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With crisp handling, clean styling and an almost endless features list, the Silhouette deserves a look from anyone considering a top-tier minivan.
Handsome styling, all the right standard equipment, actually fun to drive.
Uncomfortable rear seats (for adults, at least), spotty interior quality, poor offset crash-test history.
Available Silhouette Minivan Models
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Olds has canned its 112-inch wheelbase GS, meaning all 2000 Silhouettes (GL, GLS and Premiere) are now extended-length (120-inch wheelbase) seven-passenger models. The traction-control system has been improved, and heated front seats are available in leather. There's also a redesigned instrument cluster with dual trip odometers, as well as upgraded radios, interior lighting and electrical system functions.
Why do we like this Oldsmobile minivan so much? Because you name the feature, and Olds has it. Want a sliding driver-side door? You get one here. Wish that passenger-side sliding door was power operated? Olds has you covered. Want leather? A CD player? Separate audio controls for rear passengers? Full-function traction control? A powerful V6? How about easy-to-swap flip/fold seats that can be configured in a variety of ways? Maybe a touring suspension with automatic leveling and an air-inflation kit? It's all here, depending on the model you pick. There's even a TV/VCP for rear-seat passengers.
Silhouette is available in three flavors (all with dual sliding doors standard): a well-equipped GL, an uplevel GLS, and the top-of-the-line Premiere. All are powered by a 185-horsepower 3.4-liter V6 that drives the front wheels via an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission. Side-impact airbags are included, to go along with Silhouette's reduced-force frontal airbag system, four-wheel antilock brakes, fog lamps and GM's PASSKEY III anti-theft system. Added to the standard equipment list this year are convenience features such as retained accessory power and rear reading lamps.
GL models come with a second-row, 60/40 split bench seat, and boast standard items such as air-conditioning, power windows and locks, cruise control, interior air filter, and a rooftop luggage carrier. The GLS adds such niceties as aluminum wheels, traction control, a power passenger-side door, power leather seats with second-row captain's chairs, overhead console, rear heat/air and steering-wheel radio controls.
Move all the way up to the Premiere, and you get nearly every goodie standard, including the aforementioned combination television and video cassette player for rear-seat passengers and the touring suspension. Among the few options are a 3,500-pound towing package, OnStar communications, an engine block heater and the obligatory gold package.
Every time we've driven the Silhouette, we've come away quite impressed. These well-equipped Oldsmobile minivans are smooth and powerful. Thanks to excellent road feel provided by precise steering and easily modulated brakes, they are actually fun to drive, something that can't be said about many of today's best-selling makes. Our complaints are limited to uncomfortable rear seating and a noticeable amount of cheap-looking plastic inside the cabin.
As you've probably guessed, we like the Oldsmobile Silhouette, and find its exterior styling to be the most attractive of GM's trio of sister minivans. Even in today's hotly contested minivan market, where the latest entries from Honda and Mazda have upped the ante to new heights, the Silhouette remains a solid choice.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.