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Pontiac Montana



  • Hey, did everyone see the Consumer Reports Nov. 1998 issue? Two, count 'em, two listed recalls of the GM trio minivans! That's the spirit. Can you say H-O-N-D-A?
  • scannerscanner Posts: 295

    Well then don't make that H-O-N-D-A purchase an Accord because some 98 Accord's are being recalled for the same exact problem, "vehicle could roll away even when shifter is in park."
  • mommyflyer,

    A Trans Sport would be a good choice! Also
    the new 99' Montanas offer a 2nd Generation
    power sliding door that is much more sensitive
    than last years model.
  • TO Flexi:

    I am very happy with my Montana (Trans Sport).

    We eleminated Chrysler because we wanted leather and other goodies, and the Chrysler stuff is very expensive in that configuration. If you don't want leather you might look at the "Sport" package.

    The Windstar was attractive in the Limited package, which we found to be heavily discountable, but in '98 had that weird oversized driver's door instead of a sliding side door; Windstar is probably very attractive now, if they still have similar prices on the 99s as the 98s.

    We did not seriously consider the Toyota because it's slightly undersized and missing "van" stuff such as load leveling suspension; It gave me the impression that the designers don't understand the mini van market.

    In the GM mini vans you have Chevrolet Venture, Pontiac Montana, and Oldsmobile Silhoutte. The Chevy is a great value unless you want leather, which is why we didn't buy it. The Olds Silhoutte is real plush too.
  • Am considering purchasing a venture or montana but am concerned about it's poor rating in crash test...any comments?
  • The contoversial 40 MPH offset crash should not be a mojor road bloack when deciding which minivan to choose. The fact of the matter is that minivan drivers are more cautious as most of them have children in the cars with them. And in this kind of accident, at worst, only an adult will get injured.

    For 1999, the GM trio now has the next-generation (reduced deployment speed) air bags.

    GM also has a safety item that no other minivan has, let alone have as standard equipment: namely, side impact air bags. So other minivans might fair better than the GM trio when crashing into a solid fixed barrier at 40 MPH (equal to a 78 MPH crash into a parked car), but will fair worse in a side collision.

    Safty IS important. But lets keep it in
    perspective. The chances of a minivan driver getting into a real bad accident is next to zero. See href="" for
    injury rates,

    href="" for death

    There are so many features and considerations that
    each of us must consider before making a
    significant purchase ( close to $30k after taxes).
    To eliminate a choice simply on the basis of one
    crash test --that is least likely to happen to a
    minivan driver-- is paranoid. And the injuries
    from a frontal crash will only pertain to adults (children should not ride in the front seat).

    All Volvo owners I have met are safety paranoid.
    They are willing to settle for a smaller and more
    expensive (and in my opinion, ugly) vehicle with great safety engineered into them. But death rates for Volvos are not any better the the GM minivans


    So Volvo is one of the most safe cars on the road and yet its injury and deaths are no better than

    Buy a minvan because it meets your needs and likes, and not because of false hysteria.

    Best of luck,

  • VentureMan, I agree with you that crash test results are only one thing to consider when buying a vehicle, but I can't toss away the results of the IIHS test by saying "It's like hitting a parked car at 78 mph." That's true, but its really just an attempt to trivialize the results.

    It's also true that the IIHS crash test is the same as hitting an oncoming car that has wandered over the center line, with both cars going 40mph! That doesn't sound quite as unlikely an occurrence, does it? And it doesn't matter how safe or careful a driver you are, because you're dependent on the actions of other driver every time you hit the road.

    An anecdote: This is a true story, and no, I don't think you can extrapolate from one event to an entire population. This is just an example.

    A few years ago, a coworker of mine was driving home from church on a two lane country road. Another driver, who coincidentally was a coworker of my wife's, was driving the other way. She dropped off onto the right shoulder, and in trying to get back on the road she overcompensated, crossed the center line, and collided with my friends car. Closing speed was about 75 to 80 mph (35 to 40 mph each), and almost exact duplicate of the IIHS speed, and the offset amount was very close to what IIHS uses.

    Neither driver had any history of accidents, speeding tickets, or anything of that sort, so statistically, at least, were "safe" drivers.

    All passengers in both vehicles were belted, no one had air bags. My friend was in an older model Nissan Maxima. He had a broken elbow, which he had been resting on the door, hanging outside the drivers side window. There was no significant intrusion of the engine or wheel assembly into the passenger cell.

    The other driver was in a similar sized car, but I don't remember what. There was major intrusion of structural elements into the passenger cell. The rescue squad had to cut the car apart to remove her. She had multiple fractures of both legs, and had multiple surgeries and therapies lasting a couple of years.

    The odds of this happening to me, or you, are admittedly small. But given that they DO happen, and could happen to me, the video of the front wheel crashing into the passenger compartment chills me.
  • TO:darcyl

    As I was saying before I was interrupted by whatever that was, I think that if everything else was equal, I would buy the vehicle with the 5* rating over the vehicle with the 4* rating. But everything else is not equal, even the OTHER safety items such as side airbags, 2nd generation front airbags, traction control and load leveling suspension.

    For me, the GM minivan's are great. There's a 1* difference between these vans and and the best tested in crash ratings, which is not worth considering; It's the difference between 24MPG and 27MPG, it has no practical difference.

    But some people here make a big deal about a 1* difference. Some of the people in these conferences who post 'crash test data' aren't even looking for a van, they just come here and post 'data'. I don't know why?

  • thanks to all of you who responded to my questions regarding the montana/transport. we are still looking for the perfect one. i'll let you know what we end up with and how we did with pricing. thanks again for your input. mommyflyer.
  • 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,

  • 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_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    Edmund's lists a 3% Dealer Holdback.

    Check it out here.

    KarenS/Edmund's host

    Edmunds Manager UGC Click on my screen name to send a personal message. Need help navigating? Check out Getting Started in Edmunds Forums.
    Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor

  • 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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