2002 Venture New Car Test Drive
Chevrolet's Venture has two new features for 2002 that deserve consideration. One is GM's Versatrak four-wheel drive. The other is a new DVD-based entertainment system in the special Warner Bros. Edition.
Venture already earned its place on minivan buyer shopping lists because it offered a willing engine and a car-like ride. While neither the most economical minivan you can buy, nor the most powerful, it remains competitively priced for a van with V6 power.
The best feature, however, may be the wide range of seating and cargo configurations.
All Ventures are powered by a 185-horsepower 3.4-liter overhead-valve V6 engine. It drives the front wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission. Chevy Ventures are available in standard 112-inch wheelbase and the extended 120-inch wheelbase lengths and a variety of trim levels.
The basic Value Van ($21,450) comes with a surprisingly high level of standard equipment, including air conditioning, side-impact air bags, anti-lock brakes, dual sliding doors, and a tilt steering column. The Value Van rides on the shorter wheelbase, but still provides seating for seven.
Plus and LS each add another layer of interior amenities. Venture Plus can be ordered with a power sliding door on the passenger side. Venture LS can be ordered with one or both doors powered. Plus and LS are available in either the standard wheelbase or the long wheelbase.
LT ($29,880) rides on the long wheelbase and comes with second-row captain's chairs and separate front and rear air conditioners. Traction control and a touring suspension with automatic load leveling come standard.
The Warner Bros. Edition ($30,660) adds a DVD-based entertainment center that should take the 'are we there yet?' out of even the longest trip. Some owners say it has eliminated the phrase, 'Don't make me stop the car and come back there,' from their vocabulary. That could easily be worth a thousand bucks. The Warner Bros. 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.
New for 2002 is AWD (all-wheel drive), which is available in LS, LT, and Warner Bros. versions, all on the extended-wheelbase chassis. An independent rear touring suspension, four-wheel disc brakes and 16-inch wheels are part of the AWD package.
Also new for 2002 are LATCH (Lower Anchorages and Top tethers for Children) child safety seat anchors, a mast antenna and new exterior colors.
GM's OnStar communications system comes as standard equipment on LS, LT, and Warner Bros. models. Also available is an ultrasonic rear parking aid to alert drivers to objects behind the van that are hard for the driver to see.