2011 Chevrolet Montana Debuts in South America


General Motors has introduced the latest version of its car-based Chevrolet Montana pickup that's sold in South America, Latin America and Africa.

The Montana's exterior styling is (ahem) controversial. We haven't seen an ugly truckling like this since the Pontiac Aztek. But there's something compelling about its mini footprint and work capabilities that defy its small stature.

The 2011 Chevy Montana shares the same platform as GM do Brasil's new Agile hatchback city car. The two-door, two-passenger ute is front-wheel drive. It's lazily propelled by a 97-horsepower, 1.4-liter four-cylinder flex-fuel engine and five-speed manual transmission that goes from zero to 62 mph (100 kilometers per hour) in about 12 seconds. Torque is rated at just 95 pounds-feet of torque.

Not turned on by those figures? The Montana's highway fuel economy is more than 30 mpg.

The Montana can work hard, too. It can haul up to 1,671 pounds in its cargo box — the same weight as a regular cab long-wheelbase two-wheel-drive Ram 1500 with a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 — supported by its rear semi-independent torsion beam suspension. There's an independent McPherson suspension up front.

Pricing starts at $18,720 for the entry-level version and runs to a steep $25,770 for the sportiest model with airbags and navigation.

Why are we covering this foreign truck?

In June, during GM’s Global Business Conference in Warren, Mich., Jamie Ardila, president of newly established GM South America, hinted that the Montana could come to the U.S. if GM North America were interested in the product.

"The Montana is a stylish, car-derived pickup with a modern, dynamic shape," Ardila said. "The Montana is also exported to Mexico, and the new version will be exported to Argentina and South Africa. If you are interested in the U.S. market, by all means place your order."

Production of the current U.S.-built Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon is expected to end by 2012. While the rest of the world will get a to compete with the likes of the Ford Ranger T6, Volkswagen Amarok and Toyota Hilux, GM has no direct successor for the Colorado planned in the U.S.

But as we previously reported, GM is said to be working on a new pickup for the U.S. that would take the company . Perhaps that truck would be similar in size to the Montana, though tough truck styling would be mandatory instead of the Montana's swoopy, wild lines.

Styling aside, would something the size of the Montana with its capabilities work for U.S. buyers? Sound off with your opinion below.


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