1991 Oldsmobile Bravada

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$1,850
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IndyStar.com
Oldsmobile Division exhibits considerable bravado in bringing its Bravada to market in 1991.

A new sports-utility vehicle, the 1991 Bravada deviates somewhat from Oldsmobile's line of upscale passenger cars.

The Bravada officially is categorized as a truck. However, its appointments and price make it more of a multipurpose station wagon, and it fits into the country club scene as much as the wide-open spaces.

There is not a whole lot you can do with a four-door sport-utility vehicle to make it look like an Oldsmobile. The styling is pretty well established by the nature of the vehicle.

About all that can be done from an appearance standpoint is to put Oldsmobile badges and emblems on the bodywork and interior trim.

If you took these off the Bravada, even the trained eye would be somewhat hesitant to specify its origin. It looks pretty much like other sports-utility vehicles on the market.

Inside, it's another matter. Oldsmobile's upscale imagery jumps right into view.

In the Bravada that General Motors Corp. provided for a test vehicle, the custom-leather upholstery, the array of accessories and the comfort items could have come right out of an Olds Ninety Eight.

There was a decided atmosphere of affluence. And mechanical genies were located throughout, ready to do a driver's bidding.

The Bravada isn't a luxury Olds sedan or Custom Cruiser. There still are strong overtones of utility in the way the vehicle functions. But domesticated ruggedness. It's not a workhorse that gives no quarter to gentility.

The Bravada is an all-wheel-drive machine, with no driver input needed to engage all four driving wheels. That is automatic.

The suspension is designed to handle its off-road capabilities. But instead of a bone-jarring ride that usually is part and parcel of off-road vehicles, the ride is comfortably firm without being harsh.

There still is the need to climb up and in to get behind the wheel. But once seated, there is that master-of-all-you-survey feeling.

It's a great traffic machine with excellent visibility. The driver has the ability to see over the roofs of passenger cars.

With a higher center of gravity, handling characteristics are relative to the

Type: of vehicle it is. The Bravada is stable courtesy of its all-wheel drive, but you can't throw it around in sports-car fashion.

Its 4.3-liter V-6 delivers quite respectable performance, but it is a little slow to warm up in the morning. And if you get on the throttle when everything is stone cold, the noise level is fairly high. However, it all quiets down when warm.

With anti-lock braking, full instrumentation and the luxury touches that go with better-class motor vehicles, the Bravada is on the mark.

It also puts Oldsmobile into an area of the market it hasn't explored before.

1991 Oldsmobile Bravada Base price: $23, 795As tested: $24, 900Type: Front-engine, all-wheel-drive, five-passenger, sport utility vehicleEngine: 4.3-liter , 12-valve, 160-horsepower, fuel-injected, V-6Mileage: 17 mpg (city), 22 mpg (highway)Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 11.6 secs.Length: 178.9 inchesWheelbase: 107 inchesCurb weight: 3, 939 poundsOptions: Custom leatherArea dealers: Collins, Dellen, Ed Martin, Pence, Burt, Ray Skillman, Russ Dellen, Dave Mason, Classic, Jaggers-Harris


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