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Pontiac Montana



  • SAhladasSAhladas Posts: 35
    So to summarize, all the unique features you argue away but the crash test is now the key item? The bottom line is the Sienna, Chrysler and GM van are
    all comperable vehicles.

    I just don't understand some of the Toyota mentality. When I went to test drive a Sienna, the dealer said, we don't have any, but if you wait 6-8 weeks I'll order you an LE for $24K. I bought a Transport comparably equipped (except 8
    passanger seating, anothe GM unique) for $22K two
    days later. Sure Toyota has a great reputation, but it makes me want to vomit when people will buy something sight unseen just because it is a Toyota. Lets get one thing straight, the Sienna's reliability is UNPROVEN! (Have you read any of the posts of transmission problems?) Just because it is built on a Camry chassis, does'nt mean it will have the same repair record.

    Whew, sorry for venting!
  • scottbuseyscottbusey Posts: 27
    To shaune

    I got a new '98 Trans Sport extended with package 1SD, Montana Package, power door, leather, and tape+CD for $26,500 (retail about $29,500) through a broker. This model has everything. Plus I got a special $500 rebate from Pontiac (visit their website and send them and email? and $500 from GM for customer loyalty.

    Microsoft has a very good pricing system at
    then select "new model details", "pricing", and "CarPoint auto pricer".
  • StrategoStratego Posts: 29
    True, I have seen a couple postings of transmission problems, but I haven't seen many of them. They are probably just one of the few new models that come with an unanticipated minor defect. I am sure that Toyota will hear of it and correct the problem.

    Yes, the Sienna is a new model, but Toyota has one of the best reliability records on the market. This is part of the reason why the Toyota Camry is one of the best-selling (at one point I believe it was the best-selling) vehicle in North America. It usually tends to be the case that imports are generally more reliable than domestics, that's what Japanese cars are famous for. Besides, this is the only problem I have heard about people having with the new Siennas. I have heard many more about the minivans from GM, Ford, and Chrysler.
  • shawkinsshawkins Posts: 18
    Hi Guys,

    I have only read one incident of a Sienna transmission problem. That was on the newsgroup and then a link popped up called that implied this was a problem. I chat with two Toyota Master Diagnostic Technicians and neither has made this repair or even heard of this alleged problem.

    Keep in mind that the Sienna is only about 700lbs heavier than the Camry which uses the same transmission. I sincerely doubt that the extra weight would cross the threshold of operability of the transmission. Also, I don't believe the Camry has such incidents associated with it.

    I would also have to agree with Stratego that Toyota's reputation for reliability and quality during the manufacturing process far exceeds that of GM.

  • jesmithjesmith Posts: 1

    I don't disagree that Toyota has a good track record in reliability. If not for them their US counterparts would not have the competition to improve. But, also remember that the same people brought us the original Toyota mini-van based on another fine auto chassis. Then they brought us the Previa. Both were known only for reliability. Neither impressed consumers judging by the sales volume. Obviously, Toyota was not impressed either as their model lineage continue for decades. Let's hope the cliche, "Third time's a charm" becomes a reality for Toyota. I will let one more year pass before I purchase one.
  • tmihotmiho Posts: 5
    One of the criteria for any vehicle I buy is that has to have stereo controls on the steering wheel (climate controls too if the vehicle has auto-climate). This feature is available on the Trans Sport, Silhouette, and special order on the Venture. No other mini-van has it available. I still own an '89 Bonneville SSE and traded an Olds 88 for the Trans Sport (all with steering wheel controls). Once you get used to it, it is a luxury tough to be without. I feel that it is safer too because I don't have to search for the controls while driving. Small item but important.

    Stratego: Okay so I made a mistake about your precious and perfect Sienna...ooops! I can appreciate your opinion and am sure you value it very much. This is a Pontiac Trans Sport area, not a "I think the GM van sucks and the Toyota is King". Please give it a rest or create your own topic to spout in. Let's use this area to talk about the virtues AND/OR problems with ownership or potential ownership of the Trans Sport.

    Ownership update: Almost have 3000 miles on my '98 Montana and love it more everyday. I get lots of compliments on its looks and features at work and at the car wash. I'm averaging 17.1 mpg but that's mostly an 18 mile city commute to work, lots of hills, lights, and traffic and I like to get to speed quickly (no granny starts from the stop sign). It has plenty of room for my wife's wheelchair without blocking the rear view and the versatile seating arrangment allows me to use one of the seats folded up to keep the wheelchair from tipping over when turning.

    I'm sure most of the other mini-vans these days are fairly reliable thanks to the Japanese pressure on American manufacturers regarding quality. I think my Trans Sport is stylish, well built and recommend one to anyone looking to buy a mini-van. If Toyota, Ford ('99 with four side doors), or Chrysler/Benz had steering wheel controls, it would have made my decision more difficult.

    Hopefully my fondness for the Trans Sport will continue. I'll update in another few thousand miles. And Stratego, try to be a little more accepting of us poor little fools who bought Pontiac. Why don't you just feel sorry for us rather than so spiteful (Merriam-Webster: full of petty ill will or hatred with the disposition to irritate and annoy).
  • SAhladasSAhladas Posts: 35
    Actually I would argue a 750 pound increase is pretty appreciable, this is a 25% increase in the weight of the van over the Camry. I know if I
    gained another 25% (40 pounds), I would'nt sign up for any more 100 Mile bike rides! Like I said, reliability is UNPROVEN. There also needs to be more of them on the road to make an accessment. Lastly, does anyone know of a CREDIBLE rating of reliabilty? Newsgroup postings are anecdotal, and CR, don't make me laugh, did you ever take one of the surveys (nuff said there)?

    I bet the guy at ponitac who put the controls on the steering whell never thought it would be decision maker for some people. Do you flip TV channels every 2 seconds too? Oh, sorry that was me who does that. Incidentally, the Tran Sport I bought did not have a CD player, so I added an aftermarket changer with a remote, not on the wheel, but fits nicely in the palm of your hand.
    It was the 8 passanger seating that sold me on the
    van though.
  • scottbuseyscottbusey Posts: 27
    2,500 mile Trans Sport 1SD Montana update -

    After having the van for a couple of months and a couple of thousand miles, I have to say that my only regret is that I don't have enough cash to buy a 2nd one! I am constantly pleased by the thought that went into the selection and integration of the features. There is really nothing that I don't like about it.

    My wife drives it most. She's about a month away from giving birth, and I really feel good about the safety & security features; Self sealing tires, ABS, traction control, side airbags, auto locks & lights, and the compass and temperature built into the overhead display (expecting mommies can be forgetful, as in locking doors, switching on/off lights, driving the wrong direction, etc.). She's putting about 200 miles a week on it which I will take as a vote of approval considering she's not working now.

    I think my favorites are the simpler things like being able to pop out the seats in about a minute to load the back with plywood or sheetrock, or just to make it easy to clean the carpet or the seats. Also, the automatic ride height adjustment makes the van really versatile rather than potentially versatile. And the orange-red dash lighting is something I've admired since I saw it in a friend's Audi 5000 15 years ago.

    Hope everyone else is enjoying theirs as much as we are!
  • dusterduster Posts: 37
    I bought my Trans Sport on March 30, 1998.
    I traded in my Saturn, I just missed the $500
    loyalty cash back coupon I think. Can anyone let
    me know if I am entitled to the rebate.
  • 23452345 Posts: 11
    I think the promotion started in April. Also, I think the promotion, like so many GM promotions excluded Saturn. It could have just been a loyalty rebate towards a new Saturn that was excluded though, I'm not sure.
  • SAhladasSAhladas Posts: 35
    You got it right. If you bought a saturn you get the $500 (no coupons were mailed though). If you ARE BUYING a saturn it does not apply. I got the rebate for my saturn on a '98 transport (bought in may though..).
  • 23452345 Posts: 11
    Anyone heard the news? GM is talking about moving (more) plants to Mexico! Tell them how full of it they are. Tell them American jobs are more important than helping develop a third world country!
    Tell them to use Saturn as a model to treat employees, and keep jobs in America.

    P.S. I am not a union member, and don't know anyone who is in the UAW.

    Here's a story:

    And links to GM where you can e-mail them your comments:

  • SAhladasSAhladas Posts: 35
    OK, since you brought this up, where are the new GM minivans made?
  • scottbuseyscottbusey Posts: 27
    To: SAhladas

    The new GM Minivans are made in Doraville, Ga.

  • benepcbenepc Posts: 2
    I have been in the market for a new minivan and
    had decided on a GM Pontiac Transport. Now I'm apprehensive about buying. Questions: What will this do for dealers? Will they more or less willing to negotiate? HELP!?
  • benepcbenepc Posts: 2
    Oops! I must have been channeled in another direction--I omitted some information. Question should read; What will the GM strike do to purchases? With the new 1999 models due to come out in a few weeks, how will dealers respond to negotiations? Will they be more or less willing to bargain? Now that this post is a little more complete, maybe someone can respond. Any help appreciated.
  • hypermanhyperman Posts: 6
    Keep in mind that the Toyota Previa was rated the lowest of lowest that, is why Toyota came out with a new model so when you say that "Yes, the Sienna is a new model, but Toyota has one
    of the best reliability records on the market." you have to think twice because there is no source to back up your judgement that the Ugly looking Sienna is RELIABLE. I have only heard of transmission problem in the other minivan conference.
    I have read an article where the keyless entrance remote didn't work and door wouldn't OPEN... source: 'edmunds 1998 minivan comparison'
  • scottbuseyscottbusey Posts: 27

    Hard to say, I had difficulty locating a Trans Sport 3 months ago when I got mine.

    I would like to offer my opinion about your purchase: If you have a car you want to trade in, consider selling it yourself. Some cases it doesn't matter, but in some it does. In the case of my Chevy conversion van, I got about 2x what the dealer was offering. Edmund's used car prices closely reflect reality (in Florida).

    Also, get a price on the van you want from buying services such as Auto-By-Tel or Microsoft CarPoint. I priced Trans Sports at Invoice + 3% when I was shopping. After that you can visit the dealer and know if they're making an effort to sell, or if they're playing games. If you have Windows 95 or newer on a PC, you can use a tool at to run through option packages & prices called CarPoint AutoPricer (???).

    If you are looking at a Trans Sport, go to the Pontiac web site and ask them (email) if they have any extra rebates. Somehow I received a coupon from Pontiac for an above-and-beyond $500 rebate, and I think it was from emailing them. Also, if you currently have a GM car, and are buying another you are elegible for a $500 loyalty rebate.

    Good Luck, and enjoy!
  • StrategoStratego Posts: 29
    The Sienna is new, but Toyota has been building quality vehicles for years. Why do you think the Sienna is dubbed the "Camry of minivans"? I can also say the Sienna is reliable because it's predessessor, the Previa, although not very functional and quite ugly (personally I hated it) was very reliable. The posting of the Sienna transmission incident appears to be isolated and present on only a few early production vehicles.

    The other day I was looking through CR's Buying Guide and found that Toyota was the only major manufacturer with models not listed in the "Used Cars To Avoid" section. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think this is definitely a reflection of Toyota's reliability.

    As for the C&D report, you're always going to find a vehicle that has at least one little glitch. To me, a faulty key-fob remote would be the least of my worries.

    And as for your closing comment, I can't prove 100% that the Sienna is reliable, but I CAN prove that Toyotas are reliable. Besides, it is pretty general that imports (save for the Korean autos) are usually more reliable than the domestics.
  • scottbuseyscottbusey Posts: 27
    Posting #84 seems to be in the wrong topic.
  • FATlittleFATlittle Posts: 6
    I AGREE with scottbusey

    Stratego and hyperman you are in the WRONG TOPIC.

    You must have missed the Toyota Sienna topic on top.
  • I am considering a used 1998 Pontiac Trans Sport Montana with all the bells and whisles.I want to get an Edmunds report on it, but the years only go up to 1997. What should I do?
  • 23452345 Posts: 11
    The 97s are the same as the 98s except for new side air bags and and improved back seat design.

    You can also check out other sites:

    Good luck. (Rebates on TransSport are now up to $1500!)

  • dusterduster Posts: 37
    I just received a recall notice for my 1998
    Trans Sport, problems with transmission. It may not be in park even if it indicates it on the
    shift. I also read that GM is recalling the Venture and Silhouette for seat problems(Pontiac was not mentioned). However, I will follow up to
    find out why Pontiac seats were not included.
    Has anyone else received a recall notice pls
    let me know!
  • askask Posts: 1
    I'm considering the GM and Ford minivans. Both have good features. The Ford 3.8l engine seems smoother and more responsive than the GM 3.4 and the fronts seats of the Windstar are more comfortable. The Venture's front seats seem a bit short. Are the front seats in the Trans Sport the same as the Venture? I haven't had time to test one out yet. The Venture has many features that I like as well. Decisions...
  • hollholl Posts: 1
    Does anyone have the 8 passenger seating? If so do you like it or would the split bench middle seats be okay? We have 4 kids and always seem to have a handful more with our group. The availability of the 8 passenger is really poor now with the strike and some of the dealers in the area have the split bench or captains chairs but not the 8 passenger models..
    Do I wait until the strike is over and order the 8 passenger or just jump for what is out there now?

    The transmission went out in the Grand Caravan for the third time outside of warranty (of course), so I would like to jump quickly.Does anyone know how the strike i
  • 23452345 Posts: 11

    If you go to the NHTSA site,

    you will find recall information. They should have the latest info.

  • SAhladasSAhladas Posts: 35
    I have the 8 passanger seating (in a trans sport).
    We will be a family of four in another few months, and know many other family of fours, so the 8 seats works out well for 2 family events. With your normal 'payload' of 6, it may not be as big a deal. I do like the center buckets because they are so easy to remove and handle once they are out. It does not take me more then 10 seconds
    from the time to open the door until the time the
    seat is out of the van. The one minor downside I have experienced with the center buckets is the seat belt buckles are buried kinda deep in the seat and are hard to buckle (at least with a booster seat in them).
  • jaguar3jaguar3 Posts: 2
    I boingys around the road and it 's UGLY!!! Get the Silhouette!
  • dusterduster Posts: 37
    Thanks for info, just to let you know my van
    checked out ok in regards to recall. However, they replaced my master cylinder. My brake peddle was going all the way to the floor. I have only 2,900 miles on my van. The dealer said that the part was defected from the factory. It's a good thing the the part was available. The strike is starting to take effect regarding parts for GM cars.
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