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Final-gen GM minivans should offer reliability

For many shoppers, the minivan delivers the ultimate in bang-for-the-buck when it comes to moving a family around.

For many shoppers, the minivan delivers the ultimate in bang-for-the-buck when it comes to moving a family around.

At General Motors, the Chevrolet Uplander and Pontiac Montana SV6 were the most recent offerings to the minivan-seeking masses.

Though cosmetically different, the underlying hardware in the Uplander and Montana were basically identical.

The following information, therefore, applies to both.

Engine

Power came from one of two V-6 engines: a 3.5-litre with 200 horsepower, or a 3.9-litre with 240. A four-speed automatic transmission was standard and All Wheel Drive was available.

What owners like

Most owners report a comfortable highway ride, smooth performance, plenty of interior space and a flexible cargo and passenger compartment layout. Gas mileage is rated strongly, relatively speaking.

What owners dislike

Complaints tend to include interior squeaking, rattling and trim wear as the vehicles age, as well as bland and uninspired styling.

Common issues

Problems stated with the newer GM minivan powerplants seem few and far between — and are mainly sensor related. If the engine and transmission’s service requirements have been adhered to, if it runs smoothly and if no “check engine” lights are illuminated, you’re well on your way. Be sure to “feel” for any transmission slipping — and avoid any model that exhibits it.

Avoid models with power sliding doors. These can be an expensive hassle when they fail.

Verdict

A well-maintained Uplander or Montana should be a machine from which owners can expect solid powertrain reliability, plenty of space and affordable pricing in the used market.

 
 
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