Full 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Review
What's New for 2007
For the 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, the changes are few but significant. The LTZ and the 3900 (3.9-liter) V6 engine are dropped; a non-E85 version of the 3500 V6 (3.5-liter) becomes standard for California-level emissions states; and the LT's option packages are simplified.
The Chevy Monte Carlo represents one of the last surviving members of the personal luxury coupe market. Often placing flashy looks ahead of more practical concerns such as passenger space and optimum outward visibility, this type of vehicle enjoyed more successful days in the '70s and '80s when people thought that long hoods, smallish rear seats and padded vinyl tops with small quarter-windows were cool.
Thankfully, the 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo has little in common with its gold-chain-wearing predecessors. The current Monte shares a platform with the Impala and combines a spacious cabin with the styling pizzazz of a two-door coupe. A number of recent changes, such as a stiffer structure, a lineup of more powerful engines (including a V8 for the SS version), upgraded cabin materials and cleaned-up styling have made the vehicle a more competitive choice than in years past.
Consumers interested in a midsize coupe for '07 will find the choices somewhat limited. Perhaps the Monte's closest rival is Pontiac's G6 coupe, which uses the same 3.5-liter V6 and boasts an even roomier cabin. The Ford Mustang is sportier, but its rear seat is small. In terms of overall quality and refinement, the Monte Carlo loses out to the Accord coupe and Camry Solara, but counters with a lower price. Overall, the Chevy stacks up pretty well. With trim levels ranging from the fuel-efficient (31 mpg highway) LS and LT versions to the 303-horsepower SS, the 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo is a solid choice for those wanting a midsize vehicle with a bit more "personal luxury" than the average family sedan.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo is a midsize two-door coupe that comes in three trim levels: LS, LT and SS. The LS model comes with 16-inch wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a tilt steering wheel and keyless entry. Stepping up to the LT model gets you 17-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, dual-zone air-conditioning, a remote vehicle starter and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. The Monte Carlo SS brings a V8, 18-inch wheels, a performance-tuned suspension, XM satellite radio, leather seating with heaters up front, foglamps and full-perimeter ground effects. Some of these features are available as options on the LS and LT. A sunroof is the main stand-alone option.
Powertrains and Performance
The standard engine for the LS and LT is a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 211 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque. The SS has a 5.3-liter V8 making 303 hp and 323 lb-ft of torque. All models employ a responsive four-speed automatic transmission (heavy-duty in the SS) that sends the power through the front wheels. The 3.5 has strong pull around town along with respectable passing power, along with fuel ratings of 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. The SS's burbling V8 thrills with its strong acceleration, but laying into it too often will pull fuel mileage into the mid teens, despite ratings of 18 city and 28 highway.
Antilock brakes and traction control are standard on the LT and SS; they're optional on the LS. Front-seat side airbags are optional on all Monte Carlos. In NHTSA frontal crash tests, the 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo received five stars (out of five). Side-impact tests on a Monte without side airbags resulted in three stars for the front occupants and four stars for those in back.
Interior Design and Special Features
As far as coupes go, the Monte Carlo is spacious and comfortable. The seats are wide and can accommodate a variety of drivers, and even the rear seats are usable by adults. Cabin fit and finish is much improved, thanks to last year's updates, and the car's somewhat stark ambiance is offset with splashes of metallic trim. Features such as an input jack for portable music players and optional heated front seats make the Monte Carlo most accommodating on long trips.
The Chevy Monte Carlo handles well enough to suit its intended buyer. Large four-wheel disc brakes and meaty performance tires give it respectable stopping power and grip, but the steering doesn't communicate enough road feel to make this big coupe feel sporty. The fact that it only comes with an automatic transmission doesn't help either, but at least both engines are torquey off the line. While the SS model may be appealing to buyers hungry for power, installing a V8 of this size in a front-wheel-drive car invariably results in torque steer and a nose-heavy feel.