By KBB.com Editors
The Impala underwent a complete image makeover in 2006, gaining it a cleaner, more sophisticated exterior and a badly needed interior upgrade. Slotted to compete with class front-runners Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, the Impala may not have the strong resale figures of its Japanese rivals, but it does have some redeeming qualities. The Impala features a huge back seat and trunk and something no other import offers: An optional V8 engine. Still, it's fair to say the Impala has its work cut out for it. With newer and better equipped models, such as the Ford Five-Hundred and Dodge Charger, ready to steal away domestic customers, dealers may be willing to cut prices to help keep the Impala moving.You'll Like This Car If...
If you're in search of a big, roomy sedan that won't break the bank, the newly refined Impala will thoroughly meet your needs and probably exceed your expectations. Also, the SS model makes a good quasi-muscle car for those who require the all-weather advantages of front-wheel drive.You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're looking to move up in size from something like an Accord or Camry, you may find it difficult to give up the world-class refinement of the Toyota and Honda brands. If that's the case, check out Toyota's Avalon. Also, the lack of a tap-up/down shift option on the Impala SS detracts a bit from the performance image.What's Significant About This Car?
The 3.9-liter V6 receives GM's Active Fuel Management technology for improved fuel economy. XM Satellite Radio becomes standard on SS trim levels and all Impalas receive a tire-pressure monitoring system.Driving It Driving Impressions
We sampled all three of the Impala's available engine choices and came away satisfied by each of them on different levels. The V8 was the most entertaining of the three, the 3.9-liter V6 proved plenty powerful and the base 3.5-liter V6 never left us feeling like a road hazard.
Out on the highway the ride is smooth and stable, with none of the pitching and dipping typical of older big American sedans. The top-level Impala SS has a suspension stiff enough to encourage enthusiastic driving on curvier public roads. With supportive seats front and rear, the Impala remains comfortable after several hours and hundreds of miles. Engine and road noise have been minimized considerably, which may explain why wind noise seemed so noticeable.
Auxiliary Audio Input
We didn't expect to find an MP3 input jack in the Impala, especially as standard equipment, but we're glad we did.
Fold-Flat Split Rear Seat
Flip up the seat bottoms, fold down the seat backs, and the Impala's already massive trunk becomes a virtual cargo bed more than six feet long.
The Impala's passenger cabin received a complete makeover in 2006 and carries on unchanged for 2007. Clean lines on the instrument panel and upholstery combine with attractive knobs and buttons to create an environment in which the auxiliary audio input for MP3 players doesn't seem too new-fangled for the car. A check of the available equipment list reveals a choice of bucket seats or a split-bench arrangement (giving space for six occupants) for the front passengers. In conjunction with a massive trunk, the Impala offers a fold-flat rear seat that increases cargo capacity considerably.Exterior
Two well-defined grille openings flanked by a pair of rearward-swept headlamps help give the new Impala a sleeker, more contemporary appearance. At the rear, triangular jewel-like tail lamps replace the previous generation's dark plastic-panel that veiled four circular lamp outlines. The SS model features a small, trunk-mounted spoiler and 18-inch five-spoke machined aluminum wheels.Notable Standard Equipment
A base Impala LS comes equipped with a 3.5-liter V6, four-speed automatic transmission, power windows/locks/mirrors, air conditioning, AM/FM/CD player with auxiliary input, remote keyless entry, front airbags, side curtain airbags, speed control, power driver's seat, cloth interior, tilt steering wheel, remote trunk release, 16-inch covered steel wheels, tire-pressure monitor and OnStar.Notable Optional Equipment
Trim-level, package and stand-alone options include a 3.9-liter V6 or 5.3-liter V8 engine, anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) with traction control (standard on 2LT and up), leather seating, power sunroof, dual-zone air conditioning, heated front seats, power passenger seat, flip-and-fold-flat rear seat, single- or six-disc CD player with MP3 compatibility, XM satellite radio, Bose premium sound, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, universal home remote, auto-dimming inside and outside rear view mirrors, heated outside mirrors, metallic-look trim, remote vehicle start, engine block heater, fog lamps, rear spoiler and aluminum wheels up to 18 inches.Under the Hood
The 2007 Impala's three engines include two V6s and a V8. The 3.9-liter V6 is equipped with GM's Active Fuel Management, which cuts fuel to three of the six cylinders when cruising. The 5.3-liter V8, exclusive to the SS model, also features Active Fuel Management technology that seamlessly disables four cylinders in certain situations for improved fuel economy. The V8 provided the most excitement, but we found even the base V6 more than adequateespecially considering its highway mileage rating of 31 mpg and its compatibility with E85 ethanol-based fuel.
211 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
214 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 (E85), 21/31 (Gasoline)
233 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
240 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29
303 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
323 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27
Prices for the Chevrolet Impala range from a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $21,515 for the LS to $26,935 for the LTZ. The hot-rod SS is $28,540. While those prices are higher than last year's, we expect Fair Purchase Prices to reflect actual transaction prices in light of fewer promotional deals and significant vehicle improvements. As for resale (an important factor to consider when comparing vehicles) we expect the newest Impala to hold its value better than its underperforming predecessor, if not as well as its closest Ford and Chrysler competitors, the Five Hundred and 300, and certainly not as well as the Accord or Camry.