By on July 20, 2011

The 2012 Chevrolet Impala may have the oldest “bones” of any current production sedan, but it’s not quite ready to put those bones in the graveyard yet…

GM’s direct-injected 3.6L V-6, best-known for its applications in the Cadillac CTS and Chevrolet Camaro, makes an appearance here in transverse-mount form. The numbers? 302 horsepower, 252 lb-ft of torque, 18mpg city, 30mpg highway. A six-speed automatic transmission, as found in other GM (and Ford) products, drives the wheels.

It’s an 89-horsepower boost over last year’s standard 3.5 V-6 at a roughly equivalent mileage figure. It won’t run like the late, lamented 5.3 V-8 SS — there’s an eighty pound-foot difference in the torque figure — but look for it to be quick enough to take on the rest of the mid-sized dragstrip warriors such as the Camry V-6 and Sonata Turbo.

According to GMInsideNews, “The 2012 Impala starts at $25,645 for the LS trim, up $1,150 from the 2011 model. The LT trim starts at $27,170, and the LTZ starts at $30,185.” No word on what the rental agencies and police departments will actually pay.

If you have a flyaway trackday coming up, however, now’s the time to call ahead and make sure that an Impala, rather than an Altima or Optima, is waiting for you at the end of the aisle.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

74 Comments on “2012 Impala: 302HP, 30MPG, $25,645...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    “2012 Impala, 302hp, 30mpg, $25,645…” Now if the torque was just a little higher and a little lower on the rev band… Oh wait this introduction might just lower the price of current 3.9V6 LTZ models! Might have to scoop up a leftover 2011 LTZ!

    Zachman, this might be your time to start shoping for that “jewel red tintcoat model with chrome door handles.”

    GM once again proves that theres lots of life left in the old girl and I’m left wondering what a Crown Victoria with the current Mustang’s V6 and auto trans would be like.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      2012 Impala? Come to papa!

      Dan, you may be more right than you think!

      Can you imagine my response if it will resemble the 1963 in the photo? Serious drool stains and chin abrasions from my jaw hitting the ground! Plus, that’ll be my wife sitting pretty on the fender!

      EDIT: Wait a minute…2012 models will be out – when? September? We’ll be going out west in early fall. Flying in to LAX…Hmmm…rental?

    • 0 avatar
      acuraandy

      3.9l are JUNK. I know someone who leased an ’09 LTZ thst needed intake and head gaskets at 20k, and he didn’t even drive it hard. Honda/Hyundai or NOTHING.

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        And on the flip side I know someone who got a 2.8 liter 60 degree V6 in an ’87 Olds Ciera to 130k with none of those issues. The stupid car barely required any maintenance and the 3-speed automatic was just about unbreakable. It handled badly and the interior was straight out of 1977.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    Thats cool. However it looks like a gigantic sore throat lozenge that kinda melted in your medicine cabinent.

  • avatar
    moorewr

    No stick shift, no deal.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      We are obviously a minority…large(ish) sedans with manual transmissions just don’t sell in sufficient quantities here to justify the expense. Sad, but that’s how it goes…

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        They don’t sell in sufficient numbers to sell anywhere, anymore. The majority of Euro cars do not have a manual box with 3 pedals anymore. Especially not the larger sedans/wagons.

        Why would you want a large and soft sedan with a manual? Part of the endearment of a large, comfortable cruiser is to put it in D and relax.

        I love my manual transmission cars but it’s nice not to have to shift when passing on an open highway (where speed limits are 75) or when getting off at the next Flying J.

        Not every car needs a stick and a sport suspension. This is one of them.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        I’m with TEXN3 on this one. As (IIRC) Car and Driver said back in the days of the GM B-body sedans, “get on the interstate, point the hood at the horizion, set the cruise, enjoy the ride.” That pretty much sums up the big sedan. Yeah it’s no Audi or BMW 5/6/7 but it’s not meant to be.

      • 0 avatar
        Slocum

        “The majority of Euro cars do not have a manual box with 3 pedals anymore. Especially not the larger sedans/wagons.”

        Most Euro cars are autos now? I don’t believe it. Certainly, every car (even the larger ones) we’ve rented in Europe has been a manual, including a Mondeo wagon, a VW minivan, a Renault C5 and Fiat Croma, I think. Do you have a link to show autos are a majority in Europe now?

    • 0 avatar
      moorewr

      Let’s be clear here: any car *I* drive has to have three pedals. That goes for a a large sedan with a larger engine just as well.

      Not that I was going to be an Impala customer anyway, but there it is. Enjoy your 4-speed slushbox.

      Also, I disagree with your comments about the Euro market. If they didn’t sell then they wouldn’t be available. Look at the Lancia version of that Dodge SUV – over there it gets a stick.

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        Good for you. I enjoy my 4-speed auto and both of my 5-speed manuals.

        You can disagree, but the market changes will disagree with you.
        Yes, the availability is still there, but the take rate is and has been declining.

        What Lancia version of what Dodge?

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        I love the clutch and stick in my BMW 3-series, but if a manufacturer produces a reliable dual clutch gearbox that’s fun to drive — VW hasn’t figured out the “reliable” equation yet and Ford’s DSG’s sound like they fail at both aspects — I’d give up the 3rd pedal for a couple of paddle shifters and lightning fast shifts at the redline.

      • 0 avatar
        vento97

        > Let’s be clear here: any car *I* drive has to have three pedals. That goes for a a large sedan with a larger engine just as well.

        You’re preaching to the choir, brother….:)

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      WE GET IT. Driving enthusiasts would get so hoarse every time they saw a car without a stick shift and said, “I don’t like that”.

      • 0 avatar
        moorewr

        Dodge Journey becomes.. sorry, not a Lancia, a Fiat. The Freemont..
        http://www.autoblog.com/2011/06/10/fiat-freemont-italys-dodge-journey-configurator-now-online/

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    That is a seriously awesome car design. Like a Mad Men suit, this car is perfect. Just enough flash, just enough style, but packaged in a timeless classy look.

    Like a Mies van der Rohe design. Perfect.

    As to the new Impala – nah, ugly.

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      A ’63 Chevy Impala. Appears to have the 283 (no flags on the “V” emblem). Probably Powerglide 2-speed automatic but could have 3-on-the-tree manual.

      • 0 avatar
        friedclams

        283 V8. I was lucky enough to have one in my ’73 Impala (it was transplanted from a Chevelle by the previous owner). What a great, frisky engine. And Vanilla I agree, that ’63 Impala is gorgeous.

        I think the current one looks decent, actually. Zero flair but a clean design that doesn’t look like a bean or bug.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        On my 1964 Impala, it was a 283, 2 bbl. powerglide. It had a “V” on the fender filled in with red, white & blue color strips.

      • 0 avatar

        My first car was a ’66 Impala SS (in name only) two door, with bucket seats, a console shifter, a 283 and the Powerglide. As a senior in high school I could drive for a week on a dollar’s worth of gas and $5 would fill the tank (gas back then was $0.25-$0.33/gal).

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      Adding flags to the “V” emblem indicated a 327. The addition of “409” lettering to V flag emblem indicated the 409 engine.

      My folks had a Impala station wagon with the 327 and Powerglide. Gold with fake wire wheel covers with spinners. Rear facing 3rd row seat. It also had factory air conditioning. And a reverb for the radio “boinggg”. One of the first cars I drove.

  • avatar
    Contrarian

    FWD-FTL

  • avatar

    I wonder if it will make it to 2013

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      They have a redesign planned for MY 2014 on the Super Epsilon II platform, basically a decontented FWD-only version of the upcoming Cadillac XTS.

      I kinda suspect that both it and the XTS will suck, but we’ll see.

      • 0 avatar
        MikeAR

        They may not suck, but at best they will be only adequate. FWD in cars that size just isn’t right. And won’t torque steer be a problem in the Impala with that much horsepower?

      • 0 avatar

        Will the XTS be fwd? I thought that would be Cadillac’s next flagship model and assumed it would be rwd. On the other hand, the impala is definitely not ATS sized.

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        Torque steer is an issue with too much torque…which it does have a bit of. Maybe this will recieve the LaCrosse’s HiPer strut system which helps to quell torque steer.

        One of the things I love about my 98 3.2TL is the longitudinal layout and seperate differential (from the transmission). No torque steer on a FWD car, even at only 209 lb-ft and 200 hp. You can hit the gas on the any type of road and it won’t pull at all. Too bad it’s a space inefficient design, as is the 90 degree V6.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Perhaps the Impala will finally get the “Hiper-strut” suspension that the Lacrosse has. TTACs reviewers have reported that it quells most of the torque-steer.

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/review-2010-buick-lacrosse-cxs-hiper-strut/

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        InsideLine has a nice review of the suspension setup.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        They should have brought over the Zeta four door as a Chevy. To meet CAFE expectations could base model with the maligned 3.0 or put the 2.0 DI turbo 4 under the hood at a reduced 240 HP – certainly has the torque to move the Zeta. Then offer the tarted up 3.6 as the main choice, and an Impala SS verison with a pure LS3 al a Camaro at 426 HP.

        At the same time kill the Colorado and bring over the Holden Ute as an El Camino, with the exact same engine configurations.

        I can’t understand why GM won’t do this – the suckers will sell, you could keep the police trim Impala giving forces two choices for the far preferred RWD option.

        Ugh.

        I don’t think the XTS or new Impala will suck – but they sure won’t deliver like the Aussie Zeta platform.

  • avatar
    mikey

    With the 3.9 you can notice a little tourqe steer ,its part of the package with FWD. I’ve had my LTZ nearly three years,and I can’t find a flaw.

  • avatar
    friedclams

    Will GM improve the depressing and space-inefficient interior as well? If not the Malibu is still the Chevy to buy.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      For me (because I have compared gently used Impala LTZs with the 3.9V6 to Malibu LTZs with the 3.6V6) the question becomes; “Do you need a big a$$ trunk and/or do I need a rear seat armrest?” If the answer is yes get the Impala, if the answer is no, get the Malibu. Remeber, the Malibu has no rear seat armrest, a heck of an oversight in my opinion.

      • 0 avatar
        friedclams

        Another thing to consider: will the front bench seat in the Impala go away next year? I like bench seats and I think this was the last car to offer one. The rest of my earlier criticism about the interior stands, however.

        I have never owned a car with a rear seat armrest and would never miss its absence. The kids sit in car seats anyway. And both Chevies have big trunks, to my eyes anyway!

      • 0 avatar
        AKADriver

        A rear seat armrest wouldn’t be enough to get me to buy what’s essentially a gussied-up Citation over the Malibu, which at least saw a clean sheet of paper at some point in the past 30 years.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    I wonder how much Malibu is taking away from Impala sales? I believe the Impala is a better buy and less trouble-prone since it’s been around a long time.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Can you say torque steer?

  • avatar

    They fixed the engine, now replace the rest of it too. I’m sorry, but the Impala is one car I cannot defend. It’s time has passed. Being, cheap, large, and simple isn’t enough anymore.* I’m looking forward to the next generation and hoping it will be RWD.

    *I realize there are plenty of people who find these qualities to be all they look for in a vehicle, but the Impala is supposed to be the flagship sedan of the Chevy line-up, and as such should be a showcase of design and technology.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Hence why it is the new Panther platform for fleet buyers like police forces and taxi services. The consumer requirements aren’t met, but for fleet buyers in heavy duty service like police and taxi, cheap, large, simple, economically, with power under the hood does meet their checklists perfectly.

      I actually wonder if Avis et al will still see these desirable with 302 HP under their rental minions right foot; seems like a recipe for a lot of wrecked Impalas given how the average America slob treats the average rental sled.

    • 0 avatar
      aristurtle

      I’m looking forward to the next generation and hoping it will be RWD.

      It won’t be; the RWD Impala-replacement died when Lutz left. They’re stretching out the current Epsilon II platform, calling it Super Epsilon II, and using it for the next Impala (FWD-only) and XTS (AWD), and the Buick Park Avenue (probably China-only). Rumor has it that they’re also going to use it to screw up the next-gen Holden Commodore, which is too bad, it really should have gone in the other direction, with the Commodore platform becoming the next Impala.

      Sorry.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @carguy: “Impala is supposed to be the flagship sedan of the Chevy line-up…”

      Huh? What’s this Corvette I keep hearing about?

      I thought that was the flagship of the Chevy line up…

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      It’s not that cheap (at least not for a new one), but the ones I’ve had as rentals were quiet and had a really smooth “big car” ride quality. I thought it was smoother and quieter than the Malibu.

      • 0 avatar

        @segfault: It definitely has its perks, as you point out, but it’s generally outclassed by the competition. When I say it’s “cheap”, I mean in relation to the Malibu, Camry, Accord. It isn’t that much more to “step up” into the larger Impala if you buy by the square foot, especially when you factor in any available discounts.

      • 0 avatar
        GarbageMotorsCo.

        For a comfy highway cruiser, it’s tough to beat the Impy

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    If you believe the Dodge Durango commercial, the days of the performance cars are gone. Tell this to the insurance adjuster driving the 150 MPH-capable Chevrolet Impala.

  • avatar
    aspade

    The good old days, when you could sit on the hood without rain pooling there afterwards.

  • avatar
    MarcKyle64

    I wonder what that old Impala would run like with the new V-6?

    • 0 avatar
      AKADriver

      Better than it did back then, if given a modern transmission, too. Only some of the rare multiple-carb 409 variants would’ve actually made more than 300hp SAE net. The 283 (4.6L) V8 in the one pictured was rated at 195hp (SAE gross) and 285lb-ft.

      That V6 connected to a Powerglide would be hilarious, though.

  • avatar
    doug-g

    I think the current Impala, in the right trim and colors, is one of the best looking cars on the road. The proportions are right with a long hood, short deck and the correct amount of greenhouse area. I also like the current Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne for the same reasons. Am I delusional? Yes, and old. I can legally move into 55 and older communities after September but, I wouldn’t because it would be cruel to torture the women with my still trim body but, I digress. This is what cars should look like rather than the tall-sided styles with slit windows that seem to be the look of the day. The idea being to give you a false sense of security against cell-phone-talking soccer moms in SUV’s and distracted tradesmen in lifted pickups.

    Really, when you park there is the question, “is it the car or the man”? You know you’ve truly arrived when you can pull up in an Impala and have people take note.

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      I agree with your preferences in autos Doug and share your distain for the over 55 communities, although I am 13 years your senior. I too would hate to torture the retirement community ladies with my trim(2-3 hrs/day, 5-6 days/wk in the gym) body.

      I prefer to torture the 40 somthin’ women who think I’m 50.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    This is what cars should look like rather than the tall-sided styles with slit windows that seem to be the look of the day.

    +1. Say what you will about the Impy being inefficient in comparison to, say, a Camcordia6 (or even the Malibu), the Impala is the last bastian of that Great American Full-Size Car that can gobble up miles of interstate in relative comfort at a price virtually anyone can afford. Hell, you might still be able to get a bench seat!

    And it’s styled honestly and cleanly with nary a swoop or slit in sight (esp if you can do without the hokey, useless rear spoiler that gets attached to damn-near everything these days). Unfortunately, in typical GM fashion, they finally get it right when it’s nearing the end of its model life.

    Still, while the current Impala might have its faults, a decent, standard equipment engine will go a long way to being able to overlook many of them.

    • 0 avatar
      FromaBuick6

      Oh, gag me. This is a bloated Lumina, nothing more. I guess I give GM some credit for nudging sales of a tired platform by marketing it with a name that registers with overly nostalgic buyers. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in awhile.

      It’s amazing that people hate on the Charger for being a sedan, but a front drive Impala is an “American classic” because it has a bench seat and rides like a bag of hammers.

      • 0 avatar
        doug-g

        I never said the Impala was a great car, though I’ve driven them and the aren’t that bad. What I was discussing was design. The Impala doesn’t look like some failed third grade origami project in an attempt to conceal a beltline that hits most people at chest level. Give me that design language with more modern mechanicals, a higher level of interior materials and more tactile controls and I’d be extremely happy.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I certainly don’t hate on the Charger, and have posted over and over again the way to go is Zeta, and shoot, GM should have and could have gone Zeta with the Impala all the way back in 2010. The vehicle still sells very well to police, taxi, and government service (which is better than fleet sales). For the 25% (give or take) that actually buy one to put in their driveway, they are a screaming bargain.

        If you live in the midwest and need a front drive car, highly acceptable MPG, and outstanding highway performance in a package that is as reliable as the sunrise (and equally vanilla) the Impala with all the discounts slapped on them is a hard deal to beat.

        An entry level Toyota LE with a V6 under the hood is $26.7K out the door, a hair more than the upcoming 2012 Impala and assumes that Toyota won’t raise prices for 2012 on the Camry (which gets a new model anyway so it’s all moot).

        Side-by-side the Impala comes with Sirius/XM and alloy wheels, over the Toyota offering. On the other hand the Toyota comes with a telescoping steering wheel, remote fuel door release, drive lumbar adjustment, rear seat armrest and outside temp gauge.

        The Impala has a better warranty. The MPG is a wash between the two with the Camry having slightly better city MPG and the Impala having slightly better highway MPG. This despite the larger displacement and 34 HP advantage of the Impala (and 4 pound feet of torque).

        The Impala beats the Camry in every single interior category except rear legroom, where it is beaten by 1/2 an inch. But 37.6 inches of rear leg room sure ain’t bad.

        As far as reliablity Consumer Reports puts it as average to above average (depending on model year) in its class. JD Power long term data has been very favorable on the GM W-bodies.

        I was shocked to find they weight within 100 pounds of each other – I would have guessed the Camry was MUCH lighter. According to Toyota and their comparison tool the Camry comes in at 3,461 pounds and the larger Impala at 3,555 pounds.

        Now, is an Impala as good as a Camry? Or Accord? Or it’s class comparision Avalon?

        Hell no. The W-Body is as flexible as a slinky and the resulting squeaks and rattles after a few years will be very apparent. The interior materials are incrementally better than the dark days of the late 90’s to mid-2000’s but they sure aren’t up to class. Buttons were made by Playskool (there are pros and cons to that) making them easy to operate but not pleasing to look at or touch.

        But, does the Impala offer a really good real world value that when you go down the tick marks of does it have it or not it has all the check marks in the right place? Yes, and at its price point it can beat D-segment cars in the value equation. Remember, look at how well the Jetta is selling, Americans don’t care about great handling, sharp steering, responsive brakes, and quality materials. VW is living walking proof of it. They want big, they want value, the want comfort. The Impala delivers that by the trunk load.

        If your looking for a suburban running highway cruiser will the Impala do you wrong. Hard to find a better car for the price.

        A bloated Lumina? Bah – there is newer technology in a 2012 Impala then found in a 2012 Corolla. Did you ever think you’d see the day?

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      I’m retired and have all the time in the world for detailing. I get compliments all the time for my black LTZ.

      Yeah, you could say its a little bland. Oh and the interior isn’t nearly as nice as that 63 in the photo.

      However, if I really want the Impala to look good,I park it beside a butt @$$ ugly Camry.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    Lipstick on a pig. Anybody who’d buy this car new is a fool, and anyone who’d buy it as a “lightly used” fleet queen is a masochist.

    The GM-10/W-body never came close to being class-leading and struggled to even be class-competitive for most of its existence. The cars with the 3800 Series II weren’t awful, but they were nothing special, either. At least they weren’t nearly as outdated as this.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @ FromaBuick6….Call me whatever you want,but this “fool” will still be driving his Impala for many years to come.

    • 0 avatar

      FaB6, far be it for me to defend anything GM, but… for what it is, the Impala is a decent vehicle, and the perfect car for a certain age range.

      We may look down on it, but my Dad would love it, and GM deserves a modicum of credit for updating the mechanicals. I’d be interested in driving one; fortunately I’ll be renting a lot of cars over the next several months, so I fully expect to sample the entire Chevy line (except the Daewoo Cruze — that one I’ll refuse on principle.)

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      FromaBuick6,
      Although your critique is a little harsh I have to agree with it. I drove a 2007 fleet model for a week and couldn’t wait to get rid of it. What a rolling dinosaur it is. Floaty nervous highway ride, massive front end plow and roll even in modest cornering, cheap cheap cheap interior, and some of the most uncomfortable seats I have experienced. Not to mention for the size of the car, the rear seats were cramped.

      I cannot understand why anyone would buy one of these.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m guessing that stingy transmission programming, very tall gearing, and crummy tires will conspire to keep the enjoyment factor in check.

    And every publication that goes “302hp means that the V6 is totally the same as the LS4!!!” is getting some hate mail from me.

  • avatar
    windnsea00

    I drove one yesterday with 5 miles on it, the 6-spd really made a nice improvement. It has buttons to shift manually on the left side of the steering wheel that look no different than the cruise control buttons, found them on accident. Nonetheless, the car is still ancient.

  • avatar
    Acc azda atch

    THIRTY GRAND…

    FOR A CAR that goes back to ’88!!!!
    ARE THEY SERIOUS?!

    I wouldn’t pay anything over 15!


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States