In its last year, the Chevrolet Venture minivan is being replaced in 2005 by the all-new Chevrolet Uplander. As a result, changes are minimal, and choice will be restricted. There’s a new LS Sport Touring Package, including 16-inch chromed aluminum wheels, touring suspension, auto level control, and tachometer; there are also two new exterior colours.

Only an extended-wheelbase version is available, in Plus, LS or LT trim. All use a 3.4-litre V6 engine mated to a four-speed automatic. All are seven-passenger, with optional eight-passenger seating.

The base Plus includes power heated mirrors, 15-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, tilt wheel, power windows, integral child seat, CD player, and power locks.

The LS adds rear air conditioning, overhead console with driver information centre and compass, power swing-out rear quarter windows, second-row captain’s chairs, and theft alarm.

The top-line LT adds a power passenger-side sliding door, wheel-mounted audio controls, six-way power driver’s seat, CD/MP3 system and rear seat audio controls, including earphone jacks, touring suspension, OnStar and traction control.

The Venture is a comfortable van, able to transport even large adults on a full day’s drive with no cramps or backache. It’s roomy, and the seats fold or can be removed for extra cargo space. It has better rear visibility than the Uplander that replaces it, and with dealers eager to move remaining stock off the shelves, it should be easy to strike a good deal if you can find a van with the features you want. But in recent U.S. government crash tests, the Venture’s replacement Chevrolet Uplander scored a top rating of “good” for frontal crash protection; a 1997 Pontiac Trans Sport, built on the same platform as the Chevrolet Venture, collapsed to the point that the crash test dummy’s foot broke off.

The Venture is built in Doraville, Georgia.

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