By on July 20, 2006

Impala front.jpgIf you want to judge a restaurant, don’t order the chef’s specialty.  Go for the hamburger or the omelet.  If the man in the funny hat prepares these prosaic dishes with the same passion he puts into his Suprème de Turbot Rôti aux Asperges Vertes et à l'Ail en Chemise, you have a winner.  The same applies to cars.  If you want to judge an automaker’s prowess, check their basic models.  Scope the ones with standard engines and base interiors that hide in the back of the lots.  A few miles behind the wheel tells you more about the manufacturer’s passion for product than anything their spinmongers could ever publish.  Which brings us to the Impala LS. 

Again, forget the Impala SS.  That’s the fancy one with a V8 engine and a $28k price tag that tells you precious little about Chevy’s gestalt (save the fact that they don’t mind putting 303hp through the front wheels).  Clock the LS– if you can find one.  Oh there are plenty of them out there.  It’s just that the model’s design is inoffensive to the point of invisibility.  Admittedly, the new Impala looks better than the old Impala, but it’s not a patch on the really old Impalas or all the great Bel-Airs from the ‘50’s and ‘60’s.  Why did GM’s designers settle on an update of a late-90’s Chevy Lumina?  That design defined generic in 1998.  Park the Impala next to a Dodge Charger or a new Camry and the Chevy disappears.

Impala Dash2.jpgOn the inside, more vanilla.  The cabin is slathered in plastic with all the warmth of a German headmistress, accented with shiny petrochemicals that are less wood-evocative than a pine-scented air freshener.  The three-passenger front seat lives up to its billing– provided one of them is an amputee.  There’s a choice of fuzzy fabric upholstery in three dull colors, whose main advantage is that it keeps you from sitting directly on the foam.  A center stack hangs down like a gigantic uvula, chiding you for being too cheap to spring for the higher-priced model (that includes the console).  It’s easy to understand why the 2006 Impala was selected as Fleet Car of the Year by Automotive Fleet and Business Fleet magazines.  The cabin sacrifices comfort and style for longevity and price. 

Other than bland, the one word that describes the Impala’s driving experience is “adequate.”  Adequate power from its pushrod 3.5-liter V-6 for keeping up with traffic.  Adequate comfort for mindless interstate cruising.  Adequate steering, handling and braking for avoiding accidents.  Adequate sound insulation to keep road noise from interfering with the adequate AM/FM radio.  After a few miles driving– I mean “operating” the Impala, you begin to manipulate the controls with all the emotional engagement you normally lavish upon your toaster.  You find yourself wondering if the engineers who designed the Impala ever drove a base-model Accord or Camry– of any vintage.    

chairs.jpgSurprisingly, there isn’t a lot to recommend the entry level LS compared to its price/class competitors.  The trunk is roomy enough to hold all your sales charts, sample cases, rolling luggage and whiskey bottles.  And that’s about it.  Side curtain airbags and one year’s OnStar-enabled Big Brotherhood are standard, but buyers more concerned about avoiding accidents than recovering from one have to stump-up an extra $600 for ABS and traction control.  Don’t even ask for wheels larger than 16” (which come complete with bolt-on wheel covers), a sunroof, satellite radio, automatic climate control, remote starting or bucket seats.  Those luxuries are only available on more expensive models. 

No amount of money will buy you a modern transmission.  The competition may offer five or six-speed manual or automatic transmissions, but the Impala buyer’s only option (which equates to no option) is a 1980’s-era four speed Hydra-Matic.  It handles the changes well enough, but it’s not exactly what you’d call a paragon of cog swapping precision.  Of course, this deficiency is something of an American tradition: the Impala is made by the same company that continued selling two-speed Powerglide automatics into the 70’s, when others had moved on to three and four-speed designs. 

Impalumina22.jpgThis Impala illustrates why Chevy (and by extension GM) lose market share daily.  Instead of engineering a world-class product, they’re content to produce something that’s not even more than merely adequate.  Then they try to dress it up in expensive trim packages and million-dollar ad campaigns and pass it off as something special.  Unfortunately, a pound of chopped ground round is still a burger when it goes downtown.  Eventually, even the least fastidious die-hard sees the advantages of a no-cost taste upgrade.  Before long, everyone’s eating at the place up the street where the quality is higher and the fare more fulfilling.  The Impala can run, but it can’t hide from restaurant reality. 

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149 Comments on “Chevrolet Impala LS Review...”


  • avatar
    Zarba

    Right on the money. There’s more driving satisfaction in a base Accord than in any Impala. Even the SS. What good is a honkin’ V-8 when it drives the WRONG WHEELS?

    This review should be required reading for everyone in Detroit.

  • avatar
    Matthew Neundorf

    I turned down a job recently as a travelling rep. Good pay and easy hours, but I would have to use a company car.

    The company car was an Impala LS.

    I’m still here, and am pleased with my decision.

  • avatar
    Hutton

    For the same 21k, you could get a base model Passat or a Legacy (with AWD, a sunroof, ABS, a longer warantee, and alloy wheels standard)… I can’t see why anyone would go for the Impala. Unless you really need the bigger trunk.

  • avatar
    montess

    Wrong wheels? I guess you must live in California or some other warm climate. I’ve owned rear wheel drive my whole life and driven in the winter and it SUCKS!!! I just bought a fwd Monte SS with the 5.3 and it’s the best car I’ve ever owned.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    I had an Impala LT as a rental for a week this past March. Worst piece of caca I’ve had the displeasure to drive in many a moon. No power, brakes, handling, comfort or even quiet – way too much road noise.

    Only thing it offered was SPACE with a capital S – the trunk comfortably swallowed my family of four’s 2 weeks’ worth of luggage with nary a whimper, which is why I picked it from the rental car line up in the first place. I just didn’t expect it to drive like a drunken hippo.

    What REALLY brought into stark relief, though, was the rental Chrysler 300 Touring that I had the second week of our vacation. Interior’s not much more than adequate, but the thing’s not bad at all to drive. Decent power, secure, semi-sporting handling, comfortable-enough seating – nice. Trunk was way smaller, but we stuffed all the stuff in anyway, and it was worth the trade off.

    Perfect concept for a review, BTW, Mr. Williams – the Impala indeed says all anyone needs to know about GM. Sad.

  • avatar
    Frank Williams

    Hutton, $21K is the sticker price for the LS. With “incentives” (read: we’ll pay you to take this car off our hands) I’ve seen them offered in the low $17K range. Still, unless you just have to have the absolutely biggest car you can find, you have a lot more satisfying choices available even in that lower price range.

    Frank

  • avatar
    Hutton

    Point taken… forgot the price isn’t really “the price” when we’re talking GM. They should just lower the sticker to $17k then, and avoid the comparisons to more satisfying vehicles.

  • avatar
    TomWyld

    Love the way the article began: “If you want to judge an automaker???s prowess, check … the ones with standard engines and base interiors that hide in the back of the lots” where you find “all the warmth of a German headmistress.”

    Sweet.

    This is the 2007 version of the car Chevy intended as its “prestige car.” Take a look at the 1958 Chevy Impala Couple. And the 2007 version disappears next to a Toyota?

    Change sweet to sad.

    And fire somebody.

  • avatar
    porker

    You’re such a hate-blinded moron that you fail to lookat all at what the Impala is really about- long-lasting competence. The Jap cars you’re so fond of touting on these pages will fall apart at approximately 180-200k uncomfortable, cramped miles, ( if a real car doesn’t accordian them in a wreck beforehand) and then need to be thrown away because you can’t fix them. GM vehicles, on the other hand, with their proven pushrod engines, will continue to go on and on and on and will inspire their owners and admirers to continue to hold on to them. I’ve owned, (and for over five years, sold) Jap cars and I can tell you, they’re much, much worse in the long run than their American counterparts. Try to find someone who can actually rebuild a Honda transmission, or a Nissan engine. Then, try to afford it! No thanks, I’ll stick to my pushrod V-8’s and V-6’s from an AMERICAN company that deserves much better than your Kraut and Jap car loving tripe! You, and others in the press, are the main reason that lots of younger American car buyers believe the crap that “German” or “Japanese” cars are somehow superior. I totalled up my 37 years of ownership experience the other day, comparing the problems I’d had with my GM cars versus my Japmobiles, and the GM cars won by better than 2-to-1! My wife’s Maxima (my current, and, thankfully, LAST Japmobile) was never fun to drive, was never pleasant on the road, was never up to the interior quality level of my cheapest Chevy truck. It currently runs, but that’s about all. No a/c (compressor crapped out, can’t find a replacement that fits), no radio (good luck finding one!), no power windows in front (can’t find used, can’t afford new, electric motor for the crappy OEM that burned out), numerous repairs to keep it moving, this car’s a goner as soon as I can find a moron lilke you to unload it on! The single Toyota truck I owned blew up at 62K miles and cost me 4K in repair! I can buy a mighty good 350 SBC for 4K! Why don’t you go back and revisit the Impala LS, and look at it for what it really is, a decent, reliable import fighter that offers more than enough room and comfort to guarantee that it will continue to serve as long as its owner desires its services.

  • avatar
    Hutton

    …and so it begins

  • avatar
    Frank Williams

    What can I say? There are also some people who think the 99 cent burger off of some fast food place’s “value menu” is haute cuisine.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I think the camparisons made here are a little harsh. The Impala delivers full size V6 transporation for a street price of about $18K. Neither Honda or Toyota will sell you much for that amount of cash.

    Having driven a few as rentals, I would not want to trade my 330ci for one and I understand that most readers of this site would not be interested either but we are a small part of the car buying public. Not every sedan can be a rear-drive sports car. Looks at the Crown Vic – it’s old and dreadful but it delivers space and value and that sells.

    Toyota and Honda have made themselves rich by selling boring FWD family transportation. If GM trasformed the Impala to a RWD 300C competitor then the cost would increase significantly.

    While pistonheads may not get excited over it, there is nothing wrong with producing affordable familiy transpoertation (particularly once the Crown Vic goes out of production).

  • avatar
    Hutton

    Yes, there is absolutley nothing wrong with producing affordable family transportation. But car companies on the ropes need to be focused on building the best affordable family transportation possible. Adequate is not an “American Revolution”.

    And if GM wants to make “appliance” cars for people who just want to get from here to there, they can forget it (at least for now). The buying public has already awarded that market to the Japanese. If they want to win the hearts and minds of Americans, its time to stir up some passion, even in their most basic of products. And that is precisely what this article is about. Pride in your product that goes all the way to the bottom.

  • avatar

    “The good is the enemy of the best,” and all that.

  • avatar
    Frank Williams

    By the way, porker, in case you haven’t bothered to read any of my other articles my daily driver is a Chevrolet with a pushrod V-8. It’s called a CORVETTE and it proves Chevy can get it right when they want to. If they’d put half the engineering efforts into their family cars they do into the Corvette, the Impala would be an entirely different driving experience. (Now if they could just do something about that bleak interior that seems to infest their entire product line!)

    Also, if you go back and read my comments to Sajeev’s Camry review, you’ll see that I state the hands-down worst car I’ve ever owned is a Toyota Camry. Before you start name calling and spewing racial epithets you need to get your facts straight.

  • avatar
    stanshih

    Porker:
    Good, objective review! A couple of quibbles, though…
    You over-used the term “Jap” and should have thrown in a few “Nip”‘s. Also use “Yankee” to refer to American stuff. You don’t appear to be quite as unbiased when you save the slang terms for the Germans and Japanese only.

    Also, what’s your take on those KimChee-mobiles that everyone is buying?

  • avatar

    ” Unfortunately, a pound of chopped ground round is still a burger when it goes downtown.”

    Wonderful quote, Frank. Simply wonderful.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Part of the problem is the way car reviews are done in comparing cars that cost differing amounts and are aimed at different demographics. The way cars should be reviewed is the way most families buy them.

    Consider the needs the vehicle needs to meet in terms of space, efficiency and such and then then the budget available. Depending on these parameters the Impala may be a good choice as neither Honda nor Toyota have any product that directly competes with it. Stop comparing a V6 Accord or Campry with am Impala LS – they cost thousands more.

    Why don’t you complain to Toyota that they don’t sell a stripped Avalon for $18K or that the Accord V6 option is too expensive?

    There is no free lunch – you get what you pay for and if you have 25K to spend then you will get a more appealing vehicle then if you have 18K to spend and the Impala LS is very competitive for $18K

    Maybe delivering a full size V6 family sedan for 18K is an American Revolution after all as neither Toyota and Honda can do it.

  • avatar
    porker

    The Koreans are where the Japs were when I was suckered in to them in the late ’70’s. They build reasonable, decent cars for a cheap price, hoping to sucker enough people into their cars to continue to copy the American cars and later to really stick it to the American companies like Japan, Inc. did. Reviewers like the moron who wrote this article will see to it that the bread and butter cars are always overrepresented by the Japs and Krauts, though.

    My last two Chevy trucks were both built in Yankee plants- the ’95 in Indiana, the ’93 in Michigan. But, how many displaced good ole boys work there?

    I am aware that the writer of this article likes his Corvette. Good, it shows he can recognize superior engineering when it slaps him in the face so hard that he can’t ignore it. But, what this author needs to recognize is that there are all types of car buyers out there, but what people really want is value for the money. For that, you have to go to GM in the long run. If all you want is a throwaway, then, by all means, get that BMW or Toyota, or Honda. Use it up, enjoy its cramped interior and inferior use of space, then, when it breaks, RUN FROM IT!
    Me, I’ll take my Roadmaster and Chevy truck, or my daughter’s Camaro, and watch in my rearview as you struggle to get comfortable in your overpriced Kraut or Jap crap. I’ll also watch as the resale of my 11 year old Buford, the 12 year-old Camaro, and 13 year old Chevy truck continues to escalate. In the meantime, I’ve got to find SOMEBODY who is as clueless as the joker who wrote this tripe to unload that Maxima on!

  • avatar

    Wonderful review of the Impala, wonderful piece of criticism. (This website is getting to be a terrible distraction from those things I should be doing.)

    Porker, I’m sure your observations have validity, but it’s hard to listen to the substance of what you say when you call Mr. Williams a “hate-blinded moron.” The review was highly critical, but hate? I don’t find any. As for moronic, quite the opposite.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    Uhoh, level of discourse has dropped below that on fark.com. Farago, are you going to make subscriptions troll-free?

  • avatar

    Throwaway? BMW? Honda? Toyota? You can honestly string those words together in the same sentence? Trucks are a different story. This is a family sedan, so if you want to talk, try comparing apples to apples. GM actually does a good job with trucks, but their passenger cars, mid-market and up, are simply not comparable to any of their competition. For fun, I took a comparison at autos.msn.com against your 'jap' competitor (accord) and korean (Sonata) to task…on your so called "cramped interiors and inferior use of space". Here are a few numbers… Interior Dimensions Impala LS Accord EX Sedan AT Sonata GL Standard Seating 6 5 5 Front Headroom (in.) 39.40 38.30 40.10 Rear Headroom (in.) 37.80 36.80 38.20 Front Legroom (in.) 42.30 42.60 43.70 Rear Legroom (in.) 37.60 36.80 37.40 Front Shoulder Room (in.)58.70 56.90 57.40 Rear Shoulder Room (in.) 58.60 56.10 56.90 Front Hip Room (in.) 56.40 54.60 55.50 Rear Hip Room (in.) 57.20 53.50 55.30 Seems like everything is within 1 inch of each other…and the Koreans trump the Chevy on most categories. Do some research before you post an uninformed rant on this website.

  • avatar

    I personally gave up on American Chevrolet after my family has owned a multitude of American Chevrolet cars from the 50’s through the 90’s. I’m sticking with GM DAT’s Korean-Built European-Designed Chevrolets. At least I know they’ll last, take a beating, and aren’t ridiculously oversized (No one needs a family car longer than 4.3 metres, that’s just rubbish. I’m 1.91 metres (6’2″+), born and raised in the US and quite frankly have always found that American cars never fit me just right. If I want a all-too-large family sedan, i can buy a Chevrolet Epica, if I want a mid-sized family sedan, an Optra, but I’d get it as a Hatch (Like I currently have) as an Optra 5, and if I wanted a wagon, that too is available. If I want a runabout, I’ll take a Kalos/Aveo.
    The exception to the above would be the Cobalt which shows that Chevrolet has come quite a way since the Cavalier. The corvette is a good sports car (finally), even though it still feels cheap when compared to the rest of the worlds offerings. It’s got a great motors and a great german transaxle, but that car itself still has issues outside of the wonderful engineering.
    As for SUV’s.. Chevy should bring the Captiva to the US. It’s getting high marks around the world, and for once, it is a well built and reasonably sized SUV (as if a family needs such a thing when a wagon will do). Either way, GM is moving forward by looking to Russelsheim, Bupyung, and Melbourne for their future product designs and engineering, and away from oppressive UAW contracts and build ‘quality’. (ever notice the huge difference in mm’s of the gaps where doors, bonnetts and boots mate up to the body of American made GM cars? Take a look, you’ll be disgusted.

    Eric

  • avatar
    Happy_Endings

    I think I’ve found my new retirement strategy. Purchase a 1995 Roadmaster, a 1994 Camaro, and a 1993 Chevy Truck and watch them all go up in value!

  • avatar
    stryker1

    So Porker, do I get to blame the Media when my saturn (GM) electronics fizzle at 60k miles like freaking clock work? No Radio, No Sunroof, No AC makes Jack a Honda buyer.

  • avatar
    Hutton

    An innate desire to make sense is going to put most of us at a disadvantage when arguing with Porker, or any other troll who washes up on this board (see manny on the camry review) so I wouldn’t try to hard.

  • avatar

    Re-reading the comments, I’m convinced ‘porker’ has to be a joke. Someone is messing with us – between this and “manny” the other day.

    Really, no one reading this site can be that blind. Unless Farago’s hits and unique visitors are going through the roof, reaching a demographic that is beyond the limits of taste, education, and IQ.

    Then again, I was at Wal-Mart the other day, and heard someone ask why DVDs don’t have to be rewound when you’re done watching them…so I guess it’s possible.

  • avatar
    Hutton

    I was pretty convinced that Manny was a joke when he first posted… but he was so damn persistant, I figured he could be for real. Maybe its some BMW or GM execs trying to tear this place apart.

  • avatar

    GM execs can use a computer? The Hell you speak!

  • avatar
    stryker1

    There comes a time in the life of every website that griefers and hoaxers start touching down on the forum. Maybe, Mr. Farago, that time for you is now. Congradulations Pinnochio, you’re a real boy!

  • avatar
    chandler

    Mr. Farago? I’m ready to buy that subscription now. Before the comments were activated, I had assumed that my fellow readers were all about the same: technically knowledgable and unbiased enthusiasts. Little did I know!

    I currently own a Saturn which is cramped on the inside and more than a little German. It’s also famous for the BCM failure that I wager stryker1 is talking about. I’m looking at a Jetta now – I guess I just have a thing for Kraut cars!

    Since the Impala is in practice priced much less than Japanese and Korean competitors of similar size, perhaps Chevrolet needs to re-price the MSRP of the product to reflect a sub-Kia market tier. While this isn’t exactly a flattering image, there’s no reason it can’t be done. After all, if what you need is space for the least amount of money and you don’t care about interior quality, GM has an Impala to sell you. It’s cheap and it has a dealer on every corner.

    This also provides a plausable reason for the existence of so many different brands in GM. Whereas Toyota hopes to sell the current Camry buyer an ES350 in a few years, GM can’t possibly hope to upsell an Impala buyer a STS. They might be able to sell that Impala buyer a LaCrosse, or a future Saturn / Opel large sedan. The Saturn buyer, on the other hand, is expected to upgrade to a Saab or Caddy.

  • avatar
    naif

    Zarba, if anyone in Detroit could read, and digest what they read, Detroit would not be in the shape they are in. This has been going on for 35 years.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Chandler:

    Whoa… you mean saturn is supposed to be an upgrade from Chevrolet? I find that notion overwhelmingly sad, and I pity the poor bastard tooling around in the cobalt I always assumed was a step up from what I was driving.

  • avatar

    Rest assured that I’m monitoriing every single comment. I’m ready, willing and able to ban any emailer who goes over the boundaries of civilized discourse.

    So far, I’ve banned one commentator and edited out a “douche.” If anyone thinks that a comment is beyond the pale, use the contact button and I’ll delete, warn and/or ban the offending party.

    And yes, TTAC has found a new audience. Our site stats are way up, and we’re getting all sorts trolling through.

    Remember that there’s nothing as dangerous as an idea when it’s the only one you’ve got, keep using logic to put chowderheads in their place, avoid and report personal slurs, and we’ll all have a nice day!

  • avatar
    chandler

    stryker1: that’s GM’s intention. New Saturn products will be rebadged Opels; your Ion will be replaced with an Astra imported from Belgium next year.

  • avatar
    porker

    I thought this is supposed to be “The Truth About Cars”. I’m just telling the truth from my 53 years of life experience, 37 of them as an actual car owner. My “research” comes from owning, selling, and buying all different types of cars over this time period. The TRUTH is, the Impy is a good car for what it is. It beats out anything the Japs or Krauts offer for 18K, looks like what the American car-buying public has indicated it wants, and will outlast its competition. It has the further advantage of being easily repairable compared to the overpriced, cramped offerings from Deutscheland or Nippon. Why don’t your reviews reflect these positives, instead of trying to pretend that cars that cost a third again as much, and fall apart much, much quicker are somehow better?
    Incidentally, GM’s only problem is its execs.
    As fer educayshun, I got two of them degree thangs. They don’t make me any smarter or dumber than anyone else, they just mean I can look for a different type job than I could without them. And, no, they aren’t “mailorder” degrees, they’re from a real University, one earned after marriage, with a house, two car payments, and a child competing for my time and money.
    I’m just fed up with so-called journalists who refuse to see past the mess the Japs have made of the automobile industry, and am not afraid to speak up for some traditional American values when it comes to cars. Bigger is better, comfort is king.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    After tooling around in a hyundai elantra for a week, getting behind the wheel of my saturn was like attempting to pilot a plastic coffin with a make-a-wish engine and say-your-prayers brakes. Trying to imagine something thats a step down from that is, well, impossible.

    … Maybe a FIAT (short for Fix-It-Again-Tony!)

    And Porker, Dood, You’ve gotta crazy uphill battle with a chatroom full of enthusiasts who seem to, at every turn have precisely the opposite experience you’ve had with the cars we’re talking about. Maybe you really have driven a bevy of American gear grinders from hell to breakfast, and found them wonderful, but (at least in here) you are an outlier. Unique in your experience.

    Though I’d like to know the dealership where you’re buying these cars, and capture the reliability/comfort gnomes they’re putting to work on your impy.

  • avatar

    I think the reason GM hasn’t dropped the Impala’s price to $17K is that then nobody would buy it unless it was incentivized down to $14,500.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Also, Just for the record, If I was in the market for another 2 seater, I’d buy a new mustang in a new york minute.

    I don’t hate all american cars (especially the cool ones) ;)

  • avatar
    porker

    Thanks for the comments, stryker1. But, I’m just relaying my own life experiences. One of those is that I have learned not to judge the toaster by the same standards I judge the multi-level, convection oven equipped, indoor barbeque grill. Even my ’59 Studebaker Lark had its good points.

    One more point, and I’m done. I don’t even pretend to be objective. I worked in the car industry for over nine years, mostly as a salesman/manager at dealerships for what were then called Datsuns. I really have seen, owned, bought and sold most of what the world has to offer. The American companies have won me over with their honest, good value for the money vehicles. I hate Jap cars and Kraut cars and don’t care who is offended by it. The Japs, because they pretend to be reliable when they’re no better than their less-expensive American counterparts, the Krauts for their fragility and huge overpricing.

  • avatar
    Yaya

    “Unfortunately, a pound of chopped ground round is still a burger when it goes downtown.”

    What an amazing line! I shall use it once a day, everyday for the rest of my life! ( I will credit you each time ofcourse)

  • avatar
    jar527

    My wife has had 2 Impalas as company cars. A 2003 LS and a 2006 LS. I was excited about the 2006 because I never liked the design of the 2003. But it only took us one day to realize that the 2003 was the better of the 2. The 2003 LS came standard with dual climate control and traction control. The 2006, well at least it had an aux input on the radio, although it lost 2 speakers and some watts. To me the 2006 looked better than the 2003, especially the roof line, but then I got in to it. The front and rear roof lines come way into the interior greatly reducing head room. This was most noticeable when putting the kids into their booster seats, I bumped their heads several times on the C pillar and constantly bumped my head on the A pillar when getting in and out of the front seats. There also was a loss of leg room in the back seat. Somehow the end result of the redesign was a car with less room and a less offending exterior. As for the quality of the materials and build, they were both about the same although we didn???t have the 2006 long enough for interior trim to start falling off like it did in the 2003. My wife went to work for another company recently and now has a 2006 Malibu LS which actually has more leg and head room than the Impala but obviously less hip room. Both these models are bland and if I was going to have to make payments on something it wouldn???t be either of them. I’ve started wondering why GM and Ford both don’t dedicate certain models to fleet vehicle status.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    I love porker – he reminds me of my old shop teacher who flew a plane in ww2. He was constantly telling war stories using ‘nips’ and ‘slants’ – this to a room that was at least a third japanese kids. He was a great teacher at least. I’m thinking hes gotta be joking – 12 year-old Camaro appreciating in value? only as the butt of Italian IROC jokes perhaps…

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Mr. Williams

    I will say (almost) the same thing to you that I said to Sajeev about the Camry review:

    Wow, it’s going to be fun watching all of the GM faithful defend themselves!

    (although, I should admit, I am one of the GM faithful)

  • avatar
    Frank Williams

    Yaya, I’d love to take credit for that, but it’s a line from the song “New Train” by John Prine.

  • avatar
    yournamehere

    The public will RUN to any car that LOOKS good. Reliability and comfort be damned. Want proof…The Sky & Solstice…tiny cars, same engine that???s in the cobalt, awkward top, cheap interior…looks drop dead beautiful and they cant build enough of them. GM needs to continue this idea in the rest of its models. Look at BMW or Benz, no one is going to claim they are bullet proof, but there appearance and driving behavior inspires ppl. VW/Audi is the same way, sure it may not be 100% reliable but man is that Passat a much more inspired vehicle then this Impala can ever hope to be. The ultimate example of this “style is king” philosophy is Ferrari; they sure look good up on the rack huh. GM needs to just start over, fire everyone in the design department and hire kids right out of school with fresh ideas no one has seen. Look what Toyota/Scion has done with the xB, different sells (I know cause I own an xB) Then go and buy away as many of the Audi interior guys as they can???until then we will be blessed/cursed with these examples of blandness.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    I could see buying a chevy again, they just don’t make anything I’d want with the exception of the HHR (Highway Submarine, how awesome is that?) and the corvette (DUH).

    Lets keep in mind that none of us in here want GM to fail. We want them to be a great company, that makes great cars, with great management. Thats why we’re so angry and vociferous. Wasted potential is more frustrating than a lap dance for a man with no arms.

  • avatar
    Happy_Endings

    Porker, you’ve stated on several occasions that you feel foreign cars are “crapmed” compared to American cars. And from your posts, it seems the size of the vehicle is a very important determinant in your vehicle choice. So the question I have is if you feel foreign cars are so cramped and you want a big car, why did you purchase so many foreign cars? Size of a vehicle and how comfortable you are in it can be easily determined in a 5 minute test drive. Are you purchasing cars without a suitable test drive? Are you not learning from your own past purchasing history?

  • avatar
    TechBob

    A little esoteric, but I think the key problem here is not US vs. “Ferrin” cars – it’s the failure of corporate processes worldwide and particularly in the US. GM and most large corporations are process driven; i.e. – product cycles are driven by market research tied to product managers controlled by bean counters. The entire “process” is controlled at a macro level (mostly) by executives and CEOs whose primary responsibility is stock holders (& stock prices) that live and die from Wall Street, quarter to quarter.

    The other key issue messing things up is skewed metrics and accountability for final product (cars, computers, whatever…). Mid-level managers and Execs make decisions based on financial models that have little to do with the final product the consumer receives because they are not directly rewarded (or punished) by how good the final product is. Marketing planners isolate themselves from taking responsibility for decisions by hiding behind “focus group” testing – giving us things like GM’s “bland-mobiles” that don’t offend anyone. No one ever got fired for catering to the lowest common denominator.

    The actual product managers that bring cars to the market are ham-strung by short-sighted cost controls that discourage differentiation or innovation. Further, I believe the biggest factor is (lack of) passion: just because you can follow a “POR” (Plan of Record) and get a product to market on time doesn’t mean you’ve done your job. When the ultimate evaluation of your success is meeting delivery deadlines and controlling component costs (as defined by your managers) – that is what you have to do. This is why we get mediocre Impalas, under-powered Ford 500s, previous gen Focus chassis and market promotion of higher margin (lower cost) truck based SUVs at the expense of more practical solutions.

    Add to this the fact that a huge communication barrier exists between Engineers, Industrial Designers, Marketing Managers and Product Managers (the product development “food chain”) – they don’t even speak the same language. It’s a wonder any good stuff gets out at all. Innovation and excellence rarely comes from a committee and all the financial modeling in the world is not going to guarantee successful sales. It’s been well documented that “hits” in any field come from visionaries or teams that operate outside the usual channels – usually under the protection of some risk-taking exec that shows actual leadership.

    Every time it happens, though, the corporate drones descend; analyze everything to death in an attempt to replicate the “lightning in a bottle” with a new process. Somehow it never works – but that doesn’t stop them from trying. Where are the leaders in this industry? Where are the visionaries – and how can any corporation environment develop a culture that nurtures them when quarterly reports rule the day? It’s a downhill slope until someone gets desperate to let these people out of their box – we’ll just have to wait for the good stuff until then.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Sir, you make an interesting point and I’d like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  • avatar
    Hutton

    TechBob, well said. Unfortunately, it extends to pretty much any industry that people are more interested in their own job security, than taking a shot at being or doing something excellent. I would stick my neck out for a project I believed in, but then again, I’m 25 and don’t have a family to feed. I’m sure the guy that greenlighted those mousefur seats on the impala cares more about sending his kid to college than he does about giving our asses somewhere pleasent to sit on.

    Everybody is afraid of making the next Aztec. But that fear takes over and prevents people from making something that isn’t the next anything…. you know… something new… something ballsy and creative… which are things that America used to stand for.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Well, I don’t know about that. I think the Dodge caliber looks pretty fresh. and theres something about the solstice that induces even the most well read auto-cyber-interweb-junkie the gotta-have-its.

    I think its a lack of refinement in the ballsy and creative cars that dooms them.

  • avatar
    Hutton

    I love the Solstice, but it is neither creative nor ballsy. I’ve never seen a bigger sure-thing in my life. It’s a british style roadster, classic in every way, and destined to be a hit. All GM had to do is not screw it up. The Caliber is indeed fresh, but they fell short on quality, and the decision to go FWD with the SRT version is idiotic. That thing could have been a STi or Evo challenger… now, not.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    The last mid-sized car that went out on a limb style-wise was the 1996 Ford Taurus. Its execution was lacking, to say the least – more expensive to build, smaller back seat, smaller trunk, not to mention the plethora of ovals. It recently sank out of existence despite a redesign a few years ago, and heads rolled along the way.

    It doesn’t help that I had an electrical failure driving a rental Taurus over a year ago while negotiating a curve at night, losing power steering and engine. No more Tauri for me.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    If a mid 90s taurus is whats considered out on a limb, then we need to saw the limb off. That is the single ugliest car (the aztec isn’t a “car” per se) I’ve ever seen. It looked from the rear like a normal car had melted in the sun. FUGLY

  • avatar

    TechBob does make a point that gets overlooked, IMO, is that it does indeed take an executive willing to take risks to make a difference. It must be pretty cutthroat around the boardrooms and cubes in Detroit these days.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    didn’t ford get rid of the guy responsible for the gt and latest mustang? the only two cars that have anything going for them? that’s insane!

  • avatar
    Chadillac

    porker,
    Man, where do you live that you can’t find import parts? Podunk, North Dakota?

    Your pointless rant proves nothing. In 37 years, how many cars have you owned? 20 MAX? Thats way too small of a sample space to prove anything. Thats like a samplig of 3×10^-200% Its absurd to make small cheap complaints about the Maxima like pwr windows and radios that happen to ALL cars.

    -2000 Pontiac Bonneville SSEi: Both left hand side pwr window motors went out. How much for the PART ALONE? 435. Plus Labor. Over 1000 to fix both windows.

    -2000 Olds Silhouette: Had to fix the pwr sliding door shich crapped out. Had to replace the intake manifold which craked, then allowed air to turn the coolant into sludge. Had to fix both front power windows. The throttle position sensor (I believe) is currently not acting right and is cuasing the car to run too high, it will get locked at sometime 1500-1800rpm in drive, shift in to neutral it jumps to 3 grand.

    No car is perfect. They all have problems.

    Radio doesn’t work? Go to Best buy, for 129 bucks you could have a new one that is Sat & HD radio ready, plays MP3s and WMAs, and have them install it free. Prolly less than the OEM one. A/C compressor doesn;t work? Try the DEALERSHIP! C’mon man.

    And if you’re going to refer to people as ‘hate blinded morons’ and the other insults you slung, you might consider not using racial slurs yourself, hypocrite.

  • avatar
    skor

    Careful, porker, you’re gonna blow your head gasket.

    It’s obvious to me that you are living in the past. For example, you use arcane racist terms such as “japs” and “krauts”. Everyone knows that the modern slang terms for these nationalities is “slopes” and “lederhosen homos” respectively. Get with the times.

    Now, about foreign cars. I currently own a 1989 Ford Probe — actually a Mazda MX-6/626. The car has 184K on the clock and runs fine. The car still has it original engine, axles, and 2 of 4 wheel bearings. The only sensors that have been replaced are the o2 (replaced twice) and the speed sensor (once). The a/c was converted to R134 8 years ago and still works fine. The original Tokico struts were replace at 154k with new Tokico Blues. The trans was replaced at 140K. The “Atari” digital dash still works. The car never had a lot of power, but the handling has alway been fantastic.

    I also own a 1996 Cadillac Seville with 60K. The car is a nice ride, but I’m not even going to attempt to list all the work that has been done to it — I’d be here all day.

    Yes, some American cars are well built. Yes, some Japanese and German cars are stinkers. However, it has been my experience that Japanese and European cars are much more reliable, on average, than American cars. The foreign cars also tend to be better drivers. Those are the facts.

  • avatar
    mdanda

    Any make of car is good if you know how to fix it.

    I see a strong correlation between enjoying old GM cars and having strong mechanical skills.

    For example, my brother has 200K+ miles on his car and it breaks down all the time. But he knows the engine inside-and-out and fixes it himself for a pittance. So, in his eyes, it is a good reliable car. To me, a non-mechanic, it would be a miserable lemon.

    So be careful to evaluate your own I-can-fix-it-myself skills (versus someone else with pay-someone-else-to-tow-and-then-fix skills) before offering undo praise to a particular manufacturer.

  • avatar
    airglow

    Mr. Williams wrote: “You find yourself wondering if the engineers who designed the Impala ever drove a base-model Accord or Camry of any vintage. ”

    Like most of your review, the statement above is pure hyperbole. Like most automotive journalism today, TTAC’s reviews are tainted by too many clever metaphors and extreme hyperbole.

    I’ve driven entry level (rental models) Accords, Camries, Maximas, 6’s, Sonatas, Impala’s, etc. My current second favorite rental car is the new Impala you seem to dislike. I certainly prefer it to the Camry’s (old style) and Sonata’s I’ve rented recently. My favorite rental car currently is still the Grand Prix. I prefer the instrument cluster and interior to even the new Impala. I do find myself choosing the Impalas all the time now in the Executive Selection in the Emerald Isle, because I can plug my iPod in and crank my tunes on the road.

    One of the best little features in most GM cars that I hope they keep; the tilt wheel has a huge range of motion. Very few other cars have tilt wheels that go low enough for me.

    I have my biases, just like everyone. That said, the single most disappointing car I’ve ever driven was 1996 Accord LX 5-speed. After all of the glowing auto journalist reviews, I was shocked to find so many obvious shortcomings compared to my 96 Grand Am GT. The 96 Accord was dog slow, softly sprung, noisy, crappy stereo, hit its bump stops constantly, etc. After that experience, I lost almost all faith in the automotive press and their ability to review cars objectively. By the way, that Accord’s tilt wheel had about 2 degrees of tilt available, compared to the huge range of motion available in GM vehicles.

  • avatar

    airglow, for the record, I couldn’t stand my ’94 Accord. It was definitely not worth the premium price I paid to buy it used, but even if I’d bought it new, I probably still would’ve disliked it.

  • avatar
    coffee_junkee

    The Impala is a great car, you just have to take it for what it is. Impala has never been synonomous with “spirited driving”, SS 409’s of yore nothwithstanding. And even those were only fast in a straight line…

    Quite frankly, the life of the average Impala, Crown Vic, Taurus, and Charger, are for the most part, very mundane. Only the lucky ones born as cop cruisers will likely ever see any real excitement. GM has wrapped this tough as nails car in plain clothes with honest, if older technology, drivetrains and durable, but uninspiring trim. Could it be better, sure! But let’s not totally condemn this car because it doesn’t suit the tastes of the enthusiast driver. I own a small business and don’t have any company owned vehicles yet, but if I did, the last thing I would want is something sporty, or something with high cost of repair. The Impala, Crown Vic, Taurus and Charger all share those attributes. Oh, Charger fans that think a base 2.7 Charger is fun, need to drive one. It handles better than an Impala, but wow what a road slug.

    The Japanese makes have, for now, cornered the market on seemingly reliable, exciting cars that exude design excellence. I say seemingly, because with the breakout of recent Toyota and Nissan quality issues, tides could be turning. The domestics are making some real advances in reliability and feature content. Now, all that is left is to instill vehicles with some design expression.

    Anyone that thinks that foreign cars are cheaper to fix, hasn’t owned one out of warranty! With my 10+ years in the dealership business, I can say that when an imported vehicle needs some service, it’s going to be costly. Toyota, in particular, charges an arm and a leg for parts. I’m not talking about whole engines, but rather things that you use everyday, like oh a left front power window motor. ’98 Malibu vs: ’98 Camry.

    Malibu: Dealer (new) $134.58, stock item. P/N 22702139
    Malibu: NAPA (reman) $66.32, stock item. P/N 49-7118

    Camry: Dealer (new) $301.02, stock item P/N 85720-AA020
    Camry: NAPA (reman) $119.33, special order 4 days P/N 49-10888

    The fact that both local dealers stock this part tells me that they frequently break on both of them. I don’t know about you, but I use the hell out of my window while I’m driving! If your window broke, which car would you rather be driving? I don’t know about you, but the Malibu could be fixed TODAY for $234.70 less than the Camry. That’s quite a bit of gas money!

    Hopefully our hypothetical Malibu was a 4 cylinder, or the money saved on the window job would have to go into the piggy bank for a new intake manifold gasket! Oh, and our hyopthetical Camry owner would be standing in the Toyota dealer’s service department, less worried about their broken window and relatively miffed over the locked up engine from the oil sludge… :)

    Food for thought! Cheers…

  • avatar
    dhathewa

    Several respondents, including “carguy,” wrote something like:

    “Maybe delivering a full size V6 family sedan for 18K is an American Revolution after all as neither Toyota and Honda can do it.”

    Yep, for $18K (or a little more), you get a Toyota or Honda with an I-4.

    But what is this fixation so many GM lovers have with cylinder count? In comparisons, those who despise imports and love the domestics will often say, “but there’s no V6” or that you pay extra for it, as though this means GM trumps again.

    No V6? So what? I need two extra cylinders like I need a hole in the head.

    What I DO need is an engine with good torque across the range. Now, the GM lovers may believe that this is only available with lotsa cylinders but the fact is Toyota and Honda 4-bangers (high-tech little 4-bangers that they are, with VVT and DOHC) pull the cars along v-e-r-y nicely. The power-to-weight ratios tell the story; the Japanese cars are going to be at least the performance equal of the base GM V6s.

    Then they give you a little dividend at the pump. What’s not to love?

  • avatar
    throb

    Having recently rented an Impala LS for a driving vacation and having put almost 3,000 km on the car in 10 days, I find myself agreeing with Frank’s observations. While we appreciated the iPod/aux input jack and the large trunk, we had a running list of 10 Things I Hate About This Car:

    1. You have to remove your hand from the steering wheel to control the wipers, even though the control was on the turn-signal stalk.
    2. The oversized steering wheel. Was it from a bus?
    3. You would turn the steering wheel about 1/16s and nothing would happen. There was a lot of play in the wheel.
    4. The cornering was exceptionall benign. You would turn the wheel, there would be a slight pause as the car processed your input, then the car would respond.
    5. The seats gave you numb-bum after about an hour.
    6. The outer edges of the wing mirrors swooped down to a point, making the mirrors quite small and rather useless.
    7. The droning whine of the engine when you were climbing a hill or passing another vehicle. It sounded like we were asking too much of the engine.
    8. The fuel filler cap being on the driver’s side. If you run out of gas on a highway, you don’t want to be refilling the car on the highway side.
    9. The horrible shiny fake wood on the dash.
    10. That there are still many more items to be added to this list.

  • avatar
    socsndaisy

    singing the praises of the Grand Am GT…(Sideshow Bob shudder)

  • avatar
    PsychoBueller

    Look, there’s a lot of passion on both sides. I drive a ’03 Accord LX 4cyl every day. It’s fine and cruises nicely, but it doesn’t have the torque that the Impala has even with the base V6. I have also driven the SS, which is a whole other ballgame, torque steer notwithstanding.

    I have decided that my next car will be a domestic. I base this on a desire to support the American auto industry now that I feel their products are competitive. I have spent a lot of time observing experiences others in my family have had with their late-model domestics. To whit:

    My mother has a ’03 Cadillac CTS. She is thrilled with it and is getting another one when her lease expires in February. No issues besides a recall or two. No failures.

    My stap-dad has a ’04 Cadillac Escalade. He also loves it. NO ISSUES at all. He is going to probably get a late ’07/early ’08 ‘slade to replace it. He is a person who had two Nissan Maximas (GLE & SE) and a Mercedes-Benz E430 Sport, which was the biggest crapload of a car he ever owned. You have never seen electrical issues like this, and the tranny went south at 60K miles. He swears he will only buy GM now because the Escalade has been so good and GM has contacted him several times to get his opinion since he was a “conquest” sale.

    My father has a ’05 Dodge Magnum R/T AWD. He has put almost 25K miles on it in a little over a year. He had one failure….the nav system broke and they replaced his unit under warranty. Before the Magnum be had a 2002 Impala LS that he bought right after 9/11. He liked that car a lot. One issue, the wiper motor was replaced under warranty. He sold it to my brother in-law and he is still getting reliable performance out of it.

    My sister drives a ’05 Chevy Equinox LT AWD. She loves it. The radio was replaced under warranty.

    I leased a 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT when my wife have birth to our daughter. Our lease is up at the end of the year. I actually love this vehicle for its comfort and usefulness. It has had one failure: a O2 sensor failed. The job took 2 hours and I got a free loaner from the dealership. ther also was a recall on a rear A/C line that was performed.

    Now, my 2003 Honda Accord has not been all that trouble free. The front brakes have had a pulsation from almost the time I bought this car brand new. I have had the rotors resurfaced and new pads installed, but it’s still not 100% right. The engine mounts had to have a “vibration kit” installed to quell some horrible vibrations at idle. The A/C compressor, slutch, & stator blew out this spring. I had to shell out $1000 to fix it.

    My mother in-law has a 2002 Camry LE that needed wheel bearings (I think that’s what it was) soon after they bought the car brand new, to cure a horrible noise coming from the rear of the car at speed.

    What I have concluded from this is that no company makes a 100% perfect product, but the domestics are certainly competitive. When the time comes to spend my hard-earned cash on a new car you can bet that I will vote to support the domestic manufacturing sector and the American economy IF the product continues to improve and is compelling.

  • avatar
    OlympicTorch

    In response to porker’s comments (way) above:

    How could anyone who’s driven and is satisfied with a mid-90’s Camero complain that Japanese interiors are too cramped? has this guy ever been in a Honda? Ever? My old, tiny little CRX had loads more space than that thing. And for the record, if you’re looking for a reliable vehicle with loads of back seat and trunk space for under $18,000 get a Honda Element. It’s a four cylinder so it’s good on gas, and after 50,000 problem-free miles I can personally attest to its reliability. Want four proper doors? Get a CRV. Want seating for six (or seven)? Get a Rav-4. There’s always a better option than this piece of crap.

  • avatar
    montess

    Porker-
    You’re obviously a big GM fan and a man after my own heart. Check out my previous entry. Keep the faith, the General will rise again!

    As a lifetime GM driver, I have to say that this perception of low GM quality is way off mark. In the past 20 years I have owned every make of GM, some new, some used. They have been driven in all types of climates, across the country (3 times). None have ever let me down, other than the occassional wearable item. In order I have owned the following: 1987 GMC pickup (new), 1986 Chevy Caprice Classic (used), 1993 Chevy Camaro (new), 1994 Chevy Impala SS (new), 1973 Olds Delta 88 (used), 1999 Pontiac Firehawk (new), 1976 Buick Lesabre (used), and currently a 2006 Chevy Monte Carlo SS. To start with, the GMC was my first vehicle and as such I hardly babied it, it was taken off road constantly, it ran beautifully and on more than one occasion I had to rescue smalller Toyotas that were stuck in the mud. The Caprice had around 20K when I bought it, when I sold it, it had over 100K on it and was still running strong. The Camaro and Impala also ran flawlessly. The Delta 88 was a convertible that I took across the country Boston-San Francisco and then back in 1998. Through mountains, deserts, all kinds of temperature extremes, she never let me down. I returned from the west coast in 3 days, at one point driving 24 hrs continously. I???d love to see a 1973 Toyota or Honda do that. The Firehawk was also driven coast to coast without fail when I moved to LA. I bought a 1976 Buick from the original owner in Los Angeles and drove that back to the East Coast. Other than occasionally overheating (only with the AC on, in the desert (rte 10) she made it no problem. I just bought a 2006 Chevy Monte Carlo, absolutely love it , no problems after 2 mos and 2500 miles. After all this time and owning all these different vehicles, my question is how can anyone honestly say that GM doesn???t build a reliable, economical vehicle? As a footnote, I also own a 1978 Cadillac Eldorado. It was my grandfather???s car, it currently has 50K miles and everything still works, even the original 8 track. Most of it is still original although I have put new tires on it and new CV joints in the past year. I thought the 70???s were GM???s worst years? In summary, these cars did have some problems, but the majority were convered under warranty and were fixed by the dealer at no cost. I was able to fix the older, used cars myself for the most part and the parts were relatively cheap ( again try to find a cheap alternator or starter for a 20 year old toyota). None of these cars were close to being lemons, in fact they were all reliable, solid transportation. So there it is, that???s my story and I???m sticking to it.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    It might be said that you get what you pay for. 18K is not a lot of cash for such a big car. Whatever about the lack of technology (pushrod motor, old tranny design) the car is well put togather. It’s assembled in the plant that JD Power says is the best quaility-wise in the Americas, Oshawa Ontario. What worries me about it is this, at 18K is GM making any money out of it or is it basically paying people to drive it off the lot? Whether you like the Impala or not (I don’t), if the General is subsidizing every one it makes coming out of the best performing plant it has, what’s the point? I have heard it said that every GM car costs more in healthcare than sheet metal to make! and they lose money on every one. If this keeps up cars like the Impala will be just a memory in a few years. This is sad!

  • avatar
    JSForbes

    jar527, I got the same impression when I sat in an Impala at the AJC Car Show. I got in the back expecting some nice leg room from such large car, but I could barely fit. I’m 6 feet tall and I could not sit behind myself comfortably. Maybe it was the seat.

  • avatar
    carguy

    dhathewa – the reason why both Honda and Toyota offer a V6, and charge more for it, is that people prefer them as they offer more torque and power. It’s doesn’t matter how clever your I4 is you’re lucky to get 160 pounds while a 3.5 V6 delivers a lot more and much lower in the rev range. In the Impala’s case, it uses variable valve timing (via push rods) to get very usable low and mid-range torque that make driving in town a lot more comfortable. The Impala also gets around 30 mpg in real world highway driving.

    The standard V6 on the Impala is just giving drivers what they want while Honda and Toyota make you pay more.

  • avatar
    eslai

    Okay Farago, if I can count on every comment section to be as hilariously funny as this one was, you can count me in for a subscription.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    Great review, funny debate.

    Seriously did not know that in 2006 you could get a car with a column shifter.

    Amazing.

  • avatar
    jerry weber

    When the Impala came out in 1999, we were selling them in South Jersey. From the start, the taurus outsold us and the camry and accord never missed a beat. The truth was that very little engineering costs went into the thing. It was and is a cobeled together mish mash of parts from other cars. ie. 3.8 liter buick engine, yesterdays four speed automatic, smallish interior (remeber this was chevys biggest sedan after they cut loose the caprice. We had to sell this intermediate as a full sized sedan (it wasn.t) Ford still offered the ltd v8 as it’s full sized car. As for styling it was invisible, nobody noticed and it s so called fresh sheetmetal used buicks tried and tired side to side reflector material on the trunk. As for the new one, it suffers mightly from being remade without trashing the basic body of the old. The side profile is the same as the 99, only the front and rear have been clipped on. If we remember that fleet car of the year is tantamount to resale iron of the future. Those hertz avis, cars come back a year later to trash the values of all of the privately owned ones. Honda sells almost nothing to fleets and toyota sell some but it.s not their mainstay sales. Check the blue book and find out who wants ford or chevy iron (the taurus is now dead) and who wants used jap iron. The numbers don’t lie and they are consistantly in favor of the non detroit iron. Whatever low price or discount you get at the onset will be given back at trade in.the car is only a bargain for the rental fleets because they buy them so cheaply and dump them the same year, you can’t do that. I leave with, is it a bad car? no, it’s and obsolete car.

  • avatar
    qfrog

    If you can’t afford taste or simply want to blend with the herd then the impaler is the car for you. It promises no thrills transport with ample bla bla bla and standard this that and the whatever thing.

    I won’t even entertain the rantings of porker… oh the things I could say but you guys are already thinking them so whats the point.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    Poker,

    Your opinion has good logics, but I don’t buy it.

    If you say all GM’s product is better since the 50’s, then how come the 95 Lumina I rented (in 95) for a week have such a crappy interior that it felt like from the 80’s? That the head light switch crack and fell off on the first try? That my $12888 95 Corolla feels more refined?

    If you judge a car by its size and price alone, then I have to agree with you that Impala is a good car for the money. I sat in one at lunch time with my co-worker. It is big and has a quiet engine, but doesn’t really do much more. Beside, why would a normal sized (aka, not fat) human need so much space? and how the heck do you expect me to find a parking spot to fit it in downtown? I would take a smaller sized car with more refined interior and better built quality (aka, an Integra, which typically last 200k miles+ without major work)? Size is not king for most people.

    I fail to see the reason why Japanese car cannot be rebuild or cannot find parts to replace. I frequently buy felpro and AC Delco parts for my corolla, and CSF radiator and Moog suspension parts for my Integra. If you are talking about how easy it is to get around the engine bay, sure, many American cars are better, but it is a matter of a particular model rather than country of design/manufacturing.

    An American car will last forever and a Japanese/German car will die at 200k? Give me a break, rebuilding the engine every 200k is not part of routine maintanence, and have fun replacing your GM intake manifold gasket every 60k. My Integra needs only a new thermostat and a new radiator (pre-emptive replacment) at 180k miles and still drives like new.

    Just to stop you from bashing, I bought a Hertz retired Taurus for my dad with only 13.5k miles in the same model year for $12.5k, the price is right, I don’t mind American cars, but they don’t worth the same price as better brand if they are cutting corners.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    Entertaining (mostly) discussion!

    My reaction to the car has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with who makes it. My impression of the car was that it was somewhat scary to drive, so bad were its reflexes and reactions to inputs. I actually found it difficult to herd along a superhighway because it’s so limp.

    All I could think was how ironic it was that I was driving a 2006 model car that felt like nothing so much as a mid-70’s Ford LTD. Same huge trunk, same no power, same excruciatingly uncomfortable front seats, same way-too-small-for-its-size back seat, same elastic-plastic suspension and same cruddy interior quality.

    All the ranting about it being a big, comfortable sedan with V-6 power for a low price is moot, IMO, because the thing really doesn’t serve that purpose well at all.

    For reference, I currently drive an ’04 Audi A6 2.7T S-line. No, I don’t expect a car that costs 1/2 of what mine did to drive the same, but there’s no valid reason that the Impala should be as bad as it is. All IMO, of course! ;-)

  • avatar
    porker

    Oh, my! So many posts, so little time…..
    Try to learn to spell Camaro. The car is really quite roomy for its size, and very comfortable (much better than ANY Maxima I’ve ever driven or owned), but it’s low to the ground, a fault shared with all the Jap vehicles I’ve owned. That’s why it’s my DAUGHTER’S car! Mine’s the ’93 Chevy Truck and the ’95 Roadmaster. I refuse to get into anymore Hondas until I can sit in them without bumping my head on the headliner. I also don’t want the road to be two inches from my face. My neighbor’s dog keeps the Jehovah’s Witnesses away from our house when he comes and looks DOWN into their Japmobile through the windshield!
    I don’t know what any of you are talking about on the intake gaskets, the only ones I’ve ever had to replace were on the Studebaker. Maybe if you occasionally service the car?
    When your Passats and Jettas are fleeting piles of rust, the Camaro will still be a lusted-after American icon. Gen IV Camaros are starting to catch on, and, since they’re the best of the breed after the Gen I’s, they’ll be priced out of sight in a few more years. I’m lucky to have scored one while they were still in normal depreciation mode. I could sell it right now at a profit.
    I was a salesman/manager for a small Japmobile dealership in a mid-sized Southern town for several years during my misguided early adulthood. I dare to say that, yes, I have bought and sold more vehicles in a month than the normal person does in a lifetime. How many of you have ever driven a 1963 Studebaker Avanti (the real one, with the 348 and the supercharger)? Any Rolls-Royce? E-Type Jaguar? Allison MG Replicar? Lotus? MG Midget? TR6? Renault R16? Ford Torino GTA? I know, and love, cars. But my exerience has taught me that straying from the GM fold is expensive and not very satisfying. I won’t go back to the Japmobiles of my early adulthood.
    Personally, I couldn’t care less about what you like or dislike, but it pains me to see an automotive writer trying to be clever more than he is trying to be objective about the car he’s reviewing. Vanilla is the flavor of choice if you want to judge ice cream, BTW. It’s this constant bashing of American cars, which are vastly superior to their Jap and Kraut counterparts, that gets my goat.

  • avatar
    PsychoBueller

    qfrog: “If you can???t afford taste or simply want to blend with the herd then the impaler is the car for you. It promises no thrills transport with ample bla bla bla and standard this that and the whatever thing.”

    That smacks of snobbery. What is “taste” in you opinion? Do only Honda and Toyota make cars that exhibit taste? No thrills transport is what family sedans are all about. Like the Accord and Camry are so thrilling? Nothing could be more boring and soul-less than my Accord. It drives well, but it is the epitome of boring. LOL.

    PandaBear: “If you say all GM???s product is better since the 50???s, then how come the 95 Lumina I rented (in 95) for a week have such a crappy interior that it felt like from the 80???s? That the head light switch crack and fell off on the first try? That my $12888 95 Corolla feels more refined?”

    So you are basinig your views of today’s GM cars upon an experience you had 11 years ago in a rental car? No one beats and abuses rental cars, right? Couldn’t have been a previous renter that broke the light switch? Must be GM and their unrefined designs. I worked for Enterprise for 5 years from 1996-2000. The GM cars were the LEAST troublesome mechanically of all the cars in our fleet. They may not have been pretty or ultra-refined, but they held up to abuse very well. Have you driven a 2006 GM vehicle?

  • avatar
    Happy_Endings

    The Camaro is such a lusted after American icon, they had to get rid of it because they were selling less than 30,000 units in a year…

  • avatar
    Frank Williams

    For those who think I was unduely cruel and close-minded in my evaluation of this base-level Impala, may I direct your attention to the comments Car and Driver had about its higher-priced, fancier brother, the Impala SS, in the June 2006 issue:

    “a car that feels unfinished and confused as to its purpose”

    “mess of undamped and uncontrolled body motions”

    “The Impala leaned over far enough to be included in Who’s Who in Body Roll. Making the roll feel even more pronounced are flat, unsupportive, and slippery leather seats”

    “Jell-O like suspension keeps the body moving, and speed only exacerbates the problem”

    “the front-strut suspension crashes over pavement imperfections as if someone had overlooked the advantages of bushings”

    “the car feel[s] unrefined and crude and demonstrates the limitations of the old platform”

    “what we have here is torque steer abetted by flabby responses and an austere interior”

    “Chevy builds a car that looks great on paper but fails to satisfy in reality.”

    And this is from a rag whose opinions are constrained by their need to keep the Chevy advertising account. Just think what they would have said had their editorial hands not been tied by the accounting department.

  • avatar
    porker

    C & D? You mean- Ford-Honda Times??? C&D lost all credibility many years ago, when they decided that Honda was the savior of the automotive world.
    You were not only close-minded, but WRONG! Why don’t you just admit that the purpose of this website is to destroy what little is left of the American car industry so your Japs and Krauts won’t have any competition?

  • avatar
    dhathewa

    Carguy, you’re partly right when you say GM is giving people what they want. GM is giving. If they were building cars people want, GM would be SELLING. Most Accords and Camrys roll out with an I4 and get snapped up. Clearly, Honda and Toyota are selling what people want. GM is welcome to put a V6 into their cars. Choice is good. But the first thing I look at when deciding what to buy is fuel economy.

    Toyota’s motors make good torque from the bottom of the range. I’ve experienced this. My right foot is not dead, yet. A good 4-banger makes a V6 an unnecessary marketing gimmick.

    And, Porker, just how tall are you? Freakishly tall? I’m 6’4″ and a buddy who is slightly taller just bought an Accord. I’ve ridden in it and it’s perfectly comfortable for me. That’s without reclining the seat back. That’s my buddy’s daily driver and he loves it.

    He gave up on Buicks partly because of all the little parts that were failing (cheap plastic gears in the window motors, for example, cost him a couple hundred bucks). He took very good care of his Buicks but they weren’t taking good care of him.

  • avatar
    Hutton

    I’m just curious if this guy’s head is going to explode once he realizes that his beloved GM will be selling “Kraut” cars, in the form of re-badged Opels.

  • avatar
    porker

    Actually, I’m a short little fat guy. I’ll make exceptions for truly sporty cars, such as ‘Vettes. Vipers, Camaros, etc., but my daily driver will NOT sit on the ground anymore, and I don’t want to feel that headliner brushing my hair. There’s no excuse for a “family” car to feel like a motorized roller skate.
    Uh, Hutton, GM owns Opel.

  • avatar
    Schmu

    To make a point ( i am only halfway through this one, so i apologize if it shas been said) 1) the imp is not an American car. It is built in Canada. 2) Nissan is notorious for electrical problems. 3) the ability to rebuild a chevy 5 times cheaply does not mean its lasts long, IMO. It means you can build the car 5 times. hondas goe 300k+ a lot, and while my chevy has gone 269k, i am building its third engine. If you want to make the claim that you can get more miles out of a chevy per dollar, then you can make that claim. But you won’t get 300k out of many chevys without rebuilding it at least once. I don’t care how many years experience you have, its about national statistics. Chevy contacted me about joining a 200k+ club for my truck. people can be on hand when the new silversado is unveiled. 200k eh? thats nothing. I put 25k per year on a vehicle. My dad more. his honda had 380k before he bought a civic. He didnt want to change the clutch and struts. Check FSC.com, board for full size chevy trucks. very few have 200k+ on an original engine, yet honda baords are full of them. Yes, when they break, they are very expensive to rebuild, unlike GM. While you have points to make porker, you yourself are not comparing apples to apples.

  • avatar
    Frank Williams

    Let me see if I got this straight… a rebadged Opel built in Germany isn’t a “kraut” car because Opel is owned by GM, while an Audi or VW also built in Germany but by a German-owned company is. Interesting logic. So it’s not where a car is built, it’s who owns the company. That would automatically make every Dodge and Chrysler produced in the past few years a “kraut” car.

  • avatar
    Hutton

    No kidding porker. I was making the point that GM is a global corporation, so your love affair with the general, and your hatred of all things foreign are kind of at odds with each other. I’m sure you’re aware that GM sells a “Jap” car in America as well… and they don’t own the company that builds that one

  • avatar
    porker

    Congrats, Frank Williams, you got it right!
    Nissan-Renault? I’m praying that the American public will wake up so that won’t happen. Perhaps journalists like you could help by reviewing cars in a fair manner instead of that stuff you wrote on this thread.

    Hey, wait- I love my Seiko watch. I hate Jap and Kraut cars, not people, not other products. Too much experience with their sorry excuses for automobiles.

  • avatar
    Frank Williams

    So when Nissan-Renault buys GM, where does that leave you?

  • avatar
    dhathewa

    Porker, if you’re short, then I truly don’t understand your problem with Japanese sedans. Tall people (me) do not “feel that headliner brushing [our] hair,” so I have no idea why you would.

    As for sitting on the ground, I don’t know precisely how far off the ground the seat bottom is but the Camry is a normal height on the outside. The Camry is 57.9″ tall and the Impala is 58.7″ tall, a difference of about 1%. I’ve ridden in both and I didn’t feel like I was sitting on the ground in the Camry any more than I felt that way in the Impala. Maybe you’re more comfortable at truck-like heights but it seems to me you’re criticizing the Camry for being a sedan. Well, surprise, that’s what it is. Go buy a truck. Or an SUV. I recommend the Rav4.

  • avatar
    porker

    dhathewa- maybe I just have a thick skull! And, no, I’ll pass on the Rav4, I just don’t want to buy any more Toyota engines, ever. I’d take an old S-10 Blazer with the abysmal 2.8 liter V-6 over the “modern” Toyota crap.

  • avatar
    Frank Williams

    STOP THE PRESSES!! Porker actually referred to a GM product as having an “abysmal” engine:

    I’ll pass on the Rav4, I just don’t want to buy anymore Toyota engines, ever. I’d take an old S-10 Blazer with the abysmal 2.8 liter V-6 over the “modern” Toyota crap.

    What happened to that GM-built longevity and reliability we’ve been hearing so much about? (And why would anyone want something with an “abysmal” engine?)

  • avatar
    Hutton

    And why would anyone want something with an ???abysmal??? engine?

    Cause it’s American! And that’s all that really matters. right?

    (And by American, I mean a company who’s headquarters are located within the United States of America, and produces cars in various countries all over the world, from parts manufactured in various countries all over the world, by people who may or may not have immigrated from some other part of the world, who then ship components to some other part of the world, to be assembled, and sold to one of many car driving citizens living in one of many car driving countries. But the location of the headquarters…. That’s what’s important)

  • avatar
    porker

    Abysmal in the sense of noisy and underpowered. It was actually pretty reliable, vastly superior to those Jap engines of Toyotas of the day.
    GM has built its share of crap (Cutlass Ciera, Buick Century of that same era) but nobody claims these are the epitome of automotive excellence. The point is that the Japs build some OK stuff, but it’s overpriced, impossible to rebuild, and no more reliable than its American counterparts.
    As much as I enjoy yanking on all y’all’s chains, I’ve gotta go make some money for a little while. Catch you on the rebound!

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    “I???d take an old S-10 Blazer with the abysmal 2.8 liter V-6 over the ???modern??? Toyota crap.”

    Really porker, How can you expect anyone to take you seriously when you make statements like that. I am afraid it says more about you than any Toyota product. To summarily dismiss all modern Toyota vehicles as crap smacks of a schoolyard arguement between two 6 year olds! Whether it’s GM or Toyota or whatever can we not at least give credit where it’s due? The Toyota Corrolla did not become the best selling car in human history because it’s crap! It’s nothing to shout about but it must have something about it that so many people like. Oh silly me, I forgot you’re right and 30million+ people are wrong, sorry!

  • avatar
    9000RPMan

    I agree that for many people, the Impala meets their needs. Many people, dare I say most people, do not care if their car has overhead cam engines, a suspension that allows for excellent handling (at the cost of a smooth ride), body gaps the thickness of a razor or well designed interiors made of high quality materials. Most of the readers here are automotive connoisseurs. We demand more. For us, cars are not just transportation, they are objects that we are passionate about. They are important to us. There is a much larger market out there for people who dont care about the things we do, and who only look at price. The Impala is designed for this market. Unfortunately so is most of the rest of the GM lineup. I cannot discuss GM trucks, as I am not in that market. Before I purchased my current car (used 2005 Carrera S) I took a good long look at the Corvette (including the Z06). I can certainly enjoy the engine, even if it doesnt have the latest in technology, as well as the magnetic ride shocks (which are also being used on the new Ferrari 599 Fiorano). But the interior, particularly the quality of the materials used, is particularly sub-par in a car with a price of $50K. I really wanted to like to Corvette, but cannot stand to drive a car with an interior that feels so cheap. And the Corvette is really GM’s best car! Whoever previously said that GM is being run by accountants is correct. Any company that designes cars that way is doomed to mediocrity. I want a car that is inspiring to own and drive, a car that makes me feel special when I am driving it. No accountant or committe can do that. I also want a car that is built well, that the interior (where I spend all of my time) is finished in quality materials. I want the dash, seats, shifter, etc. to feel substantial as I operate them. Sometime in the 1970’s GM lost it, and doesn’t seem to be on the right track to finding it again.
    Oh, porker, if GM is so good with engines, why are they purchasing the Honda V6 and installing it in the Saturn Vue?

  • avatar
    rudiger

    The two salient points in this article:

    1. GM produces the automotive equivalent of toasters (and not even good toasters).

    2. If you want to know what you’re really getting with the most expensive version of a particular model, drive the base model. GM is the epitome of the phrase “You can’t polish a turd”.

  • avatar
    Happy_Endings

    So is the Pontiac Vibe a GM or Toyota car? It’s made at NUMMI and is the exact same as a Toyota Voltz (Matrix is made in Cambridge).

  • avatar
    Hutton

    ^ It’s called the Toyota Matrix in the US, but good point, though as good points go, I’m sure it will be lost on certain members of this discussion.

  • avatar
    Schmu

    the matrix is a yota…the vibes just have pontiac badges and a new peice of plastic on them. If i am not mistaken, they are made in gm plants. yota designs and parts built in a gm plant. odd union. matrix’s are selling, vibes are not. was in the local paper, a pontiac dealer, complaining that if it had the yota badge, it would be selling off his lot. charleston, wv was his location. that alone is proof, on a local scale anyway, that gm’s brand is damaged.

  • avatar
    Frank Williams

    The Vibe and Matrix are made in the same plant that used to build Corollas and Chevy (Geo) Prisms. The same happened there – Corollas flew off the shelf while Chevy could hardly give Prisms away. The Voltz actually has the Vibe’s body styling with the Matrix’ interior and is exported under the Toyota badge.

  • avatar

    Porker,

    I am 6’5″. I have driven or sat in nearly every Honda/Acura model in production since the mid-80’s. 2 of them have not provided me with adequate head room: the S2k and the 1st gen Legend. The CRX and Fit, two ridiculously small cars have enourmous interiors (relative to their size). Of course, right now I’m heading out to get into the 92 S10 im driving where I’ll have to duck to prevent having a flattop when I exit. But who knows, I suppose I’m just some Jap-lovin Ricer….

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    PsychoBueller: “So you are basinig your views of today???s GM cars upon an experience you had 11 years ago in a rental car? No one beats and abuses rental cars, right? Couldn???t have been a previous renter that broke the light switch? Must be GM and their unrefined designs. I worked for Enterprise for 5 years from 1996-2000. The GM cars were the LEAST troublesome mechanically of all the cars in our fleet. They may not have been pretty or ultra-refined, but they held up to abuse very well. Have you driven a 2006 GM vehicle?”

    I am not saying anything about current generation’s GM car, I rented a Cavalier 2 years ago and it is a good car in an absolute term, but since I wasn’t shopping for a new car at the time, I wasn’t aware of how the Japanese cars were doing. My statement above was refering to Poker’s “GM was always the best since the 50s” and how my personal experience contrast it. And yes, I am aware of GM’s powertrain is relatively more reliable than Ford or Chrysler, and probably even Honda’s automatic. I wouldn’t say it is better than Toyota yet (have one at 146k miles and it is bullet proof), because of the V6 Intake gasket leak fiasco.

    Poker:

    In mid 90s GM changed their V6 upper intake from metal to plastic and its gasket wouldn’t stand up to the task, and usually leak at around 50k miles. It is finally corrected at around 2002. If you are not aware of this huge fiasco, how can you say GMs have always been 100% robust and reliable? Being able to rebuild an engine 100 times over is not reliable, it is servicable. Being able to go 300k miles without rebuilding is reliable.

    Not all Japanese car are the same too, nor German. In Euro car I would only buy Volvo (all others are not that reliable, in cluding Mercedes), and Japanese I would only buy Toyota, Honda (manual only), and Mazda (but I consider them American because they are build by Ford and use many Ford components).

    Am I not supporting local economy by buying Toyota? The Corolla I have is built 20 miles from my home in Fremont, I consider them American cars, and I would rather support my local folks than supporting someone all the way in Michigan.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    They sell what, like 17 million new vehicles a year in this country, yet everyone claims to have cars that have run 250,000 miles or more. I know two guys in my entire life that had vehicles go over 200,000 miles. My brother and his 85.5 Escort, his 94 Saturn, and a coworker with a 90 Toyota Previa. The last years of their lives, all three were death traps to drive – no a/c, sliding door mounts rusted off, poor brakes, transmissions that pop out of gear while moving, vibrating driveshaft input shaft that makes the thing sound like a diesel, cracked windshields, dents and rust, interior smells like a pig farm, etc.

    You can do it, but I realized how much pride can there be in driving a stinky, uncomfortable, unsafe vehicle – bragging rights?

    For me, 150,000 miles is plenty – I like to buy Ford Panthers a few years old really cheap, and run them to 150,000 miles – there is demand from taxi companies for them at that mileage, and then repeat the process.

  • avatar
    TechBob

    Very interesting to see the irrationality in this US vs. “Kraut” & “Jap” cars thread. Also hard to believe people find this acceptable language these days, but I guess “retro” is in now. I used to be an American Iron type (’69 Mercury Marauder w/ 850cfm Holleys @ 7mpg and I’m restoring a ’66 Mustang now) until I learned about this “engineering” stuff when I bought a ’73 Saab 99 EMS. True, it was none too reliable (Lucas electrics and 5 Marchal alternators later…) but it was a roomy, fast and safe car.

    Frankly, at 6’3″ I don’t fit in most American cars; even some SUVs make me claustrophobic. I fit just fine in my old (’91) Mercedes 300D, our Scion xB (a really nice little car) and even a recently purchased Smart Car. The Smart For2 actually feels the size of a mini-truck (sitting position) until you step out and wonder where the rest of your car went.

    Driving experience is a very subjective thing; who can say why people will put up with which eccentricities? Quality is another thing; every car maker is vulnerable here. The whole US vs. “the world” discussion is mystifying to me; every one of these companies is totally multi-national to a certain extent – so what’s the point of arguing about content? Is Chrysler off the list now? I’m just tired of boring cars…

  • avatar
    chanman

    I dunno, the new chevys interest me. But American? Searching for the Optra in wikipedia directs you straight to a Daewoo.

    FYI the Canada-US situation – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auto_pact and subsequent FTAs have essentially resulted in an integrated market for the most part, although we do lack a few types (Scions, for example), and get a few models the US doesn’t. (5-door Yaris hatch, and an Acura-ized Civic, the EL. Also a few SMART Fortwos running around here too)

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    The Jap cars you’re so fond of touting on these pages….

    porker: are you kidding me? I was anything but nice to the Toyota Camry LE. If anything the Camry got it worse than the Impala LS.

    How often do you read this website?

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Pontiac might actually sell a few Vibes if they were priced more realistically. Even with the rebate marketing gimmicks, a Vibe is still more expensive than a comparably equipped Matrix without all the rebate shell-games. Then you have to deal with the resale depreciation since it’s technically not a Toyota.

    It’s like GM is doing exactly the opposite of the Prism fiasco. You used to be able to get a Prism for cheap in comparison to a Corolla. Now, a Vibe costs more than an identical Matrix.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    What an awful looking dashboard !!!

  • avatar
    Areitu

    After driving a previous generation rental Impala, I could see why it would be appealing to some people. The soft wallowy ride, the antiseptic numb steering with no on-center feel, the torque the old pushrod provides. An older person used to driving the land barges built during GM’s heyday before the oil crisis would enjoy this car much more than the young 21 year old writing this comment (who prefers firm and responsive cars).

    Being a pistonhead makes judging a family sedan difficult, since the IMpala exists in an entirely different demographic, the kind that my parents exist in. For example, on the freeway, my father maintains speed by pressing and lifting off the gas pedal constantly. He finds our V6 Accord to be too jumpy and responsive but likes how the wallowy Impala drives. I’m sure my grandma would much prefer the Impala to the Accord as well.

  • avatar
    kablamo

    PORKER –

    Clearly you’ve had some good experiences with domestics and bad experiences with imports; that’s fine, and you are entitled to your opinion.

    Here’s something I’d like you to address though: it’s obvious that a LOT of people have had really bad experiences with domestics (myself included) and really good experiences with imports (myself included). When you accuse someone of Japanese or German bias, is it not possible they’ve just had downright crappy experiences with domestics and then gone to an import and been very satisfied? Is that not valid?

    You complain about space in imports; is it possible that although space is a factor for most drivers, many are satisfied with the space and layout imports offer? You may want a “full-size” sedan, but I’ve seen Civic hatchbacks swallow whole things that would not fit in any full-size car unless it was on a trailer – while providing reasonably comfortable transportation. Is that not valid?

    You can point to your experiences as to why everyone else is wrong, or everyone else can point to all their experiences as to why they are right. No machine is perfect, but in my experience Japanese and German automobiles have satisfied me much more than any American car I’ve ever driven (nope, haven’t driven a Corvette, then again I haven’t driven a Skyline or an NSX either). If all you have to back up your point is your experience, you’re just asking for people to bring up the times they’ve been burned by Detroit.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    As far as bad GM experiences go, there is a veritable litany of vehicles to choose from whereas there are relatively few ‘bad’ Toyotas or Hondas.

    Consider that from 1971 through 1985 GM produced such winners as the Chevy Vega and Chevy Citation. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that anyone who was burned (and burned badly) by one of those lemons is never going to buy another GM product.

    While that may seem like ancient history, people who owned a seventies or eighties GM product (particularly a Vega or Citation, or one of their derivatives) aren’t likely to ever recommend a GM product to a friend or relative, either, and some people have long memories.

    GM has been playing catch-up to the Japanese ever since. In fact, it’s quite possible that if not for the rental/fleet market (where the standards are quite a bit lower than the normal, civilian market), sales of all domestic cars would have dried up a long time ago.

    The only truly ‘bad’ Honda or Toyota with a reputation in the same league as the aforementioned GM products would be the 1976 Honda Accord.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    kablamo,

    You hit the nail on the head. When you put all biases aside and genuinely rate the history one has had with both ‘domestic’ and ‘foreign’ brands, it is more common to hear that owners of Honda, Toyotas and others have had more reliability than GM’s and Ford’s. As much as I might wish it to be otherwise my own experience reflects this.

    Over the last 20 years my experience has been:

    Ford Cortina Mk. III: camshaft failure twice.
    Mazda 323: No problems
    2 Honda Civics: No problems
    Honda Accord: 1 spark plug wire
    Datsun/Nissan 280ZX: Ignition module
    Ford Thunderbird: Engine re-build, brake failure (total)
    Olds Cutlass: Shocks, steering rack, alternator, air con (twice), wheel bearings.
    GMC Safari: Rear axle bearings (twice), fuel pump, water pump, alternator, Air con compressor (twice), oil cooler lines (rotted), wiper motor (twice), fuel guage sender, front wheel bearings (twice), drive shaft universal, Front brake rotors replaced 5 times. I had this vehicle 7 years and drove it for 150,000 kms, easily the most unreliable POS I ever had.
    Currently:
    Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Corolla: So far so good.

    Now I cannot even bring myself to look at a GM or Ford product and get this, I work for a company that manufacturers major interior components for the Chevrolet Impala, Buick LaCrosse/Allure, Pontiac Grand Prix and Chevrolet Monte Carlo, so my own livelyhood depends on the sale of these vehicles. My belief is that people should buy vehicles on the basis of what they feel is best for them and not on the basis of patriotism or brand loyalty. I would dearly wish that the above mentioned vehicles were the best in their classes but the fact is, they are not.

    Rant over…..

  • avatar
    Martinjmpr

    Why are we even arguing this? The sales figures speak for themselves. GM can’t give their vehicles away at fire sale prices (which don’t net them a nickel of profit) meanwhile the Honda and Toyota dealers can get $2000-$3000 more for a vehicle in the same class and without all the sales gimmicks.

    As the Matrix/Vibe example shows, GM has debased their reputation to the point where nowadays low price is all they have to offer (in their less expensive cars, anyway – obviously the Caddys and the Corvettes are in a different class.)

    As I said, the sales figures speak volumes. The American people have voted with their wallets (what do you think would happen to GMs sales figures if you subtracted out fleet sales?) And unlike the tiresome “I had a ______ back in 1984 and it was POS” kind of arguments, the sales figures are not subject to interpretation. They’re pretty concrete. Resale value is also a concrete figure determining what American consumers think of GM cars.

    Of course, some could subscribe to the theory that the Japanese are broadcasting mind-altering radio signals to make Americans buy “inferior” Japanese cars over their “superior” American counterparts, I guess.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    Of course, some could subscribe to the theory that the Japanese are broadcasting mind-altering radio signals to make Americans buy ???inferior??? Japanese cars over their ???superior??? American counterparts, I guess.

    You mean They aren’t!!! phew, thanks for that! LOL

  • avatar
    finderskeepers

    I’m in the market for a new car (or maybe an SUV), but virtually nothing in the domestic line does it for me. Even in the upscale Cadillac SRX, the interior was ho-hum and certainly nothing to write home about. The only vehicle we were in that was the least bit stylish, confortable and supportive was the lincoln aviator, but I can’t justify a vehicle which gets 13-15 mpg. Not only that, its been discontinued. So, we started looking at imports that had those attributes. The Infinity G35 and FX35 were a really nice vehicles, but the seat controls are mounted in such a way to dig into your thighs, not to mention even used the prices border on rediculous. But the biggest turnoff was the high level of complaints on those vehicles. I have to admit, I’ve been spoiled, by of all things an Oldsmobile. Yep, I can hear the snickers now, but it’s the gods honest truth. I now have 200K on a 1999 Olds. Intrigue, and just now it is in need of new wheel bearings and tierod ends. The only things I had to do on it were a new alternator at 153K and a camshaft position sensor at about the same time. Keep in mind this car has 215hp, gets 28mpg, goes 0-60 in 7.3 seconds and runs just fine on regular pump gas. So there is the problem in a nutshell, I want something that is comfortable like an Aviator, stylish like an infinity FX, reliable like my Olds, affordable like a Kia, handles like a BMW. Let me know when something like that arrives.

  • avatar

    It always amazes me that debates over “foreign” vs. “domestic” products tend to focus on mechanical reliability. What about the soul of machine? How it feels to drive? The pleasures (or lack thereof) of its cabin? The way you feel loking at it? It’s not all about money and breakdowns.

  • avatar
    porker

    OK, all y’all. My post had two main comments: 1) The “superiority” of Jap or Kraut-built cars is a myth; 2) Articles such as this from someone who has an obvious bias towards Krautmobiles only tend to perpretrate this myth, with its attendant harm to the US auto industry. Just try to evaluate the vehicles for what they are, not for some mythical ideal that exists only in the author’s head. In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy the trouble-free driving I’ve experienced with my GM vehicles, while offering rides to all my friends who are desperately tring to save up enough to get their Japmobiles and Krautmobiles back on the road after their umpteenth breakdown!

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    “Articles such as this from someone who has an obvious bias towards Krautmobiles only tend to perpretrate this myth, with its attendant harm to the US auto industry.”

    You certainly got Frank’s number. That’s him, driving his Corvette all the while. :-)

  • avatar
    Frank Williams

    I’m just wondering what part of Germany my “Krautmobile” Corvette was made in…

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    Just for the heck of it, when I rented a car this weekend to drive from Bakersville, California to St. George, Utah, I picked up an Impala LTS (something like that) and see how I like it.

    I am satisfied with the handling, drives like a corolla and camry at normal speed, as long as you do not corner like a sport car. Excellent braking power; it is night and day difference compare to my dad’s Taurus, almost as good as my Integra with Axxis Ultimate pads. The power is ok, good low end torque but no torque above 3000rpm (like a corolla also). The seat feels cheap, and too thick that it takes up all the room this full size should have (even my wife complains that this car is small, and she is 5’6″ 120lb, very slim). The car is quiet, radio works good (like the button), AC is decent and control is good, I actually like the interior design and the only thing I dislike is the plastic material on the dash. Gauge is excellent with oil life monitor and real time fuel economy, and tire pressure monitoring.

    I am not sure about the real price for this car, but if it is less than 20k, I think it will have a good market for people living outside a city, that doesn’t have to worry about having too big of a car. Oh, and doesn’t have to worry about the half opened door slam back into their knee at 50lb force. They need to change those seat to something slimmer. What is the point of having thick seats that has no cushion?

    I think my dad would like it as a Taurus replacement, but there is no way in hell I would buy it to drive in a city for my age (28). It feels like a supersized corolla in most way, for good or bad.

  • avatar

    finderskeepers – I believe you were looking for the Acura MDX, or perhaps the new RDX, or even the new Mazda C7.

    Back to the topic – this has been the most entertaining series of volleys I’ve seen in a while. fun fun…

    I love my ‘japmobile’…while my former Trailblazer somehow made it back from the dealership 60 miles away where I traded it in, to a dealer 2 minutes from my house (he got it at auction), and he can barely give it away, despite being in primo condition and looking nice (damn I loved the way that truck looked…). Right now, it’s only $1100 more than what I got for it on trade…

  • avatar
    jthorner

    This is a great review which hits the nail on the head. Almost as pithy as the famous Car and Driver 2002 Saturn Ion review titled “”We waited seven years for this?”

    Another problem for the few people who actually purchase a new Impala for themselves is that much of the production is pumped into the daily rental fleets and turned around as used cars at a bargain price several months later. I have one friend who bought an ex-Hertz Impala and is pleased as punch with his sub $14k purchase, but those bargains knock the wind out of resale values for anyone suckered into buying retail.

    GM needs to close everything except for the Chevrolet and Cadillac brands and then make sure that every vehicle they sell is one of the best in the world in it’s segment. Honda comes pretty close to meeting such a standard, why can’t the world’s largest automaker?

  • avatar
    rjwillis

    I dare Porker to go walk down a street in Georgetown, Ky., and tell those good ol’ boys and girls at the Toyota plant that they’re building “Japmobiles.” Or watch him argue about “Kraut cars” while waving the keys to his Cadillac Catera or you-name-the-Chrysler-product. Reminds me of the girl I dated in college whose dad gave me shit about my Mazda truck while buying his daughter a Dodge D50 — built with pride by Mitsubishi.

    The country of manufacture matters little these days. What matters is the philosophy behind the manufacture. Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, and DCX (to a lesser extent) are getting it right. GM, for the most part, still hasn’t.

  • avatar
    n2f

    This is a fascinating discussion. However, if I may make an observation; Porker, your incessant racial slurs are an embarrassment. Not only do racial slurs reflect badly on you as a person, racial slurs do absolutely nothing for your argument other than discredit what ever it is you are trying to say. Should you care to be taken seriously, perhaps you could try posting something with no racial slurs. In their hateful, moronic place you might try substituting relevant observations with actual substance.

  • avatar
    dhodory

    To everyone that is defending GM . . . while I admire your dedication and devotion, if GM (or Ford) products are REALLY that good, what exactly is the cause of their demise? Do you REALLY expect anyone to believe that the “media” has so slanted the American public against domestic vehicles that the buying public CONTINUE to purchase foreign vehicles over domestic vehicles even though their supposed experience with said foreign vehicles is as bad (or worse) than domestics? Get a grip. I have yet to see a situation, and I’m not saying there isn’t one — just saying I haven’t seen it or it didn’t come to mind as I was typing this — where a superior product that co-existed side-by-side with an inferior product for DECADES didn’t eventually win the battle. Not one.

  • avatar
    taxman100

    Trust me, the guys in Georgetown are not Toyota robots. I live near a lot of people who work for Honda, and while they like their jobs and are gratefull for them, they do not have a chip implanted in their brain turning them into Japanese controlled robots.

    The days of employee loyalty are long gone – now it’s all about “show me the money”. Corporate America has brought it on themselves – they would lay off anyone in a heartbeat if upper management thinks it will put more money into their own pockets.

  • avatar
    carsickgeek

    My 2001 Honda Accord EX has been very reliable and economical, but let’s not get too hyperbolic about its superiority. It is vanilla and uninspiring in day-to-day use, and it is extraordinarily noisy on the highway, just like my boss’s 2000 Accord EX. Concrete and other coarse surfaces raise a din at freeway speeds that renders the radio almost useless, and makes conversation difficult. Even new Hondas have not slain the road-noise dragon, as many published road tests confirm. A 2005 Impala (previous generation) that I rented last September in Boston was not especially memorable, but it drove reasonably well and was far quieter than my Accord. One of my associates just bought a four-cylinder Camry. Now, there’s an exquisite car for not much money.

  • avatar
    courtstone

    Compare a 4 year old Accord to a 4 year old Impala, then judge. You will see that Honda will run circles around GM in quality.

  • avatar
    carsickgeek

    I’ve owned three Japanese cars (’84 Mazda RX-7, ’95 Toyota Celica, ’01 Honda Accord) and all have been exceptionally reliable and durable. Japanese cars, however, don’t have the durability market cornered. My dad’s ’97 Deville is tight and silent at 160,000 miles, and the Northstar engine has not been touched. A work colleague has 220,000 on her P.O.S. Chevy Trailblazer. It’s a mess, but she still drives it to work every day.

  • avatar
    fordguy

    Foreign cars are more reliable and last longer?  Don't think so; here's my evidence:

    1992 Mercury Grand Marquis LS, 281 cubic inch V-8, 140,000 miles.  Dipstick still registers "Full" at 5K oil change intervals.  EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERYTHING on this car still works, and it's fully loaded.  A/C is as strong as an Arctic snowstorm.  26 MPG cruising at 80 MPH.  Church quiet – very low wind and road noise, no NVH from the driveline, and NO rattles.  Still used for taking clients out to lunch, taking the family out to dinner and church, and oh, yeah – it pulls the 5,000+ pound travel trailer through the mountains quite well.  There's not a honda, toyota, nissan, mitsubishi, mercedes-benz, bmw, or anything else foreign that can make that claim – especially the part about the travel trailer.

    Long live Ford's Panther chassis!!  It has withstood the test of time well and with the newer examples, a Watts Linkage rear suspension and rack and pinion steering have been added to further update this paragon of great engineering.  It's nice to have a car that continues to satisfy, work like a team of clydesdales, and deliver value years after the loan is paid off.

  • avatar
    fordguy

    Foreign cars are more reliable and last longer?  Don't think so; here's my evidence:
    1992 Mercury Grand Marquis LS, 281 cubic inch V-8, 140,000 miles.  Dipstick still registers "Full" at 5K oil change intervals.  EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERYTHING on this car still works, and it's fully loaded.  A/C is as strong as an Arctic snowstorm.  26 MPG cruising at 80 MPH.  Church quiet – very low wind and road noise, no NVH from the driveline, and NO rattles.  Still used for taking clients out to lunch, taking the family out to dinner and church, and oh, yeah – it pulls the 5,000+ pound travel trailer through the mountains quite well.  There's not a honda, toyota, nissan, mitsubishi, mercedes-benz, bmw, or anything else foreign that can make that claim – especially the part about the travel trailer.
    Long live Ford's Panther chassis!!  It has withstood the test of time well and with the newer examples, a Watts Linkage rear suspension and rack and pinion steering have been added to further update this paragon of great engineering.  It's nice to have a car that continues to satisfy, work like a team of clydesdales, and deliver value years after the loan is paid off.

  • avatar
    fordguy

    Foreign cars are more reliable and last longer? Don’t think so; here’s my evidence:

    1992 Mercury Grand Marquis LS, 281 cubic inch V-8, 140,000 miles. Dipstick still registers “Full” at 5K oil change intervals. EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERYTHING on this car still works, and it’s fully loaded. A/C is as strong as an Arctic snowstorm. 26 MPG cruising at 80 MPH. Church quiet – very low wind and road noise, no NVH from the driveline, and NO rattles. Still used for taking clients out to lunch, taking the family out to dinner and church, and oh, yeah – it pulls the 5,000+ pound travel trailer through the mountains quite well. There’s not a honda, toyota, nissan, mitsubishi, mercedes-benz, bmw, or anything else foreign that can make that claim – especially the part about the travel trailer.

    Long live Ford’s Panther chassis!! It has withstood the test of time well and with the newer examples, a Watts Linkage rear suspension and rack and pinion steering have been added to further update this paragon of great engineering. It’s nice to have a car that continues to satisfy, work like a team of clydesdales, and deliver value years after the loan is paid off.

  • avatar
    Stepjam

    I just bought a brand-new Impala LS with ABS/traction control and paid a total of $20873, plus tax. I had a choice of a rebate or 0% financing for 72 months, so I took the financing. A similarly equipped Honda Accord or Toyota Camry can approach $30,000, and that’s IF the dealer is willing to work with you. Personally, I love Chrylser’s innovative styling but I distrust their reliability. I won’t even consider a Ford product although I think the Five Hundred and Fusion are good looking cars, and I say a big “no thanks” to the Korean entries.

    I believe that there is a tendency for some consumer publications to emphasize "driving experience" or "refinement" over raw reliability and value. CR is particullarly guilty of this. If Honda put wheels on a giant turd, CR would rave about it. I am convinced that dollar for dollar, GM offers the best value. The Impala is an “adequate” car, and I think that’s an “adequate” description. It’s roomy, comfortable, quiet, and well built. Its exterior is attractive if not cutting edge, its interior is a bit utilitarian but logically arranged.
     
    The Impala is designed and built to be a reliable, comfortable vehicle. It’s not an “enthusiast’s” car, which is fine by me since I’m a commuter, not a boy racer. Critic after critic overlooks the simple fact that Impala isn’t trying to be a BMW (like the Accord or Sonata), or a gadget-laden, Tokyo-By-Night lightshow, like the new Camry. There is no dispute that the Accord and Camry are excellent cars, but people who buy the Impala buy it because it works just as well without a lot of flash or pizzazz, and it does its work for a lot less money. The Impala’s latest sales figures seem to bear this out. It is just behind Camry/Accord. Fleet sales are also an indicator of how well a car is expected to hold up. For the record, I traded in my properly maintained 1996 Lumina, which I bought new, for the Impala. 164,000 totally trouble free miles. Not a spot of rust. The paint still gleamed, and the interior was clean and intact. It still got 25 mpg. The Lumina was also a “dull” car, but it held up well over time. I once had three child seats across the back seat-try that in a Honda or Toyota! I figured that I had gotten my money's worth and then some, and I treated myself to a new car. I like to spread out when I drive, and the Impala has the room that I want. Here’s my experience with Japanese cars: I had a 1993 Subaru Legacy, and it was junk. My wife drove a 1988 2.8 Chevy Beretta for many years (bought new), when the head gaskets finally blew at 215,000 miles. We bought a new 2004 Nissan Altima, a very nice car, fun to drive, and an absolute pile of garbage. We are looking to dump it before the warranty runs out.  

  • avatar
    monkeyboy100

    This is for all of you who said my chevy runs great with no problems. Really? Am I to bleive that? I have owned GM vehicles, from chevy to pontiac and the saturn. Things GM are good for. 1. Brakes need to repaired once a year(cheap rotors that warp) 2. that rattle that starts at 15k that you can never find or fix. 3. the inside of the vehicle falls apart by touching it. 4. the check engine light that comes on every month. I also like the commets, them there jap cars cost more to fix? What are you stuck in the 80’s? I own Toyotas, new ones I might add, add you kown what? You can change the sparks parks yourself, when the time comes. Try this that on a GM? Thats right, can’t be done. Without lossing the skin off arms and hands. Why? poor design. Why? So you bring it back to the dealer. Do your Home work, step into the year 2006 and rewrite your comments.

  • avatar
    Stepjam

    Monkeyboy100, I am truly happy for you that you have found bliss with your Toyotas. That’s just great……for you.

    I have changed plugs (and rotors) in everything from a 350 rwd to a 3800 transverse V6 without a lot of difficulty. With one exception (a Chrysler), I have owned nothing but GM cars over the last 30 years. Three Chevies, two Oldsmobiles, one Buick. I keep buying GM for one reason: they are good cars.

    I don’t care if you don’t believe that. I’m not out to convince you, and what you think has no bearing on my opinion. I might add that you seem to be a slow learner, if I had just one bad experience with any brand, I wouldn’t buy that brand again. You imply that you kept going back for more, so what can we say about that?

    Rock on with your Yotas.

  • avatar
    dhathewa

    “I just bought a brand-new Impala LS with ABS/traction control and paid a total of $20873, plus tax. I had a choice of a rebate or 0% financing for 72 months, so I took the financing. A similarly equipped Honda Accord or Toyota Camry can approach $30,000…” – stepjam

    Did you have the Chevy dealer price out the Accord for you? A buddy of mine just bought one, an LX with leather interior, and it was under $23,000. True, he didn’t get a V6, but the Accord doesn’t need it; it moves right along with its DOHC VVT I4.

  • avatar
    Stepjam

    [i]”Did you have the Chevy dealer price out the Accord for you? A buddy of mine just bought one, an LX with leather interior, and it was under $23,000. True, he didn’t get a V6, but the Accord doesn’t need it; it moves right along with its DOHC VVT I4.”-dhathewa[/i]

    You’re a funny guy. I said a Camry or Accord [i]can[/i] approach those prices, as they often do in my local market. I’m happy for your friend, but around these parts, the Honda dealers just don’t deal. If I had wanted a Honda (I definitely didn’t), then your quoted price sounds okay. It’s still $2-3,000 more than I paid for a larger, better equipped car (and better looking, IMO) with comparable gas mileage. Okay, I didn’t get leather, but I could have for another $900, along with a bunch of other goodies. As for reliability, I don’t believe that’s an issue anymore and hasn’t been for years.

    There are plenty of people who are happy to pay MSRP+ for a Honda or a Toyota. There are many others who have rediscovered American cars and are just as happy. The argument that Hondas and Toyotas are worthy of their pricetag and reputation is highly subjective, as this thread illustrates.

    A lot of people have been turned off in the past by really bad or just plain ugly American cars. They will buy an Asian or German car without a second look. Then there are others who just buy into the hype, or just like the styling better.

  • avatar
    qeorqe

    I rented one. Hard to use interior… who did the ergonomics? Cheap switches and hard to figure out controls. The Chevy Malibu / Malibu Maxx was much user friendly. I suppose it’s cheaper too. Expensive DOES NOT EQUAL better.

  • avatar
    NickR

    My typical driving is done on congested streets and highways with little or no opportunity for any kind of enthusiastic driving. I am a tall guy, so for me roomy and bland will do from Monday to Friday. What would keep my away from GM is the memory of GMs earlier cars, such as the Caprices from the 80s, which is what I grew up in. The UHV small blocks ran forever, but the build quality was terrible. I’ve read lots of favourable reviews of the Impala’s quality (and Buick’s) but it’s hard to shake one’s first hand experience, even if it was long ago. And when you sit in an Impala it feels like those old full size Chevs.

    Despite that, I did extend my car search to GM recently. I know it’s just one man, but the GM salesman was so obnoxious he literally drove me out of the showroom.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    I just got back from a week in Florida where I had the “fortune” of being “upgraded” from the Ford Focus that I had reserved to a Chevy Impala-one of only two choices, along with a Mustang convertible, left in the rental lot when I arrived at 1:00 AM. I wish I had asked what it would have taken to upgrade me to the Mustang instead. Horrible interior ergonomics, undistinguished exterior styling, the poorest handling I have ever experienced (well maybe my 58 Chevy is slightly worse in the handling department, but that’s debatable), and horrible gas mileage (there was a reason for me reserving a Ford Focus). The front seats were comfortable enough and the controls did work-once I figured them out. The car accelerated well enough, following a one or two count after I mashed the pedal before the auto decided to kick down a gear. Just to harp on it again, the handling was attrocious, bordering on dangerous. The car wallowed through turns and felt like it was in danger of tipping over (I don’t remember getting a minivan!?). As previously stated, my completely stock 58 Chevy feels at least as stable through turns as this Impala. When I returned to Sacramento, I left the airport parking lot with a renewed appreciation for my Mazda6s, a midsized sedan that actually stays planted and level when taking a 25 mph turn at 55+ mph all the way to loss of traction, and still offers comfortable seating with plenty of storage in the rear.

  • avatar
    glenmore

    Just rented one of these (near new @ 7m) to drive ~800 miles and pick up my son from college. Interior finish pretty spartan. As mentioned in the review, a decent interstate cruiser. We effortlessly cruised at 80-85mph at just a little over 2000rpm. I would have thought the tranny was the newest electronic type with a nice overdrive by the way it drove but apparently this is not the case. AC worked well with minimum drag on the engine. I averaged about 26mpg. The power steering seems lacking with low speed maneuvering requiring some effort. Nice big trunk for lots of luggage. The car is quiet. I am not in the market to buy such a car so I can’t say how it fares with the competition.

    glenmore

  • avatar
    charliex

    Just recently purchased a 2004 Chevrolet Impala LS – LOVE IT!!! Have driven an Accord, Regal, Taurus, Grand Prix to name a few, and this car is great – my favorite to date. Drop-dead gorgeous styling both inside and out, has ALL the features you’d ever want, nice handling and smoooooth ride peformance….and should it ever need repair – cheap and easy. Needless to say, I LOVE my Impala LS!!!

  • avatar
    Kevin Kluttz

    In my 34 years of driving experience, owning GM cars like I did for the first 11 years was like owning Tinkertoys…I constantly had to tinker or let someone else tinker. Constnt problems and repairs. Since I bought only used cars until 1982, I chalked it up to previous ownership neglect. In 1982 I bought my first NEW car, a 1982 Trans Am. The brakes and suspension on that trap were unfathomable. Constant work, like the idler arm which wore out because of a Goodyear tire which couldn't be balanced due to no weight flange on the outside of the wheel (speaking of wheels, I watched 3 of the covers roll away without hitting bumps before GM came up with a fix…and they only replaced 2 of them at no charge). A caused B, and that's how GM works. They design a $5 part to control vital cooling system functions, then make $500 on a head gasket replacement (actually happened to my wife's Cavalier in 1982, and also millions of other times, I'm sure). After the transmission left me at 53000 miles with no satisfactory repairs (torque converter wouldn't lock up anymore), I said to myself, "Self, that's enough." Traded it in on the new 1985 Toyota Corolla GT-S Twin-Cam 16. Haven't been back to GM, and have owned no Tinkertoys, except for one 1995 Nissan 200 SX, which was reminiscent of the Trans Am. Traded it in after 3 months on another Corolla, which was so dependable it was boring. I am now graced withe a 2001 Honda Accord EX, which is far from cramped or loud or non-dependable, porky. And at 162800 miles without a screw even being turned on the engine or tranny (timing belt replacement, of course, was necessary at 120000, but it never broke.), I'd really like to see you beat that with any POS GM so-called product. Pontiac builds Excrement. For sure.

  • avatar
    happyme

    My LT – 40,000, never a repair,
    How about driving the car and then write the review.
    I pound the miles on, love the ergonomics,fabulous quality, ZERO squeaks or rattles. Wonderful thermostatic remote starter and excellent controls.
    The Japanese are now a distant 2nd with BORING plain dashboards,shoddy cars (the new accord I looked at had ZERO dash pieces fitting.
    A home run with the impala!

  • avatar
    USAsupport

    I am only 24 and I’ve only owned 3 vehicles: ’91 Blazer (S10 sized), ’05 Malibu Classic, and ’06 Malibu LT. I enjoyed everyone of those vehicles. The Blazer did EXCELLENT up until the last 2 or 3 years I drove it (which was around ’05-06). THe first thing to go was the front power windows .. something I have found to wear out on almost every vehicle after 12+ years. The other repairs, however, were needed because of how it was driven. The most expensive repair on it (Blazer) was $450 to fix the rear axle. The other was replacing the distributor from where I let it set for over a year without so much as cranking it. It needed replacing 3 weeks after that year+ time. I sold this Blazer to my neighbor for $700 in ’06 (could have got $1000 but he was a friend in a bind). Since then, he has spent $1200 on fixing the windows, some cosmetics (I hit a speed limit sign), and new tires and brake pads. She runs excellent to this day with 197,478 miles.

    On the other hand, a good friend of mine had a ’91 blazer EXACTLY like mine except it was a different color. His caused him tons and tons of problems until he finally gave up on it after 3 years. During my high school years, the blazer was the most common SUV and I’d say about 1:25 were real problems.

    I never drove a Honda Accord (have rode in them; nice cars) but, again, it was quite a popular car during my HS years. But the stats are the same: 1:15 were problem cars. A friend of mine had one then and still drives it today with over 300K miles; but he has spent about $3000 on it over the past 7 years. I remember one kid getting a brand new one (’01 then) and, after a year, it ended up sitting in his yard with engine and transmission problems; it’s still there today with 13K miles on the odometer.

    The other 2 cars I owned got totaled before I really had any chance to give them a good run. The ’05 I only had 6 months but everything worked great. The ’06 worked excellent, but because I was always letting the gas run down to nearly empty, a little bit of trash plugged up a fuel injector .. nothing my mechanic couldn’t cure for about $60 (mostly labor trying to pinpoint the issue).

    Some of the other posters that shared their experience stated that they were using a rental; some didn’t even state where they made their purchase. The way a car is driven/treated has a lot to do with how it runs and how worn down parts are. If you didn’t buy your car from a dealer with at least the 30-day warranty (thinking used cars here too)…then most complaints about issues you have with the car is void, in my opinion.

    Every automaker has a line of vehicles that aren’t really that great on the outside/inside, or are overpriced, or run like crap, etc.

    I recently purchased an ’06 Chevy Impala LS. I enjoyed the Malibu’s but I wanted something a little bigger due to my accident record (2) over the past year (not my fault I might add =P). I really like the way this car operates. When it all boils down, give the car a good test drive .. have a mechanic you trust give it a good look-over during the 30-day warranty (if its a used car/truck) and have any issues repaired at the dealers cost, and hope for the best after that. Treat the car good and it usually does the same to you.

  • avatar
    impalaman695

    I don’t really care for your restaurant comparison. In any car you review what it is you are reviewing. It is what it is. The impala ss is not the car you are talking about you are talking about an regular impala. The two cars are totally different. One was made for those who needed transportation for little money the impala ss was made for the driver who enjoys driving a fast luxury car. I own a impala ss and it rides awesome. Heated seats,Bose stereo(that sounds great),gets 30mpg on highway and will do 0-60 in under 6 seconds. So don’t get mad at a someone for making an excellent car by basing your opinion on a different car. I know your going to say they put 303 hp to the wrong wheels but if your like me and live in an area that gets snow and ice in winter they put that hp to the right wheels.LOL


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