Used 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Review

Edmunds expert review

Questionable throwback styling cues, wobbly handling and characterless interior make this a last-resort coupe at best.

What's new for 2001

Chevy's personal-luxury coupe receives optional sport appearance packages, a standard driver-side-impact airbag and traction control and OnStar comes with the SS model.

Vehicle overview

Heritage design is popular these days, and Chevrolet has employed this styling trend on the Monte Carlo. From the traditional "Knight's Crest" badge, script lettering and distinctive headlight treatment to the sculpted fenders and vertical taillights, the MC strongly recalls the '70s and '80s models that made the nameplate a hit.

Under the skin, the Monte Carlo shares a platform with the Chevrolet Impala, which means this is a big coupe -- the full Monte, if you will. Two models are available: the LS comes equipped with a 3.4-liter, V6 engine making 180 horsepower, while the SS benefits from 20 additional ponies and more torque, thanks to the venerable 3.8-liter V6 under the hood. Either model comes well-equipped, but to emphasize performance, the SS gets fog lights, rocker-panel moldings, a rear spoiler, 16-inch alloy wheels, a full complement of gauges and twin exhaust outlets routed from dual mufflers.

A tower-to-tower structural brace under the hood, combined with a magnesium dashboard support beam, contributes to a rigid platform, improves handling and helps reduce squeaks and rattles. Large four-wheel-disc ABS brakes with front cooling ducts provide confidence-inspiring stopping ability. A four-wheel independent MacPherson strut suspension is matched to front and rear stabilizer bars and meaty Goodyear Eagle RS-A performance tires to help make Monte Carlo fun in the curves. But you're going to have to settle for an automatic transmission in this Chevy; a manual is not available. Traction control is now standard on both models.

Inside, buyers looking for healthy doses of comfort will find it in Monte Carlo, whose cavernous innards were designed specifically to maximize harmony between the car and the driver. Special attention was paid to control placement and seat design, and engineers strove to provide top-notch brake pedal and steering feel. Good visibility, thanks to generous expanses of glass, a standard rear-window defogger, and large side-view mirrors, is a new Monte Carlo hallmark, though the wide C-pillars will likely block vision in certain parking and lane-change maneuvers.

All Monte Carlos come with air conditioning, power door locks, power windows, tilt steering wheel, a driver message center with oil life monitor, RDS radio technology, theatre-dimming interior lighting, daytime running lights, a tire-pressure monitor and an inside trunk release designed to prevent a child from becoming locked in the luggage compartment. Step up to the SS model, and you get, in addition to traction control and performance/cosmetic enhancements, a cargo net, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel with redundant audio controls, remote keyless entry, dual-zone temperature controls and a pollen filter. Options include leather seating, premium stereo with CD player, power front seats, heated exterior mirrors, OnStar (standard fare on the SS) and a power sunroof.

Compared to the bland Lumina-based model sold a few years ago, this Monte Carlo is a tremendous improvement.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.