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1999 Pontiac Montana

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1999 Pontiac Montana Review

Sporty for a minivan, but it’s still no SUV.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

The Pontiac Montana was formerly known as the Trans Sport. The Montana tries to bridge the gap between a minivan and an SUV by offering the convenience of a minivan and the power of an SUV. While the Montana features a few sporty styling features and a powerful engine, it does not match an SUV’s capabilities.

The Range

Body Styles: regular minivan, extended minivan
Engines: 3.4-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Pontiac Montana

What's New

This year, the ""Trans Sport? changes its name to ""Montana."" There are also new sliding door options. The regular-length wheelbase model comes with one or two sliding doors, while the extended-wheelbase model has two doors with a right-side power-sliding option. Other new features include side impact airbags, 15-inch puncture-sealant tires, new two-tone paint choices, and four new exterior colors. There are now optional front-row leather seats, an overhead video system, a Sport Performance package with cast-aluminum wheels, traction control, and a specially-tuned sport suspension. In short, this vehicle has undergone a major overhaul and is almost like a brand new vehicle.

Exterior

The 1999 Pontiac Montana’s exterior features body-colored front and rear bumpers, a rear step bumper, body-colored body-side moldings and body-side cladding, and a body-colored grille. Fifteen-inch puncture-sealant tires come standard, as do fog lights and power heated mirrors. There are also new two-tone paint choices and four new exterior paint colors. The lone exterior option is a camper/towing package with a 2000-pound tow limit. The Montana is 72.7 inches wide, 67.4 inches high, and 187.3 inches long on a 112-inch wheelbase. The extended van is 201.3 inches long on a 120-inch wheelbase. Those opting for the Sport Performance package will get upgraded tires on alloy wheels and a roof rack.

Interior

The Montana can seat up to eight with optional modular seating. The front features cloth-covered bucket seats and a six-way driver seat and four-way passenger seat. The back row is best for children, since adults will find it cramped for anything other than very short trips. Other standard features include tinted glass, air-conditioning, a ventilation system with replaceable pollen filters, cruise control, power steering, a tilt steering wheel, power door locks, a day/night rearview mirror, and two 12-volt power outlets.

Options include four captain’s chairs, one child seat, keyless entry, leather seats, power driver and front passenger seats, steering wheel audio controls, leather-trim on the steering wheel, power windows, privacy glass, and an OnStar communication system. Perhaps the most noteworthy option is something called MontanaVision. It features rear audio controls for back passengers who can listen to CDs, cassettes, or the stereo via headphones, while front passengers listen to something else. It also features a drop-down LCD monitor with a VCR and a video game player. MontanaVision is targeted toward parents who need to keep their children entertained on long car rides.

As expected with a minivan, there are numerous storage features, including a lighted and locking glove box, an engine cover console with storage, front and rear cup holders, covered bin instrument panel storage, two seatback storage pockets, dual front door bins and rear door bins, and a front under-seat tray. The regular-wheelbase models have one or two sliding doors, while the extended-wheelbase models have two doors with a right-side power-sliding option. When the power door closes, it sometimes does not recognize that a person is in the way, so drivers will want to make sure kids know that they can push on the door to reverse its direction.

Performance & Handling

The Montana comes equipped with a 3.4-liter, V-6 engine that provides 185 horsepower with 210 lb-ft of torque. At 185 horsepower, the Montana offers five more horses than Chrysler’s top-of-the-line minivan offerings. The Sport Performance package offers sport-tuned suspension with automatic load leveling and traction control. Overall, the Montana has good acceleration and excellent braking. Visibility is good thanks to big exterior mirrors. The front seats are comfortable and the controls are easy to see and use.

Safety

Standard safety features include driver and front passenger airbags as well as side curtain airbags. Also included are four-wheel ABS, daytime running lights, puncture-sealant tires, power brakes, and adjustable rear head restraints. Optional features include traction control and an anti-theft alarm system. Warning gauges include oil pressure, low battery, engine temperature, low oil level, low coolant, lights on, and door ajar.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 1999 Pontiac Montana perfect five-out-of-five stars for side impact front and side impact rear. The Montana received three stars for passenger safety and four stars for driver safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the minivan its worst rating of ?poor? for frontal offset crashes.

EPA Fuel Economy

Pontiac Montana: 18/25 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Good safety features
  • Powerful engine
  • Sportier than most minivans

You Won't Like

  • Some cheap interior pieces
  • Cramped rear seats

Sum Up

Sporty for a minivan, but it’s still no SUV.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Toyota Sienna
  • Dodge Grand Caravan
  • Chevrolet Venture
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  • Honda Odyssey
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