1996 Oldsmobile Bravada Review

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List Price Estimate
$1,087 - $2,190

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Vehicle overview

After a one-year hiatus, the Oldsmobile Bravada returns for the 1996 model year, based on the same platform that serves as the basis for the Chevrolet Blazer and the GMC Jimmy. The Bravada comes loaded with every conceivable luxury option; appropriate since this is Oldsmobile's entry into the quickly expanding luxury sport-ute arena. This market niche is quickly filling to capacity, with luxury SUV's due from Acura, Lexus, Mercury, Lincoln and even corporate sibling GMC during the next two years.

Is the Bravada worth the price of admission over the Blazer and the Jimmy? Well, the front seats are exclusive to Oldsmobile, and the Smart-Trak all-wheel drive system is standard on the Olds ( it's optional on the Chevy and GMC). In fact, most of the standard equipment on the Bravada is available on the Chevy or the GMC, with an end result that is less expensive than the Oldsmobile.

Just five options are available on the new Bravada. Buyers can order a heavy-duty 5000-pound towing package, an engine block heater, a CD player that replaces the cassette deck, white-letter tires, and a gold-trim package. Olds says the Bravada has a "two-fold mission: keep the driver moving in the face of adverse weather or road conditions and deliver all occupants in comfort and style to the destination of their choice."

Styling is pretty much identical to the Chevy Blazer and GMC Jimmy. The Bravada gets a unique grille and headlamp treatment, bumper trim, and body cladding. Inside, the same unhappy ergonomics found in its Chevy and GMC brethren greet Bravada passengers. A 4.3-liter Vortec V6 engine that makes 190 horsepower propels the Bravada's four wheels. A strange choice when the Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited and the Ford Explorer XLT can be equipped with a V8 engine. The Explorer-based 1997 Mercury Mountaineer will also have all-wheel drive, like the Bravada, along with standard V8 power.

Oldsmobile says they plan to produce 20,000 Bravadas annually, beginning in November of 1995. We think this is an optimistic figure. The old Bravada, which competed in a market with few luxury-oriented SUV's, never sold very well. We doubt this new one, introduced at a time when luxury sport utilities are all the rage, will find many takers. It's not that the 1996 Bravada is a bad truck. Oldsmobile has come up with quite an enticing package here. It's just that the luxury market is becoming saturated with very good trucks, which will inevitably push demand for any particular model down. We also think that aging, affluent Boomers are going to tire of climbing in and out of these things in time, depositing their aching legs and backs into the seats of the Cadillacs, BMWs and Acuras that they're currently trading in like baseball cards for the more rugged, outdoorsy, SUV image.

1996 Highlights

Nice truck, but how many luxury SUVs do we really need? Only a few things about the Bravada differentiate it from the Chevy Blazer and GMC Jimmy: the seats, front styling, trim -- and the price tag.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Oldsmobile Bravada.

8 reviews
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Most helpful consumer reviews

Hello Problems
Hello new ball joints every two years, hello blown head gasket! Hello problems with the brake system. Good bye Oldsmobile.
1st car
Bought my 96 bravada and it need some work. I replaced my upper intake gasket, common. Put new front drive shaft in and new brakes. Its my first car its perfect. Tons of room for wen me and my buddies all pile in and go fishin stuff like that. Very comfortable ride. Love the leather interior. No rust yet no Major problems, and I beat on it. I live in the snow belt, put new snow tires on it and handle the snow like a beast. No complaints at all! I love this car it couldnt be more reliable. And all these people sayin Major problems this and that I say find a better mechanic beca this vehicle is a tank! Ive also takin it muddin a couple times haha never got stuck never broke anything! Get on.
Good SUV overall
My family got this car back in 2002 when it had 60,000 miles on it. The biggest problem is the A/C kept breaking even after fixing it. It's good for towing things, we've towed 4-wheelers, a boat, and even a honda accord from Utah to Texas. Around 150,000 miles things started to fall apart little by little, and by 160,000 miles it became a money pit. Overall a very good car up until it hits higher miles. Not the most fuel efficient, but it's powerful and fun to drive, especially off roading.
Rating the Bravada
It starts to have problem after problem after around 50,000 miles.

Features & Specs

See all Used 1996 Oldsmobile Bravada features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger1 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1996 Oldsmobile Bravada

Used 1996 Oldsmobile Bravada Overview

The Used 1996 Oldsmobile Bravada is offered in the following submodels: Bravada SUV. Available styles include 4dr SUV AWD.

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Which used 1996 Oldsmobile Bravadas are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 1996 Oldsmobile Bravadas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Oldsmobile Bravada for sale - 12 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $19,273.

Find a used Oldsmobile for sale - 12 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $12,542.

Find a used certified pre-owned Oldsmobile Bravada for sale - 5 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $7,869.

Find a used certified pre-owned Oldsmobile for sale - 2 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $23,395.

Should I lease or buy a 1996 Oldsmobile Bravada?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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