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Pontiac Montana



  • I am looking for input on the Montana or Silhouette. My lease of 96 Windstar is over in
    March. I love the van, never had any problems with it. It is solid and powerful. But I have over $5k
    on my GM card and a dilemma.
    Looking for moral support (or warning) in buying the above vans! Please HELP!
    Thank you.
  • pimmopimmo Posts: 2
    I am looking for some opinions from current 97/98 Transsport owners:

    If you have the 2nd row captains chair option, will they safely hold a baby seat?

    On the models without the optional rear A/C, are there heater outlets in the rear?

    Is the CD/Cassette option worth it?
  • Dear Soodien-
    Thanks for your message. Frankly, it is this type of thing that has me most concerned. I have had a Volvo myself before (wagon with over 140k miles, sold it to a FRIEND!, who kept it for another 75k miles). I now have a mazda mpv with 130k on it, and still runs well. I hate to spend money on something that will not last me a good 8-10 years. I like most of what I see in the GM products, but the reliability still has me scared.

  • minivanman,
    you're very welcome. Have had no problems in the last week... I really do like the way the transport looks and drives, but I am pretty sure I wouldn't buy it again. Just don't have that feeling of reliability I did with the volvo. Now if Volvo could only design a car that would have enough leg room for my two almost 6 foot kids and my 6'6" husband!!! Good luck.
  • mecmec Posts: 3
    We are considering the Transport after test driving the Chevy Venture. Their main fault is you need to be a contortionist and VERY strong to adjust the passenger side seat. They do not even have an option of an electric seat for those of us with arthritis or are getting older every year. We will test drive the Transport tomorrow. Because of poor service with our Mercury we are not interested in that product. Are their any thoughts on the seat problem?
  • Just got back from a week in Orlando. Had the pleasure of renting a 98 Transport. We hauled 5 adults & 2 infants for 500 miles. Only complaint: no cupholders for 2nd row.

    Had lots of power & handled great. Since it only had 1200 miles, It was in great shape & we did not experience any reliability problems.

    We have now decided to lease 1 of the 3 GM mini's.
  • minivanman/sodien- I have 1988 Volvo740 Turbo with 511,000 miles on it. I have never had a day of trouble and iwll NEVER part iwth it- now only if they'd make a mini-van!

    mec- If you are stuck on getting one of the GM vans I would try the Oldsmobile Silhouette. I belive it offers a power passender seat. If you're willing to look at other, go look at the Chrysler Town and Country which nots only has power but heated front seats also! :) MY only concern is recommend the GM vans other then reliability is the dismal crash test performance. In the off-set crash the front dummies were basically killed. I just tend to want my family to be safe.

  • we bought a '98 Transport (now have 1200)miles and we have been very pleased.....we receive many compliments on the styling and looks of the van (it is a Montana package)......the van has a great amount of power due to the V-6 engine ....we bought the 8 passenger seating package although we wanted the captain's chair package at first. We are glad we obtained the 8 passenger seating because we move children all of the time and it has been invaluable...entry into the rear seats is easy. Those that are concerned about reliability should purchase full warranty package. We did research and comparisons on this website and the Transport was our winner !
  • Garrylyn-
    It was barely number one, only one point seperated the 4 vans. Having participated in that review you are talking about, some of the other editors at C&D and I, felt it should not have won because of it's poor crash test performance. It is after all not a sports car and a family hauler.

    "The Roaming Host"
  • Hi,

    Maybe some of you have some experience with dealers on the new 98 Transport Montana's.

    I have done all my research and have come down to buying time. Have gotten one quote from autovantage at $250 over invoice but have not had a chance yet to see the dealer and find out if the price is quoted after deducting out the 3% dealer hold back and the "advertising fee". All the "experts" seem to say that you can by from a dealer with out paying for those charges.

    A local dealer has agreed to sell at 250 over invoice but will not budge on taking out the 3% holdback and advertising. This adds up to almost $1100-1200.

    Has anybody had any luck in getting the vans or any other cars with out paying for hold back and and advertising.

  • HumHum Posts: 2
    I am the owner of a new 1997 Trans Sport. On the whole, I have been very pleased with the car. Unfortunately, the battery was dead after 241 miles. The dealer said that the battery was defective and replaced. Then at 1270 miles the battery was dead again. Originally, the dealer said they put another battery. After discussing the case with the manufacturer, the dealer later said that the battery was not replaced, but recharged. The mileage of my is now 1470. The car is running OK this time. I am interested to find out if any of you have any experience with any chronic electrical problem with the Trans Sport 1997. Please help!!!
  • shine49shine49 Posts: 1
    We are interested in buying the 98 Transport regular length. We were wondering which seat configuration is best for the middle to get adults in the rear seat? Also we live in Northern Illinois and were wondering if we should consider the rear air and heater. Our dealer said with the regular length that it wasn't necessary. Also what color is the best for not showing dirt?
  • gpedengpeden Posts: 1
    Haven't you heard? These things are death traps!

    Check out:

    download and watch the offset headon crash test movie......

  • jurobijurobi Posts: 1
    If you check the NHTSA site ( you will find that the NHTSA rated the driver side for '98 GM minivans as 4 stars, ahead of everything except Windstar, Sienna and Mazda. The video test was a '97 Transport.
  • retoreto Posts: 1
    Your are mixing up two independent crash tests. The GM minivans showed a pretty good picture in frontal crash tests, but they performed extremely poorly in offset crash tests. So its up to you what you think the odds are that you get hit offset in a frontal crash ...!
  • minnowminnow Posts: 2
    bought a '97 transport in march '97. has 2nd row
    captain's chairs, tow pkg, pwr.driver/pass seats.
    now have 12,500 miles. not any serious problems but several minor problems such as turn signal indicator light not activating from time to time; the plastic front bumper/shrowd loose and rattling, windows rattling, sliding drivers side door out of whack leading to "door ajar" light to stay lit and power lock not to work; wiper arms replaced due to snow/ice buildup causing wiper arms to not function, entire gauges had to be replaced due to sending unit problem. goes to prove that one should not buy a new model in it's first year.
  • dusterduster Posts: 37
    Just bought a 98 Montana short base. Handles better that the Toyota in turns. However, workmanship is lacking. Power seat trim broken
    already. Test drove all vans with four doors.
    If you need seating options, and want sporty
    SUV looks, Trans Sport is it. Power door is very handy. If you want best reliability buy the Oasis.
  • tmihotmiho Posts: 5
    I researched mini-vans and test drove several for
    about 2 years before deciding on the Trans Sport
    with the Montana package. As you've read before,
    "There is no ONE best mini-van for everyone." I
    selected the Pontiac because it had plenty of
    giddy-up-and-go (180 hp), decent mileage (I'm
    getting between 17-18 mpg in mostly city and
    congested freeway driving - So Cal), stereo
    controls on the steering wheel (VERY HANDY and
    COOL), an electronic opening passenger side rear
    door (VERY HANDY and COOL), and great looks (for a

    The Chrysler T&C was very nice too but the
    ergonomics weren't as good as the Pontiac. I
    picked the Pontiac over its Oldsmobile sibling
    primarily because of looks but also because the
    seats are more comfortable. The Honda was very
    nice but not near enough power and is a little two
    small. I didn't check the Toyota out because it
    too didn't have as much power and didn't have
    steering wheel controls.

    So far, with only 780 miles on it, I like it more
    every time I drive it and everybody at the office
    thinks its VERY COOL. My three year old son likes
    the electric door too.

    For the money (I paid just over invoice of 28,160)
    it is LOADED with features. Check them out.
  • tmihotmiho Posts: 5
    The more I drive the Trans Sport the more I like it. After a 1200 miles in three weeks I am very proud and happy to drive this excellent vehicle (for a mini-van that is). It’s got decent acceleration and is a pleasure to drive, although I wish Pontiac offered a GTP package (Supercharged 3.8L)!

    I’ve read two long terms on the 97 GM van’s (Old’s in Car & Driver, and Pontiac in one of the others) and both articles (with the exception of a few first model year glitches) liked the vehicles. It appears that, Dodge/Chrysler/Plymouth and Pontiac/Olds/Chevy will swap top billing for awhile which is not saying that the Toyota is a bad vehicle and it, too, may have some first year problems.

    I leased a 4-door Montana with 1SD package, 8 passenger seating, rear HVAC, and top stereo with CD (includes stereo controls on the steering wheel which is a MUST…I also own an ’89 Bonneville SSE with steering wheel controls too). I will be ordering running boards as soon as they are available from an after-market manufacturer. Its really only missing leather (which I don’t want with my 3 year old kid) and the power passenger seat. The electric passenger rear door is great too, especially for the kid (it has child safety locks). The seats on the ‘98 Trans Sport were far more supportive and comfortable than the ’97 Olds; I didn’t check out the ’98 Old’s. I think the Pontiac looks much better too. I paid about a grand over invoice but cut them some slack on my trade in.

    I’ll probably post a 7000-1000 mile update.

    Happy hunting. I’m glad my 2 year hunt is over.

    BTW: Apply for credit with GM express credit ( before you go in. I received a coupon for $500.00 good towards the purchase of any extended length Trans Sport and was pre-approved. Also, you can get another $500.00 if you trade in a GM vehicle.
  • SAhladasSAhladas Posts: 35
    You don't have to even trade in your old GM to get the $500. As long as you purchased it new (in some wide timerange), and still own it you will get a minimum of $500. Call 1-800 information and ask for the number fro 'GM Loyalty'.
  • solarsolar Posts: 1
    Hey, I'm in the process of buying a 95 transport van with the 3.8 liter engine. I would like any comments on the reliability on the van. Another sales man gave me some pretty negative info on the transport. Any info would be appreciated.
  • scottbuseyscottbusey Posts: 27
    Got a '98 Trans Sport Montana about a month ago, and my wife and I love it. It's like a luxury car with enough room to do practical things.

    Car&Driver's opinions -
  • SAhladasSAhladas Posts: 35
    Well, the GM Vans were redesigned in 1997, so the
    comparison with a '95 is not really valid. (I own a '98 transport also). I don't know that I would
    call it a luxury car, but it is big (at least the
    extended weelbase). I don't think the earlier ones had a sellar record.
  • shauneshaune Posts: 1
    I'm looking forward to a 1998 Pontiac Trans Sport Montana with middle-row bucket seats, 4 doors, rear air, rear radio, and much more! Can somebody tell me about how much this will be?
  • PeggyPeggy Posts: 8
    Have you looked at the Edmunds Vans content to get a price? That will give you a place to start.
  • SAhladasSAhladas Posts: 35
    And don't forget the GM Cashback and Loyalty programs which can easily get you another $1500 off. After the rebates I paid $1100 below invoice
    for my '98 transport.
  • hypermanhyperman Posts: 6
    GM is the first to give it's loyal costumer discount on new car. The other car maker like Chrysler and Ford just 'DITTO'
    In my opinion GM make the best vehicle. The transport and its sisters are great, but keep in mind that not every maker is perfect. If you own a 98 Chevy VENTURE a 98 Pontiac Transport or a 98 Oldsmobile Silhouette there is a MINOR work they have to perform to prevent some FLUID LEAK caused by the windshield wiper, you should be getting a letter in MAY of the recall if yours is one of the few. OTHER THAN that those mini-van are Excellent.
    And 0.9% APR and 1.9% APR DO NOT LAST FOREVER
  • StrategoStratego Posts: 29
    tmiho -

    What do you mean "I didn't check the Toyota out because it too didn't have as much power" ? The last time I checked, the GM trio had 180 hp, the Toyota Sienna had 194 hp. You do the math.

    hyperman -

    The GM trio is nice, but they aren't the best minivans out there. However, if you want to end up looking like (if you're still alive) the crash-test dummy in the Chevy Venture crash-test, that's your business. There isn't one feature offered by the GM trio that isn't available on other minivans, other than a weird and kind of dumb advertising campaign that tries to make the Pontiac Transport Montana look like an SUV, a far cry from the definition of what a minivan is.
  • 23452345 Posts: 11
    Actually there are many different things available
    only on the GM trio.
    Like: power sliding door, pollen air filter, side air bags, air inflator in the rear of the vehicle, On Star locator and emergency system, the most versatile seats in the industry, need I go on?

    I can't believe people make such a big deal out of one crash test, that a couple of years ago wasn't even performed. These vans did fine in the government crash test, and every major automaker including the Big 3 and Japanese automakers, have questioned the validity of the offset crash tests.

    Regardless, the tests should lead to safer vehicles, which is a plus.

  • StrategoStratego Posts: 29
    Sorry. I guess you're right. I think I must have gotten caught up in all this. After looking at fact sheets on most minivans, I have found that almost every minivan has at least one unique feature. However, some features are more advantageous than others. The OnStar network, via GPS, is a very intelligent and useful system. It does however make me wonder at the safety and practicallity of somebody being able to unlock my car from hundreds of miles away. The power sliding door is also an advantage, which, by the way, is also offered on Toyota Sienna and dual power sliding doors is expected on the Honda MV99. I would expect most auto manufacturers to catch on to this within a few years. I also expect them to catch onto side airbags, which are now becoming more commonplace. I could pick up a allergen/ pollen filter at the hardware store, and I don't really see much use for an air inflator, although I guess it would be handy in some situations. The seats are indeed vesatile, but I personally don't like having my knees above my shoulders when I'm riding in a vehicle (the GM trio is the only set of minivans that I have noted to have such low to the floor seating. I think they do this to boast larger headroom).

    I do not question the validity of the offset crash-test though. You can't deny the fact that there are accidents where the two colliding vehicles do not collide center bumper to center bumper. And from the looks of it, the vehicles that score the highest in regular government crash tests (Ford Windstar and Toyota Sienna) also score the highest in this new type of crash test. This test merely shows that some vehicles cannot effectively spread out the damage / compression when the collision point is off to one side of the vehicle, and the GM trio just happens to be one of them.
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