Sadly, it seems as though our favorite cars cannot remain our favorites forever. Once upon a time, large, powerful muscle cars dominated the market, and many of those vehicles have forged lasting traditions and still continue on to this day. However, even though they may not be in the same package as yesteryear, we can at least enjoy that the spirit of the muscle car has lived on. Case in point: The Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Although this car was once an icon of the muscle car days, today it still lives on, albeit with a few changes. And even though it may have lost a lot in it’s transition through the years, the Monte Carlo is still a respectable car, and one that is sure to appeal to a wide range of buyers.

The 2006 edition has been mildly restyled from previous years, but the few changes really do make a big difference. A smoother front end, longer headlights, enhanced body lines, and a nicely sized rear spoiler really help to point out the mix of ideas that is the Chevrolet Monte Carlo. A two door coupe that still manages to be respectable, and has enough carrying capacity to be used on a daily basis. Of course, the exterior design still manages to look sporty. Those going with the SS package, which features the 5.3 liter V8, get an extra underbody kit, vintage styled rear spoiler, and larger rims and tires. While the SS really does look great, and few complaints can be made about the overall sportiness of the vehicle, even the base models still manage to look good. Although a few more design tweaks may have really set the vehicle apart.

While American cars often look great on the outside, one sore point has always been the interior. Although the Monte Carlo does slightly fall prey to this tradition, it is unlikely that many are going to be truly disappointed with the car. No doubt, the interior is a tad bit Spartan, and although a couple design enhancements keep it from being boring, some extra touches may have gone a long way. The car is comfortable to drive, and the fully adjustable seat and steering wheel help to make sure that every driver finds a comfortable position. Interior room is excellent for a two door coupe, and although the Monte Carlo may be a larger car than most two door coupes, the interior space is great for it’s class. The SS trim improves a little bit, and consumers get a leather clad interior (with surprisingly nice quality) and silver accents throughout the vehicle. No, it may not be the most fun looking car to drive, but the Carlo handles itself with respectable class, and the interior appointments are more than enough to satisfy most drivers.

However, while interior and exterior looks are important, one of the most crucial elements of any vehicle is the way in which it drives. Here, sadly, the Monte Carlo struggles along a fine line. Even with the base 3.5 liter V6, power is more than adequate, and comes in around 200 horses. While other vehicles have produced more power with smaller engines, get up and go is never really an issue for this vehicle. However, one cannot help but feel that the four speed automatic transmission really offsets the feel of the car, and it would have been great to see a manual option, especially with the SS package. However, the transmission performs nicely, and although the use of only four gears means that highway cruising can get a bit loud, overall there are few complaints. The SS package, which comes with the 303 horse power V8 is actually a tad bit disappointing. Coupled with the same transmission as the other models, the V8 really fails to make an impact. Add this to the fact that the Monte Carlo is a front wheel drive, and controlling the car under all of that torque becomes a bit risky and not very enjoyable. The only other complaint about the vehicle comes with its handling. Due to the larger size of the engines, the balance is a bit off, and while the Monte Carlo may not be able to hold a candle to other cars in terms of sports-oriented driving, the ride is very comfortable and incredibly smooth, even on bumpy roads. It may not be the best car to throw around a country road, but it will more than do the job for everyday commuting.

No, the 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo may not be the sports car that we want it to be. However, with a very nice exterior appearance, comfortable and spacious interior, and a ride that easily competes with more expensive sedans, the 2006 Monte Carlo is a respectable choice for those who want to have some fun with their car, but also need to live a normal life.