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2005 Pontiac Montana SV6: Exterior and Interior

EXTERIOR

The Pontiac Montana SV6 blends the rugged looks of an SUV and the functionality of a mid-van. Its expressive appearance answers the emotional appeal customers feel with contemporary SUVs, while carrying the sporty, sophisticated styling indicative of Pontiacs - from the new G6 sedan to the upcoming 2006 Solstice roadster.

The SV6 has a bold front-end design, with SUV-like styling cues, such as the appearance of a lower skid plate. The molded skid plate design element actually houses a large air intake for the 3500 V-6 powertrain.

"As with other new Pontiacs, the SV6's styling conveys power, strength and agility," said Jack Folden, design director for GM's front-wheel-drive truck team. "The SUV styling gives the vehicle a strong presence - you definitely don't mind being seen in it."

Contemporary SUV styling traits are apparent in the longer, horizontal hood and squared-off front fascia, as well as the wide, body-color C-pillars. The bold pillars communicate SUV-style solidity and are a prominent design feature of the SV6. Standard, aggressive 17-inch wheels and tires also transmit the confidence of an SUV, as does the optional brushed silver roof rack. Designed with a sporty-looking tubular shape, with satin-finish side rails, the rack provides a rugged accent to the vehicle.

Balancing the sporty styling are the traits and features that make mid-vans so convenient, including dual power rear side doors and a low step-in height that makes entry easy. The SV6 also has interior functionality and space that most SUVs simply can't offer.

Augmenting the SV6's crossover styling are numerous details designed to enhance the vehicle's premium look and feel, including headlamps that wrap back and over the hood, shortening the look of it while carrying a high-mounted position that adds to the vehicle's SUV characteristics. They also provide great visibility, with four halogen-bulb lamps housed in bezels that create a high-tech, mechanical appearance.

The park/turn signal/daytime running lamps are combined in a bold lamp design in the bottom of the front fascia. Crystalline lenses set in deep cavities create the appearance of a foglamp - the intensity of the headlamps makes foglamps unnecessary - and bolster the SV6's sporty image.

"The Montana SV6 has a very distinguished look from the front," said Folden. "It's a face you'll remember."

Tighter tolerances

Exterior gaps and tolerances have been reduced considerably to improve overall quality and elevate the SV6's fit and finish to among the segment's best. The closer gaps give the SV6 an integrated, smoother flow from one body panel to the next. The front fascia is mounted flush against the front fenders to create a seamless, one-piece appearance.

A two-tone color scheme is standard on the SV6, giving a richer overall appearance. Chrome accents around the Pontiac-signature twin-port grille also convey richness. At the rear, taillamps with red crystal, or jewel-like, translucent lenses pick up the shape and treatment of the headlamp bezels to create design continuity with the front lighting.

Design detail also is seen in SV6's standard 17-inch sporty wheels. Base models have five-spoke wheel covers which are among the largest in the competitive set, while the bold, uplevel aluminum five-spoke wheels have a chrome appearance.

INTERIOR

The Montana SV6 has a highly refined interior, with uncompromising quality, comfort, safety and versatility. It offers expanded storage, a third-row 50/50-split stowable bench seat, segment-leading features and a convenient overhead rail system.

"Comfort and utility are balanced with superior quality, fit and finish," said Michael Stapleton, design manager and lead interior designer for the new crossover sport vans. "From the touch of the controls to the richer, low-gloss appearance of the materials, the SV6's interior exudes quality that puts it at the top of its class."

Bright accents, including rings in the instrument cluster, convey Pontiac's performance roots. The instrument pointers are red and the cluster has a black background and unique red nighttime lighting. The SV6 also features unique, brushed aluminum spokes on the steering wheel, color-coordinated with the brushed aluminum divider between the upper and lower IP and the brushed aluminum trim panel on the radio and HVAC system. A color-keyed, leather-wrapped steering wheel, with secondary audio controls, is optional.

The instrument panel has large, easy-to-reach knobs and intuitively placed controls. A new driver information center provides a variety of usable features and has warning signals or alerts for up 56 vehicle functions.

Other details include:

- Doorplates also feature the brushed aluminum finish.
- New ebony switches.
- Chrome accents on the three-door airflow directional controls of the HVAC system.
- Interior color selections include ebony upper/medium gray lower color combination and an ebony upper/medium cashmere lower combination.
- Base model features uplevel all-cloth seats in all three rows (including second-row bucket seats and captain's chairs).
- Uplevel packages offer available soft Nuance leather seats in the first row (available with first-row side impact side air bags) and on the second-row captain's chairs. The third-row seat is covered in protein vinyl, a new material with a very soft, supple look and feel.
- Heated cushions are available for driver and front passenger leather seats.
- Heating and air conditioning dynamics provide much quicker heat up and cooling. Climate control to the rear seats is adjustable and dashboard vents have positive airflow shut-off.
- New 110-volt/150-watt AC household style power outlet is available.

Drivers and passengers will appreciate the improved comfort and craftsmanship of the three rows of seats. The second- and third-row seats are both foldable and removable. The standard second-row bucket seats fold and tumble up against the front seats for increased storage and easy third-row access when the optional second-row utility box is installed. The available captain's chairs, wider than the bucket seats and equipped with armrests, fold flat to permit carrying long objects without having to remove the seats.

The 50/50 split-stowable third-row, fold-flat bench seat provides the flexibility busy people need for their active lifestyles. The unique fold-down design permits full-time access to the vans' cargo system and convenience features.

"From the outset, the seating configurations and their functionality were designed to be intuitive and easy to operate," said Stapleton. "We took the same approach to cargo storage - it wasn't enough to have many storage nooks and crannies; they had to be convenient, logical and sized appropriately."

Cargo capability

The Montana SV6's overhead rail system integrates the rear HVAC and audio controls, lighting and rear-seat entertainment system/DVD into a single unit. Snap-in storage and accessory modules provide more flexible storage options and contribute to the interior's upscale look.

Each of the three storage modules is approximately 12 inches by 10 inches, with a door that flips open. These dimensions allow customers to snap in any of a variety of specially designed inserts, for items such as CDs, flashlights, DVDs, sunglasses, cell phones, PDAs, or a first-aid kit.

The Montana SV6 also offers a spacious and flexible rear convenience center/cargo system. With its doors closed, the box-like cargo system's height lines up with the folded third-row seat, providing a level load floor with more depth for carrying items behind the second row. The system's doors are split down the middle to line up with the split/folding third row seat. This allows folding or stowing one side of the seat and one side of the cargo system and creating a flat load floor for carrying long objects on one side while permitting passengers to sit on the other side.

The cargo system has three dividers, running from front to rear, which create four storage compartments, thoughtfully sized to hold such items as milk and orange juice containers, 12-packs of soda, and grocery bags. The forward edge of the dividers is cut to create a wide compartment capable of storing longer items, such as golf umbrellas.

Entertainment enhancements

The latest in entertainment systems are available - including XM Satellite Radio, a DVD player with flip-down screen and integrated controls, and the stunning Mobile Digital Media Powered by PhatNoise system.

Montana SV6's DVD unit also provides auxiliary video and audio inputs for video games and camcorders. A parent could record a child's soccer match, for example, and immediately play it back from the camcorder on the DVD system's screen for the ride home. Integrated with the vehicle's standard audio system, passengers can listen to audio through the speaker system or via headphones.

Additionally, the seat back storage system offers a logical place to store headphones, a remote control, personal CD players, video games or magazines - once again demonstrating GM's understanding of passengers' entertainment needs. Seat-back storage units are standard on all first- and second-row captain's chairs.

The Montana SV6 also is the first vehicle in its segment to offer the PhatNoise entertainment system - ushering in the next generation of in-vehicle entertainment choices. With the PhatNoise system, a wallet-size 40-gig hard drive is mounted in the overhead rail system, providing a staggering amount of versatility. The system's capabilities include:

- Storing and playing back up to 10,000 songs in MP3, WMA or WAV formats.
- Storing and playing up to 40 movies in MPEG format (standard format for movies).
- Storing and playing a combination of songs and movies.
- The ability to provide the software for playing a video game.
- The ability to provide a voice-browsing interface - if the driver wants to listen to music, the system tells him or her over the radio speakers the song's name, allowing the driver to run through a list of stored music using steering wheel buttons.
- Listening to books, magazine or newspaper articles recorded on a PC.
- Allowing simultaneous listening to two entertainment sources.
- Downloading digital camera pictures through a USB port in the PhatNoise cartridge and playing them back on the DVD screen.

"The PhatNoise system is the only one available to accommodate audio, video and games in one compact cartridge," said Stapleton. "It seamlessly integrates with the SV6's existing audio and video system."

The PhatNoise system's hard drive is easily removable, so it can be connected to a home PC or laptop to download computer files for playback in the SV6, giving passengers an unprecedented level of entertainment customization.

Fit and finish

In addition to its flexible, ingenious features and segment-leading entertainment choices, the SV6's interior fit and finish stands head-and-shoulder with the best in the class. Engineers benchmarked the best competing vehicles from Japan and Europe, ensuring tight gaps and flush surfacing. Combined with the rich-looking two-tone color scheme, the tight component fit adds the look and feel of precision to the SV6's passenger environment.

Gaps on the instrument panel cluster, HVAC vents and passenger-side air bag have all been narrowed to 1 mm. Instrument panel components also are within 1-mm of flush with the surface, creating a seamless appearance that is picked up by the flush-mounted radio and HVAC control panel.

Quality also is felt on the instrument panel's top pad, which has a luxuriously soft feel and grain. The instrument panel is painted with a low-gloss, soft-touch paint with a graining that gives the appearance of being soft - although the panel is actually rigid.
 
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