The Oldsmobile Bravada is a front-engine, four-door mid-sizeSUV manufactured and marketed by the Oldsmobile division of General Motors — across three generations and as a rebadged variant of the Chevrolet Blazer and GMC Jimmy. It was the only SUV manufactured or marketed by Oldsmobile, and the first light truck offered in the United States by a GM brand other than Chevrolet or GMC since before World War II.
The first generation (1991–1994) and second-generation (1996–2001) used the GMT330 platform, and the third generation (2002-2004) used the GMT360 platform. The third generation was the only version offered in Canada.
The 1991 Bravada was an upscale version of the then-new 4-door S-Blazer/Jimmy. It was the first truck-based vehicle offered by Oldsmobile since the 1920s, and at that time was a United States-only vehicle. Unlike its siblings, the Bravada was only offered with "Smart Trak" all-wheel drive, power equipment, body-colored bumpers and exterior trim (with lower body cladding which was body-colored, similar to the competitor Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited), and the 4.3 L W-code engine. At the heart of Smart Trak system was the Borg Warner 4472 transfer case (also shared with the limited production GMC Typhoon and AWD GM M platform vans [Astro/Safari]), offering 65% rear and 35% front torque with more to the front when it slips. Anti-lock brakes and remote keyless entry were also standard.
Rear view of Oldsmobile Bravada
The 4.3 L V6 engine got a horsepower boost to 200 for 1992. Also for '92, the Bravada's instrument panel was slightly modified to differ from its siblings. 1993 saw the addition of an overhead console with compass, temperature, and reading lights. An optional Gold package with gold exterior badging and special gold aluminum wheels was also new for '93. This version was produced through 1994.
1991 – 4.3 L LB4V6, TBI, 160 hp (119 kW)/230 lb·ft (312 N·m) (VIN Z)
The first generation Bravada with the 160 hp engine averaged United States Environmental Protection Agency city/highway 17 miles per US gallon (14 L/100 km; 20 mpg‑imp)/22 miles per US gallon (11 L/100 km; 26 mpg‑imp). The second generation with the 200 hp engine averaged 16 miles per US gallon (15 L/100 km; 19 mpg‑imp)/21 miles per US gallon (11 L/100 km; 25 mpg‑imp).
1996–97: 180.9 in (4,595 mm) 1998–2001: 183.7 in (4,666 mm)
1996–97: 66.5 in (1,689 mm) 1998–99: 67.6 in (1,717 mm) 2000–01: 67.8 in (1,722 mm)
1996–99: 63.2 in (1,605 mm) 2000–01: 64.4 in (1,636 mm)
Oldsmobile Bravada rear
The Bravada was refreshed later than its platform mates, with no 1995 models produced. The 1996 and 1997 models' body featured more rounded lines than their predecessor. This generation Bravada could easily be distinguished from the Chevrolet Blazer and GMC Jimmy by its Oldsmobile-styled body-colored split grille, premium alloy wheels, and lower bodyside cladding. Standard fare included a driver's airbag and daytime running lamps. The interior styling was more appealing to the eye with less ridges and squares, much like the exterior. In keeping with its premium image, the Bravada's interior was modified and upgraded, to differ from its Chevrolet/GMC siblings. The front bucket seats were similar to those found on the Aurora. Other interior features included standard leather seating, woodgrain trim, and its unique center console with a leather-wrapped console shifter (as opposed to a column shifter on the Blazer/Jimmy). In 1997, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes became standard and the rear spoiler was deleted. As with the previous generation, the Oldsmobile Bravada was available only in 4-door, 5-passenger configuration.
Another refreshening occurred in 1998. The "Smart Trak" system now featured the computer controlled NP-136 transfer case, which works more like a traction control. The Bravada was now run RWD in normal operations and only when wheel slip is detected does the "Smart Trak" kick into AWD. A revised interior including dual airbags, heated seats, and a new front fascia which included the new Aurora inspired Oldsmobile logo. OnStar was available in 1999 as a cell phone unit, later becoming integrated into the rearview mirror in 2001 with available features like hands-free calling and virtual advisor. A Bose sound system was added for 1999 and the fuel injection was updated in 2000, though output remained the same. A new two-tone exterior dubbed the Platinum Edition was made available in 2000. This generation was phased out in 2001 to make way for the new GMT360 Bravada.
Production of the Bravada ended with the demise of the Oldsmobile marque in 2004. The last 500 Bravadas were produced as "Final 500" special editions, each featuring custom seat embroidering and exterior badging inspired by vintage Oldsmobile logos, dark cherry metallic paint, unique chrome alloy wheels, and a medallion featuring that particular Bravada's production number, ranging from 1 to 500.
The last Bravada, the number 500, rolled off the assembly line on January 12, 2004. The closing of the last factory that manufactured the trucks was the subject of an emotional 2009 HBO documentary - “The Last Truck: Closing of a G.M. Plant”.
The Bravada bodyshell was continued by its joint replacements, the 2004-2007 Buick Rainier and the 2005-2009 Saab 9-7X - the latter of which remained in production until December 2008.