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A pretty darn good scooter hauler

April 1, 2016
Chevy Tornado

Chevrolet Tornado starts at $11,000 in Mexico (Photos: General Motors Company)

Several friends will be riding to Portland today, to participate in Spring Scoot 22. For once, the weather will be sunny, and warmer than usual. It should be a great ride down. But what about those times when riding isn’t practical, or feasible?

If you’ve been reading this here blog for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed how I go on and on about how the Ford Transit Connect is the Ultimate Scooter Hauler™. Let me qualify that: the current TC cedes some of that Ultimate to the old-skool U.S.-spec version (lower roof, more expen$ive, competitors from Nissan and Ram) even though it now comes in two lengths and offers a trailer tow package.

While all are commercial-grade vehicles, the 25 large price of a new one might strain most scooterists’ budgets. A cheap compact pickup truck would be nice, but all the compact pickups have become “midsize,” with price tags growing to match.

Well, if you live in Mexico or Brazil, you can still buy a cheap compact pickup.

Chevy Montana, loaded

In Mexico, it’s called a Chevrolet Tornado; in Brazil, it’s a Chevrolet Montana. The name is the only difference, all are built in Brazil. And all can be as Spartan or as loaded as you please.

As you can see, it’ll hold a lot of stuff — according to Chevy, 734 kg worth, which is over 1600 lbs. A pair of scooters shouldn’t be a problem with the tailgate down. I imagine you could equip it to pull a small trailer, too.

Like the TC, the Tornado/Montana is built on a front-wheel drive compact car platform. A 1.8-liter fuel-injected inline four is the only engine choice. It should do at least as well on the semi-annual trip to Home Depot to pick up three bags of garden mulch as any full-size crew cab pickup truck. It would be a perfectly reasonable choice as an only vehicle.

While the Mexican base price of 191,000 pesos might seem eye-popping, at the rate of exchange in effect as I write this, that’s less than $11,000 U.S. That’s for an el strippo base version that probably wouldn’t be offered in the U.S. But even if the cheapest U.S. version were a nicely-equipped model for around $15,000, I suspect Chevy would sell as many as they could build. That would have to be in Mexico; the Chicken Tax would make Brazil-sourced ones too expensive

If you fancy one of these, you can let Chevrolet know by bugging them on their Facebook page.

I already have. 😉

BTW, I received no compensation from anyone to write this. I just haven’t posted in a while, and thought I should…

The details

Base MSRP: 191,100 pesos (Mexico)
Built in: Brazil
Construction: Pressed steel unit body with front subframe
Curb weight: 2460 lbs (1116 kg)
Length: 177.75 in (4515 mm)
Width: 66.9 in (1700 mm) with mirrors
Wheelbase: 105 in (2669 mm)
Front susp: MacPherson struts w/coil springs, tubular shocks and anti-roll bar
Rear susp: MacPherson struts w/coil springs and tubular shocks
Front brakes: Power-assisted hydraulic discs with ABS
Rear brakes: Power-assisted hydraulic drums with ABS
Front tires: 175/70 R14 88T
Rear tires: 175/70 R14 88T
Engine: 1.8-liter liquid-cooled 4-cyl with electronic fuel injection
Transmission:  5-speed manual w/single-plate dry clutch
Power/torque: 105 hp (78.3 kW) @ 5400 rpm/119 lb-ft (161.3 Nm) @ 3000 rpm
One Comment
  1. April 2, 2016 9:04 pm

    And for the U.S. and Canadian markets, I would say call it the Chevy LUV. Like the rebadged Isuzu pickup from back in the day.

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