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Pontiac Montana
2002–2005 Pontiac Montana LWB
Manufacturer General Motors
Production 1997–2009
Assembly Doraville, Georgia, United States
Predecessor Pontiac Trans Sport
Successor Chevrolet Traverse (Canada)
Buick Enclave [Mexico)
Class Minivan
Layout Front-engine, front-wheel drive / Four-wheel drive
Platform U-body
Transmission(s) 4-speed 4T65-E automatic

The Pontiac Montana is a minivan from the Pontiac division of General Motors. Prior to the 1997 model year, it was known as Pontiac Trans Sport. In 1997, the Trans Sport added the Montana moniker as part of an available trim package. The package proved so popular the line was renamed Montana in 1999 for the US and 2000 for Canada. For 2005, the van was redesigned with a higher, less aerodynamic nose to resemble an SUV. The Montana name was also changed to Montana SV6. It was discontinued after the 2006 model year in the United States because of slow sales, but continued to be sold in Canada and Mexico until the 2009 model year because of GM phasing out the Pontiac brand after the 2010 model year. Since their introduction, the Pontiac minivans were General Motors' most popular minivans among consumers in Canada.

The Doraville, Georgia assembly plant which produced the Montana closed on September 26, 2008.

First generation (1997–2005)

First generation
1999–2001 Pontiac Montana SWB
Also called Pontiac Trans Sport Montana (1997 and 1998 model year for US & 1999 model year for Canada)
Production 1997–2005
Body style(s) 3-door minivan
4-door minivan
Engine(s) 3.4 L (207 CID) LA1 V6
Wheelbase SWB: 112.0 in (2845 mm)
LWB: 120.0 in (3048 mm)
Length SWB: 187.3 in (4757 mm)
1999-2000 & 2003-05 LWB: 201.3 in (5113 mm)
2001-02 LWB: 200.9 in (5103 mm)
Width 1999-2000 & 2003-05: 72.7 in (1847 mm)
2001-02: 72.0 in (1829 mm)
Height LWB: 68.1 in (1730 mm)
SWB: 67.4 in (1712 mm)
Curb weight 3,730 lb (1,690 kg) (SWB)
3,942 lb (1,788 kg) (LWB)
Related Buick GL8
Buick Terraza
Chevrolet Trans Sport (Europe)
Chevrolet Uplander
Chevrolet Venture
Oldsmobile Silhouette
Opel Sintra
Saturn Relay
Buick Rendezvous
Pontiac Aztek
Vauxhall Sintra

The Montana nameplate was used as a trim level of the Pontiac Trans Sport van from 1997 to 1998. GM dropped the Trans Sport name for 1999 (2000 in Canada) and the van simply became Montana. This generation was related to the previous generation Buick GL8, the Chevrolet Venture, the Oldsmobile Silhouette, the Vauxhall Sintra, and the Opel Sintra. The Opel and Vauxhall were only sold in Europe, although made in the same factory in the USA as the others. Chevrolet also introduced a nearly identical twin to Pontiac save for its badging for European consumption, named the Chevrolet Trans Sport. Both of the Buick GL8 minivans were only sold in China. The 2000-2005 GL8 is a similar version of the first-generation Pontiac Montana, and the 2005+ GL8 is similar to the Pontiac Montana SV6. The Pontiac Montana came in both short and long wheelbase models. The Pontiac Montana was one of the few minivans which provided seating for eight. For 2001, the Montana received a new steering wheel with the Pontiac symbol which replaces the one with the Pontiac letters. For 2003, the sport-style head restraints were dropped in favor of the conventional head restraints the Venture and Silhouette offered; and the anti-lock brakes became optional, as well as for the Venture, but remained standard for the Silhouette before Oldsmobile's demise in 2004.

The Montana Thunder was the most up-level model of the Montana. Introduced in 2002, Thunder featured special "Thunder" badging, Thunder-specific 16" chrome 5-spoke rims, upgraded ride and handling package, and a special spoiler on the back of the roof rack. Inside, the Montana Thunder had special two-tone black and grey leather seating, and a perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Montana Thunder was produced in 2002 and 2003, but for 2004 and 2005 it was made an optional package on Montana GTs called the "Chrome-Sport" package. Only the "Thunder" badges were discontinued. Despite the Pontiac Montana's redesign in 2005, Pontiac continued to sell the original body style for the 2005 model year for fleet use. The last Montana rolled off the production line on March 31, 2004 as a 2005 model.

Safety criticism

The 1997 Pontiac Trans Sport crash-tested by the IIHS

A crash test video of the 1997 Trans Sport/Montana resulted in some criticism due to extreme damage to the vehicle in the 40 mph (64 km/h) crash test. The minivan received a "Poor" rating by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.It was also ranked the "Worst Performing Vehicle" Some comments made by the IIHS after the first test in 1997 were:

  • Major Collapse of the occupant compartment left little survival space for the driver.
  • Extreme steering wheel movement snapped the dummy's head backward.
  • The unnatural position of the dummy's left foot indicates that an occupant's left leg would have been seriously injured in a real-world crash of this severity.
  • The forces on the left lower leg were so high that the dummy's metal foot broke off at the ankle.[1]

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the van 4 stars for driver protection and 3 stars for passenger protection in the 35 mph (56 km/h) frontal impact test. In the side impact test, it received 5 stars for front passenger protection, and 5 stars rear passenger protection.

However, the safety issues of the Montana were addressed with the newer Montana SV6, which earned the highest rating of "Good" given by the Insurance Institute in the frontal offset crash test.

Second generation (2005–2009)

Second generation
Pontiac Montana SV6 LWB
Also called Pontiac Montana SV6
Production 2005–2009
Model year(s) 2005–2009 (Canada/Mexico)
2005–2006 (USA)
Body style(s) 4-door minivan
Engine(s) 3.5 L LX9 V6
3.9 L LZ9 V6
3.9 L LGD V6 (Canada only)
Wheelbase LWB: 121.1 in (3076 mm)
SWB: 113.0 in (2870 mm)
Length 2005 SWB: 191.0 in (4851 mm)
2006–09 SWB: 190.9 in (4849 mm)
LWB: 205.6 in (5222 mm)
Width 72.0 in (1829 mm)
Height LWB: 72.0 in (1829 mm)
SWB: 70.5 in (1791 mm)
Related Buick GL8
Buick Terraza
Chevrolet Uplander
Chevrolet Venture
Saturn Relay
Buick Rendezvous
Pontiac Aztek

For the 2005 model year, the Montana was updated to have a less aerodynamic design, like an SUV, resulting in its new name, Montana SV6. The 2005 Montana SV6 used a 3.5 L High Value 3500 LX9 V6 that generated 200 hp (150 kW) and 220 ft·lbf (300 N·m). For 2006, a 3.9 L LZ9 V6, with 240 hp (179 kW) and 240 ft·lbf (332 Nm) torque, was added as an option, and the vehicle added GM badges to the front doors. For 2007, the 3.5 L V6 was dropped, leaving the 3.9 L as the base engine. Consequently, the optional AWD system was also dropped, since it could not handle the torque of the 3.9 L engine. A flex-fuel version of the 3.9 L V6 also became available for 2007, but was only available in Canada for the SV6.

Similar to the Chevrolet Uplander, Saturn Relay, and Buick Terraza, it was the third costliest of its cousins. In the United States, only the long-wheelbase version was sold.

In Mexico, the Montana is continuing until the 2009 model year, with the 3.9 L V6 as the only engine option. General Motors de Mexico marketed it as the Pontiac Montana SV6, and it was almost identical to the discontinued North American version, but not the Canadian-specification model.


2006–2009 Pontiac Montana SV6 short wheelbase

On November 21, 2005, GM announced that it would close the Doraville, Georgia assembly plant, which produced the SV6, in 2008. However, several months later, GM announced that the SV6 would be discontinued after 2006 in the US market due to poor sales. Production for both Canada and Mexico continued due to better sales in those two countries. The last SV6 for the U.S. market rolled off the assembly line on July 7, 2006. Production ended for Canada and Mexico with the 2009 model year, with the demise of the Pontiac brand and the closing of the Doraville, Georgia plant on September 26, 2008.[2] The last vehicle built was a Canadian-bound Montana SV6 Short-Wheel-Base in Liquid Silver Metallic.[citation (source) needed]


  2. Duffy, Kevin (2008-09-16). "Four firms to present plans for Doraville GM plant". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved on 2008-10-20.

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