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The 1997-2000 Venture
|Manufacturer||Chevrolet (General Motors)|
|Assembly||West Doraville Assembly, Doraville, Georgia, United States
Shanghai, China (Buick GL8 and a 10-seater version of the Chevrolet Venture exclusive for the Philippines)
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||3/4-door minivan|
|Layout||Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive / all-wheel drive|
Pontiac Trans Sport
|Engine||3.4 L LA1 V6|
|Transmission||4-speed 4T65-E automatic|
|Wheelbase||112.0 in (2,845 mm)
120.0 in (3,048 mm)
|Length||186.9 in (4,747 mm) (SWB)
200.9 in (5,103 mm) (LWB)
|Width||72.0 in (1,829 mm)|
|Height||67.4 in (1,712 mm) (SWB)
68.1 in (1,730 mm) (LWB)
|Predecessor||Chevrolet Lumina APV|
The Chevrolet Venture is a minivan produced by Chevrolet from the 1997 to 2005 model years. It was one of the best vans on the market in its time. Loaded with features, this van went on to gain legendary status for being stylish, robust in features, and an overall pleasure to drive on the highway for long trips or even the short stint. It also replaced the Chevrolet Lumina APV. Identical minivans were also sold in Europe as the Opel Sintra, and in the UK, they were badged as a Vauxhall. Opel assisted in the development of the minivan as well. Up until 2005, Chevrolet Europe sold a few models, mostly United States domestic market (USDM) models modified to suit European regulations. Among them were the Chevrolet Trans Sport (which was a Chevrolet Venture with the front end of the Pontiac Trans Sport). During the 2005 model year, the Venture (along with the Astro) was replaced by the similar "new" 2005 Chevrolet Uplander. The Venture (along with other GM minivans, including the Opel/Vauxhall Sintra) was built in Doraville, Georgia.
Use of Name
The Venture name was first used on a 1988 Chevrolet concept car. This vehicle was smaller in size than the full-size Caprice but larger than the mid-sized Celebrity. The concept vehicle featured a removable all-glass roof that allowed panoramic visibility. Design elements of the Venture would later appear on Chevrolets in the 1990s.
The Venture was introduced to the market in 1996 for the 1997 model year as a replacement for the radically styled Lumina APV. In the United States, it was also sold as the Oldsmobile Silhouette and the Pontiac Trans Sport, which was later renamed as the Pontiac Montana for 1999 (2000 in Canada). The Venture came in three trim levels, the base, LS, and LT. The base models of the Venture were short wheelbase models which came equipped with cloth upholstery, front bucket seats with fixed head restraints, a 2nd-row 2-passenger bench seat, and steel wheels. The LS came in both short and long wheelbases, and offered aluminum wheels, a varied seating configuration, adjustable head restraints, side airbags, power windows (optional on the base models), and a remote keyless entry system. The LT model was an upscale of the LS and was exclusively a long wheelbase model and offered a power driver seat (optional on the base and LS models), optional leather seats, a roof rack (optional on the base and LS models), and a driver side sliding door (optional on the base and LS models from 1997–1999). The anti-lock brakes were standard on all Ventures from 1997–2002, but became optional on the base models later on.
The Venture and its siblings were powered by GM's 3.4 L LA1 V6, rated at 180 hp (134 kW). After 1999, the engine was slightly redesigned to produce an extra 5 hp (4 kW), for a total of 185 hp (138 kW), and the alarm system for seatbelts, door ajar, low fuel, etc. have been changed. All Ventures used a four-speed automatic transmission. The Venture was one of the few minivans to have an 8-passenger seating configuration as an option when most minivans seated up to 7 passengers. In 2000, the driver side sliding door became standard on all trim levels, when the passenger side only sliding door models of minivans have rapidly fallen out of favor since the 1996 models of Chrysler minivans. The exterior was refreshed in 2001, a back-up alarm was added to indicate possible obstacles behind the vehicle, and all-wheel drive was introduced in 2002. Also for 2002 was a new steering wheel equivalent to the 2000-2005 Chevrolet Impala, replacing the steering wheel equivalent to the 1995-2001 Chevrolet Lumina. New for this generation, cabin air filters were installed, and the filters can be accessed from behind an access panel easily accessed from inside the glove compartment.
The optional 2-3-2 seating configuration was dropped in favor of the more conventional 2-2-3 and 2-3-3 seating configurations. The 2-3-3 was the standard for the Chinese-made Buick GL8, and a 10-seats arranged in a 3-4-3 configuration was used in a Chinese-made version of the Chevrolet Venture for export to the Philippines where 10-seaters are favored with lower taxes. Reviews and sales were generally lukewarm, especially about the relatively narrow cabin due to being designed for European roads. The vans came in both short and long wheelbases, and all-wheel drive versions like the Chrysler minivans. The third row bench seat was designed to fold flat (introduced for 2001 and available on LS and Warner Bros. models), but forming a higher floor unlike the Honda, Mazda and Nissan minivans that folded into a well behind the third row.
The Venture was replaced after 2005 by the Chevrolet Uplander, which was essentially a facelift with one long wheelbase configuration, and a longer nose which served chiefly to improve crush distance and styling more like an SUV. Only the long-wheelbase Venture was sold for 2005 in the US but the short-wheelbase was still offered in Canada. Production of the Chevy Venture ended on June 24, 2005.
LS, base, LT, and Warner Bros Edition trims used the Double-Siding grille (also called the Cube grille) until 2000. In 2001, the Static Foot grille was introduced (until 2005).
Model year changes
- 1997 MY- Introduction of the base model in early 1997. The 1997-1999 Ventures were their new version. Introduction of the LS trim on June 20, 1997.
- 1998 MY- Available Versatrak all-wheel-drive system, power sliding doors and available OnStar were options on all models. Discontinuation of the base model on July 10.
- 1999 MY- New wheels are introduced as an option. Introduction of the LT trim on September 3, 1999. General Motors announced that it would produce a Warner Bros Edition on September 20, 1999. A subdued 5-screen DVR style VHS player including an open-and-shut liquid-crystal display screen was introduced in 1999 on all models.
- 2000 MY- The trim announced for 2000 (see 1999 MY) and was optional for the model of using the Versatrak all-wheel drive system.
- 2001 MY- OnStar became a Standard feature on all Trans Sports/Montanas/Silouettes/ and Ventures. Which says: GM Is giving a good reputation on safety although the Venture/Trans Sport/Montana/Silhouette tested at the IIHS received a "Poor" rating In both tests.
- 2002 MY (mid-cycle refresh)- In all for designers Doug Anderson and Joe Foster, a new grille (aka Static Foot) was introduced, thus growing the grille and moving the Chevrolet logo from the top to across a chrome bar in the grille, inspired by the Chevrolet Impala. A new steering wheel and DVD player from all the 5-screen entertainment system was introduced in 2002. Versatrak AWD system were used in the equipment packages.
- 2003 MY- More equipment packages were introduced for 2003. The Venture got XM radio capability, Monsoon sound capability and standard RDS previously available on LS.
- 2004 MY- The Versatrak system was dropped. Discontinuation of LT in January 2004. The Venture was unchanged this year. New navigation touch panel is accessory.
- 2005 MY- The Venture is unchanged. The Venture was replaced with Uplander.
- Base: The base model introduced in early 1997.
- LS: The LS model- introduced September 1997- a level above the base model.
- LT: The LT model was introduced in September 1999.
- LTV: The LT VERSATRACK model was introduced in September 2000.
A Warner Bros. edition, introduced on September 20, 1999, included leather and cloth seats, built–in child restraints, Warner Bros. badging with Bugs Bunny leaning against the Warner Bros. logo, and an DVD entertainment system, a novelty at the time (however, some editions included a VHS player instead).
The Warner Bros. edition was a very rare model that was only produced for the 2000–2003 model years and the only model to come with a monochromatic exterior (like its Silhouette twin) as opposed to black accents that the other Ventures offered and this model only came in four colors: Blue, red, silver, and black. These models included VHS and DVD compilations of Looney Tunes, girls pajamas, a cooler with can holders, a special keychain, and a beach blanket, as an amenity kit.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 1997 Chevy Venture a rating of four stars out of five in a head-on collision, and five stars in the side-impact collision. Tests on subsequent model years yielded results of four stars in most categories, and three or five stars in others. The NHTSA does not conduct offset frontal crash tests.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested the Pontiac Trans Sport (a twin of the Venture) in late 1996, and it received a "Poor" rating in the 40 MPH offset frontal crash test for poor structural performance, and was ranked as the "Worst Performing Vehicle" of all the vehicles tested, with test results indicating a high risk of serious injury or fatality. This result affected both the Venture's and the Silhouette's safety reputations (as well as the Pontiac Montana/Trans Sport). Its European twin, the Opel Sintra, did badly in the EuroNCAP's crash tests as well, with only two stars (out of five).
- "IIHS-HLDI: Pontiac Trans Sport/Montana". Iihs.org. 2005-09-19. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
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