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There Was a Version of the Chevy Venture with a Manual Transmission

Here’s something you probably didn’t know: you could get a Chevrolet Venture, the excessively mediocre mid-2000s General Motors minivan, with a manual transmission. There are some caveats, most notably the fact that the manual version wasn’t actually called the Chevy Venture, but the general point I’m making here is true: there was a time when General Motors was making 3-pedal minivans.

Here’s how this went down. The Chevy Venture was sold from 1997 to 2005, and it had a few "twins" in the GM family: a Pontiac version called the Trans Sport, which later became simply the Montana, and an Oldsmobile version called the Silhouette. Minivan enthusiasts know this, and they also know these were only offered with automatic transmissions, since that’s all the market wanted back then.

What minivan enthusiasts — all five of you — may not know, however, is that these weren’t the only twins. General Motors also sold a version of this vehicle in Europe called the Opel Sintra in mainland Europe, and the Vauxhall Sintra in the U.K. And it was this vehicle that was offered with three pedals — largely because many European vehicles offered manual transmissions at the time, so it was seen as normal.

The Sintra was not very popular. In North America, the Venture was already not very popular and considered to be subpar — but in Europe, where the van segment was possibly even more competitive than in North America, it was even less popular. But GM still tried, and a few people bought them, and so there are a handful of Opel and Vauxhall Sintra models out there, running around, with a stick shift and three pedals. These look just like the Venture, except with different badging, so it’s unusual for anyone familiar with the Venture to imagine.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s true: there was a manual Chevy Venture. They just called it something different, and sold it somewhere else — but it exists. And, surely, it’s the enthusiast’s choice.

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