2001 Venture New Car Test Drive
Chevrolet's Venture offers a willing engine and a car-like ride. It is neither the most economical minivan you can buy, nor the most powerful, but it is competitively priced for a van with V6 power. Traction control is either standard or optional on the upper trim levels.
The Venture offers a wide range of seating and cargo configurations, plus an integrated entertainment system that's almost guaranteed to take the 'Are we there yet?' out of family travel.
Chevy Venture is available in two different wheelbase lengths. And it comes in four different trim levels. The most basic Value Van is built only on the standard 112-inch wheelbase, but still provides nominal seating for seven. At $20,975, the Value Van also provides a reasonable level of standard equipment, including V6 power, air conditioning, side-impact air bags, dual sliding doors, tilt steering column, anti-lock brakes, and dual sliding doors.
The next two levels, Plus and LS, are available with either the standard or the extended (120-inch) wheelbase. Each adds another layer of interior amenities. At the Plus level, the Venture can be ordered with a power sliding door on the passenger side; LS can be ordered with one or both doors powered.
The $28,670 LT, built only on the long wheelbase, ups the interior ante even further with second-row captain's chairs and separate front and rear air conditioners, plus mechanical refinements including traction control and a touring suspension with automatic load leveling.
The most expensive Venture is the $30,315 Warner Bros. Edition, which reverts to LS trim but adds a video player and separate front and rear audio controls, all to amuse the kids on long family drives. The Warner Bros. Edition comes with VentureTainment, a special package of owner benefits mostly aimed at family entertainment. Edition comes only on the longer wheelbase. It comes with a power-operated curb-side sliding door. Power for the driver's-side sliding door is available as an option.
For 2001, LS, LT and Warner Ventures come standard with the OnStar communications system. Also new this year is a rear parking aid, an ultrasonic gadget that detects objects behind the van but too low for the driver to see. Besides offering a warning about that little red wagon in the driveway, it comes in handy when parallel parking or when backing up to a wall. Rear parking aid is standard on LT and optional on extended LS and Warner Bros.
Just one engine is offered, a 185-horsepower, 3.4-liter overhead-valve V6. It drives the front wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission. There is no all-wheel-drive option, although traction control is standard on LT and offered on LS and Warner Bros.