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2002 Chevy Venture EXT AWD Warner Brothers Edition

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SAN FRANCISCO:  As a 31-year-old, single American male, it is difficult for me to fathom the responsibility and other pressures that would make me give up my car and get a minivan. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with needing all that extra space and comfort for people and things that minivans are famous for having. Space is what these vehicles are all about. There’s space up front, space in the rear and generous amounts of space in between. Our test van was the 2002 Chevy Venture EXT AWD Warner Brothers Edition and what a van it was.

With an as-tested price of $34,125.00, the WBE version of the Venture comes with so much stuff, it’s difficult to believe that it all fit in the van so nicely. For starters, the standard equipment on this van is overwhelming. It comes with a 3.4-liter, 185 horsepower V6, four-speed automatic transmission, stainless steel exhaust, Chevy’s Versa Trak all-wheel-drive system, frontal and side-impact airbags for driver and front passenger, rear window wiper, OnStar, dual sliding doors, eight passenger seating and CD player/stereo unit.

The Warner Brothers package starts with a fold down LCD screen and a front-console-mounted DVD player, for entertaining the kiddies on trips around or out of town. Then there’s the seating arraignment, four captain’s chair and a bench for the rearmost seats, all of which are comfortable and should provide adequate support for long trips.

Also on the WBE list of features are leather/cloth seating surfaces, aluminum wheels, roof-mounted luggage rack, front and rear air conditioning, rear seat audio controls and four sets of wireless headphones for rear passengers, remote keyless entry, passenger-side power sliding door and a Homelink universal garage door opener.

The only option of note on our tester was a driver-side power sliding door for $350.00. With both power sliders on both sides, we enjoyed a more convenient experience and never worried if we had shut either door completely: We had a lot of fun playing with those doors and even found them to be helpful in performing everyday chores. In one instance, they proved helpful in getting into the vehicle after picking up a pizza. It was really nice not to have to worry about opening the regular door and putting the pizza down. In one fell swoop, we were able to get in the van and get going much easier than if we had a regular car or even an SUV.

The longer wheelbase of the EXT model helped smooth out the bumps and the plush interior helped ease the commuting dreariness. The van handled a lot like the upright vehicle it is. We were a little surprised that it handled as well as it did. Around corners the Venture seemed to hesitate for a minute and then it found the line we were looking for and followed it around until we straightened out again. Not stellar in any way, but very good for such a long and tall vehicle.

Out on the highway is where this van really shined. The long wheelbase came in handy by making sure the bumps were adequately smoothed out and the tall seating position meant we had a great view of the road ahead, even if an SUV was in front of us. The engine had plenty of go-power to get us moving out on the highway and we really didn’t see the need for more power until we had a van full of people. But, even then, the Venture kept on truckin’ and didn’t feel anemic.

We were extremely pleased with all the useful goodies the Venture comes with. none the least of which was the DVD player for rear passengers. On that front, there is a tray in the far rear compartment, just behind the third row of seats, that becomes a grocery holder and separator of loose objects. It’s a nice feature to have and well thought out. There are more of these little "convenience" features throughout the van. They are what make minivans so popular and practical.

While we had the van we decided to take a drive around town with four adults and one nine-month-old on hand. All five of us were comfortable and there was still plenty of room for luggage or store-bought goods, which is what we ended up with. Five minutes into the trip the baby decided that we were boring him and fell asleep. The rest of us were able to talk in a normal tone and we were all toasty warm after a half-hour or so. The climate controls worked well in the van and with rear seat controllers, we were all able to find a comfy temperature.

The integral child seat came in very handy for this trip and the baby seemed comfortable enough after some fussing while we got him situated in the seat. We also liked the DVD player. We watched the beginning of Free Willy on our around-town trip and could see its benefit for parents with a couple of small children. Another nice feature of the DVD player is the inputs on the front of the console for a game system. This is the perfect vehicle to take on long trips; while the adult’s drive and converse, the kids can be entertained by either a movie or video game.

This van, with the DVD player and more features than a new house, would make any parent happy to have one. We were a little disappointed with the price, but after contemplating all the features you get with the Warner Brothers Edition, we decided it was worth the premium. If we were two older white guys rating cars like the movie show, we’d give this van "two enthusiastic thumbs up." By James E. Bryson AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo AutoWire.Net
Column Name:  The Mommy-Mobile gets a jolt of DVD pleasure
Topic:  2002 Chevy Venture EXT AWD Warner Brothers Edition
Word Count:   1038
Photo Caption:  2002 Chevy Venture EXT AWD Warner Brothers Edition
Photo Credits:  Chevrolet Internet Media
Series #:   2002 - 9

Download the Microsoft Word version here:   2002 Chevy Venture

Download the original image file here:  2002 Chevy Venture 31k

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Publisher - Editor:   Tony Leopardo
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