicle playback. The system comes preloaded with Nickelodeon television shows, eMusic, audio books and video games.

The Uplander can also be ordered with a range of mobility packages, including a dealer-installed Sit-N-Lift power seat, which operates by a handheld remote, and rotates and extends from the second-row seating area to provide easy transfer from a standing position or wheelchair.

Although GM prefers to call it a “mid-van”, the Uplander is what most of us call a minivan, and it also appears as the Pontiac Montana SV6, Buick Terraza and Saturn Relay. Still, the driving experience is more car-like than a typical minivan, and the 3.9-litre – an option in 2006, now the sole choice for 2007 – is smooth and powerful enough to haul even the long-wheelbase when it’s loaded. A removable four-compartment cargo organizer, standard on the extended LT model, includes a water-resistant area for wet gear. The second and third rows fold to form a flat floor for easy cargo compatibility; this is good value in a family hauler for the price.

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