By on December 20, 2012

Christmas has come early for our beloved commenters Zackman and Mikey – GM has confirmed that the current generation Chevrolet Impala will be produced until June, 2014, ostensibly for fleet duty and used car market fodder.

The announcement was buried in a press release for the Camaro’s move to Michigan, with GM proudly stating that

The consolidated line at Oshawa Assembly will continue to produce the current generation Chevrolet Impala and Equinox until June 2014.

Chevrolet has a history of churning out previous bodystyles as fleet only specials; witness the Captiva Sport, aka the Saturn Vue, as well as numerous old bodystyle Malibus badged as the “Classic”. The big question here is, of course, how long will the bench seat remain in production. Does it die with the transition to fleet-only sales, or will it live on in Avis lots across the land?

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43 Comments on “Current-Generation Chevrolet Impala Gets A New Lease On Life – Will The Bench Seat Get One Too?...”


  • avatar

    Merry Christmas to Mikey and others that have worked and live in Oshawa, Ontario Home of the General Motors Assembly, hopefully Oshawa does have a future after all?

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @Gentle Ted… Thank you.Yesterdays news was a big downwer for all of us. With another 18 months to go with Impala,it gives us time to push for some more product allocation. We need something to replace the Camaro.

  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    So GM will continue to produce the old Impala alongside the new Impala? Great idea, because it’s working so well for the new Malibu.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    The timing of this announcement probably an effort to ward off bad will in Canada, since virtually simultaneously GM announced that it was moving Camaro production to Michigan when the model changes over. I think it’s a good idea keeping the “Impala Classic”. It lets GM play in a niche, big car at small car price, that nobody else is playing in right now. When the new Impala comes out, I hope TTAC does a head-to-head comparison test between the old and the new.

    By the way, if you are shopping for a current generation Impala, be careful of low-ball prices on the web. Recently I saw a few listings of new Impalas for under $18,000. These prices are suggestive of a dealer (mis)appropriating an employee discount number. Dealers can get away with this because they have the buyer sign a form swearing he is a relative of the employee (whom he/she probably doesn’t know at all.) The dealer then points the finger at the buyer for the fraud. (I tried to find the same listings today, but they had apparently been removed.)

  • avatar
    86er

    I’m mostly sad that there isn’t a “bench seat” tag for this story…

  • avatar
    Mark45

    I say keep the bench seat and restyle into an El Camino that gets 30 hwy mpg.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Well this just infinitely increased the possibility that I will someday own a nice low mileage used model.

    Yes it is an ancient platform but darn it feels nice on the interstate.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    “…our beloved commenters Zackman and Mikey”

    Wow, I’m very impressed – and honored, as I’m sure Mikey is as well. Thank you, Derek!

    I suppose I won’t get too lonely on the roads yet, knowing that the current-gen Impala will still be around for a while, but I’m sure the new ones will soon surround me as I cruise to and from work.

    My old 2004 had the split-bench, but my new one is buckets up front. I loved the split bench in my old one, as it gave me lots of knee room, but I must say that my new 2012 Impala has to have the narrowest console in the business right now – and for that, I’m happy and so is my right knee!

    As far as bench seating goes, it depends on the market, and IF Chevy wants to keep dual shifting mechanisms and seating in inventory and bearing the extra costs associated with such, though the tooling is l-o-n-g paid for.

    I know the old W-body doesn’t get too much love from the commenters as it is viewed as out-dated, and perhaps it is, but it’s been improved through the years, especially since the advent of the 2006 MY restyle, which I have always liked. I rented these as much as possible, most recently last year in California, and now that I own one, I’ve been quite pleased with it. The fit and finish is good and it sure handles far better than my old 2004, but maybe that’s due to my old one being a base model vs. my new LTZ? Whatever, it works well.

    I have an added advantage: I see my old Impala at work, most recently yesterday, as a co-worker on our team bought it! It appears to be well cared for, too. His main ride? A 2001 Crown Vic he inherited from his mom…he likes that, too. Best of both worlds, if you ask me, and Sajeev may agree!

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Good news for my ears also. My 2008 3900 LT is still going strong with over 100K miles with only a battery change and a new alternator (the crooked dealer I bought the car from apparently swapped out my 2008 original battery for a 2006 car’s battery complete with white over spray paint. My car is slate color!) With a new set of Goodyear LS tires, this car is back to it’s usual quiet ride and I enjoy out cornering those pesky Corollas and Camrys every time on the curvaceous on/off ramps when they try passing to beat you out. A nice tincoat red 13 LT may be it’s replacement.

    • 0 avatar
      84Cressida

      You drive an overglorified rental car. I drive the damn things daily. You’d be lucky to out corner a tricycle.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @84 Cressida. I like the looks of the LTZ, with the spoiler and the 18 inch wheels. If I wanted to make the old Impala look real good.

        I’d park beside a butt ugly POS Camry.

      • 0 avatar
        84Cressida

        Oh how cute, the GM fanboy is defending his taxpayer subsidized rental car.

        A Camry will out perform an Impala all day long and an SE and XLE Camry will look better doing it too.

      • 0 avatar
        FuzzyPlushroom

        Cressida, no need to stoop to /that/ level of discourse. The Impala may be outdated, but it’s cleanly styled and inoffensive, and it’s still a competent highway cruiser. Different strokes for different folks.

        Personally, I wouldn’t have one of those /or/ a post-2001 Camry, but that’s personal opinion… and we’re all welcome to it.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      Ponchoman – my dad had a 2007 Impala LTZ with the 3900 cylinder – deactivating engine. Do you have engine oil consumption issues? Towards the end of his ownership, his Impala burned through about 2 quarts every 3,000 miles. Otherwise great car. He owned a 2001 and 2004 Impala LTs with the 3800. Both are in daily service with well over 150k miles.

  • avatar
    GS 455

    I love bench seats because you can put stuff beside you and your passenger. You don’t have to open the trunk or back door. You don’t have to try and hook shot stuff on to the back seat. My girlfriend can put her purse or a shopping bag there. Consoles are a waste of space.

  • avatar

    I hate to say it, but bench seats are not at all comfortable for me, not in my father’s 1964 Chevrolet Impala, not in the 1992 Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight we had, and not in the late-model Chevrolet Impala. I’ll just stick with bucket seats and opt for a minivan or crossover if I need more than five seats…

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Being that the 3.6L was just introduced for the MY2012 Impala, this actually makes a bit of sense to lengthen out the model run for at least another year. I, too, could never come to grips with buckets and a console in a new full-size sedan, love the practicality of bench seats/column shifter, and bemoan their passing.

    If only the rest of the Impala weren’t so archaic and craptacular. Driving/sitting in one is definitely like being in a vehicle from at least a decade ago.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I wonder if they’ll change the name to make way for the new Impala.

    As mentioned already, the Chevy Classic comes to mind.

  • avatar

    Can anyone answer how these do in the snow? Is the traction control useful?

    I’ve only driven one W (that I can recall) to this point: My late MIL’s ’99 GP. The traction control seemed to do the job on snowy roads.

    Every once in awhile I wonder about replacing my ’97 Blazer which is as surefooted as can be in slippery weather and walked thru 20″ of snow three years ago…long as I keep my foot out of it of course.

    In my line of work, “Boss, I’m snowed in” isn’t an option. The day of that 20″ blizzard, a co-worker who lives much closer to the job couldn’t make it in his CR-V.

    Sorry Dan, moving to Arizona isn’t an option.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Pssssssss… I live in New Mexico, Amigo. And there are only about 2 million of us living her, plenty of room. I grew up in Ohio though and I know what many foot high drifts look like and feel like to drive through.

      Even here in New Mexico I can recall 14 inches in a single storm. The job I have now doesn’t allow me to miss work for snow.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @ The FWD Impala can tackle most of the snow that we get here in Southern Ont. Like any vehicle,if the snow is too deep,it will get hung up.

      As I understand it, the old Impala will not compete with the new one. The people in the plant have been told “fleet only”. I’m not sure if that means,all rental, or police, and taxi also.

  • avatar
    RatherhaveaBuick

    W-Body lives on! Neat.

    The Impaler is a dinosaur though, and there’s no 3800 to put in them anymore which is a bummer. Supposedly very reliable cars though. I agree, these are in every way the modern version of the B-Body Chevies. Minus the good looks.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    And minus the RWD, BOF and V8 motor. hehehe

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    Arguably one of the most beautiful Chevrolets of the modern area was the third generation Caprice Classic (1977-1990). To have one available today with all the current safety features would be a treasure beyond comprehension. What the product line has fallen to, as represented by the current Impala, Generation 6, is a complete and total embarrassment to the entire General Motors organization.

    GM deserves Chapter 7, not 11, for letting this happen.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    Trying to get GM loyalists to pay more for the 2014 ‘new’ Impala will be hard. “I can get an old W body dirt cheap, used”.

    And, trying to get Toyota Camry/Avalon owners to trade in? Impossible.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    These are good cars that deserve to live on. They are very Panther-like. My coworker has one with 150K. It looks and drives like new, and has needed nothing more than tires and basic maintenance. I think these Impalas still look good too.

  • avatar
    50merc

    Good to hear Christmas will be cheerier for Mikey and our other friends up north. The current Impala could well soldier on for a couple more years. It gets the job (comfortable, reliable, economical transport) done. And restrained good looks. I’d prefer the bench seat, too, if it came with an armrest. The gearshift lever was moved off the floor seventy-some years ago for good reason.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    I must have missed something. Had a 77 impala and these don’t remind me of it at all.

    Tell me ZM what am I missing here. I couldn’t go back to the old ones because you need to own a bank to keep fuel in them but don’t see how I could beat up a new one like that. These do look like a good car to have built with a 4 door wagon. Too bad they didn’t. Probably would have bought one.

  • avatar
    Power6

    VW sells previous gen Jettas in Canada they call it the “City Jetta” and I like this idea, some people don’t want the “latest” how about giving us a good deal on something that you have paid off the tooling and have all the bugs worked out. I loved all the old refreshed 80s Jetta taxis in China.

    It seems when the rubber meets the road on this idea, there isn’t enough discount. I’ve had the latest Impala LTZ as a rental recently and I was excited. The 3.6 motor and 6 speeder is fairly ridiculous in this car, finally an Impala that doesn’t require you put your foot through the floor to kick down! They really have the ride/handling tuned out nice too.

    Inside it is the same old all black interior with cheap plastic and mold lines, cheapest possible leather etc. No features stand out, it is the bare minimum I would expect in this car for equipment, only auto down drivers window is old school, muddy 6 driver Bose Stereo is passable, bluetooth and the auto-start are a nice touch.

    For this Chevy asks over 30k, 32.5k once I add the sunroof I would want. There are sooo many more modern and better equipped cars to be had for this price. I think a loaded Camry SE V6 comes in about this price, so where is the value in driving an old design?? I know there is a whole ton of profit there, selling price is probably quite a bit lower.

    It would have to be a 20k car for me to see some real value in driving a relic even if it does have a sweet 300hp drivetrain. I guess this is why these beasts end up being fleet only and this becomes yet another car that (some) enthusiasts will lament the passing of but wouldn’t actually buy…

    • 0 avatar
      MK

      P6, yeah aside from being overpriced the impala also commits the cardinal sin of being completely unremarkable in this segment.

      I usually try to avoid them at the rental car counter but last year I was on an interview near Daytona and the Chargers were all gone so I grudgingly took the impala.
      Getting out of the car the next morning the damned E-brake (which hangs out in front of the door opening like a wayward tree root) promptly gouged the crap out of the top of my new shoe. Dammit! :(

      And did they ever fix the rear seat cushion in these things? A colleague owned one and the first time I sat in the back seat it felt like a metal pipe was wedged right underneath the base where the bottom and back cushions meet.

      I know there are fans of all kinds of crazy vehicles but I always shake my head and smile at the impala lovers around here.
      Beauty is truly in the eye of beholder……she’s all yours fellas!

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        You know the retail price reminds me of the Lincoln Town Car, they ask that but you know nobody pays that.

        I just looked on EBay, when I realized the 3.6 motor started with the 2012, in the LTZ at least. The market is absolutely flooded with these things, pages of low mile 2012s. Looks like an LTZ with roof will cost you less than 20 easy. A good deal is probably under 20k miles 17-18k.

        At that price it is pretty tempting. The only thing that holds me back is my Lexus ES is doing just fine. Other than another 90hp and a bit better handling there isn’t anything it does better than my 11 year old Lexus Camry. Maybe better highway mpg I would guess. Surprisingly I’d give up a ton of comfort features to go to the Chevy.

        Still it is a lot of car for 18k, I like the idea of the big discount for not having to have the latest LCD screens, voice navigation etc.


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