1999 Bravada New Car Test Drive
Oldsmobile defines its Bravada as an upscale 'on-road sport-utility vehicle' with refined styling and car-like ride and handling. For people who have been bombarded with advertising showing shiny SUVs tackling inhospitable terrain, this is acknowledgement from one manufacturer of how most sport-utilities are really used.
In truth, the Oldsmobile Bravada handles the road very well. It rides and drives like an Oldsmobile luxury sedan. A relatively tight turning circle and power-assisted steering make it easier to maneuver in crowded parking lots than some of the other sport-utilities on the market.
Oldsmobile has taken a sensible approach to the Bravada from the start. The Oldsmobile Bravada is based it on the proven, high-volume Chevy Blazer/GMC Jimmy platform. Taking this simple, direct route reduced development time and kept costs down. Oldsmobile's vehicles are positioned as high-value luxury cars within their market segments, so setting the Bravada in a similar group among SUVs is sensible. For this reason, the Bravada comes with a higher level of standard equipment than the other GM products.
In the three years since the Bravada's last major makeover, several newcomers have arrived. The Mercury Mountaineer, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Infiniti QX4 compete in this luxury SUV segment. Other, mass market, sport-utilities vie for these same buyers when optioned out to their leather-lined limits.