Your humble author came to love the W-body Impala relatively late in the game. TTAC was deliberately left off the list for 2014 Impala press drive invites, presumably to make more room for the Jen Friels and AutoBosses of the world. However, if what we’re reading in other sources is in any way legitimate, my advice to buy the old one while you still can appears to have been approximately as prescient as Paul Atreides was in Dune Messiah.
Perhaps the most surprising review comes from a source not normally known for harsh words regarding new cars.
In his incisive Impala investigation, Yahoo’s Neal Pollack does a pretty fair imitation of Bill the Butcher as he cuts the Impy into little pieces:
the V-6 proved barely adequate… it handled sluggish, like a wet sponge… it felt about as intuitive as trying to change channels on an airplane armrest… but it felt like I was sitting on a cheap half-inflated kiddie basketball the whole time… but there was a springy element to the whole car that just felt plain unappealing… it didn’t remotely connect with the present, or with me.
Pollack delivers the killing blow thusly: “Now it’s just clumsy, expensive department-store jewelry, dated and stale, desperately out of step with the times.” Well alright then.
Chevrolet is telling everyone who will listen that this XTS-lite will “make money”, but the money people at Forbes examined the strategy behind marketing the $40,000 new Impala and found it confusing and inadequate.
As soon as we can rent a new Impala, we’ll check it out and give you the unadulterated scoop on Chevrolet’s ambitiously-priced-but-prosaically-engineered Avalon competitor. In the meantime, GM fans looking for some good news on the car can, of course, find it in that one magazine that really likes the Volt:
For 2014, Chevrolet has substantially upped the Impala’s game in its look, features, and premium interior quality… Impala LTZ stickers north of $40,000 will seem reasonable. The popular mid-level Impala LT trim looks like it could be a top-of-the-range LTZ, and the LTZ’s decor is rich enough to be in a Buick LaCrosse. The design is what makes it look more premium… Corvette-inspired… you’ll see something new on second or third examination… Chevrolet got the big family car’s ride-handling balance right… I drove a 2013 Malibu with the new, 195-hp engine, and it’s smooth, quiet, and powerful in that lighter sedan.
There’s something hilarious in this: MT’s Todd Lassa is so overcome with enthusiasm for this vehicular catastrophe that, to loosely paraphrase John Updike in his description of Rabbit Angstrom’s encounter with a chunky twenty-something part-time prostitute, his love spills a little and lands on the hapless, hopeless Malibu as well. Certainly many of us know what it’s like to be blind drunk and rolling around in a hotel bed with some gorgeous hairdresser who is just like your evil, female spiritual twin only a decade younger and before you know it you’re telling her to have your child and fly with you to Austin, Texas for a round of the rallycross championship there, but most of the time these emotions don’t make it into print, and certainly not when they concern what appear to be two of most cynically insipid vehicles ever forcibly ejected out of GM’s channel-stuffing cloaca.
Oh well. Be sure to check back here for Impala and Malibu tests real soon. In an unrelated note, we also expect to be covering at least one event of the Texas Rallycross season.