You'll Like The 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo If...
If you'd like a big two-door car with a long hood and short deck, the Monte Carlo is one of only a handful still in production. The V6 gives good performance and fuel economy, and the front-wheel drive provides good traction in the snow. If you need a coupe with a usable back seat, the Monte Carlo's got your name written all over it.
You May Not Like The 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo If...
If you are looking for a performance coupe that really lets you get involved with the drive, the Monte Carlo may be too tame for you. There is no manual transmission, the seats are a bit soft and wide and the steering feel is not as accurate as the Accord's or Solara's.
XM Satellite Radio is standard on the SS trim, while 17-inch wheels become standard equipment on the LT. The LTZ trim has been dropped, as has the 3.9-liter V6 engine.
The Monte Carlo received a new dash, door panels and seats last year. The upscale look also features better quality plastics than the previous model. The seats are made more comfortable with firmer foam and larger side bolsters. Side-impact airbags are now available and the SS model receives a race-inspired instrument cluster. Though it is a squeeze to get into the rear seats, they can accommodate up to three adults in relative comfort, a claim other competitors will have a tough time matching.
The GM crew did a good job with the Monte Carlo's front end last year, replacing the oddly shaped headlights and bulging hood with symmetrical lenses and a handsome new grille. The awkward side sculpting is still in place, as are the wide rear pillars and rear spoiler. New alloy wheels help improve the Monte Carlo's profile, especially on the SS trim, but the old Lumina-like styling and proportion is still evident and lacks the visual punch of the new Ford Mustang.
The Monte Carlo's 211-horsepower V6 engine and soft suspension are tuned more for cruising than bruising. As this is how the vast majority of people drive, the Monte Carlo LS will probably at least meet the expectations of most of its owners. The LT employs the same engine with a bit firmer suspension and larger wheels and tires.
The SS gets a 303-horsepower, all-aluminum V8, allowing it to move like the old muscle cars of the past. The SS package includes thicker front and rear anti-roll bars, heavier shocks and wider tires. The package works fairly well and allows the Monte Carlo to reach some pretty extreme limits, but ultimate performance is limited by the constraints of a front-wheel-drive system attempting to get 303 horsepower to the pavement and still maintain some level of manners.
The Monte Carlo LS has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $21,445. The LT trim starts at $23,065, while the racy SS has an MSRP of $28,165. To avoid paying too much for your Monte Carlo, be sure to compare pricing with the Fair Purchase Price, which shows what others in your area are paying for their vehicles. In terms of resale, the Monte Carlo LS and LT are expected to retain an average residual value, far below the values held by the Honda Accord Coupe and Toyota Solara. The Monte Carlo SS fairs a bit better, with slightly higher resale values putting it on par with the V6-powered Mustang and Hyundai Tiburon.
There are three trim levels: LS, LT and SS, in ascending order. The LS features such basic creature comforts as power windows, power door looks, air conditioning, keyless entry, AM/FM stereo with CD, power mirrors, power driver's seat and a tilt wheel. The LT trim has been simplified this year and gains some features from the discontinued LTZ, such as dual-zone air conditioning, anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction control and 17-inch alloy wheels. The SS package adds a 5.3-liter V8 engine, fog lights and 18-inch machined aluminum wheels.
Options, depending upon trim level, include automatic-dimming rearview mirror, front seat-mounted side airbags, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated power mirrors, power glass moonroof, leather seating, remote start, driver's information center, anti-lock brakes (ABS), XM Satellite Radio and steering wheel-mounted touch controls.
CD's burned in the MP3 format can hold up to 120 songs. No more fussing with external MP3 players.
The 5.3-liter V8 gives the Monte Carlo the guts it needs to compete with other muscle cars. The clever Displacement on Demand technology shuts down four of the eight cylinders when not needed, which is to say, a lot of the time, which helps improve fuel economy.
Under the Hood
The Monte Carlo's standard 3.5-liter V6 is more than sufficient for most drivers and considering the car's size, returns fairly decent fuel economy. Hot-rod lovers will settle for nothing less than the SS model's 5.3-liter V8. With 303 horsepower and ample torque, this engine can move the Monte Carlo with authority, but running so much power through the car's front wheels is bound to incur the unpleasantness of serious torque steer.
211 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
214 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 (E85), 21/31 (Gasoline)
303 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
323 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27
The Monte Carlo once shared a common platform with similar cars from Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Buick, but it alone has survived to become GM's only offering in the personal luxury coupe segment. Unfortunately, with Chrysler readying a new Sebring coupe and the Honda Accord and Toyota Solara still alive and kicking, the Monte Carlo cannot afford to rest upon its laurels. Given a fresh interior and available V8-power last year, the front-wheel-drive Monte Carlo has increased appeal, for those who grew up with the name as well as empty-nesters looking to get away from their ponderous and fuel-thirsty SUVs.