It's a good car for the market it was designed for, which wasn't me
Transmission was starting to go when I bought it. Turns out these transmissions don't start slipping until the car is fully warmed up, so not enough homework on my part. $3,000 for a re-manufactured transmission from a company highly praised in the W-Body community, as well as labor.
Intake manifold gasket went Thanksgiving last year. About $650.
MAF sensor went. About $450, with the majority being the cost of the part itself.
Driver's side window switch didn't work well when I bought it (common issue on these cars). Part itself was $60, but wasn't an illuminated unit like the stock one. The only work I've done on the car myself.
A power steering fluid hose started leaking. About $260.
Tie rods & wheel bearings were shot for a long while. Never fixed them.
The hazard switch has been starting to go (causes abnormal blinking from turn signals, much like when a bulb burns out). Another common issue with these Montes. Never fixed it.
The car did not have a valve cover on it when I bought it (all 3800 Series engines have a black valve cover indicating the engine). Didn't seem to affect how the car performed.
The last few months I owned it, the gas mileage seemed to be dropping off. Might have needed injectors cleaned or replaced soon.
The lights for the climate control temp switch (red/blue bars) went out. One of them went out after I picked up the car after the tranny swap, and the 2nd one a few weeks later (the car has dual climate control). Not sure why the lights went out.
Battery died after about a year. No big deal; I usually upgrade my batteries anyway.
Steering wheel was really worn out and offered little grip. I wrapped it with baseball bat tape because it gave me the right "grip" I was looking for, and because it's easily removable.
Typical oil changes, tranny filter replacement, spark plugs/wires, brake rotors, pads, tires, etc.
I got the car primarily for the looks (NASCAR inspired styling for the redesign) and because I felt the interior was nicer than the Grand Prix (which looks dated).
It's quick for its size, but generally, it's not a quick car. Chevrolet really should have had the supercharged L67 option from the get-go, and not waited until the 2004 model year.
Parts generally are cheap, but I obviously pointed out a few exceptions. Labor work is not always cheap on this car.
Love how "informative" the car is. Full set of gauges and GM's Driver Information Center of this era showing fuel numbers, average speed, and compass. Had the same DIC on a Blazer I owned a few years ago, and I'm glad my Monte had one.
Very spacious for front passengers and decent room in the rear. Having the rear seats fold down is very useful for storage purposes.
Does a decent job in snow with snow tires equipped. Traction control is good for some instances, but there were a few occasions where it was better to turn it off.
Nice to have a Tire Pressure Monitoring system, but very basic, as it doesn't indicate which tire is low. Just tells you that one or more tires is low.
TPMS is part of the nifty, yet basic, message center next to the tachometer. Says useful messages like "low tire pressure", "low engine oil level", "traction active" and so on. Part of that "informative" thing again.
Swapped the CD/cassette receiver for a 6" Kenwood DVD monitor. Kicker DS speakers in the front powered by a 100 watt Soundstorm amp (50 watts each speaker). Pioneer TS series in the rear powered by the DVD player. 12" JL Audio in custom built sealed enclosure 3/4" MDF carpeted. Bass is hardly noticeable outside the car with little rattles, so it seems like the car is well insulated.
Great car for highway trips, where it gets its good fuel mileage at around 27-29 MPG. Poor city car at about 20-21, and these cars can get hot in city driving (especially summer).
I put this review on the positive side because it will be a good car for who it was designed for, which seems to be the more older crowd and not so much younger guys like myself. I can't really say it was a bad car, and I won't let my love-hate relationship with it ruin what should be a positive review overall.
Even with all those problems occurring, the car never let me down once and got me wherever I needed to go, whether it was the local Wal-Mart 5 miles away or Jackson Mississippi 1,300 miles away. However, I definitely would have bought one with the supercharged L67 in hindsight. Just not enough power in the L36 to warrant an SS nameplate IMO.
If you looking for a semi-luxury coupe built for highway cruising, and won't drive around in too many heavy winters, this is a good car to consider.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 10th December, 2013