The previous generation Chevrolet Montana (also known as the Tornado) was sold between 2004 and 2001 and was especially developed for the emergent markets, being mostly sold in the South America.
The small Montana offered the utility of a full-sized pickup and the comfort and maneuverability of regular a passenger car.
Given its utilitarian nature the 2004 Chevrolet Montana was also very efficient and its 30mpg on the highway attracted the interest of many buyers. The truck was also pretty practical and had a maximum payload capacity of 1600 pounds.
Under the 2004 Montana’s hood there is a 1.8-liter, inline-four-cylinder engine rated at 104 horsepower and 118 pounds-feet of torque.
The old generation Chevrolet Montana was a pretty nice looking pickup truck and served as strong design base for the new model.
The vehicle was built on the GM’s subcompact Gamma platform and looks different from any other full sized pickup built by the company. The front end was pretty clean and came with a thin grille which bared the company’s badge in its center. The hood was slightly raised and was traversed by two sharp creases which pointed toward the grille.
The triangular headlights were significantly smaller than the ones from the new generation, but they coped well with the rest of the design.
The bumper didn’t come with any special lines and looked pretty dull. Though, we liked the modern fog lamps, as they are nicely integrated into the bumper’s lines.
The hood and the windscreen were slightly raked to improve, the vehicle’s aerodynamics, while the rear shoulder line was pretty pronounced, underlining the rugged character of the vehicle.
On each side of the load bed there are two neatly integrated foot steps to help you during loading and unloading operations. The Chevy Tornado’s cargo box is failry big and measures 66.5 inches by 55 inches.
As it was expected, the compact exterior dimensions affect the interior space and the cab feels pretty cramped. Though there is enough leg room for an average sized adult. The dashboard features a pretty basic design, but we like its round edges and the shiny center console. Luckily, the clean design is combined with a pretty good ergonomy and smartly placed controls. On top of the center stack there is a small information display which keeps you posted on various stats.
The instrument panel is fitted with a series of big gauges which are fairly easy to read during both night and day trips.
The plastics and materials are better than what you’d usually find in a full sized pickup, but don’t expect to luxury. The build quality was pretty solid and the fittings looked ready to endure the punishment of harsh working conditions without backing down.
The seats are fairly supportive and you’ll find enough adjustments to help you get cozy behind the steering wheel. The three spoke steering wheel comes with an ergonomic design and offers a nice, confident grab. It’s also offered with a few integrated controls, to make your life onboard easier.
The all-around visibility is decent, but we find the thick windscreen pillars a bit obtrusive.
Luckily there are enough storage spaces around you, so you won’t have any problem in finding a place to store your things. There is also more than 5.5 cubic feet of space behind the Tornado’s two seats, good enough to stow bigger items.
Engines and performance
The 2004 Chevrolet Montana was powered by a 1.8 liter inline four cylinder unit which came with 105 hp on tap and a peak torque of 118 pounds-feet of torque. The engine is married to a standard five speed manual transmission which is pretty refined and responsive.
The four cylinder unit was pretty refined and coped well with the demands of a compact utility pickup. The cabin however, could’ve come with a better isolation as every time you’ve pushed the diesel harder its vibrations were send inside without too many restrictions.
After you fire up the engine, keep your foot plated on the go pedal and you’ll reach the 60 mph mark in 10 seconds which isn’t a sporty figure, but it’s a decent performance. However, the great part with this engine is the low fuel consumption which is god for 23 mpg in the city. A number that can’t be rivaled by any other full sized pickup.
Ride and handling
On road, the Chevrolet Montana is pretty civilized and comes with a decent level of ride comfort. Though, as most trucks of its type, the ride will significantly improve if there is some load carried at the back.
The relatively firm suspension gives the Montana decent body control when tackling corners or undulating roads and the steering is reassuringly weighty. Though, there’s a shortage of rear-end grip when the loadbay is empty.
The 2004 Chevrolet Montana had a lot to be loved for. It had a pretty generous payload capacity, a comfortable cab and a highly efficient engine.
The ride and handling were also at par with what you’d usually find in this segment and the price was pretty competitive.
Overall the, Montana represents a viable option for those seeking for a trustful work partner which is capable to carry medium loads around without requiring big amounts of fuel.