Review of the American minivan Chevrolet Lumina APV

In 1984, General Motors responded to the success of Chrysler’s competing minivans and introduced its own models on the passenger sedan platform. They had a specific design by Dick Rozzin and the Chevrolet Lumina APV was actually a base model and often the least well equipped. Moreover, it had nothing to do with the Lumina sedan. Above him were the sibling Pontiac Trans Sport and the more luxurious Oldsmobile Silhouette. There had been a Chevrolet Astro and a GMC Safari before, small vans derived from the classics, but it just wasn’t a true minivan.

In 1986, the Pontiac concept was introduced with a radical, unconventional design that reminds me of a cutaway cockpit from a space shuttle. With its sloping bow with a tall windshield and straight roofline, it suggests that GM definitely knew what the first European Renault Espace minivan looked like at the time. Nevertheless, the concept of Lumina is somehow American at first glance. The often two-tone composite body parts (SMC) are made of the same material as those of the Pontiac Fiero. They are mounted on a galvanized steel frame. After the modernization, the shape of the front part changed, but Lumina has since become uglier, but still original. The look is nicely underlined by the original wheels, but the rear indicators, for example, are finished to European standards and the windscreen wipers directed towards each other will surprise you a little.

Photo: Miroslav Matousek

The shape of Lumina APV is actually very simple, but at the same time very original

By the way, the acronym APV stands for All Purpose Vehicle. Lumina was offered in two trim levels – the basic and this better CL, Chevrolet also sold a two-seater Cargo Van, and a licensed version of the Nushen JB6500 was installed in China. Electric opening of the sliding rear door was even offered for an extra charge, but unfortunately the owner of this 1990 part saved money and did not pay extra for the electric front windows. The rear ones can be opened by tilting. However, he took great care of the car, so it was kept in its original condition. Again, there was no full cut, alarm clocks are extra with a tachometer.

Spacious interior must be MPV

The interior benefits from larger body dimensions and offers plenty of space. You can see the five-seater in the article, but Chevrolet also made the seven-seater. However, it was the unconventional shape of the front end that got many drivers to criticize them for misjudging where the front of the car ended, and I even found it to be like driving from the back seat. Well, I can’t confirm that, I didn’t have similar feelings in Lumina, although the unusually long bridge in front of me might contribute to that. I was rather bothered by the steering wheel shifting slightly to the right. Of course, the interior should not lack the necessary decoration – plush cubes. The seats are comfortable, plush and have large headrests. The radio surprised me, it had maybe a million buttons on it and there had to be something there before you got used to it and learned to control it from memory. The Lumina APV’s luggage compartment is also solid.

Photo: Miroslav Matousek

Even inside, I didn’t get rid of the impression of the shuttle

The four-door minivan has a six-cylinder fork up front and front-wheel drive. It is a GMT199 platform. I’m going to try the base LG6 engine, which is a 3.1-liter six-cylinder fork with single-point injection. It drives the front wheels with a power of 120 hp and 235 Nm and manages to reach Lumina at 165 km/h. So don’t mind the performance settings, because a lot of Luminas can feel quite lazy. A few extra horses wouldn’t hurt him. However, the buzzing soundtrack of the engine listens well. The van weighs about 1.7 tons, has independent suspension front wheels and a rigid rear axle. It has an upgrade system, which was offered at an additional cost.

A comfortable ride is welcome to the minivan

The engine is linked to a 3T40 three-speed automatic transmission with a selector under a small steering wheel, Chevrolet did not offer a manual transmission at all. It may be the fault of the machine if Lumina APV does not have low consumption. The ABS system prevents the front ventilation discs and the rear drums from jamming. The chassis is resolved at the front by MacPherson and at the rear by trailing arms, so that driving comfort is exemplary (even better are the models after 1992). You seem to be detached from the road surface, you won’t learn much about cornering either. But again, from the minivan, even after a few hundred kilometers, you come out wonderfully relaxed. Maybe the noise in the car could be a bit less, but then again, it’s an older minivan and it’s never been completely quiet. Average consumption is about 13.5 liters per 100 kilometers.

The successor to Lumina APV was the Chevrolet Venture, a relatively unoriginal, dozen-looking car. But it was also the better-selling rival Chrysler Voyager, so maybe it was a smart move. On the contrary, Lumina is very original and I would be happy to meet her more often on the road, too bad that customers did not see her in the same way at the time. After all, parts are available, everything is easily accessible in the car, so keeping it alive is not so difficult.

Faults most often include angry fuel pump, oil consumption, cooling system or transmission oil leaks, central locking or alarm. I was intrigued that no review mentions corrosion of a metal part. But the problem will be to get Lumina APV, there are not many for sale. If so, it does not cost much yet, and “sir” can offer you prizes of around fifty thousand crowns. But beware, some hate these cars, others fall completely under their spell. For example, the owner lovingly refers to this particular as the “American Twelve”, but he doesn’t mean anything bad.

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