What's New for 2001
Oldsmobile is giving minivan buyers good reason to shop the Silhouette for 2001. All models get freshened styling, a touring suspension package with self-leveling suspension and an air inflation kit, fold-flat second-row captain's chairs, improved sound-deadening insulation and standard OnStar communications. Upscale GLS and Premiere models have two-tone leather seating, a rear parking aid, an integrated universal garage door opener, 16-inch wheels with an available chrome finish, power sliding driver's door, in-dash CD changer, third-row captain's chairs, stowable third-row seat, wood-grain accents, eight-way power front seats, and dual-zone A/C as either optional or standard. Premiere also gets an updated onboard entertainment system with a larger video screen.
Why do we like this Oldsmobile minivan so much? Because you name the feature, and the Olds likely has it. Want power sliding doors? Leather? An in-dash six-CD changer? Rear entertainment system? Full-function traction control? A powerful V6? Silhouette has you covered. How about a flat-folding third-row seat? Maybe a touring suspension with automatic leveling and an air-inflation kit? Side-impact airbags? OnStar telematics? It's all here, depending on the model you pick. There's even a reverse parking aid sensor on higher-line trims.
Silhouette is available in three flavors: 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 and GM's PASSKEY III anti-theft system. Added to the standard equipment list this year are thicker sound-deadening materials, OnStar communications and a touring suspension with self-leveling rear shocks and an air inflator. GL models come with fold-flat second-row captain's chairs 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 16-inch aluminum wheels, traction control, a power passenger-side door, power leather seats with driver memory feature, overhead console with trip computer, rear heat/air, integrated universal garage door opener 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, a new reverse parking aid sensor and heated seats. Among the few options for this luxury model are third-row captain's chairs, a six-disc in-dash CD changer, chrome wheels, a power driver's side sliding door, 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. It also failed to perform brilliantly in offset crash testing. 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, the Silhouette remains a solid choice.