LOS ANGELES – Quiet strength exemplifies the new 2006 Chevy Impala and Monte Carlo – an inherited attribute that is blended into premium mid-car vehicles that offer stylish design, stirring performance and surprising details, including available V-8 power.
Chevrolet unveiled the 2006 Impala and Monte Carlo at the 2005 Greater Los Angeles Auto Show. The vehicles enter the hotly contested mid-car segment with enhanced premium-quality features and attention to detail, including an innovative flip-and-fold rear seat in the Impala, and revised suspension systems that deliver comfortable, quiet and more confident ride and handling characteristics. These new ingredients improve on an already popular recipe for driving satisfaction.
“The ’06 Impala and Monte Carlo deliver more of what customers want from a large sedan or coupe – uncompromising roominess, but with the performance and styling of a sports car,” said Brent Dewar, Chevrolet general manager. “Mid-car represents the largest segment of the industry, and the ’06 Impala and Monte Carlo will continue Chevy’s leadership there.”
Both vehicles hold unique positions in the market. Impala is an unqualified success, with more than 1 million sales since its 1999 debut and market share increases from 2 percent in ’99 to 8 percent through 2003. The Monte Carlo draws on a rich NASCAR racing legacy to offer one of the industry’s only true mid-size personal coupes. Each vehicle carries strong heritage, too, with the Monte Carlo nameplate introduced in 1970 and the Impala introduced in 1958.
Standard and available safety features include ABS, traction control, side-curtain roof rail air bags on Impala, and available seat-mounted side air bags for Monte Carlo . A new family of high-tech V-6 engines, which features cam phasing to optimize performance and economy, is standard in both vehicles, with the base models receiving a new 3.5L V-6 that produces 210 (156 kw) horsepower and 220 lb.-ft. (304 Nm) of torque. Uplevel models are available with a 240-horsepower (179 kw) 3.9L V-6 built on the same architecture as the 3.5L engine.
Impala SS and Monte Carlo SS receive the new LS4 5.3L V-8 with Displacement On Demand (DOD) technology to regulate between eight-cylinder and four-cylinder operation – providing up to 12 percent improved fuel economy in certain light-load driving conditions. The 5.3L V-8 produces 303 horsepower (226 kw) and 323 lb.-ft. (438 Nm) of torque.
The 2006 models hold up the vehicles’ legacies of performance, style and personal touches, including:
The ’06 Impala and Monte Carlo wear a new look, both inside and out, that conveys sophistication and exudes big-car roominess. They also are designed with thoughtful features, including the Impala’s unique flip-and-fold rear seat. The forward-flip rear seat cushions create a covered storage area beneath the seat with cushions down and offers convenient grocery bag hooks when the cushions are flipped forward. The seat back also folds down to create a generous pass-through from the trunk when seat backs are folded flat – an exclusive feature in the midsize segment.
The seats of both vehicles have a cleaner, simpler and more tailored appearance. Up-level, Nuance leather-covered seating features premium deck seams around their perimeter and French seams on the center cushions. The seats also have firmer cushions and increased lumbar support that provide more comfort, especially during long drives.
The Impala has an all-new instrument panel design that wraps around into the door panels and has a double-hump design that is reminiscent of early Corvettes. All Impala models except the Impala SS offer a wood-trimmed appearance or a sportier, brushed sterling-appearance trim. The Impala SS comes standard with a “technical”-pattern trim panel.
Monte Carlo models feature a substantially revamped cockpit-style instrument panel with a new instrument layout and control center stack. A sportier shifter with chrome accents also is part of the Monte Carlo ’s interior design. Both Impala and Monte Carlo benefit from improved materials throughout the interior and trunk area. Low-gloss trim and tight tolerances provide an overall feeling of quality, while details such as flush-fit HVAC outlets and radio convey precision.
Completing the Impala and Monte Carlo ’s thoughtful interior attributes is a host of useful comfort and convenience features, including:
Impala and Monte Carlo also debut a new family of audio systems. The three systems feature new, simple-to-operate radios that are compatible with the enhanced Generation 6 OnStar system. The base CD-radio includes a six-speaker system. An uplevel MP3/CD-radio is configured for XM Satellite Radio, with a two-line, 32-character reconfigurable display and the capability to select between AM, FM and XM stations without having to reset the frequency. An up-level ICDX radio adds an in-dash six-CD changer. Impala also offers a premium Bose audio system.
On the outside, large headlamps have a premium, jeweled appearance with three independent lighting units. These details complement other high-quality attributes, such as tight tolerances of 3.5 mm or less between body components and substantial “grab”-style door handles, to provide an overall feeling of solidity. Also, new, flat-blade windshield wipers are used to provide consistent pressure on the glass, which helps eliminate streaking and wind noise. The new exterior design cues reduce the Monte Carlo ’s overall length by 1.2 inches compared to the ’05 model.
The Impala SS and Monte Carlo SS models receive distinct front-end appearances separate from other models, including dual-split grilles that have a black-diamond crosshatch pattern. Monte Carlo models feature a rear decklid spoiler, with the Monte Carlo SS featuring a separate design suggestive of NASCAR-style spoilers. Impala SS and Monte Carlo SS models feature Corvette-inspired bright exhaust outlets. Impala LTZ and SS have a standard rear spoiler. A spoiler is available on the LT.
CHASSIS & SUSPENSION
Quiet, smoothness and refinement are the ride and handling traits conveyed through the Impala and Monte Carlo ’s revised chassis and suspension systems. A more robust front-end structure provides a firmer foundation to help reduce noise vibration and harshness (NVH). It also provides improved steering and handling performance.
Fully boxed upper frame rail assemblies have a wider, deeper and structurally stronger upper front tie bar, with slight machining differences between V-6 and V-8 models to provide room for the 5.3L V-8 engine. Stronger ties between the upper and lower rails stiffen the front structure for improved ride and handling and a large, lower front-of-dash panel has been strengthened. It is constructed from Quiet Steel laminated steel, which consists of sound deadening material bonded between sheets of steel and reduces resonant sound from a “clanging” to a muted “thud.”
An extruded aluminum engine cradle is used on both vehicles, too, and contributes to a smoother, vibration-free ride. The cradle’s lateral stiffness (at the steering joint) is increased with a new, one-piece machined rear crossmember and new aluminum rear body mounts, which helps improve handling control. Models equipped with a V-6 engine have a two-point engine-mounting system, while V-8 models have a three-point mounting system.
A power rack-and-pinion steering system is standard on all models, with the base Impala and Monte Carlo LS now using the same, responsive 13.3:1 steering ratio of uplevel models. All models also receive a quieter, improved performance power steering pump and fluid reservoirs. The new system optimizes internal flow of the hydraulic steering fluid within both the pump and the reservoirs.
At the front suspension, both vehicles feature McPherson strut coil-over-spring independent front suspension with gas-charged four-valve struts and a stabilizer bar. Taller jounce bumpers in the front suspension help enhance stability and control. The rear suspension uses a trailing arm, tri-link setup with gas-charged, four-valve struts and coil springs. A rear stabilizer bar is standard on all models.
From the basic suspension designs, Impala and Monte Carlo are available with three distinct suspension settings, each tuned to match the power and expected performance level of its respective model:
FE1 & FE2 (16-inch wheels): Impala base models have an FE1 suspension package and Monte Carlo LS has a new base FE2 suspension. Both are standard with the 3.5L V-6, providing improved control over previous base models without compromising ride quality. FE1 and FE2 use stiff, constant-rate front springs and variable-rate rear springs to provide higher roll rates. At the front, a stiffer torque strut design reduces NVH and helps provide a smoother, quieter ride. The packages include 16-inch wheels and P225/60R16 ALS (all-season) Goodyear Integrity radials, specifically developed to provide a quieter ride and better fuel economy compared to previous base models. A 10-mm (0.4-inch) wider track also is achieved, as the 16-inch wheels each are moved 5 mm outboard.
FE1 & FE2 (17-inch wheels): The FE1 and FE2 suspension packages also are available with 17-inch wheels and tires for better high-speed control, including the 10-mm-wider track. This combination is standard with vehicles equipped with the 3.9L V-6. The 3.9L engine also receives more powertrain damping to help optimize ride quietness, smoothness and handling. P225/55R17 AL2 (touring) Goodyear Eagle LS2 radials are partnered with the 17-inch aluminum wheels, providing greater handling capability and more stability in tighter turns.
FE3 & FE4: Impala SS models receive a FE3 suspension, and the Monte Carlo SS gets a FE4 suspension. Both suspensions are designed to provide a sporty ride that complements the 5.3L V-8’s performance through increased stiffness and ride control, with reduced body lean and greater high-speed stability. They share similar specifications, including:
Safety and Crash Avoidance
Impala offers standard side-curtain air bags, which provide optimum head protection for outboard passengers. The side curtain air bags are mounted in the side roof rails and deploy down to the lower edge of the windows from the A-pillar to the C-pillar. The Monte Carlo offers new optional side seat-mounted air bags, which help optimize head and torso protection for the driver and front passenger.
Both vehicles offer numerous other safety features, including:
The Impala includes additional features designed to enhance the vehicle structure, including lighter, more rigid front and rear bumper systems (the Monte Carlo shares the front bumper system). Also, the Impala features a strengthened “safety cage” passenger compartment with the front and rear doors designed for improved energy dissipation in the event of a crash.
A new family of sophisticated V-6 engines featuring the first use of cam phasing in an overhead-valve engine design leads the powertrain lineups for Impala and Monte Carlo . Impala SS and Monte Carlo SS feature a standard LS4 5.3L small-block V-8 with Displacement On Demand technology.
A 3.5L V-6 is standard in the Impala and Monte Carlo . With 210 horsepower and 220 lb.-ft. of torque, it offers more standard power than previous models and, in fact, delivers more power as a base engine than some key competitors’ top (or only) offering. Uplevel models offer a 3.9L V-6 built on the same architecture and incorporate a variable-length intake manifold. It is rated at 240 horsepower and 245 lb.-ft. of torque.
The new 5.3L small-block V-8 with DOD was developed exclusively for front-drive applications and produces 303 horsepower and 323 lb.-ft. of torque with DOD helping to reduce fuel consumption by up to 12 percent in certain light-load driving conditions.
All engines are combined with a Hydra-Matic 4T65-E electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission. The smooth shifting transmission is renowned for its durability and strength with high-torque engines. The transmission mated with the 5.3L V-8 is further enhanced to match the engine’s increased torque output.
For more information on the Impala and Monte Carlo ’s engine families, see the “Powertrain” release.
Production of the 2006 Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo will take place at General Motors’ Oshawa No. 1 plant in Ontario , Canada . More than $350 million in equipment upgrades and new assembly procedures have been invested in the plant and supplier community to facilitate production of the new vehicles.
Oshawa ’s plant #1 and #2 already have been recognized by J.D. Power’s 2004-model Initial Quality Survey, for example, for building two of the top five highest quality vehicles in the premium midsize segment, including Monte Carlo . Oshawa started winning J.D. Power awards in 1999 and hasn’t gone a year since without winning one.
Chevrolet is a division of General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest vehicle manufacturer. GM employs about 325,000 people globally. Founded in 1908, GM has been the global automotive sales leader since 1931. GM today has manufacturing operations in 32 countries and its vehicles are sold in 192 countries. In 2003, GM sold nearly 8.6 million cars and trucks, about 15 percent of the global vehicle market. GM's global headquarters are at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit . More information on GM and its products can be found on the company's corporate website at www.gm.com.
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IMPALA PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS
MONTE CARLO PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS