1998 Chevrolet Venture

Change year or car

Change year or car

$20,249

starting MSRP

1998 Chevrolet Venture

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

2 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 1998 Chevrolet Venture trim comparison will help you decide.

1998 Chevrolet Venture review: Our expert's take

By

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

Minivans get no respect.

Hopelessly domestic, totally uncool. Those who drive them get called soccer moms and Scout leaders. Anything but hip.

But the fact is, most people who burden themselves with the popular, image-laden sport-utility vehicles would be better off driving minivans, which are roomier, seat more people, drive and handle better, and get better gas mileage.

They’re just not as cool. They don’t have those big, knobby tires or the capability of scaling mountainous jeep trails, which hardly anybody ever does anyway. SUVs remind people of wilderness adventures, while minivans make them think of baby car seats and yardwork.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the latest generation of the bulbous critters are very good, boasting powerful engines and carlike handling, and roomy interiors that are loaded with amenities.

Chrysler remains in the lead in minivan development, which is only natural because it designed the format that everyone else copies.

I recently tried out two variations on the theme, the Chevrolet Venture and Ford Windstar, fierce competitors but brothers under the skin. Really, it’s hard to tell most of these apart.

Most surprising about this generation of minivans is how well they drive. Much better, in the case of the Venture, and its corporate twins Pontiac Trans Sport and Oldsmobile Silhouette, than the minivans they replace, whose looks were compared with Dustbusters and space probes.

For ’98, Venture is refined and competent, not only in the realm of minivans but also as one of the best Chevrolet products I’ve ever experienced. Power, handling, accommodations and amenities are all first-rate, plus there are some really usable features.

For instance, there’s an optional electric-powered sliding door on the right side that glides open or closed at the touch of a button or remote control. Between the front seats is a small cargo net for packages, purses, etc.

And on our tester, there was an optional “sport” suspension system that made the high-profile vehicle feel balanced and well-controlled, and that also adjusts automatically for loads.

Besides a decent load of standard safety features, such as anti-lock brakes, Venture also is equipped with dual side air bags, the only vehicle in this class so equipped, along with its Pontiac and Oldsmobile siblings.

Although Venture’s engine is the standard-issue, 3.4-liter, push-rod V-6, it feels more powerful and polished, for some reason. Steering is up to snuff, and the brakes work well, despite a slightly mushy pedal feel.

The Venture is one of the new four-door minivans, with sliding rear doors on both sides, like the Chryslers and the Toyota Sienna. Multiple doors have become a big deal among minivans and stretch-cab pickups, so in terms of pure quantity, this is where the Windstar falls short.

Instead of a left-side rear door, Windstar has an extra-wide driver’s door and a sliding driver’s seat to ease entry and exit. This wo rks well, though I’m sure Ford loses sales over the door issue.

The Windstar is about 14 inches longer and three inches wider than the Venture, although a long-wheelbase version of the Chevy is available. Inside, the wider Ford feels roomier, though it also feels bulkier when maneuvering in traffic.

Otherwise, the Windstar is very smooth and sophisticated on the road, its strong V-6 accelerating briskly without a hint of harshness. Highway manners are exceptionally good, quiet on the freeway and tractable in curves and corners.

The dashboard on the Windstar is the best among minivans, simple and refined with a step-down design for a greater feeling of spaciousness. Switches and controls are nice, except for the small, fussy stuff on the stereo system.

Our tester was the uppity Northwoods model, which was great-looking, with a gorgeous paint job and upscale amenities. But I have to wonder about any minivan that breaks the $30,000 barrier.

Both the Ford andC hevy feel solid and stable, the Venture being better equipped at a lower price, the Windstar being more sophisticated, roomier and more powerful. I’d be hard pressed to recommend one over the other.

Both have the luggage-space problem inherent to this wheelbase class: With all three rows of seats occupied, space behind the rear seat is lacking.

As minivans go, the Venture and Windstar are both on the leading edge, competing head-to-head with the Chrysler veterans and the Toyota newcomer. And Nissan soon comes out with a replacement for its pleasant but outdated Quest (also known as the Mercury Villager).

That’s crowded competition for a class of vehicle that is stagnating behind the booming popularity of sport-utility vehicles.

1998 Chevrolet Venture

Vehicle type: Seven-passenger, four-door minivan, front-wheel drive. Base price: $21,429. Price as tested: $25,850. Engine: 3.4-liter V-6, 180 horsepower at 5,200 rpm, 205 pounds-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. Transmission: Four-speed automatic. Curb weight: 3,699 pounds. Length: 186.9 inches. EPA fuel economy: 18 mpg city, 25 highway.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.7
  • Interior design 4.3
  • Performance 4.7
  • Value for the money 4.7
  • Exterior styling 4.0
  • Reliability 4.7

Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

Most reliable car I've owned

This car is good to me and meets all my needs when I need lots of room it doesn't feel big when I drive it and it is comfortable easy removable seats and recycling seats perfect for a big family to drive places

4.3

Chevrolet Venture minivan wont let you down

Very reliable vehicle. We've had our now for 10 years with 290,000 miles. Only replacement has been two water pumps (2nd was free since the first came with a GM warranty from the dealer who installed it). Great comfort for 6 with plenty of room in the back for luggage for 3 adults (went to Disney World with the mother in-law) so we know space matters. I would highly recommend it to all. Not overpriced like the imports.

4.3

Very Happy with it!

I bougth the Venture used it has 48,000 miles on it. It now has 90,000 on it. I have replaced the Belt, AC hose, Motor mount, Door Sensor, Tires and the Battery. It passed smog with no problems. I like everything about it. I am thinking of getting another one while this one still has some value. Strong bulit - I was hit by a school bus and hardly had any damage. Able- I drove into some big mud on a super rainy day at this new housing site the van was bottomed out in mud and it did not get stuck even thou it was really bottoming out, I drove for at least 100 yards and it did not stop. Performance- A honda with a wing and loud exhuast raced me at a stop light and I beat it, not by much but enough that I was laughing my head off! Looks- the paint now 8 years old still looks really good and the interior still really good and this van was never garadged! I would buy this van again! too bad they stopped making it. I bought a new Mazda MPV and I still like the Chevy better. I think because of all the features. You would think a Japanese vehicle would have more but it doesn't. I have a newer Ford e 350 also, I like the Ford better for ride but it is Giant compared to the Venture. If you are thinking of getting a Used mini van you can't go wrong with Venture. I have owned probably 45 vehicles in my life and this Venture is probably my favorite. Good luck and hope this helps! Tony

See all 3 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Chevrolet
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 model years or newer/up to 75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12 months/12,000 miles bumper-to-bumper original warranty, then may continue to 6 years/100,000 miles limited (depending on variables)
Powertrain
6 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
172-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

Compare the competitors

2004

Pontiac Sunfire

$10,895

starting MSRP

1999

Saturn SC

$10,595

starting MSRP

1993

Chrysler New Yorker

$14,024

starting MSRP

See all 1998 Chevrolet Venture articles