Chevrolet redesigns its Monte Carlo coupe for 2000, giving it new styling and larger dimensions that move it up to the full-size class. The previous generation Monte Carlo was a two-door version of the Lumina midsize sedan. The new one is a two-door companion to the full-size Impala sedan with its own styling. While Monte Carlo formerly had several domestic rivals as a midsize coupe, the new full-size model's only domestic competition is the coupe version of the Pontiac Grand Prix. Chevy also lists as rivals smaller coupes such as the Honda Accord, Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Avenger and Toyota Camry Solara.
The new Monte Carlo is the basis for Chevrolet's entry in NASCAR stock-car competition and made its racing debut at the 2000 Daytona 500.
Race fans got a preview of the new Monte Carlo at the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 races during the 1999 Memorial Day weekend, when modified versions served as the pace car for both races. A limited-production pace car replica goes on sale in the spring with red and silver paint, a NASCAR-style rear spoiler, ground-effects lower body trim and leather upholstery with red inserts.
Though it uses the same front-drive platform as the Impala, the Monte Carlo has a unique appearance, including a longer, sloping hood, different headlamps and grille, character lines etched into the front fenders and rear side panels, and vertical instead of horizontal taillamps (recalling the original Monte Carlo of 30 years ago). Also borrowed from the past is script lettering for the Monte Carlo badges.
Both the LS and SS models ride on 16-inch wheels and tires, but the SS comes with standard cast-aluminum wheels, a firmer suspension, fog lamps and a rear spoiler.
A front bench seat was standard on last year's LS model, but bucket seats are the rule this year. The roomy Monte Carlo is wide enough to hold three in the rear seat, though the seat is shaped for two. Both models have a standard split rear seatback that folds to supplement the 15.8-cubic-foot trunk.
Monte Carlo's dashboard is the same as the Impala's and all major controls are large, handy and well lit. The interior, however, has an abundance of lightweight, cheap-feeling plastic.
Under the Hood
LS models come with a 3.4-liter V-6 with 180 horsepower, and the SS versions use a 3.8-liter V-6 with 200 horsepower (the same engines as the Impala). Both team with a four-speed automatic transmission. Traction control is standard on the SS and not available on the LS.