SAN FRANCISCO: This
week, we test drive Chevrolets 2001 Monte Carlo SS (Super Sport), a personal sport
coupe that outwardly mimics the great Super Sport models of the past. Finished in a
beautiful Torch Red exterior with Ebony leather accent interior, our SS model featured a
$2,000 High Sport Appearance package that included a ground effects package finished in
Galaxy Silver and special wheel treatment. The end result is a Monte Carlo SS that
attracted much attention during our weeklong test.
Monte Carlo comes in two models, the LS and the SS. The availability of two V-6
engines, a base 3.4-liter (LS) and a more powerful 3.8 (standard SS/ optional LS) offer
those looking for more power a choice. However, engine availability is an area where the
2001 Monte Carlo differs most from the past, as both small and big block V8s coupled
to rear drive were the norm on Monte Carlos of yesteryear. Today, its front drive
all the way, although we kept wondering how well this 2001 would run with the
Corvette-bred V8 and six-speed manual moving the rear wheels.
The dual personality Monte Carlo promotes what Chevy dubs a "classy with a wild
streak" heritage. The 2001 model is constructed via a unified drive train and
component package, offering larger stabilizer bars on the SS for more spirited driving.
Chevy utilizes some of General Motors best sport suspension ideas on both the LS and SS,
featuring stronger but lighter chassis ingredients.
Included as standard equipment are racing bred front suspension systems, extruded
aluminum engine cradle, largest in class four-wheel disc brakes, 16-inch tires, front
brake cooling technology, ABS and full functional traction control. The popular On-Star
communications system is standard on the SS.
The 3800-V6 in our SS is basically the same engine that powers many sibling General
Motors products. It's a bulletproof, 200-horsepower engine, but to pep things up a bit,
Chevrolet should consider offering the supercharged version currently available in Buick
and Pontiac models. The lone transmission availability is the 4-speed automatic
transmission that offers reliability and performance.
Safety wise, Monte Carlo meets the 2003 government standards for head injury protection
by offering dual front and driver side-impact air bags as standard equipment. A safety
cage construction complements a long list of security features. Included are a new
structural headliner, energy absorbing foam in the side pillars, and even a "glow in
the dark" in the trunk release handle.
Inside, Monte Carlos cabin is one of the better we've experienced. Comfort and
amenities abound, all dashboard gauges are large and easy to read, and control knobs are
within easy reach. The high-end stereo sounded great, too.
Outwardly, the short rear deck on Monte Carlo is captivating with its racy rear spoiler
very evident. Huge rear tail lamps are impressive and instant eye catchers as is the long,
NASCAR-bred hood and front-end arrangement. Overall, Monte Carlos design is a
marriage of style, aerodynamics and logic, with sweeping lines that culminate in excellent
visibility for all passengers.
The trunk allows 15.8 cu. ft. of cargo space while reducing the likelihood of cargo
damage by adding non-intrusive, gas-assisted trunk hinges. Other specifications include a
110.5 wheelbase, 17-gallon fuel tank, and a 3391-pound curb weight. EPA numbers for the
3.8 V-6 are 20/30, excellent for a car of this size
The SS base price of $22,400 is attractive but can creep up quickly with the noted
options. Our model came in at $26,888 fully loaded, including heated seats ($120), leather
buckets ($625), upgraded stereo CD ($223), power passenger seat ($305) and an SS Preferred
Group ($615). This car appeals to both male and female drivers, especially those who love
NASCAR racing, where Monte Carlo has won more Cup races than any car in history. Four door
Chevy enthusiasts may want to check the 2001 Impala, which is built on the same platform
and offers identical power train choices.
On the road, Monte Carlo is a good handler for a larger car. Whether merging on a
freeway, passing on a two-lane road or just cruising, the SS did everything well. Bottom
line? We hope a Supercharged V6 appears one day, making the SS a true "bowtie"
legend performer. Other than that, its a great car. By Greg Zyla © AutoWire.Net
Greg Zyla writes a weekly syndicated auto column on all things automotive. Write him at
707 Rock St., Shamokin, Pa. 17872 or email him at email@example.com.
Chevy Home Page
Byline: By Greg Zyla © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Column Name: "Monte Carlo - Classy with a Wild Streak"
Topic: 2001 Chevy Monte Carlo SS
Word Count: 803
Photo Caption: 2001 Chevy Monte Carlo SS
Photo Credits: Chevrolet Internet Media
Series #: 2000 - 46
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