2000 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS (274)

This 2000 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS is a bit of American space age design. Not too far out but definitely new especially in the rear end. Don’t get me wrong, General Motors hasn’t gone out on a limb with this but anything that’s a variation on the all too common theme of cars today is appreciated by me.

I was looking out the window of my hotel in Phoenix this past week end and couldn’t help noting that every car in the lot were so generic looking you couldn’t tell what make they were. They simply all looked the same. This Monte Carlo has a different look about it and I was aware of the increased number of looks or stares relative to most of the cars I’ve been testing lately.

This is a very capable car and the price must really tick off foreign competitors. I can just hear them in their board room meetings asking how those damn Americans can produce such good cars for so little Yen or DM’s.  Relying on  “Snob Appeal” just won’t work forever, will it? American buyers must eventually tire paying a premium for badges on the car that serve no other purpose than to broadcast the price they paid? Well, if you read my column very often you know that I have a bit of a bias toward American cars these days. I remain objective but I can’t ignore twelve years in the foreign car repair business I co-owned in La Canada, California. I experienced first hand the cost disparity in repairs of certain cars just because they were German or Italian, for example. I learned that BMW was terribly expensive to repair mostly because of the high cost of  replacement parts. Jaguar was great looking but they were in the shop too much. There was an old joke that when you went to buy a new Jaguar you first had to test drive the mechanics car because that would be the one you’d be driving most of the time.

Jags, Ferrari’s and other Italian cars tended to do utterly stupid things when it came to mechanical design. And all that stupid stuff complicated the repair process, which of course translated to higher repair cost. Fiat stood for Fix It Again Tony and other high maintenance cars were branded with similar tongue in cheek criticism.

On a positive note however there were foreign makes that were famous for low maintenance. Brother John convinced me to buy Toyota Cressida and I ended up with two of the ’80’s era models. Even though I liked both a lot, the best cars I’ve owned were still American, from Chevrolet and Ford. The styling was classic and remains so to this day. The 1955 Ford ½ ton pickup and the 1957 Chevrolet 2-door hardtop are as sought after today as they were back then. The Chevy even had an electronic ignition system my good friend Aldo built way back in 1962. I wonder why he didn’t patent it?

Well I don’t know if this Monte Carlo will become a classic too, but it has unique styling and I think it will appeal to a lot of people. It got a lot of looks and it also has all the comforts of its competition and more. And finally, you need to look at the competition to appreciate that you get a lot for the dough with this Chevrolet. It is definitely worth including in your search if you’re looking in this price range.

The competition:

1999 Acura CL $23,100 – $26,150, 2000 Dodge Avenger $18,940 – $21,185, 2000 Honda Accord $15,350 – $24,550, 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix $19,815 – $24,310, 2000 Toyota Camry Solara $18,938 – $25,838.

Good News:

American quality with lots of features, great pricing, fast and fun to drive, and lots of room inside and large trunk.

Bad News:

This Coupe is a pain to get in and out of the back seat, seat belts don’t store very well so they get in the way entering and exiting, long heavy doors are difficult in parking areas,

Standard Equipment:

3.8 liter V6 200 horsepower engine, 4-speed automatic trans with overdrive, front wheel drive, power steering, tuned 4-wheel independent suspension, 4-wheel antilock brakes, dual air bags, theft deterrent system, power steering, door locks, windows, trunk, dual power mirrors, remote keyless entry, tinted glass, air conditioning, AM/FM Stereo with cassette, bucket seats, cruise control, tilt leather wrapped steering wheel, SS package that includes computer information center, heated power mirrors and 6-way power driver seat.

Gas Stats:

20 City and 29 Highway MPG.


MSRP $22,471

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
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