Not so long ago, the Chevrolet Impala was an also-ran, a “snoozer” sedan with a cheap engine and cheap paint. But its good deeds as a law enforcement patrol cruiser and fleet rental car finally caught up. Karma caught up. And in 2014, the Chevrolet Impala was reborn.
A baby’s heart begins beating 3-4 weeks from conception. So does the Impala’s. Just a few weeks from the initial stamping, welding and general assembly, the Impala’s heart starts thumping: vroom, vroom, vroom. Standard on all models is a 195-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Optional on the top trims is the 305-horsepower Pentastar V6, beloved pet of General Motors. Paired with both is a six-speed automatic transmission.
Now, don’t get the wrong idea. Despite the impressive coral, no Impala is sporty. Fully loaded, the cruiser weighs close to two tons. Imagine trying to ride an Asian elephant around a hairpin turn at 45 mph. But this isn’t the Ambien-drugged, four-wheeled car of olden times. Some clever suspension tuning allows the sedan to corner, to grip, to steer along the straight and narrow. The front-wheel drive system exhibits little torque steer, and if you were to find a smooth, freshly paved highway, the Impala would cruise happily along achieving 29 mpg.
But no one buys a full-size sedan for the fuel efficiency. People come for the space: the headroom for Big & Tall drivers, the 18.8-cubic-foot trunk for a week’s vacation, the rear legroom and the big, fat storage pockets in the doors. In the Impala, you have space to burn.
And, of course, all Impala’s come with a long list of toys. Even the most basic LS model (four-cylinder engine only) has OnStar emergency telematics, keyless entry and a satellite radio subscription.
Here are some of the most popular options. Most are available only as part of a package.
• Rear parking sensors and a rearview camera;
• A blind spot monitor and lane-departure system;
• Premium Bose audio system;
• Leather upholstery;
• Ventilated front seats;
And finally, the Chevrolet Impala has one last trick up its sleeve: depreciation. After 2014, the model more than doubled its North American market share. That glut of new Impalas depressed aftermarket values, however, so you can buy an almost-new Impala for 20-40 percent off.
Call it rebirth.