Chevrolets front-wheel-drive minivan has new marketing partners for 2000, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and other Warner Bros. cartoon characters. The Venture Warner Bros. Edition is a new model that comes with a standard video monitor, VCR and Warner Bros. Family entertainment badges and trim.
All Venture models now come with four doors two conventional front doors and two sliding side doors. Models with only a passenger-side sliding door are no longer offered.
Venture is built from the same design as the Oldsmobile Silhouette and Pontiac Montana, and the three differ only in styling details and marketing emphasis. Chevrolet stresses value, while Olds pushes luxury and Pontiac takes a sporty route.
Venture returns in two sizes. The regular size is 187 inches long and has a 112-inch wheelbase. Extended versions are 201 inches long and have a 120-inch wheelbase. In overall length, both are within 2 inches of the Dodge Caravan, the best-selling minivan.
A power-operated sliding door on the passenger side is standard on the LS model and optional on other Ventures except the Value Van VL a new regular-size passenger model and the cargo van. All models have a rear liftgate that swings up.
The new Warner Bros. Edition is the only model that gets the video entertainment system. The overhead video screen folds down from the ceiling, and the VCR mounts in the center console. Oldsmobile and Pontiac offer the same entertainment system. Headphone jacks for the middle and rear seats are standard on the Warner Bros. Edition, which allows passengers to listen to three different audio programs at the same time.
In addition to a video entertainment system, the Venture's Warner Bros. Edition features a LEGO PlaySeat activity center with a large LEGO play surface, two tray tables and a built-in toy box.
Seats for seven are standard on all passenger models, including two front buckets, but there are several choices in seating arrangements. Choices include a two-place middle bench and three-place rear bench; two captains chairs for the middle row with the three-seat rear bench; and bucket seats for all positions. Seats for eight also are available with three middle buckets and the three-place rear bench. The cargo model comes only with two front buckets.
All seats except the front buckets are removable, which gives the regular-size Venture 133 cubic feet of cargo space and the extended version 156.
Under the Hood
The only powertrain available in the front-drive Venture is a 3.4-liter V-6 with 185 horsepower and a four-speed automatic transmission.
Standard safety features include side-impact airbags for the front seats and antilock brakes that operate on all four wheels. Traction control is standard on the LT and optional on the LS and Warner Bros. Edition.
Venture and its General Motors siblings are roomy minivans with flexible seating arrangements and reasonable prices. Noise levels are annoyingly high at highway speeds, and the ride is stiffer than most rival minivans. Good deals are available, so Venture is worth a look.