The 1998 Chevy Venture makes a mother's, or father's life, much easier. The power sliding door acts as the third hand that parents often need in everyday life. Trying to juggle a crying infant and a struggling toddler leaves only a finger or two to open doors. Being able to push a button to open the door and place a child directly in the seat is, at times, lifesaving.
Being able to place the child in a seat easily is another advantage. As a short person, I discovered many of the the minivans presented a problem with reaching into the interior. The Venture does not have that difficulty. It still maintains a great deal of space. My husband is considered to be quite tall and large of stature. He finds the Venture to be comfortable to drive as well as providing decent legroom in the middle and rear seats.
One other item we appreciate regards the versatility of the individual seats and the ease by which each seat can be maneuvered. We are constantly flipping and folding, pulling forward and pushing back while we travel from one relative to the next. Also, getting into the rear seats is much easier than many of the other minivans we considered.
During our travels, we discovered our independent sound for front and rear seats to be an ear and mind saver. Our children put on headphones and listen to Barney and other wonderfully entertaining stories and songs, while the adults in the front enjoy Garth or Buffet or traffic reports.
The Venture drive can be compared to the ride of a large sedan with higher sight lines. It moves smoothly onto the expressways with good acceleration and brakes well for those sudden traffic jams. The gas mileage has been outstanding for us and we have not had any service problems that were not easily handled.
There are a few aspects of the Venture that have not been good. We have a problem with condensation in the headlights. The molding above the area where the doors slide stays loose. There are no rain gutters along the doors which means if you open the doors during or after a rain shower, the water drips directly inside your vehicle. There are no cup holders for the middle seats unless you put the center seat down. And we can never get the lumbar in the driver's seat to fit just right.
If you are a parent with young children or an older couple who often goes out with other older couples, the Chevy Venture is a good, solid, dependable vehicle. If you are single or just about to have your children move out, buy a sports car or SUV. Practicality will come later for the singles and the empty nesters deserve something impracticable.