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By Jim Flammang
May 11, 2004
Vehicle Overview Pontiac introduced its latest van at the 2004 Chicago Auto Show. Like its General Motors siblings — the Buick Terraza, Chevrolet Uplander and Saturn Relay — the Montana SV6 steers clear of the dreaded minivan connotation. To attract customers who dislike minivans’ tepid image, the Montana SV6 “blends the rugged body of a sport utility vehicle and the functionality of a mid-van,” according to Pontiac.
Like the previous-generation Montana, the 2005 crossover sport “mid-van” may have front-wheel drive or optional Versatrak all-wheel drive, which can split torque between the left and right wheels, as well as the front and rear. The second- and third-row seats may fold down or be removed from the vehicle. A remote starter is optional.
For people who need assistance with entry and exit, Pontiac dealers can install a Sit-N-Lift power seat. Operating via a hand-held remote control, the unit provides motorized access to the right-side second-row seat.
Production is scheduled to begin during the fourth quarter of 2004, and vehicles should reach dealerships late in the year.
Exterior SUV-like styling cues, as defined by Pontiac, include the appearance of a lower skid plate, which actually houses an air intake for the V-6 engine. A relatively long, horizontal hood extends back from the squared-off front fascia, and the mid-van has wide, body-colored C-pillars. The headlights wrap back and over the hood. Pontiac advises that “crystalline lenses set in deep cavities create the appearance of a fog lamp,” but actual fog lamps are said to be unnecessary. Chrome accents surround the signature twin-port, mesh grille.
Dual power, sliding side doors are optional, and the Montana SV6 has a low step-in height like a minivan. A two-tone color scheme is standard. Wheels hold 17-inch tires and base models have wheel covers, while uplevel editions get aluminum wheels. A brushed silver roof rack is optional. Built on a 121.1-inch wheelbase, the Montana SV6 is 204.7 inches long overall and stands 69.4 inches tall without the roof rack.
Interior Seven occupants fit inside the Montana SV6. The second- and third-row seats may be folded down or removed, and the second-row buckets fold and tumble against the front seats.
Base models have all-cloth upholstery, including second-row bucket seats or captain’s chairs. Uplevel packages add optional leather for the first row and the second row’s captain’s chairs, and the third-row seat is covered in vinyl. The third row contains a 50/50-split bench seat.
With all the seats folded down, the Montana SV6 has up to 140.7 cubic feet of cargo area. Available space behind the rear seat totals 32.3 cubic feet. Snap-in storage modules fit into the standard overhead rail system. The instruments are red-lit at night, with red pointers, and the steering wheel features brushed aluminum spokes.
GM’s OnStar communication system is standard. Entertainment options include a DVD-based backseat video system and XM Satellite Radio. The Montana SV6 may also be equipped with a new Mobile Digital Media Powered by PhatNoise system, which has a removable hard drive and can store up to 10,000 songs in MP3 or WAV formats.
Under the Hood A 3.5-liter V-6 engine produces 200 horsepower and 220 pounds-feet of torque and is connected to a four-speed-automatic transmission. Versatrak all-wheel drive is available. When properly equipped, the Montana SV6 can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
Safety All-disc antilock brakes are standard. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags and a StabiliTrak electronic stability system are optional.