KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
The closest thing Chevrolet has to a traditional full-size sedan is the aging, but still capable, Impala. Although its looks have held up, the Impala really struggles when compared to such heavyweights as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Ford Taurus, as well as the new Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima. Despite not having the strong resale figures of its Japanese and domestic rivals, the Impala does have number of redeeming qualities. The Impala features a large back seat and trunk, is equipped with GM's OnStar telematics system and is very competitively priced. Still, it's fair to say the Impala has its work cut out for it. With newer and better equipped vehicles, such as the Ford Taurus and Dodge Charger, ready to steal away domestic customers, dealers may be willing to deal 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 2011 Chevrolet Impala will thoroughly meet your needs and probably exceed your expectations. The wide range of available OnStar packages gives the Impala a leg up over similarly priced competitors.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're looking to move up in size from something like an Altima or Camry, you may find it difficult to give up the world-class refinement of the Toyota and Nissan brands. Also, the Impala's aging design may be a turn off for buyers seeking cutting edge engineering and technology.
What's New for 2011
Changes for 2011 include an E85-compatible 3.5-liter V6, standard Bluetooth on 1LT trims and a six-month free OnStar Directions and Connections subscription. All Impala trims now feature color-keyed body side molding as part of their standard equipment.
We sampled both of the 2011 Impala's available engine choices and came away satisfied by each of them on different levels. The 3.9-liter V6 proved plenty powerful but most will find the base 3.5-liter V6 is perfectly sufficient. Out on the highway the Impala's ride is smooth and stable, with none of the pitching and dipping typical of older big American sedans. The top-level Impala LTZ offers a more solid feel and better handling, thanks to its FE3 "Luxury Tuning" suspension and 18-inch wheel and tire package. 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.
A feature usually not found in basic family sedans, the eight-speaker Bose audio system, available on the LT and standard on the LTZ, is a definite must for music lovers.
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 2011 Chevrolet Impala's passenger cabin features clean lines on the instrument panel and upholstery that combine with attractive knobs and buttons to create a pleasingly neutral environment. Clever features, such as the auxiliary audio input jack, go a long way toward satisfying the kids on long trips. A check of the available equipment list reveals a choice of bucket seats or a split-bench arrangement for the front passengers, with the latter increasing seating capacity to space for six adults. In conjunction with a massive trunk, the Impala offers a flip-and-fold-flat rear seat that not only increases cargo capacity but also features a small storage tub beneath.
Two well-defined grille openings flanked by a pair of rearward-swept headlamps help give the Chevrolet Impala a sleek, contemporary appearance. At the rear, triangular jewel-like tail lamps are a bit generic and bear no resemblance to the traditional round lamps that were the hallmark of the Impala for decades. The trunk lid opens straight up to allow for easy loading and the low lift-over height aids when loading heavy or large items.
Notable Standard Equipment
A base 2011 Chevrolet 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, XM Satellite Radio, remote keyless entry, front airbags, side curtain airbags, front seat side-impact airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction control 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, leather seating, power sunroof, dual-zone air conditioning, eight-way heated power driver's and heated power passenger's seats, flip-and-fold-flat rear seat, single- or six-disc CD player with MP3 compatibility, Bose premium sound, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, OnStar Directions and Connections with Turn-by-Turn Navigation, universal home remote, Bluetooth, auto-dimming inside and outside rear-view mirrors, heated outside mirrors, metallic-look trim, factory-installed remote vehicle start, engine block heater, fog lamps, rear spoiler and aluminum wheels up to 18 inches in diameter.
Under the Hood
The 2011 Chevrolet Impala's offers a choice between two V6 engines: A 3.5-liter and 3.9-liter V6. Both engines are capable of running on E85 (a gas/ethanol mixture) and offer respectable power and fuel economy. However, there is a noticeable decrease in fuel economy when using the gasoline and ethanol mixture.}
211 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
216 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/22 (E85), 19/29 (gasoline)
230 horsepower @ 5700 rpm
235 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/20 (E85) 17/27 (gasoline)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2011 Chevrolet Impala ranges from just under $25,000 for the LS to about $32,000 for a fully-loaded LTZ. While this price range is very close to last year's, we expect Fair Purchase Prices to also remain constant. Fair Purchase Price shows the typical transaction price paid in your area, so be sure to check it out before you start negotiations. Kelley Blue Book expects the Impala to hold resale values slightly better than previous Impalas, but, overall, to lag behind the Chrysler 300 and the Ford Taurus and be far outpaced by the resale values of the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Camry.