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2005 Los Angeles Auto Show, Part I

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2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

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2005 Los Angeles Auto Show Index by TCC Team

 

 

Chevy Revamps Impala, Monte Carlo

2006 Chevrolet Impala

2006 Chevrolet Impala

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Police departments and NASCAR fans everywhere are set for a 2006 refresher for their favorite two- and four-doors. This year, Chevy is revamping the front-drive Impala/Monte Carlo, outfitting them with a trio of powertrains that will include a small-block V-8.

The Impala is the more radically improved of the two. The four-door, last retouched in 2000, has been recast as a more sophisticated sedan with a neatly arched roofline and a familial resemblance borne through its grille. Inside the look is vastly more refined than the last-generation car, with a broad dash panel integrated with better-drawn instruments, higher-quality switchgear, and even a line-in port for iPods to mate up to the new audio systems. The Impala’s seats have made their concession to the SUV era as well, with a flip-fold feature that opens a flat load floor from the trunk to the back of the front seats. The rear seats seem to have far more support than prior editions, too.

2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

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The Monte Carlo has been streamlined for a cleaner appearance. A distinctive front-end appearance and a new bumper cut its overall length by a little more than an inch, but the NASCAR silhouette remains largely the same. The interior gets new instruments and a new center stack as well, and a new spoiler rides on the decklid.

But it’s the powertrains that most readers and enthusiasts will scan for — and it’s the return of the small-block V-8 to the front-drivers that is most surprising. The base engine in both cars is a 3.5-liter V-6 with 210 hp and 220 lb-ft of torque; an uplevel 240-hp, 3.9-liter V-6 is a version of the smaller engine. The 303-hp V-8 is a newly engineered version of GM’s 5.3-liter, outfitted with Displacement on Demand technology that shuts off cylinders to increase fuel economy up to 12 percent, and designed for use in front-drive vehicles. It appears in SS models.

A four-speed automatic is standard on both cars on all trim levels. Revised suspension packages and new sets of 16-, 17-, and 18-inch wheels appear in various trim packages on both cars.

Other new features added to the cars includes an optional remote vehicle start system, steering wheel radio controls, and new audio systems that include XM radio, MP3 capability and in-dash CD changers. Side curtain airbags are available on the Impala, while seat-mounted side airbags can be had on the Monte Carlo.


HHR Goes For PT Niche

2006 Chevrolet HHR

2006 Chevrolet HHR

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The HHR – Chevrolet’s “heritage high-roof” wagon for 2006 — emerges this week at the Los Angeles auto show wearing the looks of a 1949 Suburban and riding atop the mechanicals of GM’s new Delta platform. There will be two HHR wagons arriving for the 2006 model year. The LS and LT share the same body style and 174.5-inch length, as well as a cargo capacity of 63.1 cubic feet. What they don't share is powertrains. The LS spins out 140 horsepower through a 2.2-liter version of the GM corporate Ecotec four-cylinder, making 150 pound-feet of torque as well. The LT moves up to a 2.4-liter Ecotec four with 170 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. The engines are both dual overhead-cammers with balance shafts and electronic throttle control for smoothness. Five-speed manual sticks come with either model, and a four-speed automatic is optional. The manuals are Getrag units, with different final gearing for the two engine variants. The Hydra-Matic automatic is similarly tweaked for LS and LT models. Dual front airbags are standard, as are air conditioning, power locks and windows, an AM/FM/CD player, and remote keyless entry. Pricing hasn’t been released; the HHR goes on sale in the spring.

 
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