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Pontiac Montana



  • dps1dps1 Posts: 4
    Hi all, just bought a 99 Montana a week ago and like it more every day. It is loaded with all the goodies, traction control, duel sliding doors, rear heat/air, 4 Capt chairs, tow package etc.. I too was looking at the crash test stuff and figured that in order to get a really true picture I think that the vehicles would have to be crashed more than once. Each vehicle depending on options and such will have a different weight which in turn will effect crash performance. In addition what would happens to two vehicles in the same type crash but the offset is an inch or two different? I think every crash is unique and that what might show up as a bad rating on the first crash may change to a better rating when crashed again. Just my .02 worth. All in all after going through all the test drives and info searches on the other vans out there I think for the bucks the Montana is a fine vehicle!
  • There should be a law that a vehicle can not be sold on the open market if it does not get a rating of acceptable or better in the 40% offset fixed barrier crash.

    After all, you couldn't pay a high enough premium to get an insurance company to cover you. NOT!

    Insurance companies do not charge a higher premium due to the results of this crash. For those Consumer Report spouters, CR states the injury claim rate compared with:

    All cars : a full red circle
    Minivans : a full red circle

    The GM minivans may have faired bad in the offset crash, but they would be the safest car I ever drove. I've never owned a car with an airbag.

    Now, I could go a step further and spend $25k-$30k on car that I don't want that is safer in one specific crash. But as DPS1 pointed out, how would the GM vans perform in an offset crash where only 35%, OR 45% of the vehicle crashed at an offset into a fixed barrier (the offset was 40% in the test)? And I don't expect an answer unless someone can prove they have a graduate degree or better in Physics with years of real life work studying crash impacts behind that degree (ie., no guessing or surmising).

    The fact is, GM gives you the most in a minivan for your money! And a good deal of the equipment is standard. And GM will give you two remote key fobs, leather, auto loadleveling with an aux hose to add air to your tires (no more searching or begging for an air hose at a gas station) or balls or air matrisses camping, side airbags, both a CD and cassette player... and get this, passengers can control from the rear seat the remaining two components; if I am listening to the radio up front, the kids can control either the CD or cassette from the rear and listen via headphones (two jacks). And for those with (extra) money, a fold down video display, VCR, and controls that can be used for video games and the VCR, with headphone jacks.

    And I'm sure I didn't mention all the extra equipment that is not even offered on other minivans.

    Best of luck,

  • steedmsteedm Posts: 14
    It sounds like a great deal, why don't you get one?
  • By the end of December, 1998, I will be the owner of a Venture.
  • VentureMan, I've been reviewing the Edmunds townhall pages for some time now, and can tell you are an ardent supporter of the three GM mini-vans, for reasons you have already spelled out. I'm interested in why you favor the Venture, instead of the Montana or Silhouette. They're identical vehicles except for the bells and whistles and advertising image.

    Here are my observations - I test drove the Montana last week, and it exhibits the typical "American car" ride - its hard to describe but a good description would be "soft and comfortable". I've owned three Japanese sedans and a truck since, and a Volvo, and have been pleased with each. All have lasted (I still drive the Accord, the truck, and Volvo) far greater than 100,000. The last GM product I owned was a 1985 Buick Skyhawk, which I was lucky to get 100,000 miles out of before I sold it. My observation, for what its worth, is that the GM products have greatly improved, but this is based on what I have read, and not my personal experience. I'm hesitant to purchase another GM product without a thorough review of the alternatives. I suppose the big reason I'm considering a Montana is because of the $3000 from my GM credit card redemption.

    FYI, I'm currently getting prices on the Montana and Silhouette. The price quoted to me by a local buying service in the Atlanta area for the Silhouette GLS (the loaded one, with leather) was about $250 more than the Edmunds invoice, which is about 1% over invoice. I know that other more highly touted minis (e.g., Odyssey) are and will be getting close to MSRP for the next year. I will get the Montana quote this coming week and will post if anyone is interested.
  • Actually I believe the suspension in each of the 3 is a little different, the Montana being the stiffest and the Silhouette the softest. The featuring is most certainly different among the 3. I had an '81 skyhawk, perfect example of why the big 3 lost a lot of market share. I am in agreement with your statement on GMs improvement, but I would use the broader brush and paint all of the big 3 in this manner.
  • As far as the Skylark, what you guys bought was, I believe, a "J" car, which is a gussied up Chevy Cavaliar (Cavaliar, Sunbird, Olds?, Skylark and Caddy? are all the same car). I believe the 1999 Cavaliars ("J" cars) are a far cry from the 80's.

    Venture vs. Montana vs. Silhouette:

    So why the Venture? Well... If someone wanted to spend less on the options to save money, the Venture is the "Value Leader" (sounds like a ad, doesn't it?). But I plan on getting a fully loaded GM minivan.

    Fully loaded, you actually get more for your money to purchase a Silhoutte; about $25 less and you get passenger elec seat, rocker moldings with front/rear mud guards, fog lamps, and tachometer.

    So... why not the Montana? The main reason is that the nearest Pontiac dealer is 45 minutes away. Also, I want the load leveling suspension and the Montana has has the stiffest of the three. I want a softer ride. I already have a 4X4 SUV, and don't need two cars that will bounce me around.

    I also don't like Montana's radio and the light gray interior toggle panel buttons on the dark grey background (pretty superficial, I know). On the flip side, you can get radio controls on the steering wheel with the Montana.

    At this point, I am mainly considering the Venture because I live in Calif and have different incentives than the rest of the country to consider. Chevy is giving 0.9% financing vs. 3.9% for the Silhouette. The savings is about $1200 over the 36 month loan period. There is no CASH currently being offered.

    Also, of 193,500 GM minivans built last year, over half (99,500) were Ventures, 58,300 were Montanas, and 35,700 were Silhouettes. Looking into my crystal ball I am thinking it will be easier to resale a Chevy Venture as there is a larger pool of potential buyers for these minivans. And I hate to admit it publicly, but I like the big toothy grill of the Chevy. It's the only feature that distinguishes it from all the other minivans on the road; all other minivan hoods look very simular.

    I hope my views help you dcide which GM minivan is right for you.

    Best of luck,

  • Actually, one star is bit more significant than teh difference between 24 and 27 mpg. On a 5 star scale, one star is 20%, which would be the difference between 24 and 29 mpg. But that's still immaterial. We're talking about injuries and death, not dollars.

    If you look at NHTSA's explanations, a 5 star rating means 10% or less chance of serious injury, and 4 star 10% to 20% chance of serious injury. So the difference between the Sienna and the GM trio could be as much as 20 times (or as little as 1% point). NHTSA doesn't provide finer gradation, but looking at the IIHS videos, my bet would be on a larger rather than smaller difference.
  • pimmopimmo Posts: 2
    I would like to report of a real head-on collision that happened to my '98 Transport Montana Ext 4DR. This is for those of you questioning GM's crash safety. In October, my wife was hit head on by a Ford pickup that had crossed the center median on a 4 lane divided highway. The impact of the collision was estimated between 80 to 100 MPH (combined speeds of vehicles). My wife survived the accident and is thankfully OK today. She did suffer an ankle injury (common in today's vehicles), but overall the seatbelt and the front airbag saved her life. The side airbag did not inflate (expected since their was no side impact). The other driver did not do as well. They were not wearing a seatbelt and the vehicle had no airbag. The person died a few weeks later. The vehicle was totalled by insurance. The safety cage did a good job of protecting the driver, but I must report that if there was a passenger in the right seat (there weren't any others in the vehicle), they would have suffered more leg injuries due to the dashboard crushing into the leg area. Overall, at this impact, I think the vehicle did a good job. Well after suffering all this, I went ahead and purchased a new '99 Montana Ext 4dr to replace the '98.
  • Sorry to hear of your demise. I'm glad all is okay. Thank you for reporting a very "real" crash and its outcome. Now, those who would not otherwise consider a GM van due to the offset crash might take another look. Every crash is different.

    Best to you and yours,

  • Check out the prototype of the Montana Thunder:


  • buk1buk1 Posts: 1
    Hi. We're considering a 99 Montana. Does anyone know if there are any dealer incentives (not rebates) in California? We are getting ready to negotiate and our salesman offered $200 over invoice with 3.9% 60 mo. financing. Can we do better?
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,020
    Edmund's lists a 3% Dealer Holdback.

    Check it out here.

    KarenS/Edmund's host

    Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email,, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

  • Buk,

    Sounds about right. Most of the GM vans are offering 0.0 for 36 mo, 2.9 for 48 mo, and 3.9 for
    60 mo. I have not heard of any dealer incentives.

    $200 over invoice is a good price. That is what I will be paying for my Venture,

    Best of luck,

  • Picked up my '99 Montana two weeks ago (purchased), and returned my '96 Windstar (leased). The Montana is better than my Windstar in just about every way, and my wife and I are very pleased. We got the "Sport Performance and
    Handling Package", along with just about every other option (except leather seats and power passenger seat). This minivan handles better (on cornering) than any other minivan I tested. It is also extremely quiet, and has a great turning radius. My wife loves the "SUV look" of the Montana, and quite honestly, I probably wouldn't have even looked at this minivan had it not been for that. I am hoping for the best on reliability, since my last GM car (like others on this list)was a 1984 Buick Skyhawk (the ill-fated J-Car). It literally fell apart at 60,000 miles.
    Since the Montana is so well designed, I'm willing to put up with a few minor problems, should they arise. Just my .02 cents.
  • I've just read the 185 postings. However, I'm still stuck. After driving too many vans and reading far too much internet information we're finally narrowed our selection between the 99 Montana 4 dr extended (loaded) and the Windstar SE. The Ford drove well, but the inside is not as plush as the Montana. Also, color selection was a problem against the options we wanted. In regard to the Montana, it drove very strong and by wife likes the red\gray color package. However, the brake pedal did feel soft in relationship to my Grand Cherokee. We drove a different Montana and the feel was the same. May just be me.

    I'm trading in a 91 Grand Caravan. I will never own another. If it wasn't for the 7/70 my wallet would be far lighter today! All said and done, We're buying a van between today and New Year's. Please, I need to overload my mine just a little more.... are you satisfied with your Montana's?
  • hardestyhardesty Posts: 166
    The soft brake pedal is common to virtually all GM designs. There is nothing wrong, it is just the way design provides pedal feedback. Another GM trademark, though much reduced on the Venture-Montana-Silhouette is a small dead zone at the center of steering. These tend to be "love it or hate it" traits, so make up your own mind. I own a 1999 Olds Silhouette, and (at 1000 miles) love it. It too is loaded, everything but the TV. Best of luck with whatever you choose.
  • DovDov Posts: 24
    I too am trying to decide between the Montana and the 1999 Olds Silhouette (GL loaded w/o leather or the GLS). Last night I drove a Silhouette and thought it drove very well. I thought the brake pedal was quite mushy, but it seems as if that is a common trait. I had no problem with the dead spot. Please let me know some additional feedback on the Silhouette. Any problems, minor or major etc. (One major gripe I have is that a tachometer is not an option. I hate staring at that huge speedo and don't understand why GM does not offer a tach. on either the Venture or the Olds.)
    Because of the place I work I can get a GM product for 4% over dealer cost, no haggle. Plus, here in Canada, until Jan. 10 GMAC is offering 1..9% financing. Both of those combined are prompting me to look at the Pontiac and the Olds rather than the Honda.
  • hardestyhardesty Posts: 166
    My 1999 Olds Silhouette GLS does have a tach! I just assumed that all trim levels of the Venture-Montana-Silhouette did. If you don't like leather, but want the long wheelbase, the with Olds the GL is the way to go (Chevy & Pontiac a lot more options.) The GL can have everything except leather added (to match the GLS) and there is no real price penalty. Definately get the towing package, for $355 MSRP you get extra cooling for the entire power train & the load leveling suspension. I have just over 1000 miles on my Olds and really like the car. No problems (minor or otherwise) and there is plenty of power and the handling is very good (I live in the Sierra Nevada mountains, lots of windy two-lane roads.) I think a decision between the Montana & Silhouette would m
  • dusterduster Posts: 37
    I have a 98 Montana short wheelbase. I have 7,000 miles on it. I have had the brakes worked on 3 times. I have had the dealer replace the master
    cylinder and the rear cylinders because they had leaks. I like the van but the brakes are a
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