Moving to the mountains

We have owned our Montana for almost 4 years where it spent most of the time in the rolling hills of western NY. We drove it to Southern California last December and are now moving to the mountains. I want to get somthing more suitable for mountain driving but my husband thinks the van will do just fine. My main concern is the stress on the engine as it works its way up and down 60 degree angled driveways(not to mention the scraping of the front bumper) and also the drive up and down the mountain is about 35 minutes. Do you think it’s wise to take a minivan to the mountains?

Lots of mini vans here in the mountains of Colorado. Keep up on scheduled maintenance, put on winter tires and you will be OK.


PS: The steepest road in the US is Canton Avenue in Pittsburgh; it is officially measured to be a 37% grade. No wheeled vehicle could make it up a 60 degree road.

60 degrees has got to be an exaggeration but I get your point. First, check with the locals…
We live on a mountain, and I dislike FWD for that location, even in the summer. I can’t make it out of the shore front w/o tearing up the gravel even in the summer. When driving up a really steep hill, the dynamic center of gravity shifts to the rear making the traction much less. I would recommend a rwd van though a 4wd would help safety wise for traction going down (engine braking) and ground clearance. I don’t think you need 4wd traction unless you include slippery conditions, including a gravel/mud along with the steep terrain. I would recommend keeping the van for a year but include a used 4wd PU for load work when necessary if there are any dirt or snow covered roads involved.

We live near the mountains and spend 15-20 weekends a year there. Many of our friends have vans, compact cars, and few have trucks.

Most car engines get bunged up from not working hard enough. Your van will be just fine, equipped with good winter tires for that season. Just do the required maintenance and make sure the anti-freeze is the right strength.

You would think a vehicle named Montana would be suited for the mountains, would you not?

Good point! Thanks for the re-assurance

And all along I thought it was that winding little Lombard Street in San Francisco.

About the only thing that concerns me would be that you mentioned the front bumper scraping on your driveway. There’s no real way around that except better ground clearance, and I don’t think anyone here would recommend you lift the van up.

Road inclines are measured in percentages rather than degrees. For 100 yards forward, a 60% grade would rise 60 yards. I suspect you mean a 60% grade. In degrees that would be about a 36 degree incline.

I’d bring it and see how it does. If it struggles, then you can trade up.

You’ll be fine. Give it a try and if you don’t like it after a year or two, get another car. You might be ready for one by then anyway. We have a Silhouette and it uses the same engine and transmission as the Montana. It will labor more than a more powerful engine, but will be OK.

TY! I really appreciate you taking the time to respond.

WHAT mountains?