Seeing the news that Ford is expected to come out with a small pickup truck priced under $20,000 reminded me of another vehicle just outside of our reach. It’s the Chevrolet Montana, it’s already on sale, and it will cost you about $12,000 USD. Well, not USD, because we can’t buy it here.
I first went looking for the Montana in my favorite national Chevrolet market, Chevrolet Uruguay. That’s where I first saw this wonderful little pickup listed for sale, along with all kinds of other interesting living fossils from China and South Korea. Surprisingly, Chevy Uruguay no longer lists the Montana for sale, but neighboring Brazil sure does.
You can still log on to Chevrolet.com.br and find yourself a Montana starting at $57.150, or about $12,300 USD going off today’s exchange rates. Chevy Brasil happily advertises that with this Montana you can carry 765 kilos (1,687 pounds) with its 1.4-liter engine, good for 99 horsepower and 13 kgf-m (94 lb-ft) of torque. It gets around 27 mpg city and around 30 highway, with a bit of variation depending on what kind of packages you get. Importantly, racing stripes that extend over the roof are a factory option.
What’s surprising is that this isn’t even the most affordable version of this same vehicle. It’s for sale in a few South American markets but it’s also on sale in Mexico as the Tornado for 245,900 pesos, or $11,819 USD. You even get more engine and more power. The Tornado comes with GM’s 1.8-liter four, good for 105 HP and 119 lb-ft of torque. Payload capacity is rated 10 kilos less, for reasons beyond my understanding.
How is it that Chevy sells a new pickup truck for so little? Well, it’s not exactly “new” in all senses of the word. The Montana/Tornado is a development of the Opel Corsa compact hatchback. Which Corsa is another interesting bit of info.
You see, the Chevy Montana/Tornado on sale now is the second generation of the vehicle. The first generation Montana/Tornado debuted in 2003 and was based on the Opel Corsa C, which in turn debuted in 2000. The second generation Montana/Toronado debuted in 2011 but was apparently downgraded. It was based off of the Chevrolet Agile, which debuted in 2009 but was based on the Opel Corsa B, which debuted all the way back in 1993. That’s not to say that the current Montana/Tornado is just like a car out of 1993; these were vehicles developed and engineered in Brazil, even if they are using some very, uh, trustworthy tech.
Would these things sell in American showrooms? I don’t exactly imagine they would, and I’m whatever NCAP crash ratings it’d get might make for worse news than GM would like. Still, these things are interesting survivors, stepside and all.