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2008 Chevrolet Impala

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2008 Chevrolet Impala Review

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During a complete image makeover in 2006, the Impala gained a cleaner, more sophisticated exterior and a significant interior upgrade. The 2008 Chevrolet Impala, slotted to compete with class front-runners Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, has little change. Although the Impala may not have the strong resale figures of its Japanese rivals, it does have a number of redeeming qualities. The Impala features a large back seat and trunk, as well as something no other import in the class 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 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 2008 Chevrolet 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. Also, the lack of a tap-up/down shift option on the Impala SS detracts a bit from the performance image.

What's New for 2008

StabiliTrak stability control is made standard on 2LT, LTZ and SS trims, while the 3.9-liter V6 is made E85-compatible. XM Satellite Radio is now standard across the line.

Driving the Impala
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 is perfectly sufficient. 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 firm 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.

2008 Chevrolet Impala Details
Interior

The 2008 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.

Exterior

Two well-defined grille openings flanked by a pair of rearward-swept headlamps help give the 2008 Chevrolet 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 Equipment
Standard Equipment

A base 2008 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, speed control, power driver's seat, cloth interior, tilt steering wheel, remote trunk release, 16-inch covered steel wheels, tire-pressure monitor and OnStar.

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 electronic traction control (standard on 2LT, LTZ and SS), 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 Turn-by-Turn Navigation, 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 in diameter.

Under the Hood

The 2008 Chevrolet 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 adequate - especially considering its highway mileage rating of 29 mpg. While we applaud the availability of E85 for both V6 engines, consumers will see a significant decrease in fuel economy when using the gasoline and ethanol mixture.

3.5-liter V6
211 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
214 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/21 (E85), 18/29 (Gasoline)

3.9-liter V6
233 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
240 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/20 (E85) 18/28 (Gasoline)

5.3-liter V8
303 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
323 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24

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