2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo


2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo was new.


Performance: 6.5

The 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo is praised for its respectable engine power, decent fuel economy, and overall smooth handling. Nevertheless, a bit of torque steer (where the car pulls to the side under hard acceleration) coupled with a front-wheel drive design draws doubt over its true performance capabilities. "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," says Kelley Blue Book. BusinessWeek adds, "It's tough to get cozy with the idea of a serious performance car that isn't rear-wheel drive... But take a turn behind the wheel; give it a chance." While the Super Sport (SS) is outfitted with a V8 engine, all other trim levels come equipped with a V6.

Acceleration and Power

The Monte Carlo LS and LT are powered by a 3.5L V6 engine with advanced Variable Valve Timing (VVT) -- which uses an electronically controlled camshaft to pump out 211-hp and 214 lb.-ft. of torque at 4000 RPM. The Super Sport (SS), however, is powered by a stronger 303-hp 5.3L small block V8 and makes 323 lb.-ft of torque at 4,400 RPM. According to BusinessWeek, "The infusion of V-8 power means that Monte Carlo SS owners are no longer condemned to motor toothlessly around the parking lot at Talladega or Martinsville looking silly in their V-6 pretend stockers -- all decal, no cattle. The bark of that 303-hp V-8 is plenty convincing."

While Car and Driver says that the "basic Monte is sluggish," Consumer Guide claims that every 2007 Monte Carlo is "peppy from a stop, regardless of engine." The truth, however, more than likely lies with Motor Trend's assertion that the "V-6 gets the job done."

Both the LS and LT boast an EPA estimated fuel economy of 21/31 mpg (city/highway). Using E85 (a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline), they only make 16/24 mpg - but help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make slightly better horsepower and torque levels due to higher octane ratings than unleaded gasoline. While Kelley Blue Book boasts that "the V6 gives good performance and fuel economy," Consumer Guide asserts that there's "no difference in acceleration using E85."

Although the SS doesn't function on E85, its V8 engine earns a respectable EPA fuel economy of 18/27 mpg. Consumer Guide notes, however, that while "Monte Carlos use regular-grade fuel. Chevy recommends premium for V8s." Even so, overall gas mileage can be enhanced through the SS' Active Fuel Management system -- which uses all eight cylinders when drivers require power during acceleration and passing, but only four cylinders when better gas mileage is desired, such as during highway cruising.

Though all 2007 Chevy Monte Carlos come equipped with a standard Hydra-Matic 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive -- the SS sports a "heavy duty" version. "This smooth-shifting transmission is renowned for its durability and strength with high-torque engines," says the Bergen (N.J.) Record.

Handling and Braking

While Motor Trend reports "reasonably crisp, precise steering gears that make a long sweeping curve or a tighter backroad ess-bend easy to control," Edmunds asserts that "the Monte Carlo is primarily a comfortable cruiser that's more at home in the fast lane than on twisty mountain roads." Autobytel agrees -- warning that the "SS's new 303-hp spec looks fantastic in a magazine ad but expect a lot of torque steer off the line and nose-heavy handling around tight corners."

All 2007 Chevy Monte Carlos are outfitted with a four-wheel independent suspension -- the SS', however, is performance-tuned to have stiffer spring rates and larger stabilizer bars. Altogether, reviewers agree with Kelley Blue Book's assessment that the Monte Carlo has a "soft" suspension that's "tuned more for cruising than bruising." In fact, Consumer Guide reports that road-feel is "never harsh."

Nevertheless, reviewers across the board complain of the 2007 Monte Carlo's front-wheel drive design. "A front-engine/rear-drive layout is typically preferable for optimum weight distribution and balanced handling, especially when that engine is a heavy V8," says Edmunds. Kelley Blue Book takes it one step further, complaining that "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." Nevertheless, BusinessWeek asserts that "a proper front-drive burnout is both doable and enjoyable without awkward skittering left to right."

While every Monte Carlo comes equipped with 4-wheel disc brakes, only the LT and SS offer an anti-lock brake system (ABS) and Electronic Traction Control with Corner Brake Control (CBC) standard. These features, however, are available options for the LS trim.

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