This week we’re looking at the Oldsmobile Silhouette and it’s sad that it also comes at a time when Olds, the granddaddy of automobile manufacturers, is being phased out of existence. I grew up with the make and I’ll miss it.
I suspect dad leaned toward Olds because it was one of the early players he grew up with. He was from the same old school and when he wasn’t driving in those grand old machines, he was flying around in those other new inventions – airplanes of the early 1900’s. They were the pioneers who spent cold nights working on all those new gadgets coming out of the industrial revolution. Those must have been exciting and exhilarating times. I can visualize them driving around sharing dirt roads with horses and buggies. They must have impressed the ladies with their antics and surely would have been admired by every little boy they passed.
Today, the technological age keeps those pioneer spirited people indoors with their fancy new mega gigahertz, gigabite; rip roaring computers with five-foot flat screens hanging on the wall to impress other computer nerds who also rarely see the light of day. I’ve been one of those computer guys for 25 years and I love it, but the mystique of the past is somehow more romantic and fun to consider.
Some of us still hang onto remnants of the past and I guess it’s time to saddle up and go for a ride in the backcountry, cut a few cords of wood and feel like a man again. I’ll do that right after I finish mending those coral fences.
Continuing down memory lane, I think I’ll also miss Olds when I think back to those days when I’d stop to body surf at Laguna on my way back to the San Diego Naval Base in my black 1949 Olds 88 hard top coupe. For the life of me I can’t see why GM decided to dump this history-making car. Oh well.
Handling & Performance:
This Olds, like other Minivans, is soft riding and comfortable. It has all the power you’ll need in this class of utility family car, unless you’ll be pulling a boat or have a need to go off road. I can’t think of a better car for families and all those mom’s who have to shuttle the kids to and fro.
I really felt at home driving this Silhouette – like an old friend. But it helps when you feel good about what you spend your hard earned money for. This is a very pretty and classy car you can drive to any occasion.
Fit and Finish:
As good as they get.
This thing is loaded and of course the price reflects it. The entertainment center is wonderful to keep the kids and grandkids occupied while you listen to the radio or simply talk about things they don’t care about anyway. The power sliding door on the passenger side is indispensable. There is no question I’d find a way to justify the extra money to have this convenience, especially for the children. Another, not so necessary item is the sensor that audibly lets you know when you’re getting close to objects while backing up.
Too much but, relative to the more popular SUV’s, you’ll get much better gas mileage, and it’s all around a better family car.
Before you spend all the money, think about whether you really need all the gadgets. If money is no object, buy this super loaded family van. I’ve driven all but the Ford Windstar, and Pontiac Montana, which I have scheduled. I was very impressed with the Honda Odyssey, the Toyota Sienna, and as much as I like Toyota products, I still have a love affair with Olds. My niece opted to buy the Odyssey for her young family but didn’t get the remote sliding passenger door. I think she already regrets not including that feature.
Chevrolet Venture $20, 975-30,315, Chrysler Town & Country $24,430-37,510,Dodge Caravan $19,160-32,235, Ford Windstar $19,910-33,455, Honda Odyssey $23,900-26,400, Mazda MPV $20,675-26,280, Pontiac Montana $24,180-31,875, Toyota Sienna $23,905-28,436.
It’s the last of the product line so these will be classics; great look and ride, the best family car on the market, tons of conveniences.
It’s the last of the product line and you have to wonder about maintenance, it’s a little pricey, even though competitive with the rest of the field.
3.4 liter V6 185 horsepower engine, 4-speed auto trans, front and side airbags, anti-locking brakes, traction control, power programmable door locks, child security power sliding side door, Onstar communication system, rear parking aid, entertainment package with LCD monitor, video cassette player and headphones, stereo with cassette and CD, air conditioning front and rear, keyless remote entry and theft system, alarm, lock and lighting system, battery rundown protection, tint glass, fog lamps, leather seating, auto leveling, touch control audio on tilt steering wheel, power seats, windows and mirrors, computer system.
19 City and 26 Highway MPG.
MSRP $26,290-33,225 / the Premier Edition totaled out at $34,375
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