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Whatever Happened to the Pontiac Montana?

The Pontiac Montana is a vehicle that was produced by General Motors under the Pontiac Badging from the late 1990s through the late 2000s. It was produced for two generations through the Pontiac badging of General Motors. It was a popular vehicle that offered comfort and spaciousness for families but only for the first few years of its production. Although it was around for two generations, the Montana is a vehicle that was plagued with a lot of serious mechanical and design problems. It went from being a popular choice to one that drivers avoided in fear of safety for their families. Not all of the vehicles performed poorly and some drivers have fond memories of the vehicle. Some even wonder what happened to the Pontiac Montana? The Montana was destined to come to an end. Here is the history of the Pontiac Montana and the reasons why it was discontinued.

The first generation

According to Wikipedia, the Pontiac Montana began as a trim package option for the Pontiac Trans Sport. The trim was so popular that General Motors decided to make it a model. The first model was released for sale to the public in the United States in 1997 through 2004. The minivan was an important vehicle in the history of Pontiac because it was one of the few of its kind to feature 8 person seating. It was equipped with cabin air filters with a transverse front-engine in a GM U platform, available in a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

Special Thunder Edition

The Montana Thunder was released in 2001 as a 2002 model that ran through 2004. This version featured a new steering wheel design that had a new Pontiac logo. Updates in 2003 gave it conventional head restraints which replaced the sportier versions from 2001 through 2002. An option of anti-lock brakes was available, Thunder badging, 5-spoke 16-inch chrome wheels, leather seating in two-tone black and grey, and a steering wheel wrapped in perforated leather. The Montana Thunder was the highest in the class of the model, but by 2004, GM decided to make the vehicle the Montana GT and set the Thunder styling as a new optional trim package called the Chrome Sport. It received a redesign in 2004, just ahead of its nextgen.

The second generation

The Pontiac Montana was redesigned for its second generation in 2004, retaining the original body style. In 2005, the second generation officially kicked off with an updated design that was less aerodynamic. It was more like an SUV and it was renamed the Montana SV6 according to Automobile Fandom. It was equipped with a 3.5-liter L V6 engine cranking 200 horsepower and 220 lb-ft of torque. In 2006, a more powerful 3.9-liter V6 engine was available generating 240 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. The AWD system was no longer available as the torque of the new engine was too much. The second generation was sold until 2009, at which time the Pontiac Montan SV6 was discontinued in North America. It was as though GM wanted to go out with a good version of the vehicle despite declining sales.

Issues with the Pontiac Montana

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ranked the Pontiac Montana low in its overall safety as a result of crash test results. The vehicle sustained extreme damage at 40 mph and received the rank of a worst-performing vehicle with a poor safety rating. Other issues identified include a major collapse of occupant compartments with little space for driver survival in a crash. The movement of the steering wheel caused dummy heads to snap backward, and the vehicle's inability to remain intact when crashing at low speed was alarming.

According to It Still Runs, the Montana also experienced issues with the drivetrain and engine with intake manifold gasket failure, leaking engine coolant, overheating, and severe engine failure. The electrical system had its share of issues with gauges and dashboard display issues, inaccurate fuel gauge readings, and even issues with the operation of the radio. Some of the models had loose battery wires and faulty batteries, problems with the power automatic windows, malfunctioning door locks, and faulty motor and corroded wiring as the culprits.

There were a lot of recalls issued for the Pontiac Montana minivan. From 2005 forward it seemed that the second generation of them failed to meet safety standards for poorly designed seats, bad latching systems, and other problems. There were issues with the door handles, with power doors, fuel pressure regulators, bad parking brakes, defective airbag systems, and much more. Overall the Pontiac Montana minivan was not built up to standards. There were several instances identified where it failed miserably. Most of them were recalled for one thing or another. The model had earned a reputation for being unsafe and unreliable. The use of cheap plastic materials for interior components became safety issues and drivers were not impressed with the lack of power they experienced with the drivetrain. Another common complaint was the loud wind noise in the minivan when it was driven at higher speeds.

Why was the Pontiac Montana discontinued?

It became obvious that the Pontiac Montana was riddled with problems. The overall design did not fare well in safety ratings and the vehicle was dangerous when involved in low-speed collisions. It simply had too many things wrong with it. Drivers were not willing to subject their families to the dangers involved in riding in the Montana. Soon after the issues with the vehicles were discovered sales began to decline. This was not a minivan that informed drives were interested in purchasing. While the vehicle had a few things going for it, the downsides were too much for any reasonable person to accept. Even though the recalled vehicles were repaired at no cost to the owners it was a hassle and it left Many with no confidence in the reliability of the vehicle. It was time to retire the Pontiac Montana in 2009.

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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