Chevy is Bringing Back the Monza Name, With an RS Badge, but Don’t Expect to Get One Outside of China
The new Monza will be a mid-size sedan with an RS badgeby Michael Fira, on
Chevrolet is reviving the Monza name after a 38-year hiatus in the shape of a sporty mid-size sedan that comes with an RS badge and hopes to elbow its way into the preferences of the Chinese customer. That’s because the car will be unveiled at the Guangzhou Auto Show which means it will most likely be a China-exclusive model.
Last time the Chevrolet Monza was relevant it was 1980, and things were very different. For one, Chevrolet wasn’t building special models for the Chinese market, and mid-size sedan sales weren’t dropping at an alarming rate Stateside. So let’s see what this new car has to offer beyond a reheated nameplate.
If you’re a Monza fan you might just have to visit China to see one of these
Remember the old Monza? Not really? Well, Chevrolet is bringing the name back, either way, with a new mid-size sedan that will be unveiled at the Guangzhou Auto Show this weekend. To spice things up, Chevrolet also released a teaser image that showcases the Monza’s front end.
From what we can see, the Monza RS will have a honeycomb fake mesh grille complemented by added inlets on either side.
The shape of the narrow LED headlights makes us think of the Chevrolet Cruze which also features an RS trim level. The Cruze is available both in hatchback and sedan body styles, and we guess the new Monza might be a tweaked-up Cruze - or Malibu - for the Chinese market.
Chevrolet talks briefly about the reveal of the new Cruze RS in a press release. The American automaker which is present in China through the SAIC-GM partnership said that the Monza "has a dynamic design that inherits the brand’s sporty DNA and reflects the youthful aesthetic trend to cater to the preferences of younger car buyers."
The statement also details how the rest of the body looks like, although the use of unnecessarily soulless words makes for a tough reading. "The Monza RS is equipped with three-dimensional LED light-conductor daytime running lights for the first time." The statement then adds that "its double-stereo crystal light belt is complemented by fashionable and dynamic patterns and engraved lines, giving the sedan’s ’eyes’ a fully technical feel. The two-element taillights in the dynamic tail are reminiscent of the track."
All that PR talk aside, there’s a lot we don’t know about the Cruze RS. First off, will it only be offered as an RS model or will the RS be the top-tier trim option? Also, will Chevy only sell it in Asia? We also don’t know anything about the engines that will propel the Monzas, but we can look over to what the Cruze has to offer to have a rough idea of what’s in store. For instance, you can have a Cruze RS LT with the 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine which develops 153 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 177 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 rpm. Then there’s also a 1.6-liter turbocharged diesel engine that puts out 16 less horsepower but, on the flipside, 40 more pound-feet of torque. There are a total of three gearboxes available for the Cruze: a six-speed manual, a six-speed automatic and a nine-speed automatic.
So, all we can do is to stay put and wait until Chevrolet does its thing and unveils the new Cruze RS, as well as the new Malibu XL Redline and the FNR-CarryAll concept SUV which is, broadly speaking, a Blazer. All of these will grace GM’s stand as well as the silver C7.R GTE Le Mans-winning race car that’s competing this weekend in the Six Hours of Shanghai race, a round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
It’s worth pointing out that, just like with other revamped nameplates over the years (think the Dodge Charger of the 21st century or the new Maserati Ghibli), the new car doesn’t share the same body style as the original. That’s because GM first used the name ’Monza’ on a couple of concept cars in 1960 before naming the up-scale trim level of the Chevrolet Corvair with the same way.
Over a decade later, in 1974, during the peak of the OPEC fuel crisis, GM presented a new subcompact car based on the Vega which received the Monza nameplate.
It was a rather lackluster-looking car which shared the Vega’s wheelbase and came in standard with a lifeless 2.3-liter inline-four engine. Later on, this dreadful unit was canned and, in its place, GM brought a couple of V-8s. Still, these were the days of the Malaise Era, so regulations regarding pollution made every engine starve and put out frustratingly-low power outputs.
Frankly, the only really good thing that came out of the mid-’70s Monza is the ludicrous tube-framed racing car developed by DeKon Engineering. It was built for IMSA’s All-American GT ruleset which was introduced in 1974 in a bid to give American manufacturers an incentive to build outlandish silhouette race cars that could topple Porsche’s domination in the IMSA GT Series.
The racing Monza debuted in 1975 and rapidly climbed to the top of the IMSA pile.
It was such an effective machine that Al Holbert managed to win back-to-back titles in the GTO-class Monza in 1976 and 1977. The car kept being campaigned competitively until the dawn of the ’80s. There was even a GTX-spec twin-turbocharged Monza race car prepared by Roy Woods’ racing team that was capable of producing somewhere around 750 horsepower with the boost turned right up.
Read our driven review on the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze RS.
Source: Auto Blog