Chevrolet Venture Origins
The Venture was introduced to the car market in 1996 (1997 model year) as a replacement for the Lumina APV, a car that attempted to buck the trend of ugly minivans with only modest sales results.
Even though the design of the Venture is slightly better that of the Lumina APV, it failed to make a big splash in the market and was discontinued in the 2005 model year. The Uplander, a minor facelift of the Venture with a longer wheelbase, replaced it in 2006.Chevrolet Venture Features
The Venture, at first, was praised for its design and performance. Soon, however, the Venture was lambasted for its terrible safety features and for lagging behind its competitors. The 1997 scores fairly well in front-end collisions, but poorly in offset side collisions. The Pontiac Trans Sport, a twin of the Venture, scores very poorly, making it one of the worst performing vehicles in safety.
The Venture comes in three trim levels: base, LS, and LT.
Base models come with a shorter wheel base, cloth upholstery, and a bench for the second row that carries two passengers. All models of the Venture are fitted with anti-lock brakes and front side airbags (starting in 1998).
The LS has the option of a short or longer wheelbase, setting it apart slightly from the base model. Aluminum wheels instead of steel wheels are also offered. Extra perks on the LS model include keyless entry, adjustable seats, and headrests.
The LT model has the long wheel base, power adjustable seats, leather seats, a roof rack, and a power sliding door.
A 3.4-liter LA1 V-6 Engine and a four-speed 4T65-E automatic transmission power all models of the Venture. The engine makes 180 horsepower, which is considered weak in relation to the size of the vehicle. In 1999, the engine was slightly improved to increase the horsepower to 185.Chevrolet Venture Evolution
Some minor adjustments were made year-on-year to the Chevrolet Venture.
In 1997, the Chevrolet Venture base model was introduced. The brand began offering LS trim later in the year as an extra option for consumers.
In 1998, the StabiliTrak stabilization system was introduced to the Venture. Stabilitrak transfers power between sliding wheels and applies the brakes when the Venture skids, improving the handling of the vehicle. The base model of the Venture was discontinued in 1998.
In 1999, VersaTrak all-wheel-drive systems were installed standard in all Ventures. The LT trim was also introduced in this year.
OnStar navigation became a Standard feature on all Venture models in 2001.
Designers Doug Anderson and Joe Foster introduced a mid-year refresh to the Venture with a new grille in 2002. The grille forces the Chevrolet logo to move to a chrome bar higher up on the vehicle. The steering wheel is redesigned, and the vehicle boasts a five-screen entertainment system as well.
The LT was discontinued in 2004, and the car remained unchanged. A facelift was made in 2005 and again in 2008, but these small changes did nothing to improve the sales of the Venture. The next year the Venture was dropped for good.
A limited edition Warner Bros. Venture was sold as a gimmick in the 2002 and 2003 model years. They are very rare. The minivan has leather and cloth seats with a Warner Bros badge, including Bugs Bunny leaning against the Warner Bros. logo. Different versions of the vehicle include DVD and VHS players. A whole slew of weird things are included with the vehicle such as boy pajamas, a cooler and can holders, key chains, beach blankets, and other unrelated items.
Although the Venture was a great vehicle for minivan drivers in the late 1990s, once the millennium approached so did better advancements. Chevrolet fell behind. The minor updates to the vehicle do not bring the Venture up to the standard of other minivans on the market. A cheap, used Venture will have many options that might appeal to those who want a fully equipped minivan that will keep the kids entertained and comfortable. If you do go for a Venture, chose one that has the side impact airbags as well as the second row airbags for added protection. If you are worried about the poor safety ratings for side impacts on the Venture, it might be wise to choose another vehicle altogether.