Ride around in the new Aztek by Pontiac and you'll draw attention. With its wide stance and tall profile, bulldog's face and wild styling, you can't help but notice it.
It is definitely different in appearance, but so too is its composition and purpose. Pontiac calls it the world's first SRV, or sport-recreation vehicle, a multi-purpose machine designed to support active lifestyles with plenty of space for hauling bicycles, kayaks, snowboards, skis and other recreational gear. Designers drew inspiration from a variety of sources, ranging from the multi-function Swiss Army Knife to the tone and feel of high-tech sports equipment like mountain bikes and scuba gear. The result is an interior that flips and folds and contorts as a highly individualized package with comfortable space for five passengers and lots of personal stuff for sport and play.
Core mechanical components come from Pontiac's front-wheel-drive Montana, so Aztek drives and rides with the easy-to-maneuver agility of a minivan, yet the tall stance and load-carrying capacity makes it act like a sport-utility wagon.
And that wild exterior package: Some say it's ugly. Pontiac calls it an aggressive statement pitched to a youthful, active audience.
A 3.4-liter V6 engine provides 185 horsepower to the front wheels through an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transaxle. In January 2001, the Aztek will be available with all-wheel drive; the AWD version uses GM's new Versatrak system, which has met favorable reviews.
Two models are available, Aztek and Aztek GT. The base Aztek at $21,445 packs an extensive list of standard equipment including frontal and side-impact airbags and anti-lock brakes. Air conditioning, power windows, power door locks and power mirrors are also standard. A GT package, beginning at $24,445, brings dual-zone heating and air conditioning, cruise control, traction control, remote keyless entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio controls, a removable console cooler and a rooftop rack for mounting recreational equipment.