What's New for 2002
Despite the fact that the Silhouette is headed to the graveyard with the rest of Oldsmobile's lineup, there are still minor changes on tap for the 2002 model. The Versatrak AWD system will now be available on GLS and Premiere models coupled with special 16-inch aluminum wheels. The standard front airbags are now dual-stage units that deploy according to the severity of the crash, and Premiere models equipped with the onboard video system get a DVD player in place of a standard VCR.
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 DVD-based entertainment system? Full-time all-wheel drive? A powerful V6? The 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.
The 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 antitheft system. Other standard features include the OnStar communications system, a touring suspension with self-leveling rear shocks and an on-board air compressor.
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 a combination television and DVD player for rear-seat passengers, a 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-side sliding door, and the obligatory gold package. Every time we've driven the Silhouette, we've come away 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.