Two of our favorite things about the Montana that you won't find in the nearly identical Chevy Venture and Oldsmobile Silhouette are 1) tires that don't squeal in corners until you're driving at sports sedan speeds, and 2) a steering wheel that's thick and meaty. These two things are directly related to a better driving experience.
In addition, the Montana now comes with the slick integrated video entertainment system that first appeared in the Oldsmobile Silhouette two years ago. If you like what electronics can offer your kids in entertainment and education, this system can change the way you travel.
The Montana is available in two lengths, one with a 112-inch wheelbase, another with a 120-inch wheelbase. All versions are just called Montana, with no suffixes of letters such as SE, LE, and so forth, so expect some confusion when used versions hit the auto shopper ads several years from now. Montana Regular Length retails for $23,805; Montana Extended Length goes for $24,915.
You'll want to spend some time figuring out the best seating arrangement. Seven-passenger seating is standard with two front buckets and two split-folding benches for the middle and rear seating rows. Another seven-passenger version comes with four captains chairs. Eight-passenger seating is available with modular bucket seats in the middle row and a split bench seat in the rear row. There's also a six-passenger version for the short-wheelbase model.
The long-wheelbase model is the only one available with the Montana Vision video entertainment system, which is a $2595 option. This is the model we tested. This minivan offers the same dimensions as the extended-length Chevrolet Venture and Oldsmobile Silhouette.
All models get two sliding passenger doors as standard equipment; all offer an optional curbside power-operated door.