Known as an exclusive car manufacturer for almost a century, the Oldsmobile entered the sports utility market in 1991 with the introduction of a new four-door SUV called Bravada. The first Bravada was powered by a 4.3-liter V6 engine rated 160-horsepower, paired with a 4-speed overdrive automatic transmission. Features included four-wheel antilock brakes as standard feature, leather upholstery, and power features.
In its second year, the Bravada hosted the new High Performance 4.3-liter V6 that can produce up to 200 horsepower. The 1993 Bravada was given a 4-speed automatic transmission gains electronic shift controls as standard. A Gold package was also offered in the same year. It provides gold-and-black alloy wheels and gold-tinted nameplates. On the next year, the Bravada was improved and offered a Special Edition Bravada.
The second generation Bravada came in 1996 after a year out from the market. The new Bravada became bolder and sleeker with a resemblance that of the Chevrolet and the GMC. From the headlights, fenders, bumpers, interior, dashboard, and even the grille, almost every corner of the Bravada was new. The generation run up to 2001.
Set to face the Mercury Mountaineer, Infiniti QX4 and Nissan Pathfinder head on, the Bravada came with another surprise in 2002. Now in its 10th year of production, the Bravada was backed with a 4.2-liter, all-aluminum inline-six-cylinder that was rated at 270 horsepower, that truly had a promise to blew away the competition. Aside from that, the Bravada is supported by the GM's excellence in truck manufacturing making it very competitive in the market. The new Bravada received some styling that was partly adapted to from the Aurora sedan. Its wheelbase is 6 inches longer than the previews Bravada together with its track width that has also increased its distance.
Luxury is another great feature on this new Bravada. It includes leather upholstery and GM's OnStar communication system. Standard equipment features a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, automatic programmable power locks, pulse-type wipers, CD and cassette players, remote keyless entry and a theft-deterrent system. A backseat entertainment system with a DVD player is can be arranged, and a TravelNote recorder and rain-sensing wipers are some optional add-ons. But on the same year, due to staggered sales, the General Motors announced that the oldest auto manufacturing in America will end its production. The Bravada became the last model to be made by Oldsmobile.
Maintenance Tips for Your 4WD Oldsmobile Bravada
As the first luxury SUV offered by General Motors and the only luxury vehicle ever released by Oldsmobile, the Oldsmobile Bravada features a pool of amenities that many luxury car lovers would covet—from its Smart Trak 4WD system powered by the Borg Warner transfer case to its premium alloy wheels and leather-equipped interior.
The Bravada may no longer be in production, but you can keep on enjoying the luxury of the one you have in your garage as long as you properly keep it in top shape. Being a 4WD vehicle, your SUV has special needs that you must always attend to. Below, we enumerate three tips to keep your 4WD Bravada working well:
- Maximize your driving fun with the right set of tires kept in proper condition.
With your vehicle's driving force distributed across all four wheels, you must ensure that each of your tires has a proper grip on the road. This means you shouldn't allow the treads to totally disappear before replacing the tires—a bald tire can be extremely dangerous on the highway. Another thing to consider is having a separate set of tires for summer and winter. Driving a 4WD in the snow can be tricky with an incorrect set of tires, so you might want to get two sets of tires if snow driving is pretty common for you. One other thing to remember is to always keep your tires within the correct suggested size. Any variation, no matter how small, can cause considerable wear on the axles.
- Do a more frequent battery check on your vehicle.
Remember that there are more moving parts in your 4WD vehicle compared to FWD or RWD autos, so there are more components that require power from the battery. This means the battery may be taking too much strain and must therefore be given more frequent attention. Inspect it regularly to watch out for any signs of corrosion in the terminals. This is especially important with an SUV vehicle, given that these types of vehicles are often used as regular family drives.
- Pay attention to your fuel consumption.
Generally, 4WD vehicles consume more fuel than FWD or RWD drives, so you must be extra attentive to the various components in your ride that are directly related to your fuel consumption. These include the filters, the oil consumed by your vehicle engine as its runs, your tires' inflation, and your overall intake system. Always pay attention to the correct maintenance and replacement interval for the said components to ensure that you won't be spending more on fuel than you should.
- Give your axles and driveshafts extra TLC.
Remember that all the strain in your drives are on the axles and driveshafts, so you must give them extra care. There are different types of fluid that keep these components working well. In fact, your 4WD vehicle consumes more types of fluid than cars with other drive systems, and you need to stay on top when it comes to flushing and refilling these fluids at the correct interval—and even more frequent if you drive offroads.
Oldsmobile Bravada: The Last Vehicle to Close an Oldsmobile Plant
The Oldsmobile Bravada was the first truck-based automobile produced by the marquee since 1920s. There were actually two different vehicle models bearing the Bravada name—the GMT330 (considered as the first and second generations of Bravada) and the GMT360 (third generation Bravada). The first two generations were exclusively sold in the U.S. while the third generation was able to enter the Canadian market.
1991 - 1994: First generation Bravada (GMT330)
Outfitted with the “Smart Trak” system, the first Oldsmobile Bravada was introduced in the market as an all-wheel-drive vehicle. It was powered by the 4.3 L W-code engine and outfitted with antilock brakes, remote keyless entry, and power equipment. For the 1992 model year, the 4.3L V-6 engine received a horsepower boost, making it capable of cranking out 200 horses. The ‘92 Bravada also got a redesigned instrument panel.
A year after, an overhead console featuring compass, temperature, and reading lights was added. The transmission of the ’93 Bravada was also outfitted with electronic shift control. Another new for the 1993 model year was the optional Gold package, offering special gold aluminum wheels as well as gold exterior badge. The new 1994 Special Edition model came with gold trims. All ’94 Bravadas received guard beams for the doors as well as softened shock absorbers that significantly improved the suspension performance.
1996 - 2001: Second generation (GMT330)
The redesigned 1996 Bravadas were less boxy and easily identifiable from the Blazer and Jimmy with their premium alloy wheels as well as the body-colored split grille. The interior was also modified and driver’s airbag and daytime running lamps were added as standard safety features.
The 1997 Bravadas have better stopping ability as drum brakes were replaced with rear disc brakes. For 1998, Bravada was made capable of running in rear-wheel-drive in normal driving conditions and shift to all-wheel drive as soon as wheel slip is detected. The 1999 model year was marked by the addition of a standard anti-theft alarm system. The driver-side airbag was also redesigned to improve the driver’s view of the instruments.
For 2001 model year, the OnStar communications system became a factory-installed option. This was the last year the GMT330 was produced to make way for the GMT360 Bravada.
2002 - 2004: Third generation Bravada (GMT360)
The third generation Bravada took pride in being the first GMT360 truck to be publicly introduced and the last new Oldsmobile model produced before the marquee’s retirement. This generation of Bravada also holds the distinction of being the first rear-wheel-drive Oldsmobile since the 1992 Custom Cruiser and the first Olds to be outfitted with a straight-6 engine since the 1978 Omega. It was also the only Bravada to get into the Canadian market.
Production of Bravada was stopped along with the marquee’s demise in 2004. The “Final 500” special edition Bravadas rolled off the assembly line with a medallion bearing their production number, from 1 to 500. The last or number 500 Bravada came out of the factory on January 12, 2004.