What is the Best Year for the Chevy Astro Van?

The Chevy Astro Van has increased in popularity as many people are now gutting it to make an adventure camper

The Astro Van has a classic look, front-wheel drive, and the brawn of a truck, but which year is the best?

What is the Best Year for the Chevy Astro Van?

The 2005 Chevy Astro Van offers the best safety and interior upgrades while being the newest Astro available. The 2005 Chevy Astro Van is the best option when it comes to reliability, but models between 1990 and 1992 are preferred by many due to their manual transmission and classic body style.

Before you buy a used Astro Van, be sure you check out the perks and downsides of each model year. 

2005 Chevrolet Astro Van

The 2004 and 2005 models of the Astro Van weren’t changed much, but the years 2003-2005 all have improved features and mechanical benefits.

Of these, the 2005 Chevy Astro Van is the newest, so it’s predicted that it will last longer than the others and is considered the best.


While most of the crash tests done by the IIHS resulted in marginal or poor safety ratings, had the best safety ratings.

In 1991 all of the seatbelts were improved to be lap/shoulder belts to increase safety during crashes. 

In 1994 the driver-side airbag became standard for all Astros. 

Side door guard beams were also added to front doors in the ‘94 model, as well as the extra center brake light mounted to the top of the van. 

In 1996, Chevrolet added the passenger-side airbag.

The 1997 model introduced daytime running lights and speed-sensitive power steering. 

Through the years, the Astro Van has been improved and upgraded, so the 2005 model is the most ideal when it comes to safety.

Interior Features

Many upgrades were made to the Astro Van’s interior in 2005.

This van has power windows and mirrors, remote keyless entry, cruise control, a tilted steering wheel, automatic door locks, and a CD player.

It also has a decent amount of legroom.

What is the Best Year for the Chevy Astro Van 1 What is the Best Year for the Chevy Astro Van?


Because the 2005 model is the newest model of the Chevrolet Astro Van, it will likely last longer than the previously released models. 

While older vans that have been well maintained may be better options for buying used, the 2005 Chevy Astro Can is still considered the best on account of its age. 

Since the older first-generation Astro Vans, Chevy has upgraded the van to AWD, which makes it more capable in poor weather conditions and off-road. 

In 1999, the AWD feature in the Astro Van was adapted to have the ability to send the power to the front wheels to increase traction. 

In 2000, the Chevy Astro Van gained a tow/haul mode that made for more efficiency during shifting while carrying heavy loads. 

The fuel tank size was increased and the metal was exchanged for plastic.

With these small improvements, the Astro Van’s durability increased. It is still an old vehicle regardless of which year you go with, but in the case of the Astro Van, the newer the better.


As far as Astro Vans go, the 2005 Chevy Astro Van is as good as it gets. 

However, compared to other vehicle options in the same price range, there are some downsides.

The biggest downside is that the 2005 Astro Van is more than 15 years old.

Many used Astro Vans are now in rough condition and need many repairs. 

The Astro Van is a large, old vehicle, so its fuel economy has taken a hit. 

A 2005 Astro Van in good condition averages 16 mpg city miles and 22 mpg on highways. 

1990 to 1992 Chevrolet Astro Van

The older models won’t have all of the features of the 2005 Astro Van, but you can still expect greatness from the old models. 

Most who are shopping for older vehicles are looking for something with a manual transmission and a cool body style. 

The 1990 to 1992 Astro Van offers those perks. 

Manual Transmission

Astro Vans had a manual transmission up until 1992, but they only have had AWD since 1990, so the best years for the manual transmission are 1990-1992. 

While a newer model could be converted to manual, these years already come with it. 

Classic Body Style

The first generation of the Astro Van has a classic body style.

The first generation has a short nose, a short wheelbase, and is a more compact vehicle overall. 

While the interior legroom is slightly cramped, the compact style of the van is a definite perk. 

Some older models also have the classic style and great body shape, but the years before 1990 have other issues and features that are less ideal. 


As with any older vehicle, you will likely have many problems to fix and issues to anticipate. 

If you are buying a used Astro Van, be sure to check the body and undercarriage for rust.

The older Astro Vans have a reduced fuel economy.

The safety features aren’t quite up to par with the 2005 Astro Van, so you’ll want to check which safety features the model you are looking at has. 

Other Years to Consider

If you are looking at the old Chevy Astro Van, chances are you appreciate the classic, old body style. 

The first generation made in this style was made from 1985-1994. 

However, they don’t have many perks.

Astro Van models before 1990 had 2WD. AWD was introduced in 1990, which significantly improved the value of the van.

Astro Vans weren’t very safe in snowy conditions before the AWD upgrade. 

After the AWD upgrade, the Astro Van could be effortlessly driven through snow and other poor weather conditions. 

Because of the AWD, consider purchasing an Astro Van made after 1990.

Models made after 1992 began using an automatic transmission. 

Often, a sought-after feature on older vehicles is the manual transmission.

Astro Vans made after 1992 can be converted to manual if you want to change the automatic transmission to a manual. Some models of the Astro Van come with holes already punched for a clutch pedal, but the newer the van is, the less likely it is to have pre-punched holes.

2003 and 2004

Consider purchasing a 2003 or 2004 Chevy Astro Van. 

There were few changes made to the car between 2003 and 2005, so you will be getting the best Astro Van available, just a few years older. 

However, the 2005 model will likely last longer than the 2003 or 2004 models.

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  1. besides a 2005 being newer, what did they do to make the 2005 model get slightly better gas milage ,then the 2003-04 models ?