Used 1998 Oldsmobile Bravada SUV

1998 Oldsmobile Bravada
List price range
1998 Oldsmobile Bravada

Pros

  • All-wheel drive. Comfortable seats. Great stereo. Loaded with equipment.

Cons

  • Droopy styling. Rattly body structure off-road.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

After a one-year hiatus, the Oldsmobile Bravada returned for the 1996 model year, based on the same platform that serves as the basis for the Chevrolet Blazer and the GMC Jimmy. We said we doubted Oldsmobile would find buyers for the Bravada, partly because of myriad choices in the luxo-SUV market, and partly because we didn't think the Bravada was worth the price of admission over similarly equipped Chevy Blazers and GMC Jimmys. Sales didn't meet expectations that first year, but climbed slightly during 1997. Still, Oldsmobile would like to be moving twice as many Bravadas.

They ought to be able to, because the Bravada is a great truck. No tacky fender flares and no dopey two-tone paint schemes here. The interior is swathed in leather, and offers one of the most comfortable driver's seats we've encountered in an SUV. The sound system is outstanding. Controls are easy to see and use, though they look and feel somewhat cheap. Bravada's Smart-Trak all-wheel drive system makes off-roading carefree. Last year, the split rear tailgate was replaced by a liftgate with separately opening rear glass. Best of all, this is one speedy, fun-to-drive truck that can easily swallow a full-size dryer. Truly, the Bravada is what a luxury sport-utility is all about.

The Bravada comes loaded with nearly every conceivable luxury option; appropriate, since this is Oldsmobile's entry into the expanding luxury sport-ute arena. This market niche is quickly filling to capacity, with new luxury SUV's from Lincoln and Lexus reaching showrooms recently.

Is the Bravada worth the price of admission over the Blazer and the Jimmy? Well, the front seats and the Smart-Trak all-wheel drive system are exclusive to the Olds, but otherwise, not much differentiates the Bravada from its corporate twins. 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.

Few options are available on the 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, a gold-trim package and a power tilt and slide sunroof. New this year are heated seats, but only with leather upholstery. Cloth seats are a no-charge replacement for the standard leather hides. 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. The overall effect distances the Olds far enough away from its corporate siblings to make it look and feel unique in a world populated by look-alike Jeep Grand Cherokees and Ford Explorers. A 4.3-liter Vortec V6 engine that makes 190 horsepower propels the Bravada's four wheels. Though strong, we find the V6 a strange choice when the Jeep and the Ford can be equipped with a V8 engine. The Explorer-based Mercury Mountaineer also can be equipped with all-wheel drive, like the Bravada, along with available V8 power. Four-wheel disc brakes provide very good stopping ability, though we could do without the mushy brake pedal.

The original Bravada, which competed in a market populated by few luxury-oriented SUV's, never sold very well. It was based on ancient technology and buyers saw through the first-generation Bravada quicker than they did the ill-fated Cadillac Cimarron. Oldsmobile has come up with quite an enticing package with the second-generation Bravada. However, 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 like baseball cards for the more rugged, outdoorsy SUV image.

1998 Highlights

Front styling is revised, and new body-side cladding alters the Bravada's profile. Inside, dual second-generation airbags are housed in a new dashboard. A heated driver-side exterior mirror is newly standard, while heated front seats have been added to the options roster. Battery rundown protection and a theft-deterrent system are new standard features.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1998 Oldsmobile Bravada.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

1998 Oldsmobile Bravada
Joan Minarchick,02/08/2006
We will have had our Bravada four years in October. It is a joy to drive. It is fantastic in the winter. It goes in any amount of snow with GREAT traction. I love the sunroof in the summer. It's just like a covertable, but much safer. It even gets good gas milage.
Love my Bravada
Fred G.,07/06/2005
Purchased this vehicle new in 1998 and every year after it was rated worse and worse. Over the 7 years I've had this car it has consistently performed flawlessly. I've never had any problem. It's been a very versatile vehicle which I would highly recommend. Oh yeah, the traction system is great in ice, snow, and rain.
Great truck
boot185,05/03/2012
I love my bravada. I have added helper springs and air shocks extra tans cooler as I use it to pull camper and trailers for 50% of the time. Nice ride when I have the air low on the shocks. I have plenty of power with the 4.3L HO. I do wish it had a 4 low option. AWD is the best and love it. The rear window rattles due to the design of it but not loud. I have a 4 inch lift with allows me to drive in up to 22 inches of heavy pack snow before the wheels will even spin. Next winter hoping to add a plow on it. I use it as a work horse and its a great one also good driver Mine also has the G80 axle option which is a dana 35 posi traction. Also makes a great family vehicle.
1998 Oldsmobile Bravada
mds,01/30/2005
I have loved the ablility that my 1998 Oldsmobile Bravada has. The AWD system is awesome, in all weather, and since I live out in the country 40 miles from work, they always know I will be there. I also have pulled my husband's 1-ton pickup out several times when stuck, usually including a horse trailer or full water tank behind him! This vehicle has had it's problems though. The multi-function switch is awful, (blinker, cruise, lights, wipers) if one thing breaks the whole thing has to be replaced and it is very expensive. The serpentine belt, fuel pump and water pump have been other problems. This truck's gas milage is also not very good, which is especially irritating with gas prices this high! Also, I don't like the fact that you can't put a car seat in the center back. It must be on the side.
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Features & Specs

MPG
14 city / 19 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
190 hp @ 4400 rpm
See all Used 1998 Oldsmobile Bravada SUV features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 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
    Poor

More about the 1998 Oldsmobile Bravada
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Should I lease or buy a 1998 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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