This has been but a taste of the vast GM Performance Catalog. GM crate engines run the gamut from affordable and economical four-cylinder mills to gallon-per-mile big blocks that sound like the devil gargling Listerine. And the future is bright: Chevrolet is bringing back the COPO Camaro and the newly-launched 2019 ZR1 packs 755 horsepower and a 210-mph top speed.
The Routan was designed to offer a firmer suspension for a more fun driving experience. Another fail. When compared to Kia and Honda used minivans, the firmer suspension makes for a clumsier experience all around. These shortcomings put a lot of pressure on the powertrain to offer a glimmer of hope for this used minivan. Nope, nope, nope.
Enter the LT4 crate engine. Power comes on fast: a 1.7-liter Eaton supercharger spins at 20,000 rpm to force 9 pounds of boost into this 6.2-liter engine. That results in the same 650 horsepower and 650 torques you’ll find in the Z06 that’s sitting over at your local dealership, but for a fraction of the price.
The Kia Sedona can stand toe-to-toe with any of the used minivans on the market. The current models are powered by a 3.3L V6 paired to a smooth shifting six-speed automatic gearbox. The engine has an output of 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. Most owners describe the engine’s acceleration as quick and its response as immediate. The Sedona outshines its competitors by offering a lower price point and more options for every dollar spent.
It also favors a hydraulic roller camshaft instead of the original’s flat-tappet cam. It makes a few extra ponies over the old model, too: 480 horsepower and 490 lb-ft of torque will melt any tires this engine’s hooked up to.
The Nissan Quest does have the saving grace of being equipped with a fuel efficient engine for the class. The most recent models are all powered by a 3.5L V6 that is capable of 260 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque while delivering 22 mpg on the highway.
On paper, the Toyota Sienna seems to offer everything. It is roomy and has plenty of cargo space. Unfortunately, what looks good on paper isn’t always good in real life.
If any car was worthy of carrying the original ZR1’s torch, it was that one. The numbers are huge: 638 horsepower and 604 lb-ft, with 90% of peak torque available from 2600 to 6000 rpm. Translation: lots of power on tap, whenever you want it.