Used 1997 Pontiac Trans Sport

1997 Pontiac Trans Sport
List price range
1997 Pontiac Trans Sport

Pros

  • Euro-ride and handling, lightweight modular seating, zingy V-6 engine, fun-to-drive, standard ABS, optional power sliding door, optional 8-passenger seating, optional rear seat audio controls, standard ABS, optional traction control, optional load-leveling suspension

Cons

  • Lightweight modular seats are uncomfortable, lots of cheap plastic inside, no power lock switch in cargo bay
Pontiac Trans Sport years

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

The difference is like night and day. Pontiac's new Trans Sport is so much better than the previous version that there really is no comparison. So forget about the bullet-nosed, plastic-bodied, Dustbuster Trans Sport of yesteryear. Pontiac is rewriting Chrysler's book on minivans.

How so? For starters, the Trans Sport features a standard 3.4-liter, 180-horsepower V6 engine. That's substantially more power than Chrysler offers with its top-of-the-line motor. Available, just like on the Chrysler vans, is a driver's-side sliding door. Buyers needing eight-passenger seating can select the Trans Sport, the only minivan on the market offering this configuration. Chrysler vans feature roll-away bench seats, but they're heavy suckers to unload. The Trans Sport can be equipped with modular seats that weight just 38 pounds each, and are a breeze to remove.

This is one safe van, on paper. Traction control is optional, while dual airbags and antilock brakes are standard. Daytime running lights operate the parking lamps rather than the headlights. If GM provided a similar arrangement on all DRL-equipped models, we bet the negative criticism for them wouldn't be nearly as severe or widespread. The new Trans Sport meets 1998 side impact standards, too. Be warned, however, that the Trans Sport fared very poorly in offset crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but peformed remarkably well during federal head-on crush runs. There are no federal standards governing offset crashworthiness.

The sliding door on the right side of the van can be equipped to open automatically with the push of a button. The ventilation system features a replaceable pollen filter, which is good news for allergy sufferers. Optional rear audio controls allow rear passengers to listen to a CD, cassette, or stereo via headphones while front passengers listen to their choice of any of the three mediums simultaneously.

Around town, the Trans Sport feels downright spunky, with good throttle response and car-like handling. Braking is excellent for a 4,000-pound vehicle. Visibility is uncompromised, thanks in part to the huge exterior mirrors that effectively eliminate blind spots. Front seats are quite comfortable, and most controls are easy to see and use. If it weren't for the expansive windshield and high driving position, drivers might not realize the Trans Sport was a van.

Pontiac is pushing the Montana package, making Trans Sports so equipped the focal point of the lineup. Product planners claim that the Montana bridges the gap between sport utility and minivan. Ummm, we don't think so. It takes more than body-cladding, white-letter tires, alloy wheels, fog lights, and traction control to match an SUV when it comes to capability. Image is another matter, and the Montana does blur the line between minivan and sport utility in terms of styling, but nobody will mistake this Pontiac for a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Sounds good, for a minivan. There are problems, however. Chief among them are seriously uncomfortable modular seats that provide little in the way of thigh and leg support. When sitting in one of the rear chairs, adult passengers will grow cranky quickly. The automatic sliding door is designed to reverse direction when it determines that an object is blocking its closure path. Be warned; the door doesn't behave like an elevator door. It can almost knock unsuspecting adults over before reversing. Teach children that they are strong enough to push the door back, and not to be afraid of getting closed in if the door doesn't stop immediately. Other flaws include difficult-to-reach center console storage, lack of a power lock switch in the cargo area, and excessive amounts of cheap-looking plastic inside.

Basically, we like the Trans Sport for its standard and optional array of features, combined with a pleasantly surprising fun-to-drive demeanor. So long as adult passengers drive or call shotgun, Pontiac's new people mover should find immediate acceptance from the buying public.

1997 Highlights

Pontiac redesigns the Trans Sport.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Pontiac Trans Sport.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

I'm going to miss it, loved it!
Ellen,06/13/2010
It's been an excellent van/truck/taxi/ etc. We have used this van for family every day stuff,and hauling trailers, or loaded with bikes, furniture, landscape products and more! The 4 doors and 4 captain seats a big plus for comfort or temporary removal. Did blow out the motor in 2004. Had a rebuilt one put in, no more major problems. Always started in cold CDN winters. At 10 yrs the A/C and power sliding door not working, we gave up and eventually turned the switch to "off". Now at 13 years, seeing more serious repair. Fuel injector 1yr ago, Rear wheel cylinders, alternator, tranny and rack and pinion showing signs of potential problems in near future. Been a great reliable vehicle.
1997 Pontiac Montana Van
DTackett,05/04/2007
Bought this van new in 1997. We've had several great road trips in this van! Lots of interior room, captain's chairs are comfortable. Engine runs good, and 25gal tank is good for 400 miles between fill-ups. Replaced the transmission at 110k miles. Air conditioner quit working last summer, and the auto-load leveling system doesn't work anymore. Now has 170k miles and still rolling!
The Family Hauler
ads13131,11/18/2008
The Trans Sport is a great van to take on long trips. Actually that's what we use this van for. Add a DVD player for the kids, a CD player for you, and you are all set! This van is great on fuel considering it has a bigger engine than our '93 and '94 Mercury Villagers, but I guess the Villager is heaver than this van and this van is way newer and has less kilometres on it. And it has lots of cupholders, I think I counted 11!
No more American for us!
snowwhite,12/31/2007
This Van was the absolute worst buy we ever made. Repairs and recalls constantly. Figured we'd keep it as we put so much $ in it. Got it paid off and 6 months later, needs a new engine. It's been sitting in my garage for the past 4 years broke. We finally decided to junk it as it's not worth the time or $ to fix and or sell. We plan on sticking to Japan and Korea from now on. Would not recommend this to my worst enemy. Does it really surprise anyone that the American Auto Industry is so inferior to everyone else? Check out their decline for yourself before considering to buy.
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Features & Specs

MPG
16 city / 23 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
180 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
16 city / 23 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
180 hp @ 5200 rpm
See all Used 1997 Pontiac Trans Sport features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Poor

More about the 1997 Pontiac Trans Sport
Used 1997 Pontiac Trans Sport Overview

The Used 1997 Pontiac Trans Sport is offered in the following submodels: Trans Sport Minivan. Available styles include SE 3dr Minivan, and SE 3dr Ext Minivan.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Pontiac Trans Sport?

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Which used 1997 Pontiac Trans Sports are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 1997 Pontiac Trans Sports you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Pontiac Trans Sport for sale - 9 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $8,270.

Find a used Pontiac for sale - 3 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $10,400.

Find a used certified pre-owned Pontiac Trans Sport for sale - 4 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $10,331.

Find a used certified pre-owned Pontiac for sale - 11 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $16,927.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 Pontiac Trans Sport?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Pontiac lease specials
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