Pontiac Montana SV6 Review

Pontiac Montana SV6 Review

In response to strong competition and the perceived "soccer mom" stigma its midsize Montana minivan was suffering from, Pontiac hatched its Montana SV6 "crossover sport van." Based on the outgoing minivan's chassis, the SV6 stood taller and had a longer nose and surgically enhanced cladding along its sides to make it look more like an SUV. The results were an improvement, actually, and the Pontiac Montana SV6 ended up being the most rugged-looking minivan in the General Motors camp.

Despite these enhancements, however, sales of the Montana SV6 didn't exactly rebound to Pontiac's satisfaction. In fact, they continued to drop in its second and final year. Perhaps this was because the SV6 was really just a warmed-over Montana with an available 3.9-liter V6 engine and a few structural upgrades underneath to improve crashworthiness. Other improvements included optional seat-mounted side-impact airbags for second-row occupants, though such protection was still lacking in the third row. The SV6 was more family-friendly overall, however, seating seven with a fold-flat 50/50 third-row seat.

In sum, the Pontiac Montana SV6 was pretty much an ordinary minivan with beefed-up styling and acceptable levels of content and capability. But it still couldn't match the driving competence, safety features or popular conveniences of the day's top minivans.

Most Recent Pontiac Montana SV6

The Pontiac Montana SV6 minivan was sold for 2005 and 2006 only. Standard equipment included air-conditioning, an eight-speaker CD/MP3 sound system, rear-seat DVD entertainment and OnStar telematics. An options package added a passenger-side power sliding door, power driver seat, sport suspension and rear air-conditioning. An optional PhatNoise mobile digital media system allowed owners to store thousands of MP3s and/or several dozen movies. Other popular available items included dual power-sliding side doors, leather seating, heated front seats and rear parking assist.

The standard Montana SV6 engine was a 3.5-liter V6 (200 horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque) coupled to a four-speed automatic transmission and available in both front-wheel and all-wheel-drive versions. For 2006 models, an optional 3.9-liter V6 was available. It generated a healthier 240 horses and 240 lb-ft of torque, but was offered on front-drive SV6s only. On the safety front, second-year SV6s also benefited from optional second-row side airbags.

Inside, the Pontiac Montana SV6's cabin featured a pleasing color scheme with bright, metallic-looking accents. Convenient folding center trays were available in the first two rows, and an adjustable overhead rail system provided rear passengers with access to climate and entertainment controls as well as additional storage. A couple of options made life much more convenient and comfortable for all: The PhatNoise digital media system meant no longer hassling with CDs or DVDs on the road, while remote vehicle starting made it easy to warm the van on chilly mornings.

We found the standard V6 to be underpowered compared to other minivans in its class, so we recommend that shoppers look for the punchier 3.9-liter V6. The Montana SV6's standard suspension was tuned to deliver a soft, smooth ride, and we found handling response about average for this type of vehicle. SV6s with the optional sport suspension did offer sharper handling, but did nothing to improve its excessive turning radius, which sometimes made maneuverability difficult in tight quarters.

Pontiac Montana SV6 years