When the Chevrolet Venture was introduced to the minivan market in the late 90s, its superb steering and easy handling garnered positive attention. As a replacement for the Chevrolet's old Lumina minivan, the Venture was able to capture a good portion of the minivan market and performed at par with the other popular minivans of the day. However, with the stiffer competition brought on by the minivans of the new millennium, the Venture was restyled and renamed to the Chevrolet Uplander.
1997: Chevrolet's new minivan
The first Chevrolet Venture minivans were released as short wheelbase base models that are exactly 4.6 inches shorter than its Lumina predecessor. Equipped with a standard anti-lock braking system (ABS), front bucket seats with fixed headrests, a second-row passenger bench seat for two, and steel wheels; the pioneer Ventures were just as innovative as Chrysler's popular minivans .
The Chevy Venture was also offered in two other trim levels: the LS and the LT. The LS had both a short and long wheelbase option and various upgrades on the base model such as adjustable headrests, aluminum wheels, standard power windows, a remote keyless entry system, and different seating arrangements. The LT offered even more features including optional leather seats and a power drive seat. After getting seat-mounted, side-impact airbags in 1998, the Venture got heated power mirrors, a rear-window defogger, and an eight-passenger seating configuration for the 1999 model year.
2000: Designed for comfort and entertainment
For the next couple of years the Chevrolet Venture did a lot to build up its entertainment system. 2001 saw the addition of a six-disc, in-dash CD player while a DVD rear-entertainment system became available in 2002. A limited edition Warner Bros. edition that featured a rear-seat video entertainment system that includes a video player, a TV monitor, and an audio system that had headphone jacks for both the second and third rows.
Apart from going all-out with the entertainment, the new Ventures also had standard dual sliding doors, an optional child safety seat, a stowable third row seat, and a rear parking aid. Internally, the Venture's 3.4L 180 horsepower V6 engine got a boost of 5 horsepower.
2005: The Venture bids goodbye
As the Chevy Venture prepares its swan song for the 2005 model year, it received a final styling upgrade that made it look a little more like an SUV. Retaining only the long wheelbase models, the Venture bows out as the restyled Chevrolet Uplander minivan takes its place.