2003 Oldsmobile Silhouette

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2003 Oldsmobile Silhouette
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Key specs

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3 trims

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2003 Oldsmobile Silhouette review: Our expert's take

Vehicle Overview
Similar to the value-priced Chevrolet Venture and the sport-oriented Pontiac Montana, the Oldsmobile Silhouette is the luxury member of General Motors’ minivan trio. All three vehicles carry the same 3.4-liter V-6 engine and four-speed-automatic transmission.

GM announced in December 2000 that the Oldsmobile brand would be phased out, but the Silhouette hangs on for another season. For the 2003 model year, traction control is standard on two-wheel-drive models. All versions get 16-inch wheels, and two new body colors are available.

Available only in extended-body form, the Silhouette comes in three flavors: GL, midlevel GLS and top-of-the-line Premiere. Oldsmobile was the first to offer a backseat video entertainment system, which debuted in the 1998 Silhouette Premiere edition. Current versions are DVD-based, with a letterboxed viewing screen. Versatrak all-wheel drive (AWD) is also available.

All Silhouettes ride an extended, 120-inch wheelbase, stand 68.1 inches tall and measure 201.4 inches long overall, which is just slightly larger than the Dodge Grand Caravan. The Silhouette is equipped with a rear swing-up liftgate and sliding doors on both sides. A power-operated door on the passenger side is standard on the GLS and Premiere models and optional on the GL. A power door for the driver’s side may be installed on the GLS and is standard on the Premiere.

The Silhouette seats either seven or eight occupants on two bucket seats up front and two captain’s chairs in the second row. The third row may contain a three-passenger bench seat or a stowable bench that includes a floor-mounted covered storage tray.

A dual-zone front climate-control system, perforated leather seat trim and an eight-way power seat with driver’s memory are standard in the GLS and Premiere editions. Maximum cargo volume totals 141.9 cubic feet. GM’s OnStar communication system and remote keyless entry are included in all models.

Under the Hood
The Silhouette uses the same powertrain as its two GM cousins: a 185-horsepower, 3.4-liter V-6 engine that mates with a four-speed-automatic transmission. Versatrak AWD is available on the GLS and Premiere editions.

Antilock brakes and side-impact airbags for the front seats are standard. A rear parking-assist system is standard on the GLS and Premiere models; this feature gives an audible warning when you come close to an obstacle to the rear while backing up.

Driving Impressions
Although the Silhouette doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a minivan, it serves as a pleasantly luxurious example. You get the added bonus of ample, versatile interior space. The Silhouette is enjoyable to drive. It steers and handles easily and delivers a quiet, confident, civilized experience.

Its acceleration is impressive, and the solid powertrain operates with no annoyances. Ride quality is close to gentle on good pavement, but it can bang around a bit through rougher terrain.

The center-row seats are appealingly comfortable and easy to access, but reaching the third-row bench causes a bit of a squeeze. A net between the front seats is useful, and the video player in the Premiere edition can be a welcome bonus for long trips.


Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com
From the cars.com 2003 Buying Guide
Posted on 2/26/03

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.1
  • Interior design 3.5
  • Performance 3.6
  • Value for the money 4.0
  • Exterior styling 3.3
  • Reliability 3.7

Most recent consumer reviews


Good old minivan for the money

Bought used 2012, $5000 , 70k miles .. put $5k in maintenance and repair in 10 years. Now 187,000 miles. Loaded vehicle , everything works, a little rusty ...kind of amazing for a 1990s design GM


Picked it up used and abused

I got this van for 100.00. Every light in the dash was on. Needed a tune up, both oxygen sensors changed and something minor with the brakes. For a van thats 16 years old, she drives like its certified pre owned. Handles well, everything is easily accessibke while driving (radio, a/C) the kids get in and out easily, and I love that you can disable all the lights and the sliding door from the front control panel to keep lids playing with buttons. The only issue I have is how rough it rides on time worn roads. On smooth new roads, shes quiet and half the time cant tell if its running or not, its like sitting in the driveway. But on bumpy roads, it can be like being on a boat with semi rough waves. Gonna look into something other than OEM shocks to see if I can get a better ride but overall fantastic vehicle. I would recommend it to anyone.


Great minivan for a family

This is almost perfect. The only thing I would change about it is add remote start and AWD for the Chicago weather.

See all 9 consumer reviews


New car program benefits
36 months/36,000 miles
72 months/100,000 miles
36 months/36,000 miles
Roadside assistance
36 months/36,000 miles