Pontiac Montana

Last updated
Pontiac Montana
Pontiac Montana LWB.jpg
Manufacturer Pontiac (General Motors)
Assembly Doraville Assembly, Doraville, Georgia, United States
Body and chassis
Class Minivan
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive / all-wheel drive
Platform GM U platform
Predecessor Pontiac Trans Sport
Successor GMC Acadia
Buick Enclave
Chevrolet Orlando (Canada)

The Pontiac Montana is a minivan that was sold by 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 1998 for the US and 1999 for Canada. When the van was redesigned for 2005, the name was 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 2009. Since their introduction, the Pontiac minivans were GM's most popular minivans among consumers in Canada.[ citation needed ]


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

First generation (1997–2004)

First generation
Also called Pontiac Trans Sport (USA, 1996-1998; Canada, 1996-1999)
Chevrolet Trans Sport (Europe, 1997-2004)
Body and chassis
Body style 3-door minivan
4-door minivan
Related Buick GL8
Chevrolet Venture/Trans Sport
Oldsmobile Silhouette
Opel/Vauxhall Sintra
Pontiac Aztek
Engine 3.4 L (207 CID) LA1 V6
Wheelbase SWB: 112.0 in (2,845 mm)
LWB: 120.0 in (3,048 mm)
LengthSWB: 187.3 in (4,757 mm)
1999–2000 & 2003–05 LWB: 201.3 in (5,113 mm)
2001–02 LWB: 200.9 in (5,103 mm)
Width1999–2000 & 2003–05: 72.7 in (1,847 mm)
2001–02: 72.0 in (1,829 mm)
HeightLWB: 68.1 in (1,730 mm)
SWB: 67.4 in (1,712 mm)
Curb weight 3,730 lb (1,690 kg) (SWB)
3,942 lb (1,788 kg) (LWB)

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 MY1999 (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 U.S. 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 logo 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.

New for this generation, cabin air filters were installed, and the filters can be accessed from behind an access panel easily accessed from inside the glove compartment.

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 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 2004, Pontiac continued to sell the original body style for the 2004 model year for fleet use. The last Montana rolled off the production line on March 31, 2004 as a 2004 model.

Safety criticism

The 1997 Pontiac Trans Sport crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 1997 Pontiac Trans Sport SE IIHS.jpg
The 1997 Pontiac Trans Sport crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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 (IIHS). It was also ranked the "Worst Performing Vehicle". Some comments made by the IIHS after the first test in 1996 were:

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 -- 10-30-2009.jpg
Also calledPontiac Montana SV6
Production2004–2006 (United States)
2004-2008 (Canada and Mexico)
Model years 2005-2006 (United States)
2005-2009 (Canada and Mexico)
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door minivan
Related Buick GL8
Buick Terraza
Chevrolet Uplander
Saturn Relay
Engine 3.5 L LX9 V6
3.9 L LZ9 V6
3.9 L LGD V6 (Canada only)
Transmission 4-Speed 4T65-E automatic
Wheelbase LWB: 121.1 in (3,076 mm)
SWB: 113.0 in (2,870 mm)
Length2005 SWB: 191.0 in (4,851 mm)
2006–09 SWB: 190.9 in (4,849 mm)
LWB: 205.6 in (5,222 mm)
Width72.0 in (1,829 mm)
HeightLWB: 72.0 in (1,829 mm)
SWB: 70.5 in (1,791 mm)

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 lb·ft (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 and Mexico for the SV6.

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

In Mexico, the Montana continued until the 2009 model year, with the 3.9 L V6 as the only engine option. General Motors marketed it as the Pontiac Montana SV6, and it was almost identical to the discontinued North American version, but different from the Canadian-specification model. In some parts of Canada, unsold 2009 models were sold as 2010 models. Some of these were also adapted as city taxis in Toronto and Montreal starting in 2010.


2006-2009 Pontiac Montana SV6 short-wheelbase '06-'09 Pontiac Montana SV6 Short Wheelbase.JPG
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 due to poor sales, while production for both Canada and Mexico would continue because the SV6 sold better in those markets. The last SV6 for the U.S. market rolled off the assembly line on July 7, 2006.[ citation needed ] 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 SWB with roof rack in Liquid Silver Metallic.[ citation needed ] It was delivered to the Marvin Starr dealership in Scarborough, Ontario.


Calendar yearUS Sales
199810,819 [3]

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  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wxDqG2ZSFA
  2. Duffy, Kevin (2008-09-16). "Four firms to present plans for Doraville GM plant". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution . Retrieved 2008-10-20.
  3. http://www.autointell.com/nao_companies/general_motors/gm-sales/GM-US-data-book-2005.xls