Midsize SUV; Built in USA
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $3,500 – $6,300*

2002 Oldsmobile Bravada

2002 Oldsmobile Bravada

2002 Oldsmobile Bravada interior

2003 Oldsmobile Bravada

2004 Oldsmobile Bravada

  • Cargo room
  • Passenger room
  • Trailer-towing capability
  • Fuel economy

Decent road manners make the Bravada better suited to typical street duty than the TrailBlazer, though the Envoy ranked as the best new-vehicle value in this GM trio. Rivals such as the Acura MDX or Lexus RX 300/330 offer considerably more refinement than a Bravada, for a little more money. Resale values were further harmed by the phase out of Oldsmobiles, so there should be good buys at dealerships.


Oldsmobile’s version of the redesigned General Motors midsize sport-utility vehicles shared a new body-on-frame platform with the 2002 Chevrolet TrailBlazer and GMC Envoy. Each had its own styling, inside and out, and rode a wheelbase 6 inches longer than before. Bodies were longer, wider, and taller by 5 inches.

All shared a new inline six-cylinder engine, which developed 80 horsepower more than their previous V6. A four-speed automatic was the sole transmission.

For the first time, Bravada was available with two-wheel drive, which included traction control. The four-wheel-drive version used Oldsmobile’s SmartTrac all-wheel-drive system, which did not include low-range gearing. Antilock four-wheel disc brakes and 17-inch alloy wheels were standard.

GM’s new SUV design lacked an independent rear suspension, though Bravadas could have an air-spring rear suspension in place of coil springs. Standard front side airbags included head protection for the driver. Seating for five was standard. Unlike TrailBlazer and Envoy, Bravada did not offer an extended seven-passenger model.

Bravada was slated to go out of production during 2004, before a full life cycle, as part of the phaseout of the Oldsmobile brand.

Rivals included the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, and Toyota Highlander.

Yearly Updates

2003 Bravada
Front side airbags became optional rather than standard this year. A load-leveling rear air suspension was standard on 2WD models. AWD versions used a coil-spring rear suspension. For 2003, the air-spring setup was a $375 option rather than standard equipment. A DVD rear entertainment system was also optional.
2004 Bravada
In this model’s final season, 500 specially-trimmed Bravadas went on sale. Dubbed Collector Editions, these SUVs featured special embroidery, wheels, and badging. After a century of life, the Oldsmobile brand faded away early in 2004, but Buick now offered a version of the GM midsize sport-utility vehicle called the Rainier.


longitudinal front-engine/rear- or all-wheel drive

An inline six-cylinder engine, rated at 270 (later 275) horsepower, went into all Bravadas. A four-speed automatic was the sole transmission. Bravadas may have either rear-drive or all-wheel drive.

dohc I6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.2/256
Engine HP 270-275
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 275
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic


Road Test

GM boasted that its inline-six engine yielded V8 power, and six-cylinder fuel economy. The engine is strong for takeoffs, with adequate passing performance, but does not feel as potent as power ratings might imply.

Fuel economy test figures for the Bravada are not available, but a 4WD TrailBlazer averaged 16.2 mpg in roughly 60-percent highway driving. As a comparison, 4WD V6 Explorer averaged 17.1 mpg. Bravadas run on regular-grade gasoline.

In these GM SUVs, a coil-spring suspension can feel floaty at highway speeds. By contrast, the Bravada’s rear air suspension is firmer, but absorbent enough for good comfort.

With an air suspension, the Bravada has the best road manners of GM’s midsize SUV group. Handling is good, considering the truck-type build. Steering is too light for stress-free control, but not as vague as the TrailBlazer/Envoy.

Body lean is better controlled, too. Still, you can expect typical truck-based SUV behavior, including a slightly wobbly sensation in quick directional changes. Brakes have more than ample stopping power.

Some tire noise occurs at highway speeds, but it’s not as intrusive as in the TrailBlazer/Envoy. Bravadas do suffer considerable wind noise, though the engine is smooth and refined.

Most instruments and controls are clear and handy. Switchgear has a smooth, quality feel, except for the loose, flimsy headlamp knob. Materials are decent, but don’t seem as rich as those in the Envoy.

Front head and leg room are good, even for taller folks. Seats are fairly comfortable and supportive. Headrests and thick pillars can block the driver’s aft sightlines, but passenger enjoy modest step-in height.

Even six-footers will find ample rear head and knee room, plus plenty of foot clearance beneath front seats. The back seat is comfortable and fairly supportive, and wide enough to squeeze in three adults.

Cargo space is generous. The 60/40 split-fold seat is easy to operate, and has clever automatic-folding headrests. The cabin has a good array of pockets and compartments for small items.


Model Tested: 2002 Oldsmobile Bravada

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 6
Fuel Economy - 4
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 4
Quietness - 4


Controls/Materials - 7
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
Cargo Room - 8


Value - 3

Total: 55


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
113.0 191.6 74.7 71.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
83.3 18.7 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.2 39.6 44.6 37.1
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A 4-door wagon


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Blower motor
Description: Blower may not operate or may run on requiring revised blower motor control module. (2003-04)
Climate control
Description: The radio station presets and the climate control settings may suddenly change because the buttons on the driver’s door get easily bumped, requiring reprogramming to prevent a change while the vehicle is in gear. (2002)
Engine fan noise
Description: The fan may run excessively and/or the transmission may shift late, requiring reprogramming of the engine control computer. (2002)
Engine mounts
Description: Cylinder liners were cracking on 4.2-liter engines and the engine warranty was extended to 7 years/100,000 miles. (2002)
Ignition switch
Description: The transmission may get stuck in third gear, and the instrument panel may stop working due to failure of the ignition switch. (2002)
Electrical problem
Description: Early production vehicles had numerous electrical problems due to corroded wiring harness connectors in the front doors and/or chaffed or broken wires in the steering column wiring harness. (2002)

Recall History

Description: Upon start up, some vehicle’s instrument control panels intermittently do not fully power up. Dealer will inspect and reprogram panel.
Description: One of two sensors in front seat belt retractors could be inoperative, preventing belt from restraining occupant as intended during a crash.
2002 w/air suspension
Description: Brief electrical spike can occur while vehicle is moving, causing engine to stall and, if it damages the powertrain control module, not restart.
Description: Certain overrides, like the ability for the ignition key to be removed in a position other than park, exist that violate theft protection standards. Dealer will eliminate these conditions.
Description: Owner’s manual doesn’t adequately explain child restraint anchorage system. Dealers will send vehicle owners a supplement to their manual.
Description: Driver visibility may become impaired due to faulty windshield wipes. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
Description: Vibration and heat may cause taillamp/stoplamp bulb to loosen and flicker, eventually becoming inoperative.
Description: Defective front brake pipes were installed on some vehicles, reducing front brake performance. Dealer will inspect and replace all affected parts.
Description: Moving turn-signal lever up or down in normal way may cause front marker/turn lights and rear turn lights to flash in a manner similar to the hazard warning.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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