By Jack R. Nerad, Executive Editorial Director, KBB.com
Americans have always loved large sedans, and the Chevrolet Impala is one of the most beloved and enduring of those "full-size cars." But in the past few years, consumers' desire for more fuel efficiency has chipped away at the size of the large-car segment, helping to send Impala sales downward. With the introduction of the 2014 edition of the Chevy Impala, the company is out to change all that. Impala product planners believe that their newest creation has the prerequisites to get them back in the game, and after driving the Impala extensively, we tend to agree with them. So if you're eyeballing a Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus or Toyota Avalon, you owe it to yourself to take a look at the new Impala.
If you're looking for a sizable sedan that offers sizable value, the 2014 Chevrolet Impala is perfectly capable of capturing your attention.
The Chevrolet Impala lacks the performance-oriented powertrain choices of the Ford Taurus and the in-your-face attitude of the Dodge Charger, so if you live on the bleeding-edge, other segment choices might better suit your tastes.
All-new for the 2014 model year, the Impala is now based on General Motors' international "Epsilon" architecture that offers big gains in the suspension and a stiff-yet-reasonably-light body structure. Its wheelbase is a little over an inch longer than the previous edition, and the Chevy design team has penned a very good-looking body – albeit less dramatic than Charger, Chrysler 300, or even Taurus.
Driving Impressions The optional 3.6-liter V6 gives the Impala both praiseworthy fuel economy and the highest horsepower number of any naturally aspirated V6 in the segment. Its quicker-than-you'd-guess zero-to-60-mph time of 6.8...seconds is just one indication that the V6-powered Impala feels powerful in any situation. A normally aspirated 4-cylinder and a normally aspirated 4-cylinder with eAssist will join the lineup late in the model year, and we have yet to drive examples, but our expectation is the base 4-cylinder will provide adequate acceleration, while the innovative eAssist version that adds power from an electric motor will kick that up a notch. No matter what engine you choose, the Impala's power is accompanied by a luxury level of comfort and quiet. It uses acoustic glass not only in the windshield but also in the front side windows, and all versions of the Impala have triple door seals. The suspension employs Macpherson struts up front and a 4-link rear setup. Rebound springs in the struts give the car an extra level of refinement. The electric power steering is quicker than you might expect in a large car.
SAFE TO SECURE VALUABLES
Behind the Impala's optional 8-inch color touchscreen is an area similar to a hotel-room-style safe. When you use a 4-digit code to lock the safe, it not only locks the screen in the lowered position but also locks out your address book and other private info you might have entered into the Chevrolet MyLink system.
Ford has gotten a lot of mileage out of its SYNC system, but several of us like the Chevy MyLink system better. Among the niceties of MyLink are big icons, 3-D map presentation, and the ability to store 60 "favorites" – radio stations, contacts, songs and points of interest among them.
Active noise cancelation in 4-cylinder versions is just one example of the lengths Chevy product planners have gone to offer Impala customers a luxury-like experience. A quick look inside reveals attractive, upscale materials in an appealing design, and, like some of our editorial staff, the interior looks even better in the dark. Ice-blue cabin lighting and chrome trim with "bleed-through" lighting add to the sophisticated feel, and the instrument panel features multi-dimensional gauges and a 4.2-inch screen with configurable colors. We found the seats, some of which are covered in leather and sueded microfiber, to be both comfortable and attractive. And the climate and infotainment (radio) controls on the center stack are big, clearly marked and easy to use.Exterior
Under the supervision of John Cafaro, the Chevy design team has drawn an Impala with a long, long hood, highly sculpted front end and a roof so lengthy you might call it a semi-fastback. Chevy pulled out the stops in the front by offering upscale low-profile projector-beam headlights, and the top-of-the-line LTZ trim level has HID headlamps and LED daytime running lights, taking a further step upscale. The overwhelming sense in the new Impala is one of contemporary luxury, and that is enhanced by an array of 18-, 19- and 20-inch wheels. Though the trunklid is exceptionally short, trunk space has not been compromised, offering a substantial 18.8 cubic feet of cargo space.
A 6-speed automatic transmission and variable-assist electric power steering (EPS) are two valuable pieces of standard equipment on the new Impala. The refined EPS incorporates what Chevy calls Pull Drift Compensation that automatically adjusts for external factors such as crowned roads and crosswinds. The base engine is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, and the Impala is equipped with seven airbags. OnStar is also standard, including six months of Directions & Connections service.
A wide variety of options allow you to equip the Impala as if it were a luxury-brand sedan. Available features include remote start, passive entry/exit, keyless start, heated steering wheel, power tilting/telescoping steering column with memory, dual-zone climate control and heated and ventilated front seats. A Bose surround-sound audio system is available, and the easy-to-use MyLink is standard on LT and LTZ models. Its 8-inch screen can be navigated in the very same way as a tablet computer, and compatible smartphones can be paired with MyLink using Bluetooth or connected via a USB port. The available safety features are nearly mind-blowing: advanced adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and side blind-zone alert among them. You won't have an excuse for backing into anything, either, since the Impala offers rear cross traffic alert, rear vision camera with dynamic guidelines, ultrasonic rear park assist and hill hold start assist.
While three powertrains will eventually be offered in Impala, at this writing we have only had the opportunity to experience one of them – the top-of-the-line 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. Its 264 lb-ft torque number won't bowl you over, but it felt strong during our 200 miles at the wheel, abetted by the 6-speed automatic transmission. A 2.5-liter 4-cylinder will become available later in the model year offering 196 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. Arguably the most interesting engine choice is the 182-horsepower 2.4-liter Ecotec 4-cylinder that gets the benefit of eAssist. With a little help from its electric friend, the 2.4-liter engine will enable the Impala to deliver 35-mpg highway fuel economy.
196 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
186 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/31 mpg
2.4-liter inline-4 w/eAssist mild hybrid
182 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
172 lb-ft of torque @ 4.900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/35 mpg
305 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
264 lb-ft of torque @ 5,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/29 mpg
The pricing of the 2014 Chevrolet Impala starts lower than its domestic competitors from Ford and Chrysler since it is offered with a base 4-cylinder engine. The Ford Taurus is V6-only, while the Dodge Charger offers V8 versions to supplement its V6-powered models. In terms of suggested retail price on a similar-equipment basis the Impala is right there with its domestic competitors. When the time comes to sell it as a used car or trade it in, we expect the new Impala to maintain its value somewhat better than the competitive models from Dodge and, especially, Ford. To find out what consumers are paying right now, please look at the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price.
By Streve (KY) on Wednesday, May 15, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 400overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "it's a car"
Cons: "overpriced, overhyped, big mistake"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I made the mistake of purchasing this hunk of junk not more than 3 weeks ago. Everything is built so cheap; this one must have been made in Venezuela. One of my speakers has already started to malfunction. It began to drive funny about 2 weeks ago and when I brought it back to the dealership, they determined nothing was wrong with it. It still feels iffy."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By GEO G.V. (IL) on Sunday, May 05, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "We plan TO SEE THE USA IN OUR CHEVROLET!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Had a 2011 Impala LTZ w/low, low mileage (1,800). When we saw this new 2014 Impala LTZ, it just had to be! We were the very first customers to buy the Impala LTZ LZ2 from our local Chevy Dealer. This car almost drives itself. Fully loaded. All the camera's we believe makes this a very safe car. Our Traverse has a rear camera, but this has all around for safety, well worth the money. So sharp. Chevy took this car & totally re-designed it with all the high end options like a Lexus or Caddy would have at half the price. We wanted black leather interior & the dealer found 2 at other dealers. It was tranported, detailed & made ready for us in one day! The Glenview Chevy dealer does a great job...5 starts to them. We are grateful & happy to be the first customers to purchase this 2014 Impala LTZ from you. You always make it such an easy & informed decision. Your staff from sales to mechanics & porters are the best! THANKS!"
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By CHEVY LOVER (MD) on Friday, February 22, 2013
I want this caroverall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've been anticipating the release of this 14' Chevy for about a year now. Been doing research on it since the info first surfaced the Internet. I only hope that when this vehicle enters the market I have enough funds to purchase one. This is truly a dream car. Great job CHEVY!!!!"
24 people out of 28 found this review helpful