The Pontiac Montana minivan is in its final year in 2005; it’s being replaced by the all-new and confusingly-named Montana SV6. Only the front-wheel-drive, extended-wheelbase version is available; the all-wheel-drive system optional in 2004 is not offered. Changes for 2005 are restricted to two new exterior colours, Sedona Beige Metallic and Dark Blue Metallic.

The Montana is a sister vehicle to the Chevrolet Venture, which is also in its last year; it will be replaced by the 2005 Uplander, which is based on the same structure as the Montana SV6, as well as the Buick Terraza and Saturn Relay.

The Montana is powered by a 3.4-litre V6 with a four-speed Hydra-Matic transmission, and comes in three trim lines. A previously-offered Special Value model is not available for 2005.

The base model includes air conditioning, fog lights, heated power mirrors, roof rack side rails, 15-inch aluminum wheels, cruise control, tilt wheel, power windows, cloth seats, integral child seat, CD player, disc/drum brakes with ABS, and power locks with keyless entry.

The mid-range SE adds rear air conditioning, overhead console, second-row captain’s chairs, and theft alarm. The GT adds leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, six-way power driver’s seat, CD/MP3 player with rear-seat audio controls and earphone jacks, sport suspension with automatic rear level control suspension and accessory inflator kit, and rear parking assist.

The Montana is a comfortable van that can transport even large adults on all-day driving trips with no cramps or backache. It’s roomy, and the seats fold or can be removed for extra cargo space. Its replacement is a decent ride, but the Montana has better rearward visibility than the incoming SV6. With dealers eager to move remaining stock off the lots, it should be easy to strike a good deal on a Montana. Keep in mind, though, that the new Montana SV6 scored a top rating of “good” for frontal crash protection in recent U.S. government crash tests; a 1997 Pontiac Trans Sport, built on the same basic platform as the Pontiac Montana, collapsed to the point that the crash test dummy’s foot broke off.

The Montana is built in Doraville, Georgia.

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