Northwest NEWS

January 7, 2002


TEST DRIVE - 2002 Oldsmobile Bravada AWD

Oldsmobile's new Bravada is a mid-size sport utility vehicle. The 2002 four-door Bravada is longer at 192 inches and wider at 75.4 inches than the 2001 model.
   My light pewter metallic test drive model came with a pewter-color interior.
   Definitely classy. I really like this SUV due to the easy drive and nice interior. I am also getting partial to leather heated seats on these cold days. The heated seats are an option which I had on my test model.
   The Bravada is produced more for on-road driving than off-road experiences. The result is more car-like handling with lots of comfort.
   The outside sculpted design with color matched lower trim, grille and door handles features oblong headlamps and 17-inch aluminum wheels.
   The Vortec 4200 I6 is an aluminum, 24-value, six-cylinder engine. With a dual overhead camshaft, the engine delivers 270 hp at 6,000 rpm and 275 lb-ft @ 3,600 of torque.
   The new engine features a variable valve timing which includes the use of an exhaust cam phaser that allows changes in exhaust valve timing up to 25 degrees. The result is more linear delivery of torque, higher engine output and a reduction in exhaust emissions.
   My test model came with a four-speed transmission and all -wheel drive. A 2-WD model is available.
   The SmartTrak all-wheel drive is automatic and provides 4-wheel drive when needed.
   New this year is the five-link suspension system in the rear of the vehicle and a completely new four-wheel disc braking system with wider and thicker rotors up front.
   The interior is roomy and comfortable. There is plenty of legroom and all the instrument are within easy reach.
   A standard features for the driver are the climate and radio controls on the leather-wrapped steering wheel.
   Also standard are the leather seats, front and rear. There are four-way lumbar adjustments on the front seats, and both come with an eight-way power control. An optional feature is the ability to program the driver seat adjustments into memory, complete with an exit feature. Nice. I remember my early GMC cars in the 1950s and early 1960s with only forward and back adjustments. In those days I used pillows for my lumbar adjustments.
   The automatic dual-zone climate controls offer individualized control for both the driver and passenger. The settings provide a variance of 25 degrees. Sometime I will try a radical difference for both areas and see what happens, but so far there have only been nearly the same temperatures for both. There is a rear fan control for the back passengers but it uses the temperature from the front settings.
   Standard features include power windows and doors with a deep tint in the rear doors, rear windows and tailgate, lighted driver and passenger mirrors in the visors, tilt-adjustable steering wheel, rear defroster, cruise control, luggage carrier, AM/FM stereo with CD and cassette player and rear seat controls, towing hitch with plug in and a rear liftgate windshield wiper with washer.
   The back rear gate lifts easily. You can also just lift up the glass area. There is plenty of cargo room with a cargo storage well.
   The convenience package which I had on my test model also provided a handy cargo shade and net which I used to hide my computer and other items I was carrying in the vehicle.
   I remain a fan of On-Star, a system which comes standard on the Bravada with a one year security and safety package. The system activates automatically if the air bag deploys, reporting the location of the car for prompt notification of emergency services.
   The system also allows you to press a button and get a real person online to help you with services and locations. It is hands-free talking and get when you are lost and trying to find the best route.
   The Bravada is definitely worth a test drive.