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Chevy Uplander/Pontiac Montana SV6/Saturn Relay/Buick Terraza

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Comments

  • vanman1vanman1 Posts: 1,397
    We bought a 2004 Montana in April and we love it. Smooth power train, great ride, tight turning radius, awesome mileage and well priced. It only has SABs (which are standard by the way) but I am fine with that. It really was not really an issue for us and even if they were offered I doubt I would have bought them as they likely would have come in some $1500 package. I did get full traction control added though, I think it is a lot more important to keep control of your van in the first place.

    New vans will be good I think. Maybe not tops in class but whatever. My big issue is the looks which is why we bought an 04. Maybe it will look better in person but I didn't care for the picture of the 05 Montana. Interior looks real nice though.
  • a_l_hubcapsa_l_hubcaps Posts: 518
    They are not offering side curtains AT ALL on these vans? That's pretty pathetic. If a manufacturer is going to have one safe vehicle in their fleet, it should be the minivan.

    -Andrew L
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    Side curtains can literally be a life saver in a side crash. They're really the only thing that protects the head. A side crash caused by someone who runs a red light has nothing to do with your driving skills and ability to control your vehicle. I'd definitely want my family's heads protected in a crash like that. Side curtains shouldn't cost above $1K to get. If I remember correctly the canopy on the Freestar costs only about $500.
  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    I read somewhere the head curtains will be available next year on the GM vans. I agree they could save your life or from further injury, but only in very specific circumstances. If a big truck hits your van on the side they might help. If a car hits you, they won't.

    That all said, a government report recently showed that in many cases for cars, they did not improve safety.
  • rctennis3811rctennis3811 Posts: 1,031
    Only in specific circumstances!?! Even if it's not a bigger car plowing through the side of your minivan, you can still get injured. Your head could hit something sharp, and that's where the side-curtains come into effect. Also in rollovers, side-curtains prove to be effective. I know this for a fact because I was in a side-impact wreck awhile back and side-curtains help - heck, I wasn't even hit directly, the other guy hit the side of my trunk!
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Provide a link to that "government study", please.

    ~alpha
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    GM makes the large, safe Chevy Suburban and GMC Yukon XL while Ford makes the large, safe Ford Excursion. Crash tests where a vehicle is driven into a fixed barrier show how each vehicle is affected in one, isolated, specific scenario.
        No small, lighter weight vehicle will be as safe as the large, heavy SUV's.
        Safe driving habits CAN prevent most accidents. A safe driver is alert at all times with eyes scanning the front and all 3 rear view mirrors....mentally preparing the evasive action necessary to avoid an accident.
  • rctennis3811rctennis3811 Posts: 1,031
    Ok, say you're a driver who constantly practices "safe driving habits". That doesn't mean you can't get into an accident. There's plenty of people out there who run red lights. Even if they are driving a big SUV and they plow into your midsize sedan's side, side-curtain airbags will help. Would you rather have your head hit tons of glass and metal, or have a "pillow" deploy from the roof to cover as much glass and metal as possible?
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    I completely agree with what you said, however accidents can be and are being caused by other reckless drivers. Plus, it'll be the wife driving the van. I can't be sure that SHE will practise defensive driving all the time, especially with the kids screaming in the bakc :)
    So better get all the air bags you can get...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    plow into your midsize sedan

    But these are minivans, and the window lines are much higher, I believe. So you have far more natural protection already.

    The seats are also probably farther away from the sides of the car, so you have a bigger crumple zone.

    I'm not sure that side curtain air bags would help a child strapped to a child seat at all. I doubt he'd reach it.

    Bigger kids, maybe, if they're really tall.

    -juice
  • vanman1vanman1 Posts: 1,397
    Vans are indeed higher up so cars hitting the side are no where near the glass. Big trucks yes maybe, but I think head curtains have limited use. A stronger frame to protect from side impact is FAR more useful than an airbag at providing protection. Some of you seem to be forgetting that fact. The current GM vans are already well rated there.

    Don't get me wrong, the more protection the better. I just think some people are over emphisising the need for curtains. Give me a strong frame, ABS and traction control any time over air curtains.
  • envoysleenvoysle Posts: 20
    I'm leasing a Pontiac Montana 2002, my lease ends in july 2005. At first, it was a realy nice ride, but since then, i'm starting to ear lots of rattle noise in the cabin. It seems like everything is getting loose somehow. I did not do anything special with it, did not carry heavy things and never got more than 4 or 5 passenger in it. I have 48,500KM on it.

    I've talked with other owners of Montana/Venture and they all say the same thing, good for the first year and then it slowly start to break apart.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    The GM minivans indeed do well in the NHTSA side impact test. But that test is terribly antiquated, and ALL minivans and SUVs (with their higher seating positions) get at least 4 stars in that test, so its usefulness is extremely limited. Since the striking barrier is lower than the body of the occupants, this test basically shows that where people sit higher, a regular passenger (well, actually one with a flat nose design from the 1980s) will inflict little injury. STOP THE PRESSES! Or not. This is something we all could have figured out by ourselves. But- there are a lot of SUVs on the road. There are lot of minivan. And pickups. What happens when you're struck by one them? Well, even if you're a couple of inches more away from the door in a minivan than in the passenger car, which Juice contends, thats still precious little crush space.

    I agree with you that a strong frame, ABS, and traction control are very valuable. But the fact remains that inflatable side head protection increases your chances of surviving a side impact by a WHOPPING 45%. With other manufacturers at least offering all of your above requirements, why should GM be pardoned for not?

    "A stronger frame to protect from side impact is FAR more useful than an airbag at providing protection."

    http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/side/s0402.htm

    The Mitsu Galant achieved the highest rating for Structure in the IIHS test, a "Good". Still, the SUV designed barrier inflicted "fatal" injuries to the head, neck, and torso.

    The Toyota Camry, whose structure also held up well, but not quite as well as the Galant (it got an "Acceptable" mark for that measure) inflicted similar injuries when not tested with the side curtain airbag.

    But when tested with curtains, still with the same "Acceptable" structure, injuries went from fatal to easily survivable: http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/side/s0315.htm

    My point is only that in terms of side impacts, structure alone is not going to get the job done. For that matter, neither will side head protection (reference the Hyundai Sonata, whose poor structure couldnt be compensated by the side airbag). Both structure and restraint systems are vital in this type of crash, and GM, with this next gen minivan, is failing to provide part of the equation.

    ~alpha
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    "Give me a strong frame, ABS and traction control any time over air curtains."

    The argument is not whether these active safety features are important. The argument is why GM does not offer the customers even the choice of having an ADDED important protection. Plus even if the frame holds up perfectly in a side impact, the passenger's head and torso could still slam into the side of the vehicle causing injuries.

    It's really beyond me why GM decided to forgo such an important saftety option. And I have been a happy customer always rooting for them.
    Please GM, do something. Now I don't even know if we'll seriously consider their new vans.
  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    Yes, the curtains do help side crash injury in some cars BUT, would we get the same results in van? I doubt it. Like vanman says, vans sit up higher and I don't think the same improvement would be seen.

    It would be interesting to see what percentage of buyers who get vans that have air curtains available, actually buy the option. I'll bet it's very low given the number of base models I see with plastic wheel covers, but that's not to say it's not a usefull option.
  • spartanmannspartanmann Posts: 197
    Those of you with your heads in thde sand, look around. Minivans marketing stresses safety first because most vans have mommies and little kids in them. It really doesn't matter how effective side curtain air bags are. The fact is that the competition has them and GM doesn't. The average minivan buyer isn't going to review crash statistics and studies. They just will look at who made the effort to incorporate available safety features and who didn't. GM will have enough problems trying to sell these things anyway, but leaving side curtains out was just plain stupid. Of course leaving out the rear hide as seat that everyone else has, was also stupid. Kind of gives you the idea that GM isn't particularly interested in competing in this segment.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not at the *top* of the segment, any way. I think that decision was deliberate.

    -juice
  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    I suppose I have my head in the sand then.

    Why would it be deliberate?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They chose to compete on price and on the lower end of the segment.

    Not everyone aims to be the best car in the segment. Koreans have competed on price for decades.

    -juice
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    GM did not intend to compete with the top dogs, judged by the vans' new great looking classy interior. Their vision was blurred somewhere along the development line. Too bad really.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Juice,

    The Koreans have competed on price for the last two decades primarily because that was the only competitive advantage that could be offered with their products. That is changing, though, as more often, vehicles like the still value-rich Elantra are doing quite well in evaluations by the likes of high readership publications such as Consumer Reports and Car and Driver.

    GM should not be competing solely on price with these minivans, but it is going to (same as currently for Ford). GM has been around long enough that it should understand the pitfalls of offering a poor product just to be in that market segment, IMO. Really, it all goes back to the antiquated structure unions play- GM is crippled by the fact that it simply cant afford to close plants (as well as by its astronomical pension costs).

    This post was a bit wide-ranging, but I hope you follow my though process.

    ~alpha
  • vanman1vanman1 Posts: 1,397
    The Terazza should compete head on with Honda and toyota. Chevy is definitely going for the lower end but that's ok. Most people I see driving vans are young families and most of them are on a budget. The lower end is bigger so Chevy should do well there.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Hyundai has moved up, and even Kia's new Spectra has side-curtain air bags and variable valve timing standard.

    That's impressive, some of the giants don't do that yet. Certain vans don't even offer either of those...

    <ducks for cover>

    -juice
  • spartanmannspartanmann Posts: 197
    Nobody understands why GM does lots of things. They can turn out great new products like the new Caddys and at the same time give a warmed over uncompetitive minivan to two additional division to sell. Who knows why. Remember they still have almost all of the same management team in place that thought the Aztec was going to be a big success!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Actually the team leader for the Aztec was promoted. True story.

    -juice
  • montanafanmontanafan Posts: 945
    What is overlooked in the Aztek situation, is that they got the predicted production volume correct. Just backwards. The Aztek sold at the volumne they expected the Rendevous to sell at, and the Rendevous sold at the volumne they thought the Aztek would.

    And as far as the Aztek brand manager, I wouldn't call it a "promotion" to be moved up to a non visable position in the OnStar group. Bing change from being on 60 minutes or Dateline or whatever he was featured on.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Is that really where he ended up? I thought he was promoted to run a new products division or something?

    Maybe I'm thinking of that person's boss.

    -juice
  • montanafanmontanafan Posts: 945
    GM Media site has a great serch function. Found him.

     DON BUTLER - VICE PRESIDENT, ONSTAR COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT
    Don Butler, vice president of OnStar Commercial Development, is responsible for the development of key business relationships critical to sustaining the OnStar business. He assumed this position on Jan. 1, 2002. Butler joined OnStar in spring 2001 as vice president for OnStar Virtual Advisor.

    Butler began his General Motors career as a college coop student in 1981 at Pontiac Engineering. In 1986, he became a design engineer for the Corvette Electrical Systems Group at the former Chevrolet-Pontiac-GM of Canada in Warren, Mich. Four years later he became a systems engineer for Advanced Vehicle Engineering in Pontiac, Mich. In 1990 he was named market analyst for GM Marketing and Product Planning.

    He returned to Pontiac in 1992 when he was appointed zone marketing manager for the Detroit Zone. The following year he moved to Pontiac Central Office as market planner of the Grand Am. In 1994 Butler was named brand-planning manager of the Grand Am. In 1995, he became a manufacturing systems manager at Lansing Auto Division (LAD), before being named assistant brand manager-product for the Grand Am in 1996, the position he held prior to being promoted to Aztek Brand Manager on July 1, 1997.

    A native of Columbia, Miss., Butler was born on Dec. 4, 1963. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from GMI in 1986 and his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1990.
  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    One thing you have to keep in mind (and a lot of people forget) is that there are financial constraints that a company must meet. GM is saddled with huge pension burdens to make things worse. Given GM is pouring billions into some cars (Cobalts and G6s) and the Cadillac division means it has less to go elsewhere. I was reading an article the other day that rich pensions alone mean GM is at a $1500 disadvantage to other makes.

    It's easy to say GM does dumb things but it's a 100% better company than it was 10-15 years ago when I abandoned it due to unreliable cars. Yup, they still do dumb things but so do most other car makers. Hopefully an all new van will come soon and hopefully in the mean time they make some more improvements to these coming vans over the next year. Apparently head curtains would make a few of you happy and wouldn't break the bank.
  • spartanmannspartanmann Posts: 197
    I agree with just about everything you say. I have no doubt they have a $1500 disadvantage from pension and health care obligations. However, when rebates hit $3000-$5000 or more to try to sell vehicles plus the cost of 0% financing, you have to ask yourself at what point is that money better spent going into product development as opposed to bribing customers to buy an uncompetitive product.
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