2011 Chevrolet Montana Debuts in South America

2011 Chevrolet Montana Debuts in South America

General Motors has introduced the latest version of its car-based Chevrolet Montana pickup that's sold in South America, Latin America and Africa.

The Montana's exterior styling is (ahem) controversial. We haven't seen an ugly truckling like this since the Pontiac Aztek. But there's something compelling about its mini footprint and work capabilities that defy its small stature.

The 2011 Chevy Montana shares the same platform as GM do Brasil's new Agile hatchback city car. The two-door, two-passenger ute is front-wheel drive. It's lazily propelled by a 97-horsepower, 1.4-liter four-cylinder flex-fuel engine and five-speed manual transmission that goes from zero to 62 mph (100 kilometers per hour) in about 12 seconds. Torque is rated at just 95 pounds-feet of torque.

Not turned on by those figures? The Montana's highway fuel economy is more than 30 mpg.


The Montana can work hard, too. It can haul up to 1,671 pounds in its cargo box — the same weight as a regular cab long-wheelbase two-wheel-drive Ram 1500 with a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 — supported by its rear semi-independent torsion beam suspension. There's an independent McPherson suspension up front.

Pricing starts at $18,720 for the entry-level version and runs to a steep $25,770 for the sportiest model with airbags and navigation.

Why are we covering this foreign truck?

In June, during GM’s Global Business Conference in Warren, Mich., Jamie Ardila, president of newly established GM South America, hinted that the Montana could come to the U.S. if GM North America were interested in the product.

"The Montana is a stylish, car-derived pickup with a modern, dynamic shape," Ardila said. "The Montana is also exported to Mexico, and the new version will be exported to Argentina and South Africa. If you are interested in the U.S. market, by all means place your order."


Production of the current U.S.-built Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon is expected to end by 2012. While the rest of the world will get a next-generation Colorado to compete with the likes of the Ford Ranger T6, Volkswagen Amarok and Toyota Hilux, GM has no direct successor for the Colorado planned in the U.S.

But as we previously reported, GM is said to be working on a new pickup for the U.S. that would take the company back to its compact truck roots. Perhaps that truck would be similar in size to the Montana, though tough truck styling would be mandatory instead of the Montana's swoopy, wild lines.


Styling aside, would something the size of the Montana with its capabilities work for U.S. buyers? Sound off with your opinion below.


Umm....that's some styling?

But aside from styling. I think the US is slightly interested in utes again. The Pontiac ST was warmly received and honestly anticipated, but the demise of the brand was a nail in that coffin. I'm not sure if people want a small ute though. Maybe a Malibu/Impala based trucklet would be a better start, but then again, a very small truck would be what many people are hoping for, maybe not the most capable thing in the world, but a good runabout truck, sorta how the Transit Connect has been warmly received.

See this is what I've been talking about. Ford has a direct competitor to this called the Bantam as does Nissan. These have been out in South Africa branded as Opel Corsa for 10 + years. They get the job done!

Lou, are you being cynical? You're are joking right? :) You probably haven't even hit 3k miles yet .
It would be good for urbanites that need a good truck to haul things like home depot purchases and the like. It would fit in a parking garage with no problem too.

@ Lou
Seriously Lou? You would trade down from an f-150 for that trucklet? It makes a Ranger look large. I could see a full frame compact but I think that thing is a unibody? Its good to see not everyone is bolting from the small truck market tho.

People have to realize that these trucklet's wouldn't replace 1/2 tons and HD's. They are what they are, the 'mini segment' if you will. The same idea as the Ford Transit Connect in the van market. It will never replace the full size, but great for someone who doesn't need the full size capabilities.

@GM upper-echelons (if you're even reading this...)
You are only allowed to bring the Montana to U.S. and Canada if you offer it with a ~1.5 turbo diesel. We want something that does 35-40 mpg!

why don't they just bring the real wheel drive full size car platform to america again and make it right and for the public. they need to fulfill agreement with holden, they are going to make caprice cop car, they used to make g8 and almost g8 sport truck, they make camaro off of that platform, WHY THE HECK WILL THEY NOT MAKE A NEW CHEVROLET EL CAMINO BASED OFF THAT PLATFORM? they would have all the right bases covered because america wants some sort of small "pickup", i hope we don't want an underpowered I4 like above, you really don't need extended, crew cab, long bed, 4 wheel drive midsize or small trucks because you can get big ones, so just give us a car based reg cab short bed 2 wheel drive el camino with 2.0 direct injection turbo, 3.6 direct injection and new gen V V8 with 6 or 8 speed autos and a 6 speed manual. It would be sporty and fun with good fuel economy and not tap into sales the real trucks.

This is a discrace to Montana, I think vehicles named after states is just plain dumb...AND if they were going to name a vehicle after the state of Montana it better be just as beautiful and BIG as Montana...not so damn small like this ugly thing is.

Give us a truck the size of a first generation S10 with a revised 4.3L V6 for standard option and a small Turbo Diesel for those who want it Give the Crew Cab version a reasonable sized bed, at least 6ft long, and I will trade in my Sierra.

That wasn't the real Lou who posted that comment. It's been deleted.

That's a fun looking truck. I like it.

lol @ synrgy, but Montana does have a HUGE RV named after it. I'll take one of those thanks! But I will need something just a little bit bigger than this crappy, weak, pathetic, ugly, slow Chevy Montana to pull it.

This is how it all starts! First a puny, car based mommy wagon shows up, then all the real suvs disappear. Next a puny car based pickup shows up and the next thing you know--well you get the idea.

Wow! an imposter Lou? whoda thunk it?

CAFE is coming... the manufacturers have to adapt, and at a reasonable cost.

Maybe I'm getting to old but NOT a fan of the styling. Reminds me of the Subaru Baja (I think that was the name). Just needs a jump seat or a surf bd holder. Rear 1/4's a hint of Toyota pick ups. Does nothing for me.

@ supercrew02, i think you're referring to the Subaru Brat


I know the majority of PUTC readers would not want to even see this thing on the Internet, but it IS a compact truck, and it gets awesome gas mileage, and it is suitable for the economical users doing daily commuting and hauling light stuff. It would (hopefully) be offered as an ALTERNATIVE rather than a replacement for a true truck. It depends on what you do with it. But that's just me...I like anything with a truck bed. Wishful thinking...

See this is what I dont understand: You can get a car in three to five sizes and SUV/crossover in three, why not different flavors and sizes of pickup...my the poor marketing and sales these days with trucks!

I am going to have to give that thing a thumbs down way down , we need a small pickup with a separate cab and bed with a frame or a uni body like the old Jeep Comanche .

I think it would actually do well in the US. As far as the appearance, the body style is no worse than the current Silverado.

A Cruz or cobalt style truck!!! LOL

This thing would be a great fit for my needs! It would be even better with a diesel, of course, but flex-fuel is good enough on some days to address the uncertainty I feel about oil supplies over the next 20-30 years. The 97hp and 12-second 0-60 time are within my personal envelope for acceptability. I'd pay extra for AWD, but FWD is probably good enough for the bad weather that I drive through.

I'm a weekend DIYer, so I really just need to be able to haul plywood, and MPGs matter.

No, the styling doesn't turn me on. But, it's a utility vehicle for me, and the point is to haul heavy objects (4'x8' sheets of plywood/MDF/sheetrock and lumber to feed my woodworking habit) using as little fuel as possible. If I want to make a personal statement, I'll put a bumper sticker on it.

Yes, this car should be sold in the USA. Maybe a few people will buy this instead of a Silverado -- but who cares, it's the right tool for the job for a lot of people. If a suburban white-collar DIYer like me drives a Silverado 5 miles to Home depot or 2.5 miles to the office, it looks like I'm trying to compensate for being a little lacking in the masculinity department. A guy with the balls to drive something that looks like the truck in the picture ain't got nothin' to prove, and just needs to carry stuff home from the hardware store.

YES the Brat

@ RLM, Yes it does resemble the Cruze and Cobalt. While I'd probably never buy one, I think it looks good and should be sold in the states, preferably with a diesel, but even a direct injection gas engine (like Ford's EcoBoost) would be good. A good "trucklet" to have would be a reincarnation of the old 1960-65 Ford Falcon Ranchero.

Fake Lou's again.
These guys with Multiple Personality disorders are pathetic. They have nothing better to do at 3 am. No job, no girl, no wife, no life.
If I'm awake at 3 am I'm either working or well, you get my point.

Back on topic. I'm not sure i like the style, but maybe I'm like supercrew02 - getting old.
I'd say - import it and see how it sells.

Dodge Rampage all over again.
One difference though...
Rampage could do 0-50 in 6.5 seconds and still get 25/41 mpg.
And forward body parts were all 024/TC3,so much more common and cheaper to repair.

Buyers were crazy back then not to buy the Rampage/Scamp twins,they were way ahead of their time.

@ Paul - "they were way ahead of their time."
Your quote is just a pleasant euphemism for "no one wanted the ugly things".

"so this is what dear leader chairman mao-bama had in mind for us pickup guys! now i feel so confident about towing my skeeter bass boat and my families fitfh wheel around!!!!"

I actually just cut and pasted that from the M-B mini truck comments because I though it was so funny. How about something like this (modern uni-body car/crossover based) about the size of the Chevy Traverse? And for that matter how about a Ranger replacement based on the Flex (It'd look like a late 60's F150, especially in 2 tone). Since the dealers seem interested in selling the full sized trucks, and not the Colorado, or Ranger, I think something a little further from the full sized trucks would be the way to go.

like the smart car version of a truck

The truck in this article is basically a GM version Transit Connect with an open bed.

My wife saw a Transit Connect the other night, and suggested that it might be a good replacement for my Ranger for our real needs, even though I'd initially written it off because the cargo area is only 6' long. But she's totally right that I can use roofracks and/or open the back doors when I need to haul something long, and the (removable?) rear seats would make it convertible between family-hauling duty and plywood-hauling duty. I think she also thought I'd like it's funky looks. She's a smart cookie. :-)

That raises the question: why isn't GM at least trying to compete with the Transit Connect? The HHR is the closest thing they have, and I've rented one and it's a car and not a van -- regardless of what CAFE considers it. And why isn't Ford releasing a Ute version of the TC?

Anyway, I'm just trying to add some out-of-the-box comments to the discussion.

@ Luke - from what I've read - Ford is hoping that Ranger clients will either move up to an F150, get a compact car or SUV?CUV or Transit Connect. They are confident that they will not loose many clients due to the range of products that can replace the Ranger.

I'm shopping for my 20-year truck. The idea is that I'll replace my Ranger with something that will be used for 20 years worth of weekend home improvement projects. A vehicle will be available for all of the things that my wife's sensible little AtoB car can't do.

The F-150 is not in the cards for me -- it's too big, and when it's outfitted for my purposes it costs about $40k which is more than I will pay for any vehicle.

But now Transit Connect is on the table for my 20-year truck, along with the Jeep Gladiator and the Mahindra. Very different vehicles with very real tradeoffs between them, but hopefully I'll get to drive them all in 2012 and see what works. :-)

The Jeep Gladiator probably has an edge when it comes to parts-availability and future-proofing, but the exact size and shape of the bed matters a lot to me. I love the looks of it, but I'd be a poseur since I never go offroad. A diesel engine is essential.

The Mahindra was exactly what I had in mind when I started looking for a 20-year truck, but I don't know how hard it will be to mail-order parts from India in 20 years.

The Transit Connect's cargo area is a little small short, but it's the right width, but I really like that the rear seats are removable (with a Torx wrench), so that I can convert it between family-hauler and cargo-hauler with a few turns of the wrench. I also like the basic utilitarian-ness of it -- it's kind of like what a pickup truck was supposed to be. I wish it had a diesel version -- I loved my Jetta TDI.

While 4WD/AWD would be nice, but FWD should be good enough for my bad-weather purposes.

I sure would like to be able to add the truck in the article to this list, too. It looks like it has a lot of good qualities for a light-duty weekend hauler.

The State of Montana should sue.

Reminds me of the original Subaru Brat, just shrunk in the wash.

As for the looks, I don't mind the outside, but the gage cluster is horrible!

My wife and I did see a older vesion of this, couldn't tell you the year, but maybe two generations older at most, and my wife said it was cute.

Personally, I think this truck would sell quite well here in the states. However, it would best be marketed as a limited-availability commercial utility vehicle for fleet customers, with a few available to the general public in anyone is interested. I stll wish that GM would consider replacing the Colorado/Canyon with the ROW replacement for the Colorado. With the Ranger about to die and Mahindra up in the air, we need a decent small truck to buy. I'd even opt for a Tata Xenon, so I'm hoping that Land Rover will build and sell it here. No hate on Tacoma, Frontier and Equator, but those trucks aren't really that interesting.

BTW, I just saw a picture of the VW Amarok single cab pickup on GoAuto.com.au's website. I've already started buzzin VW America about changing their minds and selling it here.

That's a funny Opel Corsa variation, but unfortunately that are the work cars, we drive here in Europe...

WE need a good small pickup, the Tacoma owns the landscape right now - if GM slapped some sheetmetal on this to make it look like a truck, and added a small diesel, they would sell a TON.

for the US market the platfrom will need to be rwd in a uni-body.

the Tornado/Montana is too small for the US market and under powered

but hey if the bring a diesel it would be swell but it highly unlikely

Why not update the current Colorado? 6-speed trannies would make a big difference in fuel economy.

"the Tornado/Montana is too small for the US market and under powered"

Not for me! It's just about right for me.

Sure would be nice if GM would listen to their buyers.
We need a small or midsize truck that looks and rides good, is dependable, has a nice range of options and fits in our garage.
Built it and we'll buy it !

I don't understand, when gas was around $4.00 a gallon the auto companies were talking about producing fuel efficient vehicles I mean well over 30 miles a gallon. Ford was going to start selling their european vehicles in the U. S. which are much more fuel efficient, Fiat had vehicles that are real gas savers, Chevrolet was going to sell vehicles only produced in other countries here in the U. S. because they were so much more miserly with the fuel. Lest we forget!, what has happened with that line of thought, you see ads on television pushing the big gas guzzler trucks and cars. I would appreciate it if Chevrolet would start selling a pick up truck the size of the Ford Ranger as it is in 2010, fuel efficient and priced so the average person can afford it. Auto manufacturers should stop touting 22 miles a gallon as terrific, we need vehicles that get 30 plus miles a gallon. I have a ford ranger now, when I need a new set of wheels I don't want to go any bigger so I'll probably keep my eye on what Chevrolet is doing.

Can anyone say SUBARU BRAT!!!??? It's about time!

I had a 1988 Dodge Ram 50 (aka Mitsubishi Mighty max) for about 12 years and it was a good and small truck that met my needs. The Subaru Baja 4 door truck is a perfect size but they stopped making it, at least for the US market.
The Montana is about right for many of us looking for small size and great economy. But it may not get here because, as the posts here show, some want a larger engine, some want a diesel option, 6 speed transmissions, more sheet metal, and so on. So I think it unlikely GM will bring it to the US.
Still I hope one day the smaller trucks will make a comeback.

In Africa we need small utility vehicles such as these as they fit the day to day tasks perfectly in suburban areas. The idea is not to pull huge things behind it but to transport evryday goods and supplies. Google the South African developed Mazda Rustler from the early 1990's and Ford Bantam 1st generation from the mid eighties to the Mazda based Bantam of the 90's right trough to the last generation Ford fiesta based version. Great stuff GM! Awaiting the new generation Montana to replace the Opel Corsa Utility in anticipation! Adapting to the REAL needs of a new generation rather than what people think they might need!

i am so glad this internet thing works and your article really helped me.

I'm ready to buy one today. Please make it available in the U.S. ASAP!

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