January 23, 1998
The Monte Carlo nameplate dates back to the fall of ’69 when Chevrolet first introduced it as – “The coupe of the ’70s’.” Born in the era of muscle-cars where what was packed under the hood was everything, the Monte Carlo had the biggest, longest hood of them all. Chevrolet even spawned an ‘SS’ version and plunked a monster 454 V8 motor that would leave Tim the Tool-Man drooling into its huge engine bay.
Although probably best remembered for those early power-hungry years the Monte Carlo continued through two downsizing generation changes and in 1988 it was retired from the Chevrolet product line-up. The retirement only lasted until 1994 when the Monte Carlo name was bestowed on what is essentially a coupe version of the front-wheel-drive Chevrolet Lumina sedan. Other GM products that share major components with this Monte Carlo include the Pontiac Grand Prix, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and the Buick Regal.
The fourth generation Monte Carlo was introduced in June of ’94, but designated a ’95 model year vehicle. Built in Canada it came in LS and Z34 trim levels. Standard equipment included the PassKey security system and some excellent occupant protection features that included dual air bags and side impact beams in the doors.
The base LS version is a nice riding, comfortable car that’s very suited to long distance driving and has a 3.1 litre V6 engine that produces 160 horsepower. Moving up to the Z34 brings the addition of a keyless entry system, 16 inch (cast aluminium) wheels, wider performance tires and a high-output DOHC 3.4 V6 engine that churns-out 210 horsepower.
A 4-wheel disc brake system and variable assist steering became standard on Z34 version of Monte Carlo in ’96 and a few extra horses were also squeezed out of its 3.4 litre motor. The Z34 continued to receive attention with a new 4-speed electronic automatic transmission in ’97 and a 3.8 litre V6 replaced the 3.4 litre engine, the following year. Although the horsepower rating is actually a little lower on the 3.8 litre engine it’s a smoother running motor with more torque at low engine speeds.
There were two major recalls on the ’95 Monte Carlo. A faulty wiper switch can cause an intermittent or non-operation problem and the centre rear seat belt anchor plate may have stress cracks. A few ’95s were also made with an improperly mounted right side lower ball joint. And some ’96 vehicles may have a brake booster that wasn’t correctly installed.
A big American style coupe with seating for five, the Chevrolet Monte Carlo generally appeals to the mature car buyer. Used prices are reasonable, it’s got an average reputation for repair reliability and over 90% of owners, surveyed by CAA, were very satisfied with their Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.