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2003 Pontiac Montana Review
Respectable performance, comfort, and features.
Reviewed by Automotive on
The 2003 Pontiac Montana minivan is a reasonably powerful, feature-laden, and comfortable minivan. It may not be a class leader, and it has a lot of cheap trim inside and out. However, it offers a solid value and a good ride as long as buyers avoid the Sport Performance and Handling Package that seems out of place on a family vehicle. The interior can be made a bit opulent and most desired features are at least available. It's a solid choice for most minivan buyers, although those seeking the best in terms of safety will want to shop around.
Engines: 3.4-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Montana Value, Montana base, MontanaVision
The 2003 Pontiac Montana receives a few small upgrades for 2003. The most significant change is the addition of an extended-length Value trim that has a standard 60/40-split bench second-row seat. There are now more stand-alone options to give the Value a greater range of customization.
The 2003 Pontiac Montana minivan is available in three trims: Value, base, and MontanaVision. The Value trim starts off with power door mirrors, roof rack, power rear windows, front fog lamps, and 15-inch steel wheels. The base trim adds heated door mirrors, a rear window wiper and defroster, as well as the option to include a passenger side rear power sliding door or auto-leveling suspension. Stepping up to the MontanaVision will add alloy wheels. An optional Sport Performance and Handling Package is available for all trims and includes a sport-tuned suspension with a rear load-leveling feature.
The 2003 Pontiac Montana's Value trim starts off with interior features including tilt steering wheel, air-conditioning, cruise control, power windows, remote keyless entry, power steering, cloth seats, and an audio system with AM/FM and CD player. The base and MontanaVision trims don’t really add much in the way of standard equipment but offers options not available on the Value trim including rear HVAC, OnStar, rear audio controls, a DVD-based entertainment system, steering wheel-mounted controls, power front seats, heated front seats, leather upholstery, and leather steering wheel trim. Ultrasonic rear parking assist is available as an option for extended versions only.
The 2003 Pontiac Montana offers a good amount of cargo space, especially the extended versions. The interior is filled with features but uses too many low grade materials and has a cheap look in places. It is rather comfortable, especially with options and can hold up to eight passengers.
Performance & Handling
The 2003 Pontiac Montana is powered by a 185-horsepower, 3.4-liter V-6 engine that produces 210 lb-ft of torque and mates to a four-speed automatic transmission. Versatrak all-wheel drive is an available option but only on extended-length version. Models not equipped with Versatrak are front-wheel drive. While not quick off the line, it will handle traffic situations well, especially after it has been allowed to rev up and go a little ways.
The 2003 Pontiac Montana has sportier handling than the class average, although the steering feels vague, and the body lean is noticeable. Front-wheel-drive models will display some torque steer in heavy acceleration settings. The optional Sport Performance and Handling Package improve overall agility and athleticism, but many will feel that the trade-off in ride quality simply isn’t worth it. The barking is controlled and solid on anti-lock brake system-equipped models, while the standard brakes are mostly sufficient.
The 2003 Pontiac Montana has car-like ride quality, a rather nice condition for a minivan, a mostly family vehicle that will pull long trip duties. The optional Sport Performance and Handling Package makes the ride rather jittery and not nearly as pleasant, so choose options wisely and really think about what is most important- handling or ride quality because the two conditions are mutually exclusive on this particular vehicle.
The 2003 Pontiac Montana Standard is equipped with safety equipment including side-impact airbags for the front seats that provide head and chest protection, anti-lock brakes, and puncture-sealing tires. Traction control is available in the Sport Performance and Handling Package. In NHTSA testing, it earned five out of five stars for side-impact front safety; four stars for driver, passenger, and side-impact rear safety; and three stars for rollover safety. The only test performed by the IIHS was frontal offset crash safety where it received the lowest score of ""poor."" Such mixed scores imply that it's reasonably safe, but neither a class leader for safety or an above average choice for buyers needing a noticeably safe family vehicle.
EPA Fuel Economy
- Available eight-passenger seating
- Available third-row seat
- V-6 power
- Available all-wheel drive
- Features and options
You Won't Like
- Some safety issues
- Cheap interior materials
- Unrefined power
Respectable performance, comfort, and features.
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