2003 Pontiac Montana EXT 3.4L Gasoline from North America


It's a great van that has exceeded our expectations


Front heater controls not working.

Occasional squeaks over bumps now.

General Comments:

First the bad stuff:

The front heater controls stopped working within the first 2000 miles of ownership. When I turned on the heater, it would just keep pumping out heat. This wasn't all bad since I bought the car at the end of January and this problem manifested itself by early March. The dealer and I had a mis-communication and they thought the rear heater controls were inop. Actually those worked OK. Turned out to be a cable had popped off one of the plenum doors that controls the air flow to the front passenger area. The second trip to the dealer straightened this out right away and has worked fine ever since. Warranty repair.

I don't particularly care for On-Star. I'm pretty independent so what it provides me isn't all that helpful to me. What they don't tell you is that it costs over $350/year for a subscription for their BASIC services. The first year is free when you purchase a vehicle so equipped. Having them unlock a door for me means I "have" to have their number handy AND a way to contact them because I cannot call them if I'm locked out of the car. You can use On-Star as a cell phone, but it costs $0.40 PER minute and you HAVE to use the minutes you buy within the time period or they're lost. If you have a roll-over crash (that's how I lost my '95 Pontiac TransPort) the antenna will most likely break off and On-Star is useless. If you have a crash that disables the battery or power to the On-Star circuitry, it's useless. If the van gets stolen and the thieves remove the On-Star fuse, it's useless and cannot be tracked. Compared to On-Star, I'm better off keeping a cell phone handy with me.

Now for the great stuff:

The Montana has been an absolute joy to own and use.

It's relatively quick (remember it's a van. It's not going to win any drag races here so don't get that idea. Truthfully, it could use a bit more power, but it works fine for what we expect from it.

Gets very decent gas mileage (20 city, 26+ hwy) for it's size. We're talking about a 3900lb vehicle that has been loaded with 6 adult-size people and all the vacation stuff a family that size takes.

VERY configurable to meet our ever changing family needs. I've hauled lawn mowers to cut friend's lawns, brought home large woodworking power tools (planer, tablesaw, bandsaw), hauled wood, took 4 teens and my wife and I on a vacation from Ohio to Florida, and been on several trips to other states.

One of the best investments I made on this van was the $400 towing package option. Beefier suspension, auto ride height adjustment, larger radiator, etc. It helps keeps the engine cooler during hot summer days and heavy loads (running with the A/C too).

At 6000 miles (2nd oil change), I started using Amsoil 5W-30 full synthetic oil and Amsoil filters. I replace the filter every 10,000 miles, and the oil & filter every 20,000 miles. The van starts without fail EVERY time, and runs as smooth as you can imagine. Never burns a drop of oil.

I've replaced the transmission fluid once so far at 40,000 miles. It's still shifting smoothly.

I have the electric side door openers also and they've worked great. The left side safety feature worked and was needed one time while on a vacation. My daughter tried getting out the left door while I was fueling the van. Stopped the door dead the way it should to prevent it from hitting the fuel door.

The original General tires lasted just over 59,000 miles. They really needed replacing by then. I now have Goodyear Assurance tires and the van handles a bit better. In snow and rain, the Generals did pretty good - never stranding me once. In the rain (so far) the Goodyears have been excellent. We'll find out about the snow part in a few months.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th September, 2005

2003 Pontiac Montana from North America


Comfortable, stylish for a mini-van


In the first week that I had the van, the brakes were squealing and thumping.

The dealer replaced the rear drums. The brakes still squeal, but don't thump anymore.

For the last 6 weeks when I turn it over to start it, it has hesitated to start once in a while. I replaced the battery 4 days ago because it wouldn't start at all and it seemed fixed until today when it did it again.

This thing really guzzles gas compared to my car. If I knew it was so bad on gas, I probably wouldn't have bought it.

General Comments:

This van is a comfy ride, and very handy with the flip up/down seats.

It seems to have enough power when passing.

I wish it had the daytime running lights that are always on. It has the parking lights that are always on, but you have to manually turn on the lights unless it is dark enough for them to come on automatically.

It feels like you are driving a school bus if you are not used to driving something the size of a van.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 19th October, 2004