Silhouette is a twin of the Chevrolet Venture and Pontiac Montana, three front-wheel-drive minivans that differ only in styling details and market position. Olds assumes an upscale stance, while Chevrolet is the value leader and Pontiac promotes a sporty image.
Oldsmobile was the first to offer a video entertainment system as a factory-installed option, a feature that arrived during 1998 with an overhead screen that is viewable from the middle and rear seats. The same system is available now on the Venture and Montana, and some rivals offer similar systems in their minivans.
Oldsmobile has dropped the regular-size Silhouette (112-inch wheelbase, 187-inch overall length), leaving only the extended model, which is 201 inches long on a 120-inch wheelbase about the same size as a Dodge Grand Caravan.
All models come with dual sliding side doors. A power-operated slider on the passenger side is standard on GLS and Premiere models and optional on the GL. The driver-side sliding door is manually operated.
All models come with seats for seven, with a pair of buckets up front. On the GL, a two-place 40/60 split bench occupies the middle row and a three-place 50/50 split bench is in the rear. GLS and Premiere models have standard leather upholstery, power front seats and a pair of captains chairs in the middle row.
An overhead liquid-crystal display color monitor in the Silhouette's Premiere model can be viewed by second- and third-row passengers and flips up when not in use.
With all seats in place, Silhouette has 24 cubic feet of cargo space at the rear. Removing the rear seat expands cargo volume to 55 cubic feet, and removing the middle row of seats creates a maximum of 156 cubic feet.
Under the Hood
The only powertrain available in the front-drive Silhouette 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 GLS and Premiere, and is optional on the GL.