Overview & Reviews
The Chevrolet Monte Carlo traces its roots back several decades to the height of the muscle car era, when Chevy sought to entice customers with a sporty, upscale rear-drive V8 coupe that provided a balance of performance and comfort in a stylish package. From those early years -- which included big-block SS (Super Sport) editions -- the Monte Carlo evolved toward a more luxury-oriented persona, saw significant downsizing (to optimize fuel efficiency) and soldiered on as a popular rear-drive sport coupe until 1988, when it was replaced by the Lumina coupe.
Following a lengthy hiatus, the Chevy Monte Carlo emerged once again in 1995. However, by then it had been softened and saddled with a carryover front-wheel-drive platform and V6 engines that barely hinted at the performance of years gone by. It was, in essence, a Lumina coupe.
The current-generation Chevrolet Monte Carlo coupe debuted in 2000 with more distinctive styling and updated underpinnings from the Impala sedan to better meet the needs of today's buyers. Significant changes in 2006 helped the Monte Carlo come nearly full circle back to its original mission with sportier chassis tuning, improved driving dynamics and more power in SS models, while freshened interior and exterior styling offer a sculpted and pleasing contemporary appearance. In spite of those updates, sales remained sluggish and the Monte Carlo was gone after the 2007 model year.
Although much improved in its latter years -- including a return to available V8 power in SS trim -- we feel that other performance sport coupe competitors like the Mustang offer a more satisfying choice as long as you don't mind giving up some interior room. In reviews, our editors felt that the Monte Carlo was primarily a comfortable cruiser more at home in the fast lane than on twisty mountain roads. If the latter is your preferred driving environment, you may want to consider other brighter, more focused alternatives.
Most Recent Chevrolet Monte Carlo
The Chevrolet Monte Carlo received a major update for the 2006 model year and it remained a midsize two-door coupe that came in three trim levels: the base but reasonably well-equipped LS, the more upscale LT and the performance-oriented SS. Under the hood of LS and LT models is a 3.5-liter V6 with 211 horsepower, while the SS boasts a responsive 5.3-liter V8 with 303 hp. Impressive numbers, yes. But they would've been even better if they powered the rear wheels like Monte Carlos of years ago, especially in the case of the SS. A front-engine/rear-drive layout is typically preferable for optimum weight distribution and balanced handling, especially when the engine is a heavy V8.
Overall, this version of the Chevy Monte Carlo, which only lasted through '07, was a spacious sport coupe that offered buyers a reasonably good comfort/performance trade-off for a relatively low sticker price. Although quick in a straight line, the V8-equipped Monte Carlo SS suffers from a nose-heavy feel. If quick reflexes are on your wish list instead and you don't mind tighter passenger quarters, we suggest you consider a smaller but more nimble sport coupe, such as an Acura RSX or Mitsubishi Eclipse.
Past Chevrolet Monte Carlo Models
Used-car shoppers interested in a late-model Monte Carlo will likely encounter the previous-generation model, which was available from the 2000-'05 model years. Based on the then-new Impala platform and wearing fresh, distinctive (some said ugly) sheet metal with heritage styling cues, the Monte Carlo was originally offered as an LS with a 3.4-liter V6 engine making 180 hp, or an SS with a 200-hp 3.8-liter V6. A driver side airbag -- as well as traction control and OnStar on SS models -- was added as standard safety equipment in 2001, and all models received four-wheel disc brakes, traction control and remote keyless entry in 2003. In a bid to boost its performance image, Chevrolet added a 240-hp supercharged engine option for the SS in 2004.
Previous to this model, there was the Lumina-based Monte Carlo, which became available for the 1995 model year in LS or Z34 sport trim levels. Those wishing to hit the fast lane are advised to stick with the 210-hp 3.4-liter twincam V6 in the Z34. Detail improvements carried the Monte Carlo through the next several years, though only the most eagle-eyed used-car shoppers are likely to appreciate the differences.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 751.00
2006 Monte Carlo Nice ride - 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
By John E. - December 31 - 10:36 am
This car rides very smooth. Handles easy. Impressed with the gas mileage that we get around town. Lots of trunk space. Plenty of room to move around inside the car.
Monte Carlo, Reliable for the price! - 1998 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
By NawlinsNative - December 31 - 6:36 am
Purchased in September, 2000, it has less than 25K miles on it. Other than maintenance, it has been perfect. Ten years of reliability. Will be soon passed on to our son in college in another state. We trust its reliability. The 3.1L still gets close to 30 mpg on hwy, 20 city. Just traveled to Ohio a few months ago. Smooth ride. Recommend this car for its value.
96 Monte Carlo Z34 - 1996 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
By DBedo - December 29 - 2:00 am
Roomy comfortable ride with good acceleration. The 1996 3.4 liter engine was poorly designed. Alternator on the bottom of engine which is pricey to fix and common to go bad in colder climates, especially hard winters. Tune ups require removing the upper plentum and igntion system (coils and ECM) Not an easy vehicle to troubleshoot vacuum related problems. Good car when it is running well but sluggish with vacuum problems due to it heavy design.
I LOVE THIS BEAST - 2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
By Charlie - December 29 - 2:00 am
This car is a beast its black with the silver trim I get nothin but compliments The car handles excellent for its size and accelerates like a rocket cruising at 40mph lean on the gas blink your eyes and your doing 80 Stereo cranks if you buy one load it up with all it offers you will NOT be disappointed.
2001 Monte - 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
By SD Beckwith - December 28 - 11:50 am
I have enjoyed this car for 6 years and would buy another. The gas milelage was 22 in town and 28 mpg on the road. I had to replace the radiator fan unit this past year. My air conditioner will need to be replaced next year.
Good Car - 1998 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
By Jared - December 26 - 1:10 pm
Great all around car to have. I bought it with 97,000 miles a year ago. It had a few problems right away with the directional switch, but the dealer fixed it. Then it had a problem with the starter, but my warranty covered it. Besides that it is quite solid, and the engine purrs the way it did when it was brand new I'm sure. I have no big complaints because all other problems are minor. The hinge on the storage compartment on mine broke too, and the transmission doesn't seem to grip right away when it's shifted into park (it coasts a bit and then snaps to a rest pretty hard). Also, the gas mileage isn't great on mine (22 mpg) average, but I'm buying some upgrades to improve that.
Love my Monte Carlo - 2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
By Edward Calado - December 21 - 5:53 pm
I love the full-size feel of the Monte Carlo. It feels very substantial and is a great cruising car. Handling is good for a car of this size, and gas mileage is actually quite good for a 3.8L V6 engine. I also love the roominess of the interior. I get a lot of compliments about my Monte Carlo. I highly recommend this vehicle for its sporty performance, outstanding styling, aerodynamic design, large interior, and decent handling. The trunk is very spacious as well as the rear seat.
06 monte carlo - 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
By ross88 - December 19 - 10:23 am
i have had this car for a little over a year. i have pimped it out alittle put some 20's on it 1600waz stereo system in it and a little more i love it good power for a 3.5 i have been reading some of the reviews and some of the people have had power steering problems i have had that to. it is the power steering cooler line it rumbs on the exhaust and gets a hole i berned two pumps up because i couldnt fine the leek. there is recall on all of them. GM didnt use there brain on that one! other than that the car has been ok! i wish i got the SS i like a little speed! the 3.5 is pretty good big gas saver 30 miles to gallon. they are a really good car and looks great GM BRING BACK THE MONTE CARLO!
the one they call....Montel Carlos - 1996 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
By djkevinc - December 15 - 2:00 am
Great car...love it. Very reliable and easy to maintain.
My Monte - 2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
By Monte Carlo - December 9 - 5:23 am
I have driven my Monte Carlo in all types of weather conditions and have had no problems. This includes rain, snow, ice and fog. I have driven it over hill and dale. Over passes, it does not lose power, even fully loaded for vacation. I have had no major problems mechincially in the time that we have owned the car.