KALISPELL, Mont. — While the SUV crowd has sneered at most other minivans, Pontiac’s Montana has carved out a niche that has kept them a bit apart. By having the stylists incorporate the traditional Pontiac split grille and side cladding that carry connotations of performance and ruggedness, and by getting the ad folks to base their TV spots on a lively Western theme, buyers get the impression that the vehicle is a rough, tough set of wheels. In fact, there are a lot of people who are surprised that it doesn't offer four-wheel drive.
Montana is a fully equipped family hauler that includes air conditioning, ABS, and a 185-horsepower 3.4-liter V-6 engine. Depending on the model other equipment includes keyless remote lock control, a theft-deterrent system, six-way power front seats, and overhead console, and the power sliding right-side door. Options include a longer wheelbase, leather upholstery, aluminum wheels, traction control, rear heating and cooling, steering-wheel radio controls, plus separate rear seat controls for the radio and HVAC system.
New features include oversize rearview mirrors that are now electrically heated for frosty mornings and the PASSKEY III theft deterrent system. This system offers an added level of security and instant activation once the key has been turned off.
Pontiac was GM’s first division to get this sleeker, front-drive style of modern minivan. The original TranSport wasn’t quite what the public had in mind, with a spooky long nose and futuristic styling that didn’t warm the conservative van-buyers’ hearts. With this generation of vans, GM brought themselves into the conventional mode.