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1998 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

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1998 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
Available in 2 styles:  Monte Carlo 2dr Coupe LS shown
Asking Price Range
Estimated MPG

19–20 city / 29–30 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 1 of 3
1998 Chevrolet Monte Carlo 3.7 3
$ 301-5,569
January 3, 1998

To my eyes, the Chevrolet Monte Carlo was the white polyester suit that John Travolta wore in "Saturday Night Fever." Attention getting, with little there once the suit came off, but an American icon all the same.

Oh sure, this is a stylish enough coupe, but its roots as a two-door Lumina haunt it with an overwhelming blandness.

Of course, Chevy wants you think that this car is the same one that has won so many times in the Winston Cup circuit. After all, Detroit's old creed -- win on Sunday, sell on Monday --survives intact.

I could always appreciate this car's attributes, but it never really sang. But for 1998, Chevy has replace the more-modern double-overhead-cam 3.4-liter V6 with the much older 3.8-litre overhead-valve pushrod V6.

If this seems like a step backin time, keep in mind this car's mission steps back in time, too. After all, personal luxury coupes such as the Monte had their heyday when disco was hip.

But that's not giving this mill credit. It's a big ol' smoothy that does duty in the upper echelon of GM's line. It lends the car not only good power, but removes the gruff nature of the newer engine. With 200 horsepower on tap, this car can hustle up to Pocono with little problem. The four-speed automatic transmission is electronically controlled and is smooth in the GM tradition. And that's the problem with the Monte Carlo in it's sporty Z34 guise.

This is supposed to be the sporty version of the GM coupe, yet the suspension, while delivering a firmer ride, leans almost as much around corners as the more luxury-oriented LS. Once you get past that, it's a lot easier to forgive the Monte's numb power steering, while appreciating its power 4-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock.

What's impressive about this car, something that's increasingly true of most GM cars, is the value here for the money. Quite simply: there's a lot of stuff here. Aside from the usual power windows/locks/mirrors/cruise control/keyless entry bit, this Chevy has a power sunroof, leather seats, steering-wheel-mounted radio controls, dual climate control, 16-inch chrome wheels and chrome-tipped exhaust. The AM/FM/CD player had a sound and fidelity better than some cars at three times the price. This coupe coddles.

But it doesn't always coddle well. Although the leather bucket seats felt comfy on first acquaintance, their lack of support caused pain within an hour. Better support is needed, but this has always been true in this line of cars.

The trunk is roomy, meaning you haul lots of stuff as well as you and your brood.

Best of all, it all comes in at a Chevy price: $22,933 for a very well-loaded test car.

So it seems that just as the '70s have come back, and disco is now called dance music, it's time to accept and welcome a unique American automobile and appreciate its merits.

Just don't expect it to perform at the track, like the Winston Cup versions do.

1 998 CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Z34 Standard: 3.8-litre OHV V6, 4-speed automatic transmission, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, keyless entry, ride and handling suspension, daytime running lamps, P225/60R16 tires, 16-inch aluminum wheels, dual climate control, cargo area net, cupholders, power locks, floor mats, front bucket seats, split-folding rear seats, cruise control, tilt wheel, steering wheel-mounted radio controls, AM/FM cassette stereo, illuminated vanity mirrors, power windows with driver express down, intermittent wipers. Options: Leather bucket seats with console, power sunroof, rear window defogger, rear deck spoiler, AM/FM/CD stereo, 6-way power drivers seat. Base price: $20,295 As tested: $22,933 EPA rating: 19 mpg city, 30 mpg highway Test mileage: 24 mpg

    Expert Reviews 1 of 3

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