1996 Pontiac Trans Sport

By November 10, 1999
1996 Pontiac Trans Sport

It's hardly a secret that GM's front drive minivans–Chevrolet Lumina APV, Oldsmobile Silhouette and Pontiac Trans Sport–have been a major disappointment to their manufacturer. Designed to challenge Chrysler's minivan supremacy with their radical styling, the trio languished as Chrysler and Ford gobbled up the lion's share of the market.

Instead of accolades, the daring new shapes drew criticism and an unfortunate nickname–the Dustbusters.

Although GM gave the trio nose jobs, powertrain upgrades and a power-operated sliding side door along the way, the trio never recovered from the early impressions.

An all-new set of replacements is just around the corner. Due this fall, the new Chevy Venture, Silhouette and Trans Sport will feature styling that's closer to the minivan mainstream, as well as a sliding driver-side rear door option, a la Chrysler.

Meanwhile, the current generation is still in showrooms. Although these minivans do have their weak points, they have strong points, too. With dealers unloading current models to make room for the new vans, the opportunity for bargains is exceptional.

Since the Pontiac Trans Sport concept van was the design template for the current GM minivans, we chose a Trans Sport SE for our final review of this generation.