By on February 7, 2013

Miata. E30. Panther. Is it time to add another nameplate to the Used Car Hall of Fame? Because the 2012+ Chevrolet Impala looks like a sure-fire winner to me.

TTAC reader (and sometime contributor) Andrew Bell has been a tireless advocate of the W-Body Impala, to the point where even our own Zackman looks like a halfway-committed dilettante. While discussing the latest Kelly Blue Book Total Cost of Ownership study, Andrew laid out the case for a one-year old Impala as the used car buy.

Not much to break on it really. The design is ancient. The new one with the 3.6 is one of the greatest deals on the market. 300+hp, Bluetooth, decent stereo, 4 wheel discs, <3700lbs, 6spd auto, power everything (windows, locks, auto-start, remote trunk, seats), <$15000 (2012 LT with about 30000km). <9L/100km with 87 octane, unstoppable in the winter, and cheap to insure.

Pricing for one of these cars runs from $13,445 for a base model LS ex-rental with about 34,000 miles, to $24,995 for a loaded LTZ with half the mileage. Since these are Canadian prices, they will undoubtedly vary compared to the United States. As Jack noted earlier this summer, The Impala may not be the most sophisticated or engaging car to drive, but for the price of a stripped out subcompact, you can have a nearly new full-size sedan with plenty of standard equipment, a legitimately well-engineered powertrain and halfway decent fuel economy (18/30/22 city/highway/combined mpg).

The Impala may not satisfy our collective desires when it comes to personal transportation, but as a mode of transportation for a college-bound younger sibling, a grandparent on a fixed income or someone like Andrew, who needs to churn out hundreds of highway miles each week visiting rural job sites, it’s hard to think of a better fit than the ol’ W-Body. According to Andrew, the Panther was a close second, but in the end, the front-drive layout and superior fuel economy were better suited to rural Ontario’s climate exorbitant gas prices.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

89 Comments on “QOTD: Is This The Best Used Car Deal Today?...”


  • avatar
    tmkreutzer

    It’s not really my cup of tea but the Impala has a good vanilla styling that will age well, I think. With all the features listed above and a decent price point it would be easy to live with for a long time.

  • avatar

    I cosign this entire post, a guy I know who is about my size (6’5″ and fat) has a 2012 LTZ, and I hate to admit how impressed I was with the features it had. Plus it is super nondescript, I mean unless someone mistakes you for a cop, or federal government employee.

    • 0 avatar
      DeeDub

      Definitely not non-descript. A dual-exhaust, no spoiler, no bumper stickers, no dealership plate frame Impala grabs my attention faster than a fire truck with its siren blasting.

      • 0 avatar
        Summicron

        +1
        Yes! Nowadays, with freakish alien-spawn designs the new black, plain-Jane looks *wicked*. In a large sedan, you’ve gotta wonder.. “what kind of badge is driving that?”

    • 0 avatar

      One of the SS models burbled by me in the parking lot the other day. I turned around because of the grumbly exhaust note, and was genuinely surprised to see a plain looking white Impala…with dual exhausts and SS badging.
      Could these be a new Q-ship?

  • avatar
    Tomifobia

    Not a bad choice at all, if you’re willing to live with the old-school GM steering-wheel-in-your-ribcage driving position.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    I got one for a rental two years ago for a two-week business trip. The trunk swallowed my bicycle, along with all of my luggage. The car had a nice highway ride. The base OHV V6 was good enough, and looked liked a mechanic’s dream under the hood with plenty of room to work around.

    Boring, bland, cheap feeling…. sure, but for the price of a new Fiesta, you get a nice full-size roomy car.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    The depreciation curve on these things is pretty impressive, in a bad way of course. The 3.6 engine had some timing chain issues, especially in the Acadia, but is a nice mill overall.

    I wouldn’t buy one, but it’d be a nice ‘nilla car for a non enthusiast.

  • avatar
    kkop

    I get Impalas as rentals for about 8 weeks every year. For my 6’4″ it is a very comfortable car, much more so than the ‘upgrades’ I sometimes get stuck with: Ford Edge or Taurus, and other SUVs. Trunk space is cavernous, and legroom is abundant, helped by the absence of a ridiculously wide center console that prevents splaying of legs in other cars :-)

    The only car that I would put ahead of the Impala as far as comfort is the Dodge Charger. The seats in the Charger are more comfortable than the ones in the Impala, the GM seat shape just doesn’t agree with my back.

    The Impala IS very bland though, and has some irritating quirks (heating/AC controls for instance). A great A to B car, but not one I would want to own.

  • avatar
    86er

    Since the “market” has decided that the only types of vehicles worth surviving are gizmo-laden crossovers and trucks, this is your last chance to pick up a basic, larger sedan for a (ballpark) 3 or 400/month note.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I rented a black 2012 Impala for a week in the rockies over last summer and found it to be a perfectly reasonable car. Lots of room, good economy, fairly comfortable and the 3.6L provided great power.

    For someone looking for “a car”, I would highly recommend it.

  • avatar

    All good Derek and very laid out, but some people don’t want the size. Or the “economy”. With a smaller car you get more nimble handling, better economy and easier parking. Anyways, as always, Americans are very lucky. With the price of gas and size of this thing, this to be considered value is almost unique American proposition.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      The Impala is probably something you can appreciate though: Old design but great price. I know your home market has a lot of that. We usually don’t have that choice as a consumer in the US due to ever tightening safety, emissions and economy standards.

      Not that Americans are used to that value proposition they usually flock to the latest “ooh shiny!” but GM doesn’t help by setting the MSRP in the statosphere for what it is. If they priced it new MSRP down to where it actually sells it would be a great apparent value.

      • 0 avatar

        Hey Power6!

        I get the idea very well. Cars that fall in this category in our market are always the subcompact hatches or sedans. Things of this size are always renovated pretty fast because most buyers in this segment are on the lookout for the oh shiny thing too. My comment was that a car this big is luxury almost everywhere else but America. But I sure get it.

    • 0 avatar

      don’t you think a similar deal could be reached here in Brazil? I read this post and thought of the 2008-09 Hyundai Azeras going down the R$ 40k mark. not as new as the Impala but a similar deal: V6, lots of space, well-equipped, bland design.

      • 0 avatar

        But the Impala is cheap to keep in America Palandi. The Azera in Brazil? Hardly. Think of the fill-ups! Tires! Unfortunately, 40k is just the initial price. After that…So, no, we don’t have similar cars. For an American, keeping the Impala is like keeping an Uno…Different galaxies.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      +1000 Marcelo

      I don’t get the whole buying cars by the pound thing. Why would I want this bland barge? Cheap and nasty inside and out. Completely uninspiring to drive. The ultimate Accountant’s car.

      Americans are not “lucky” they just don’t know any better.

      • 0 avatar

        Hey krhodes! Thanks, from your posts, that I always enjoy reading, I know your a real car guy and “get” the really good in a car. Irrespective of size or origin.

        By lucky I can understand that space can be a luxury in and of itself. However, this is not an option to Brazilians (see answer to Palandi) above unless you go over 10 yrs of age. So to me, to have a car this size considered a value buy is something so far from my reality that I consider you guys lucky that you have that option. Of course, if I lived there I wouldn’t go that route but somehow I understand those who do.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Ohhhh Baby! You bet it’s the best used-car deal AND a rental deal! Buying my new one wasn’t so bad, either, FWIW…

    Of course, you all KNEW I would say that.

    ‘Nuff said.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I’ve had eight straight Impala rentals in the last three years, the 2012 model just last December. The mileage is about the same as my 4-banger Altima, but the steering! I know the Altima steering isn’t the best, but the Impala’s steering feels so sloppy, even after eight cars and over 3000 miles in it. How long does it take to get used to it? Yes, it’s a big spacious car, but it needs big spacious roads and parking lots to maneuver.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Having clocked 102K in a 2008 2LT 3900 Impala, I would unquestionably give a solid yes to another one, especially a 2012 with the new engine and trans. This car has been so reliable it’s amazing! Not a wrench turned under the hood save a new battery, no issues with wheel bearings or window regulators, original starter, alternator, serpentine belt, plugs, wires, coils, water pump etc. Nothing seems to break on this car. I keep taking it in for it’s oil change and tire rotation and expect to be given a bill for suspension issues but it still passes all the checks and inspections.

    The seats are sometimes cited as being hard and flat but I can drive mine most of the day with no fatigue. The flip/fold rear seat has come in handy numerous times, the remote start has been a god send in the Winter months, the 3900/4T65 have been bullet proof and still net me close to 30 MPG on a pure highway trip going 73 MPH!

    With the bluetooth, 300 HP 3.6, 6 speed trans, beefed up suspension and steering and added safety the 2012/13 is a bargain. My local dealer has some 2012 LT’s for 13995.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    What surprises me though, is that during my latest travels I’ve noticed that now that the Crown Vic is quickly fading away as the dominant taxi cab, its segment is being populated by Priuses, Camrys and Altimas, but hardly any Impalas. With its attributes you’d think the cab companies would be jumping all over the used ones. Strange…

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      Gas prices and city MPG. The Crown Vic had a loyal following for the body on frame and live rear axle, but even if it was still made it would be fading because of its city fuel economy.

      The Prius is a great cab, constant city driving where it shines. The new one is a bit cramped in back though.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      The Camry and Altima both come in hybrid versions (well — the Altima did), and a lot of municipalities are pushing hybrid cabs hard.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        The hybrid payoff is going to come fast in a taxi that’s on the road all day every day!

        Out here in my part flyover country, though, most of the cabs look like they were purchased on the used market and converted. It takes a little while for fuel saving technology to propagate this far down in the used market to compete with the decade-old minivans and 1st gen Scion Xbs.

        Panthers being cheap and maintainable probably explained why they stuck with Panthers for a decade after I thought they were obsolete. Every time I rode in one, I wondered how Ford managed to put a car body onto a Ranger chassis, if if it could be done to my Ranger ad an aftermarket upgrade… :-)

  • avatar
    pdieten

    It is a great value for the people described in this piece, who value its attributes. I’m one of those people, and I took a long look at the Impala when I last went car shopping. But frankly the interior didn’t appeal, and since that’s the part you spend all your time with, that was a dealbreaker. I went with an ’09 Taurus instead. Also a really nice car with steep depreciation despite better reliability, better interior, bigger back seat and bigger trunk. So you don’t get a 300+ HP engine. The Ford 3.5 has more than adequate performance for the sort of people who would drive a car like this.

  • avatar
    Mykl

    Questions for those who’ve experienced these cars, preferably for those who own one…

    How comfortable are they compared to say… a Camry? Comfortable enough for someone with a pain disorder (fibromyalgea)? Said person thinks the 2006-2011 vintage Camrys have very comfortable seats, but she hates the seats in her grandpa’s fifth generation (’97-’03) Malibu; finding them painful to sit on.

    What’s the oil change interval? Can they go at least 5k miles between changes?

    These cars do seem like a very good value when purchased used, but are they a better option than a CamCord with twice the mileage for the same price? Bear in mind that the intention would be to run the vehicle up to at least 200k miles.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “What’s the oil change interval? Can they go at least 5k miles between changes?”

      They could, but would you want to? GM recommends to follow the oil life monitor which depending on your driving habits could make oil change intervals as long as 10,000 miles or more. If you plan on keeping a car for 200k miles, I’d suggest sticking to regular 5000 mile oil change intervals, no matter the car (if it’s a regular gas engine non-hybrid model).

      Regarding the seats and comfort, I find them to be comfortable cars, but everyone is different, so I’d suggest making a direct comparison yourself to be sure.

      Mechanically, the last of the W cars are pretty well sorted out, the value proposition vs. a Camry or Accord is compelling. Most of the difference in trading prices between comparable models can be attributed to the Toyonda brand tax and the Chevy’s heavy fleet usage.

      • 0 avatar
        Mykl

        As far as oil change interval…. I just wanted to know if GM had graduated from the old 3k mile OCI. It sounds like they have, so I’m happy.

        The nice thing about the Impala is that they’re still available to rent. So if it becomes a serious consideration I can drop $50 for an extended test drive to see how it feels.

    • 0 avatar
      hf_auto

      Camrys and Volvos are very hard to beat in the seat comfort department.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Not all Volvos. I was in a V50 for a couple of hours last week and it was awful, narrow and rock hard. Nothing at all like the big thrones in their adult sized cars.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I have a ’13 Camry as a rental at the moment. The seats were obviously designed by a decendent of the Marquis de Sade. And this is a loaded one with 8-way power seats. Completely and utterly awful.

        Volvo S60ss have fantastic seats, shame about what they are bolted into.

        The GM oil life algorith works very well, I’m completely anal in my car maintenance habits and I had no problem trusting it when I had my ’08 Saab. Typical max OCI with all highway driving is 10K.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    If you don’t mind tooling around in a GM car from 1999 (the 2012 is just a rebodied version with a good engine), an Impala would be okay, I guess.

    But if a 2012 Camry with similiar mileage could be found for not much more, it would be a better value with no discernable difference in driving dynamics (i.e., a point-A to point-B automotive appliance).

  • avatar
    mankyman

    I don’t know. My mother in law has an ’04 impala and it’s kind of a dog. Cockpit layout is terrible, truck and interior room isn’t especially big, it’s not especially pretty, there’s no power in the lower trim models, etc.

    Go P71 crown vic! I got a me a 2007 creampuff with about 60K miles for $6500. They aren’t all beaten to death with no cruise control and you can pop in a DD radio with bluetooth for ~$150. It’s got more trunk space (4 bodies) loads and loads of room for 4+ people, reasonably gets 24 mpg highway, has nice RWD, is EASY to do a lotr of the maintenance yourelf, etc.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I’m in the market for a new(er) car and I looked long and hard at used Impalas, ex-rental 2012 LTs are going for $13,995 in my neck of the woods. Like others have mentioned, it’s a lot of bang for the buck. I find them to be handsome, the engine has some serious power, and the exhaust sounds lovely. I also like how open the dash layout is, none of the ‘cockpit’ nonsense. Big flat seats are a plus in my opinion.

    What ultimately kept me away is the build quality, perceived long term reliability and fuel economy. They’re not bad per say, in fact much better than the average car even 10 years ago. But the doors shut with a metallic clang, not the ‘thump’ of newer designs (such as GM’s own Malibu). I worry about what the servicing costs of the DI V6 will be in 10 years. The 6spd auto that I drove must have still been ‘learning’ on the new 2013 that I drove that only had 20 miles on it was quite erratic and almost seemed to drop out of gear in a low speed corner.

    I know Jack got some impressive MPG in his comparison against the Cruze, but when my parents rented one to drive to JFK (4 hours highway at 70-73mph, 30 minutes of city), the car got 25 mpg both on the display and manual calculations. Zackman seems to corroborate the idea that the older OHV impalas did better on the highway.

    I’ve settled on a lightly used 2012 Civic LX sedan with a stick shift. Nowhere as much street presence as a black LT I was contemplating, but I expect it to be the ‘smart’ choice in the long run.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    Gadzooks. Maybe this is a generational thing, but after reading the praises for this car on TTAC, I rented one from Hertz for a one-day 400-highway-mile round-trip drive to visit family in upstate Vermont, and couldn’t believe it was the same car people had described. The wheel needed constant correction to stay in one lane (which, with the amount of on-center slack, made me feel like I was driving in an old-timey movie), the engine wheezed its way up every hill, and I ended up at about 22mpg for the whole trip.

    Dealers around here are advertising brand-new 2013 (i.e. last year’s model) Mazda6′s for $16.5k, current-generation Focus hatches for $15k and Fusions for $19k. Against actual new cars, I don’t see how the Impala stacks up unless you’re at least 6’2″.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      “The wheel needed constant correction to stay in one lane (which, with the amount of on-center slack, made me feel like I was driving in an old-timey movie), the engine wheezed its way up every hill,”

      You never specified the car, but I can tell from this that you rented a Panther.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      The complaints that you made are common Panther complaints, I’m surprised that the Impala would have similar issues with driving in a straight line, I guess thats the cost of comfy road-feel free steering.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Compared to a Panther, an Impala is a sportscar. To recreate the feeling of a Panther, hold a dinner plate vertically in front of you, and turn it like a steering wheel. That is just about the amount of feel they have. The Lincoln version is even worse. Now add a ride that manages to skitter and bounce over small bumps and wallow like a whale on the big ones, and you have the full experience.

        The Impala is just a meh car. It does nothing especially poorly, nor anything especially well, and it is cheap in both senses of the word. An Impala with decent build quality is called a Camry. Meh, meh, meh, meh.

        There is no one best used car. Completely depends on your needs and budget.

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    work needs a new business car. we do most of our travel 3.5 hours on the highway and rack up a good number of miles. the last car we had was a camry hybrid which returned ~35-36 mpg on the highway at quite a cost due to the msrp.

    now when it comes time to get a new one we were asked by the ‘vehicle committee’ (which i am not on – but that’s a different story) what would be a good choice. i suggested the impala in part because it is inexpensive but also because it is reasonable on gas at 30/hwy which is what really only matters for us.

    the toyota contract is expired so that is no longer an option (otherwise they would not have even asked). what did we go with? wait for it……….. new ford fusion hybrid. the one whose hybrid engine doesnt even work above 61 mph. the car with the inflated epa rating a la hyundai/kia, the one with an msrp even more than the camry hybrid. so for the forseeable future we will be driving a car 3.5 hours one way at highway speeds (75mph) while carrying around a hybrid system that we do not even use. talk about killing your mileage.

    ok i’m done now. thanks for letting me rant about work

    • 0 avatar
      200k-min

      I believe Ford says the Fusion hybrid will work in all-electric up to 60mph or something like that. Granted, the return on a hybrid system is less at highway speeds but on the Fusion forums people are returning pretty decent highway economy (above 40mpg).

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Contracts expire and contracts are renewed happens every day. Since Toyota is in the mode of buying the #1 selling car in the US by heavily discounting the reduced cost 2012 Camry, which they still have lots of in-stock I find no good reason why they couldn’t have got another Camry IF they were happy with the last one. They obviously weren’t, at least not happy enough to blindly sign another contract with Toyota w/o exploring other options first.

      Yes the Fusion can’t go in full electric mode at 75mph but neither can the Camry or any other Hybrid currently available. Even if it was capable of that speed you can’t do it for very long before the battery SOC drops to the point that the battery must be recharged which of course is done by the ICE.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    Seriously now, what is the average age of a TTAC reader? This isn’t fanboy love of an early 90′s Honda…it’s a land yacht grandpa cruiser.

    The Impala may be a screaming deal on the used car lot but that’s because it’s not a very desireable car. One I got as a rental was coined the “hoopty” by a younger co-worker due to the soft ride and monstrosity of it’s dimensions. It had a bench seat for god’s sake.

    I just got back from a trip where I rented a brand-spanking-new Passat (10km when I got it) and by comparison the Passat is LIGHT YEARS AHEAD in almost every area compared to the Impala. (BTW, I am no fan of Volkswagen.) Mind you this is the thoroughly decontented VW and it still oozed of refinement and progress compared to the Impala.

    My father used to drive Aerostar vans for company vehicles. Every 60k miles he’d buy the vehicle off the company for a song and sell it to a friend. His buddy loved them and would drive them to 300k miles. Nobody would argue that the Aerostar was a deal in the used market at the time, but it was an outdated van that few people wanted. Right now it’s the Impala and a few years from now it’ll be something else.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      I have an (at the time) 22 year old employee — single guy, body builder, women lined up outside the door — it was either a lightly-used Impala or a new Camry for him. (He got better financing on the Toyota, so went with that, but it really was down to the two old-man cars as either was acceptable.)

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      “land yacht grandpa cruiser”

      Or as close as we can still get. Personally, I’m looking at Avalons and I wish they still had the original bench seat in front. But there is still a huge American demographic who want what they grew up with, and our money’s not tied up in college or kids anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @200K: did you misunderstand the premise of the article?

      Of course a brand new recently re-designed Passat is going to spank the ancient Impala in a direct comparison. Can you buy the Passat for the same fire-sale prices listed for the Impala?

    • 0 avatar
      potatobreath

      The Americanized Passat feels like a good successor to the Impala. I’m slowly getting used to the automatic engine-braking downshifts on heavier braking. Then again, I think the Passat is a great comfortable, subtly-stylish family car even with its decontenting.

    • 0 avatar
      Spartan

      I’m calling BS on the Passat comparison. I’ve spent a lot of time in the new Passat and it’s not leaps and bounds better than the current W-Body Impala. If anything, it’s on par with it.

      The Impala has a lot better ride than a Passat and the bench seat is plenty comfy.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      That bench seat Impala will be on the road years after the “light years ahead” Passat hits the crusher for any number of design or technical maladies.

      It will shortly be joined by your Apple products, your so called smart phones, plasma televisions, and all of the other new whiz bang consumer crap that doesn’t hold up a damn in the long term.

      PC: Thinkpad R60 15in/Windows XP & Mandrake – Proven all over IT.
      Car: 3800 Pontiac – Proven all over North America.
      Rifle: Yugo M70/AK variant – Proven the world over.

  • avatar
    jaydez

    I had one of these as a rental a couple years ago. I was obsessed with the thing for a while and wanted to trady mt car in for one. It was, hands down, the most comfortable highway cruiser i have ever driven. I got in it after work every day and just relaxed. There was no road noise, I couldnt hear anything outside my bubble, the rode smooth as ice, and the seat felt like a lazy-boy. I also averaged 32 MPG with it the week I had it.

    If I ever needed a car to drive accross the country with, I wouldn’t think twice abut getting one of these.

    My wife, on the other hand, hated it. She said it was too big for her and I was too young (31 at the time) to want an old-man car like that.

  • avatar
    Power6

    I have to say it is a helluva deal, in the US the markets are flooded with low mile examples, you can have a low mile LTZ for under 20k (the over 30k new MSRP is hilarous though!). For a nearly new midsize car that is fantastic. Now downside is you get a pretty cheap interior, the barely Bose stereo is passable but all the basics needed in a car are there.

    The 3.6 and 6-speed sweetens the deal. I drove a 3.9 LTZ circa 2006 across CA, AZ, NM and back, it was alright but the 3.9 and stupid tall gearing with the 4-speed didn’t quite cut it for me. The 3.6 however, is genius!

    I’m not so sure the Impala is “unstoppable” in the snow, is that just something people say to further their point? There is nothing special traction-wise it is the same as any other big FWD car, the tires are a bit big and they are RS-As which makes it pretty “stoppable” in the snow. I’m sure my Outback would have it handily beat.

    One annoyance the Impala shares with our Outback: dual temp adjustments you have to adjust separately all the time, no way to link them together when no passenger in the car.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      The Impala is not great with the OEM tires, whatever they are. If you put on something that’s good for all season — I always use a Michelin Hydro-Edge, Destiny, or something similar — it was incredibly sure-footed in snow and ice. It is a touch nose-heavy, which meant, for this, unlike in a Grand National, it’s going to dig in pretty well. I never even had a shimmy with it once I had the new tires.

      The dual temperature thing was annoying when using it to commute.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        Yeah so it is about tires, it always will be especially with a 2WD car. I imagine they have updated the tread and compound, but the RS-A is a seriously old tire, way older than this gen of Impala!

        The traction control is good though, lets the tires scratch a bit when you floor it in first ha

      • 0 avatar
        MrGreenMan

        That said, as it is usually about tires, one thing that also benefits the Impala: Since it was largely a product of the pre-turtle-shell school of design, it is nice and wide compared to its overall length, and it doesn’t get buffeted by wind the same way a Malibu in the exact same tires would be.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Honestly I’m a bit unsure about the new Imps, I’ve seen a few older ’99 models in the scrapyard despite not being all that old.

    If anything they remind me too much of the W-Body, which after driving a 2003 model I can say that platform was junk.

    • 0 avatar
      onyxtape

      My brother has a 99 Malibu and that was complete junk from day one. 2 radiator components exploded and created a nice pool underneath the car before 30k miles. And a transmission replacement before 75k. Same with an early-2000s Escape that we have.

      Every 10 years or so – there’s a new “American renaissance” about how “we get quality now” and all that. Not falling for it again until I start seeing pimply teenagers 15 years from now driving 300k+ mile Impalas to deliver pizzas the way I see early 90s Accords.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        That W-Body I drove was always in for alignment and suspension repairs, the suspension was rock hard which didn’t bode well for city roads, it had a good engine in it though.

        As far as an “American renaissance”, well thats what they say until you read up on Fords that burst into flames and Dodges with big panel gaps, makes it feel like 1972 all over again.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    Did they fix the intermediate steering shaft with the 2012? That’s about the only problem.

    I had one for a while; it was a stripper and boring and filled a short-term need with the 3500. The fuel economy was pretty outstanding for a car that size and the 4-speed, usually kissing 30mpg on the highway.

    I rented a 2012 with the new engine — that baby had some power, and even an LT model had some nice features.

    As for steering – I really like the hydraulic instead of electrical steering. Having driven some electrical steering systems (I want to point at hybrids – e.g., CR-Z and C-Max which I’ve driven extensively, but even the Malibu electric power assist steering), I thought the W-body was more responsive and had better feedback.

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    My coworker buddy’s rent these and they love them.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    I had one a few years ago as a fleet loaner for a week and it was one of the worst “newish” cars I have ever driven. A good deal I suppose for someone who can stand to drive it. I wouldn’t be one of them. The Impala stands as a reminder to everyone just how far GM has come in the last few years. That’s not a compliment for the Impala BTW.

    Anyone who buys one of these NEW needs to have their head examined as the depreciation is cliff like.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @ ubermensch..I’ve had my head examined,.. they couldn’t find anything. Something about a shortage of hair folicules, and a case of stupid. Word has it that niether is fixable.

      I’m here all week folks, try the Veal. Hey, and be sure to tip your server.

      I retired from GM Canada hourly Dec 19 2008. That was the day that George W wrote the first bail out check. My package included a 35k car voucher. Taxed at source at 10,500. At the time it sure looked to me like GM was going belly up. Early Jan 2009 I got my buddy at the Chev dealer to find me a loaded Impala LTZ. I truly believed that my “car voucher” was soon going to be part of the “art work” you might hang on your out house wall. I needed a car that I could depend on for many years. I nearly bought the Malibu. It was just that my years of working in the plant,gave me doubts about a first year new model. Turns out, I was wrong. My friends that went for the “Bu” had no problems.
      I spent 36+ in the plant that built the Impala. I know a well built car when I see one. Ever hear practice makes perfect? That platform has been running since 1987. In spite of all the venom sprouted here,the build quality of that Impala was a source of pride for all of us,hourly and salary.

      Like all my vehicles my Black LTZ got babied. We had planned on miles of road trips. The 36k KLM’s we did put on were trouble free.

      “The well laid plans of mice and men” eh?…life threw me a few curves, some good,some not so much.
      I’ll spare you all the details. When the dust settled I ended up with 2009 Cobalt coupe, a 2008 Mustang 6cyl convert. A wife that no longer drives,and of course my “car for life” Impala

      The Cobalt is my daily driver,the Mustang the fun car. The Impala just sat in my driveway and looked nice. Common sense says “sell the Impala” As others have pointed out deprecation is the only downside to the Impala. Though I am the first to agree it certainly a big downside.

      Common sense?… Hey.. I’m a car guy,we don’t believe in common sense. I figure, if I’m going to have a car just to look at, it better me nice looking. In July 2012 I spy a new 2011 2SS Camaro,at my local Chev dealer. I call my buddy up at the other Chev dealer. They make a dealer trade. With my GM retiree discount and the discount on what is basicaly a two year old car,the Camaro was a bargain. The trade in value on the Impala hurt. The used car salesman were racing to thier phones,before I turned the keys over,and signed the registration.

      My “car for life Impala” never saw the used car lot. I know that whoever ended up with that car,got a real good used car.

      Thats my Impala story.

      @ Zackman keep the Impala updates coming. With that 300 hp engine,you got a car for years

      • 0 avatar

        Mikey can you just write something for us already?

        Sincerely,

        Management

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        I can write of my own life experiences. I write from my heart. So I post a comment,when I feel I have something to share with the B&B.

        My life long regret of a lack of a education is reflected in my lousy grammer,puncuation,sentence structure, spelling..you name it.

        That comment took me an hour.

        More than that?…..I just can’t see it.

        Thanks for the vote of confidence.

      • 0 avatar
        50merc

        As some obscure manufacturer used to say, “ask the man who owns one.” Mikey has the cred–he not only owned one, he built ‘em! BTW, that plant used to make the W-body Buick LaCrosse as well. I’ve often wondered if they got better parts and craftsmanship to justify the slightly higher price over Impalas.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @ 50 merc The Buick W come out of what we used to call plant #2. The people in the plant built/assembled the cars with the parts and tools that they were given. Craftmanship? is sor’ta subjective. In my experience,with few exceptions, most people tried thier best to build a quality product. A Chev or Buick? to the guy/girl on the line,it didn’t make a whole lot of difference.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Thanks for the perspective. The last generation of W bodies were fine cars. I’ve had a few pass through my hands and onto other owners who have all gotten very good reliability out of them, particularly those with the 3800.

        The Oshawa plants have been known for top quality and efficient assembly, it’s too bad they will be building less vehicles there in the coming years.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        For sure, we built some great cars,and trucks. We are losing the battle up here on two fronts.

        Number one…The falling U.S. dollar, and the rising{ oil driven} Canadian dollar.

        Number two….This one pains me. The CAW failing to recognize we are in a world economy. Its not 1998 anymore.

  • avatar
    Andrew Bell

    I have put 60,000km on my ex-rental, 2010 Impala LT since April 2012 over mostly country highways and back roads. With Michelin X-Ice Xi3 tires, I haven’t had any issues with traction in the winter. Ground clearance can be an issue on un-plowed roads but I am talking about snow-pocalypse driving conditions in Northern Ontario/Quebec here.

    The temperature adjustment on the climate control is a bit fiddly and I had to adjust the hood latch once. Other than that, I have just changed the oil a bunch of times and replaced the air filter. Since my car was an ex-rental, it had a fixed rear bench. I went to the local auto-wrecker and bought a flip and fold bench (plus assorted trim pieces) for $100. Since they haven’t updated nearly anything since 2006, it’s pretty easy to find parts.

    If its value drops to zero after 4 years of ownership, it will have cost me about $270/month (including purchase/parts/oil changes, not including gas/insurance). Factored into this is the cost of a full brake job, two sets of new tires and an oil change every 7000km. I worked new tires and rotors/pads (free) into the purchase deal as well to get me through the first 80,000km. Subtracting what I could still sell it for in April 2016 (based on current 2007 model prices), the cost drops under $200/month. Not bad for a car that was nearly ‘new’.

    I plan to blow all of these savings on an A8. Or perhaps a used Continental GT.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I am by no means a GM fanboy, but the few Impalas I’ve had for rentals were comfortable, easy to drive, solid on the road, and swallowed a shit-ton of lugguage/debris. With very reasonable mpg. Exceedingly impressive in that role.

    If I just needed “a car”, an excellent value indeed.

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    Gee, the interior is mid size (rear leg room more compact-width better)
    and the foot print and mileage are minivan territory. I’m talking roadtest mileage not EPA treadmill or your uncles over a beer bragging estimate.
    There are good reasons these things are cheap-if it works for you fine, buy and enjoy-they became fleet queens because they were an inefficient design.
    I don’t think there is a low enough price, these are for people who never figured out that the big exterior hid a mid size car with poorer mileage.

    Enjoy.

    Bunter

  • avatar
    CobaltFire

    I bought a 2012 after looking at it simply to see what all the nuts on TTAC were on about. I paid $24,000 out the door with 12 miles on the clock for an LTZ with a sunroof two days later.

    I have to say, this is the best CAR I’ve ever owned. By that, I mean that it’s not a sports sedan, it’s not a hybrid, it’s not a crossover. It’s a car. It’s relaxing enough after a long day at work (12-14 hour shifts), eats the miles, is nimble enough in town, gets reasonable fuel mileage, has enough power to satisfy if I want to punch it, etc. Also, being mistaken for a badge isn’t always a negative (especially with the new Black and White Texas plates; I love that).

    It meets our needs perfectly, and is the first car I want to keep long term for that reason.

    I owe a hearty THANK YOU to Baruth, Zackman, et al for the suggestions to look at them.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I’m a new old-car buyer, that is, I prefer to buy a new version of a car that is long in the tooth. I’ve driven a few of the W-bodies over the years, and depending upon your sensibilities, it’s either a great car, or a total POS. I think they’re great, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

    If I were in the market for a CAR right now (I’ve been told we need a SUV by my wife, she’ll drive it, not me), I’d be looking at some version of the Epsilon GM chassis. I’ve owned a couple already, and I like them more than anything else GM offers right now. That’s what I did a few years ago, I bought the newest 2005 Pontiac G6 available then, a 2009 Pontiac G6…

    • 0 avatar
      normantor

      +1 I have owned 2 2006 Impalas. The first one a 3.9 was a jem and ran well. I never had an issue with it. Plenty of speed and had just about every creature comfort except a sunroof. 150k+ miles and not an wimper……

      The second however was a SS and what a totally different beast. I never felt a car that could not handle a curve like that. Warped rotors…and just tore through tires and I was not a aggressive driver. On the open road however it was a joy. I embarrassed a Mercury Marauder who must have thought I was a LTZ. Then the transmission went at 60K and it was a nightmare after that.

      Bizarre because I drove a 2005 Grand Prix GTP and assumed they would be the same car….I was wrong!

      and I love W bodies…..how can you beat that Cutlass Supreme Convertible?

    • 0 avatar
      Austin Greene

      I too am a last of the breed buyer. These Impalas interest me greatly. My concerns focus on the smallish mirrors and rearward visibility. I also get the sense that the headliner comes down too close to the driver’s head. Otherwise it’s the perfect sleeper.

  • avatar
    readallover

    I`m just thinking that the full size Impala and the new, mid size Malibu weigh almost the same.

  • avatar
    alan996

    “it’s a land yacht grandpa cruiser.”

    No my 95 TC is.

    signed Grandpa Al

  • avatar
    2012Impala

    I recently purchased a 2012 Impala LS with 30,000 miles on it for 12,900. The 3.6 engine makes the vehicle moderately fun to drive. I live in rural northern Minnesota and do a lot of highway driving. My Impala handles well in the snow and its a great freeway cruiser for the long slogs. Its a simple car with a admittedly marginal interior but for my needs works perfectly. Average around 30 in mostly highway driving.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “.. who needs to churn out hundreds of highway miles each week visiting rural job sites, it’s hard to think of a better fit than the ol’ W-Body.”

    H > W.
    C > W.
    B > W.
    K > W.

  • avatar
    Loser

    I have been looking off and on again for a nice low mile LTZ. Most of the time I run my cars until they are pretty well used up so resale isn’t a factor for me. Also looking at used V6 Fusions/Milan’s. The Impala seems hard to beat for the money.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    If I were in the market for a big cushy FWD sedan, I wouldn’t waste my time with the W body impalas. I would go straight for the last gen lesabre, park avenue, or even better, the Lucerne. As an alternative to the all-that-is-holy H body, I would go for an 02-04 FWD Seville (SLS since we’re going for cushy ride)

  • avatar
    Ciriya.com

    Drove one with low miles that my dad rented. My Explorer was like a BMW in comparison. My Prius was like a Caterham Seven by comparison. Horrid steering, horrid sound system, surprisingly small interior for such a big car. Do not want.

  • avatar
    Jacob

    Buying one of these is like settling for a having a dinner at a mediocre restaurant as long as they make up for it with big portions. Granted, in America a lot of people settle for quantity rather than quality. This is why we see so many boring vehicles and fat people. Ok, digress. I guess this could be a fine deal for a family car who is struggling financially.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    “. . . unstoppable in the winter . . .”

    High ground clearance? Limited slip differential?


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