Montana SV6 customers have new engines to choose from in 2006. In addition to the standard 3500 3.5L V-6, a beefier 3.9L V-6, rated at 240 hp, is available on front-wheel-drive models. A Sport Package that includes the new engine plus an engine-oil cooler, 17-inch chrome alloy wheels, and sport badges is also new this year. The availability of second-row side-impact air bags has also been added to the options list.
The Montana SV6 was introduced in an effort to shake the soccer-mom image that's all too common with minivans. From the beginning it was intended that the Montana SV6, which was introduced as a 2005 model, would phase out the older-styled Montana van from the Pontiac line. That happened this year, as the former Montana ceased production. The newer Montana SV6, like its GM siblings-the Buick Terraza, Chevrolet Uplander, and Saturn Relay-was purposefully designed to resemble an SUV on the outside, while maintaining utilitarian minivan features. The SUV styling gives the Montana SV6 a longer hood than conventional minivans, which has its practical side in that it puts the engine farther forward. That makes it safer for occupants and provides unencumbered cabin space. On the other hand, the SV6 sits low to provide easy access, and it has the characteristic van-like sliding door. It comes with captain's chairs in the front two rows and a third-row bench to accommodate up to seven passengers.
The Montana SV6 is available in front- (FWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) configurations. AWD models come with GM's exclusive on-demand Versatrak system. If one or both front wheels lose traction, more power is progressively transferred to the rear wheels. Versatrak can also transfer torque from side to side when necessary. FWD models offer StabiliTrak, GM's advanced electronic stability control system. The sophisticated system uses a variety of sensors to detect potential control problems and automatically responds by taking preventive measures to assist the driver.
Crossover sport vans like the Pontiac Montana SV6 account for more than 25 percent of the 14 models comprising the Midsize Van segment. As a segment it grew in calendar year 2005, thanks largely to the infusion of five new models.
Despite a decrease in unit sales for the year, the Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan retained its segment-leader status with 226,771 sales during the 2005 calendar year, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report.SM Interestingly, its next three closest competitors all saw increased sales: Chrysler Town & Country (180,759), Honda Odyssey (174,275), and Toyota Sienna (161,380). Other models with sales greater than 40,000 during 2005 include the Ford Freestar, Chevrolet Uplander, Kia Sedona, and Nissan Quest. The Montana SV6 ranked ninth in the segment in 2005 with 23,439 unit sales.