Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Pontiac Montana Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Pontiac Montana Overview

Body
Round Up the Kids

Pontiac places it own sporty stamp on the minivan, making it a bit less terrifying for Dad to be seen driving. The Montana differentiates itself with more than just its rugged good-looks; it offers features you won't find on most other minivans. All-wheel-drive, an MP3 compatible CD player and standard side-impact airbags are just some of the many features available. For families that need room and comfort combined with bit of attitude, the Montana may be just the ticket.

Pontiac offers the Montana in as many variations as a minivan can possibly be offered-the idea being that there is no such thing as a "one size fits all" vehicle. Base models, denoted as Special Value, are stripped of all but the most basic requirements and can be ordered in either regular or extended wheelbase versions. The Special Value Montana is priced just under $25K and provides seating for seven including a integral child seat built into the second row; also onboard are cruise control, air conditioning, programmable power door locks and an AM/FM stereo with CD.

If cost is not a major factor in your buying decision, then the big sky's the limit with the Montana because you can load this van up with so many creature comforts you'll think you were signing for a second home by the time the paperwork arrives. Check off the 1SX option and you can equip your Montana with the Versatrak all-wheel drive system that greatly improves road holding as well as the ability to tow or forge through snow. Add the Thunder Sport appearance package, and your Montana takes on a whole new personality with 16-inch alloy wheels, self-leveling rear suspension and two-tone leather interior. Other popular options include remote power sliding side doors, a DVD-based rear entertainment unit and the multi-talented OnStar system that can be used to call for help, get directions, notify authorities when your airbags deploy and track your vehicle if it should fall victim to a thief.

For 2004, Pontiac now offers the option of XM satellite radio. With this option, you get 100 stations that play everything from hard rock to classical music. The best thing about owning satellite radio is that you'll never lose your station due to distance or terrain. With satellite radio, you could literally drive from New York to San Diego and never change the station. The system is installed at the factory, requiring only a small monthly fee for the service to be activated.

No matter which model you choose, you'll be pulled along by GM's venerable 3.4-liter Vortec V6 engine. With 185-horsepower and 210 lb-ft. of torque, the Montana's V6 is not exactly a powerhouse but it does provide enough pull to give acceptable acceleration combined with pretty good fuel mileage (19 mpg city/26 mpg highway). While the 3.4-liter is comfortable in the standard length front-drive models, the extended AWD versions really could do with something a bit more powerful, especially with rivals like Honda and Chrysler offering 200 plus horsepower in their top-of-the-line models.

If you find you're comfortable with the Montana's power, then the other aspects of ride and handling should be no problem. You'll find that from the driver's seat, you have a commanding view of the road and that the large side mirrors and expansive glass windows provide good visibility in all directions. The Montana's car-based chassis provides you with a low step in height, making it easy to get in and out of the front and center row seats. Both the second and third-row seats are split into a 60/40 configuration and the rear most seats can be folded flat or removed for extra cargo space. The Montana platform is not as wide as some of its competitors, which has its advantages and disadvantages. While you may find shoulder room to be a bit snug when sitting three across, the Montana's narrow frame makes it easy to maneuver in traffic and to park in tight spaces.

On the road, you'll find the Montana's ride to be generally pleasant, though more tire and road noise found their way into the interior than we'd have expected. The steering is light, with about average road feel; the brakes worked well and with standard ABS, stopped the Montana straight and true every time. The suspension is sprung lightly, so there is plenty of body roll when you push the Montana through fast turns and race-track like maneuvers, but in the real world of suburban and highway driving, you'll likely find the Montana to feel solid and stable.

Overall, the Montana represents a pretty good value for people who like a lot of toys in the their vehicles and who don't have medium size families who don't need exorbitant amounts space when they travel.

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