Even though you’re a full-size truck kind of guy, you may have stared at a Ford Maverick or a Hyundai Santa Cruz every time you see one on the road. The mid and full-size truck segments are saturated with a lot of pickup truck selections. However, when it comes to the compact truck segment, you can only find very few options.
Chevrolet has not joined the small truck bandwagon in the United States. However, they have already released an impressive small unibody truck in Brazil. There are rumors that the company plans to bring the unibody Chevrolet Montana to America. Will this be confirmed?
Montana in Brazil
When you hear the word Montana, you may think of the mountainous, landlocked division of the Western part of the United States. Montana has a Spanish motto “Oro y Plata” which means gold and silver when translated into English. It is known for its abundant mineral and natural resources, such as coal, gold, copper, silver, lead, oil, manganese, sapphire, and zinc.
Montana’s 2023 model steers in a new generation for Chevy’s small truck. Given the popularity of small pickups in the U.S. today, people are assuming that GM will be bringing Montana to the country. Despite the American-sounding name, the compact truck is sold in South Africa and Latin America. Montana is sold as Chevrolet Utility in African countries, and Chevy Tornado in Mexico.
In an official press release, the President and CEO of GM South America, Santiago Chamorro said that the innovative concept of Montana fits perfectly with the new values, habits, and needs of consumers. It is a truck that’s ideal for those who want a healthier lifestyle, but without compromising productivity and satisfaction. It is like a vehicle that provides harmony between work and leisure.
Compact truck rivals
General Motors go neck-and-neck with its rival Ford in North America. The rival automaker released a new compact truck called Maverick and brought the Ranger back for the 2019 model year. The blue oval badged updated its new Ranger model with safety features, but it was very similar in design and performance to the Ranger truck seen in the rest of the world.
The South Korean automaker, Hyundai, also entered the compact truck market to go up against Ford with its Santa Cruz. The younger demographic has been interested in today’s compact vehicles. A lot of consumers not just in the United States, but also around the world wanted to have these truck models when reservations were open.
Chevrolet — being a proud American brand established at the dawn of automobiles in 1911 — has a small truck model called Montana. However, the truck is only available outside the United States. Montana has been available in Brazil for quite some time, so you can say that it’s a fairly old truck. But Chevrolet is releasing a new
Chevrolet Montana is perhaps too small for the U.S. market. But in case it would become available in the country, it could be a contender for Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz.
Although Chevrolet Montana is not available in the United States, a lot of Americans are curious about this compact truck. Here are some of its features:
- Frame: The Montana truck started as a coupe utility and has been around since 2003. It isn’t as big as the usual trucks you’ll see on the road with body-on-frame construction. According to MotorTrend, Chevy has turned Montana into a compact unibody pickup truck for the 2023 model. Compact trucks are now a popular trend in the U.S. automotive market.
- Engine, drivetrain, and transmission: The truck shares a powertrain and platform with the compact SUV Tracker. It also has the same transmissions and engines found in Onix and Tracker. It is because the three vehicles ride on GM’s Global Emerging Markets platform. The truck has a single powertrain option of a 1.2-liter turbocharged Ecotec three-cylinder engine that produces 131 horsepower and 154 lb.-ft. Torque. The pickup is front-wheel drive and available in both manual and automatic transmissions.
- Suspension and tires: The company has released limited details on mechanical details. However, if Montana is based on the same platform as the Chevy Tracker crossover and Chevy Onix sedan, then we may see a torsion-beam rear end and a MacPherson-strut front suspension. Since it is a light-duty truck, you can choose from many tire brands, such as Nitto tires for its 16-inch rims.
- Payload capacity: According to Chevrolet Brazil, Montana has received a range of structural reinforcements to handle some hefty truck duty. The company says that the payload is close to half the truck’s weight. Assuming the truck weighs around 3,000 pounds, then the payload is around 1,500 pounds, give or take an additional hundred.
- Exterior: The truck has four doors and comes in glossy black paint. The spokes on the rims are also black to match the exterior. Replacing the factory rims and changing them with aftermarket products like Fuel wheels can help customize the look of the truck. It’s an easy way to put some personal touch on the looks of the vehicle.
- Interior: According to Alexandre Ameri, the Design Manager of GM South America, Montana has acoustic and dynamic comfort. If you go inside Chevy’s compact truck, it will make you feel like you’re riding aboard a real SUV. Designed with high attention to detail, the truck has a modern interior with more elaborate shapes, materials, and finishes. It has a center stack and consoles, comfortable seats that give a higher driving position, as well as other elements that provide a cozier ambiance.
- Infotainment: GM Authority has previously reported about the next-generation Chevy Montana. You may expect the infotainment system made with a touchscreen in one piece. It has an eight-inch touchscreen analog, physical controls, and an instrument cluster. The brand may also include other infotainment characteristics that are present in other latest-generation products.
- Cargo management: Chevy Montana has an innovative bed design called Multi-Flex Bucket. You can use it with a variety of cargo-organizing solutions as it is equipped with attachment points. The design of the multi-flex bucket provides division into compartments. There is a tray included, which is placed just behind the tailgate.
Possibility of coming to the States
GM’s Brazilian subsidiary carried out some market studies carried and found out that users of compact pickup trucks do not only look for versatility and robustness in their vehicles. Many truck buyers, both old and new, are also looking for a vehicle with a higher level of sophistication.
General Motors has not mentioned if the Montana truck coming to the U.S., but it may be at least several years before that happens. The Chicken Tax of the 1960s limits the importation of pickup trucks, cargo vans, and other vehicles produced outside America. The company might need to set up a factory in North America to sell Chevy Montana in the States. In that way, they can produce compact trucks to avoid the Chicken Tax.
But we should not lose hope. The company has the capital investments to build a new factory. They can also retrofit a different one to meet U.S. standards.