Chevrolet's Monte Carlo
always looked the part of a stylish and expressive coupe, geared towards owners who wanted a luxurious and upscale experience from a two-door model. It's based on the Chevrolet Impala
- so it's big, as far as a coupe is concerned.
One of the most instantly recognizable Chevrolet products on the road, the last two generations spanned from 2000 to 2007.
|2000 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS|
The 2000 to 2005 model brought back some of the styling elements from earlier cars, including swoopy body lines and vertically-oriented taillamps. The look was controversial, though it definitely stood out.
Several trim levels and several engines were available, as was as a slew of commemorative and special editions. Finding a Monte Carlo that suits your fancy shouldn't pose a problem.
From 2000 to 2005, the model was available with a 3.4 liter, 180 horsepower V6, borrowed from the Chevrolet Venture and Pontiac Grand Am. A GM staple, the 3.8 liter V6, was available too- as was its supercharged twin with 240 horsepower. Front wheels were powered via an automatic four-speed transmission.
You'll find options including side airbags, tire pressure monitoring, traction control, OnStar and satellite radio, depending on the model in question.
Owners generally liked the power and style of their Monte Carlo's, and some even boast achieving very respectable gas mileage given the car's size and performance. Praise for the Monte Carlo's ability to tackle winter driving easily was common too.
There's plenty of appreciation for the powerful brakes, user-friendly interior and optional high-performance audio system. Many Monte Carlo drivers love the spaciousness of the car up front, though complaints about rear-seat access are common, as are headroom issues for taller passengers.
|2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo|
Problem areas seem to centre around durability in 2000 to 2005 models. Many owners report lettering rubbing off of controls, peeling or fading dash plastics and 'cheap' feeling assembly quality. Brakes are another concern, and seem to wear or require service after abnormally short intervals. If you notice the brakes squealing excessively on a test drive, it may be problem remedied by replacement with revised brake pads. Remember that a non-ABS related pulsation during braking means that the rotors are warped and will require resurfacing or replacement. This may be called into play when negotiating a final price.
|2005 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS|
The GM 3.4 liter V6 engines were known for problems associated with coolant eating away at gasket material, causing leaks or premature head-gasket failure. The 3.8 liter engines were known to be very reliable, though they were also known for intake manifold issues. The 3.4 and 3.8 liter engines deliver respectable fuel economy
and reliable operation- though it's important to be aware of the vehicle's service history. A good GM mechanic should be able to spot trouble signs.
A full check of the entire selection of interior features is a good idea- as reports of broken switches, dials or power windows aren't uncommon. Ensure proper operation of the used Monte Carlo's air conditioning as well. It should blow icy cold within in a few seconds.
Note the feel and consistency of gear shifts from the automatic transmission. Though they appear to be fairly un-problematic, several owners report hard shifting as the beginning of potential transmission issues which seem hard to diagnose.
Recalls were mainly airbag related, though one dealt with a potentially defective bolt holding the brake caliper to the steering knuckle which could result in handling or braking problems. Check with a dealership about the performance of recall work.
In 2006 and 2007, the Monte Carlo was updated to ride the latest-generation Impala platform, complete with a lineup of new engines. A 3.5 liter, 211 horsepower V6 was the base powerplant, while a 3.9 liter, naturally aspirated V6 matched the output of the old supercharged V6 at 240 horses. In this generation, a 5.3 liter, 303 horsepower smallblock V8 was available too. The model remained a front-wheel drive.
|2006-2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo|
Should your shopping lead you towards the last-generation Monte Carlo, which ended in 2007, fewer engine problems can be expected. Hard shifting of the transmission remained an occasional issue, this time caused by a wiring harness that could become worn over time, or a malfunctioning internal component. Again, attention to gear shift quality remains important on a test drive.
|2006-2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo|
Be sure to check for proper operation of the air conditioner, horn, keyless entry and remote start as well. Several owners are reporting very poor range between the remote and the car, even with new batteries installed. It seems fairly common for the tire pressure monitoring system to malfunction too- so periodic pressure checks by hand are important.
In all, recent Monte Carlo models excel at providing an exciting drive, unforgettable style and plentiful selection. Other contenders for your dollar may include the Honda Accord Coupe
or Toyota Solara Coupe- though neither offers as much overall power or excitement. If you find a suitable Monte Carlo with a trustworthy service history and no apparent electronic, transmission or engine concerns, you'll likely join a community of mainly happy owners.