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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

What we could have had: Dramatic new Chevrolet Montana revealed

Model known locally as the Opel/Chevrolet Corsa Utility and then Chevrolet Utility has undergone a complete transformation.

Redesigned from the ground-up as a completely different model from the first two iterations, Chevrolet has taken the covers off of the new Montana markets across Latin America will be receiving from next year.

A vital model for the bowtie brand as it competes in the lucrative half-ton bakkie segment, the Montana ushers in a new chapter as, for the first time, only a double cab bodystyle is provided, together with a turbocharged engine never before availed.

Nothing like its predecessors

Sporadically teased throughout the year after emerging online last October, the Montana, South Africans will better know as the Opel/Chevrolet Corsa Utility and then later, the Chevrolet Utility, incorporates a more polarising design mirroring not only the brand’s current corporate look, but also in-line with that of its new rival, the Fiat Toro.

Chevrolet reveals all-new Montana
Rear and side profile now mirrors that of the Fiat Toro.

Employing an equally “like-it-loath-it” design at the back and down the side a key aspect during development was versatility of the loadbin seeing as the Montana will not only rival the Toro and its Ram 1000 offshoot, but also the Renault Oroch and to some extent, the Ford Maverick.

Innovative loadbin

In this regard, the bin features what Chevrolet calls a Multi-Flex bed consisting of an electric tonneau cover that seals to prevent water and dust from seeping-in.

ALSO READ: New Chevrolet Montana teased as the next generation Utility South Africa won’t get

This comes via not only the cover itself, but also a manually sliding metal partition that extends from the bulkhead to against the tailgate so as to additionally prevent cargo from falling out once the flap is opened.

It doesn’t stop there though as buyers can opt for a multi-function tray that sits below the hard-top cover designed to house a wide variety of cargo and/or objects, as well as a conventional cargo net at the base of the loadbin should the partition not be favoured.

New Chevrolet Monta revealed
Manually sliding partition extends all all the way to the tailgate to provide better insulation.

Claimed payload for the bin as rated at 874-litres, with Chevrolet reporting an overall vehicle length of 4.7 metres and width of 1.8 metres.

No further details regarding the Montana’s wheelbase, height or ground clearance were announced, though Chevrolet did confirm MacPherson strut suspension design at the front and torsion beam at the rear.

All-new inside

Another area where the Montana differs substantially from its predecessors is on the inside where the interior resembles that of the Blazer SUV marketed in the Americas.

Chevrolet reveals all-new Montana
Versatile storage tray sits below the hard-top tonneau cover.

Besides the latest interpretation of the dual cockpit layout famously applied to the Cruze, the Montana gains a new analogue instrument cluster, apparent better materials and fabrics, a driver angled eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, physical climate control switchgear and a wireless smartphone charger.

Boosted three-cylinder

While offered in two initial trim levels, LTZ and Premier, both feature the same engine, a 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo used not only in South America, but more extensively across the Chevrolet and Buick brands in China.

The replacement for the terminally dated eight-valve 1.4 and 1.8-litre engines the previous generation Montana carried over from the original, the unit produces 97kW/210Nm fed to the front wheels only through a six-speed manual gearbox.

New Chevrolet Monta revealed
Interior anything but a facelift from the previous generation models.

Unlike the Toro/Ram 1000, a turbodiesel engine isn’t available with the same applying to the option of four-wheel-drive. What can be specified though is a six-speed automatic gearbox, another Montana first.

What could have been?

On-sale from next year with pre-ordering having already opened, production once again takes place at the São Caetano do Sul Plant in Sao Paulo with pricing of R $134 490 (R449 345) for the LTZ and R $140 490 (R469 392) for the Premier.

Following Chevrolet’s withdrawal from South Africa in 2017, at the behest of parent company General Motors, the Montana is not expected to return as an alternative to the terminally dated first generation Renault Logan-based Nissan NP200 that continues as the only half-ton bakkie available in South Africa today.

Additional information and images from motor1.com Brazil and autoesporte.com.

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