By on August 26, 2013
2014 Chevrolet Impala Exterior-001
I have this feeling that our most impressionable automotive years are our high school years. Maybe it’s because I was so eager to drive that I noticed anything with wheels. Maybe it’s that auto shop class where I got to wrench on a Wankel (that sounds wrong doesn’t it?). Whatever the reason, it seems many of my brand and model name identities were formed in the mid 1990s. For me, “Impala” doesn’t conjure up the W-Body abomination GM has been selling for the past 13 years. Instead “my” Impala has always been the 1994-1996 Caprice Impala SS with the 5.7L Corvette LT1 engine. This is my benchmark on which every Impala must be judged.

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Before we dive in, it’s important to know that for 2014 there are two Impalas. Say what? In a stroke of genius (honestly) GM decided to keep selling the old Impala as a fleet only model. This isn’t the first time GM has done this, the Chevrolet Captiva Sport is a fleet only version of the defunct Saturn VUE. By offering a one car to the public and the other to rental and government fleets, one can logically conclude the used market will contain fewer white Impalas with tan cloth interiors over time. This can only be good for resale value.

The fleet-Impala continues on the ancient W-Body first used in 1988 while the new Impala rides on the same Epsilon platform bones as the Cadillac XTS and Buick LaCrosse. If you had hoped the Impala name would be tied to the RWD Caprice like it was in 1994, you aren’t alone.
2014 Chevrolet Impala Exterior, Grille, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

 

Exterior

If you recall my review of the Cadillac XTS a year ago:

Engineers took the Epsilon II platform (shared with everything from the Opel Insignia to the Roewe 950), stretched it to 202-inches long and hey-presto, the XTS was born. Unfortunately Cadillac wasn’t allowed to change the platform hard points, so the same 111.7-inch wheelbase and 62-inch track as the rest of the Epsilon rabble remains. With the wheelbase staying the same, the cabin had to be pushed as far to the wheels as possible to maximize interior space. The result is a sedan with awkward proportions.

When I first saw photos of the Impala I was worried the same awkwardness would translate to Chevy’s flagship, but it turns out the XTS’s proportion problem is mostly caused by the Art & Science design theme. When you dress the platform in super-sized Camaro clothes, things turn out better than expected. The slot-like grille, wide headlamps and plenty of horizontal chrome make the Impala look wide while the XTS’s grille makes it look narrow.

Chevy penned a side profile with a bit more visual interest than most of the competition (I admit that isn’t saying much) thanks to the “haunches” designed into the rear doors and quarter panel. Sadly the designers opted for roof-line that starts lowering at the front doors making the car look better but reducing rear accommodations. Speaking of the rear, the 2014 backside is more exciting than before, but that’s not saying much. Things change a little if you step up to the LTZ model which gets integrated trapezoidal chrome exhaust tips. Still, nobody seems to be spending much time on their back bumpers and trunk lids these days.

Overall the Impala is attractive but I think it slots behind the Chrysler 300 in terms of style and I don’t think it will age as well as the more “generic luxury” lines of the Kia Cadenza. Parking the new Impala next to a 1996 Impala I ran into at the grocery store, I have to admit my high school memories are rose-colored as the 1996 Impala SS looks frumpy in comparison. I can’t end this section without commenting on the 2014 Chevy SS, AKA the Holden VF Commodore, AKA the Chevy Lumina (Middle East), AKA the refresh of the Pontiac G8. Yes, it’s back. While I have no doubts a rear wheel drive sedan with a 6.2L V8 will be a blast to drive, the SS looks like the fleet Impala with some makeup and loses the Impala v SS aesthetics battle.

2014 Chevrolet Impala Interior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Interior

The Impala’s interior elicited more polarized reactions than I had bargained for during my week. While I’m a fan of the overall style, I can see how the flowing shapes may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The Impala’s build quality has certainly improved over the last generation and comparing the Impala to the Toyota Avalon can now be done with a straight face. Sadly in that head-to-head the Impala comes up short. The problem isn’t panel gaps or seams, it’s certain design choices coupled with plastics choices. The air vents you see in the center if the dash and the climate control bank are cast out of hard plastic and look cheap nestled between the attractive stitched upper dash and soft molded lower dash. My cynical side thinks this was deliberate so that Buick could have something to improve on. Test driving the Impala at night reveals the cabin’s party trick, chrome that glows blue/green when darkness falls. It looks a great deal less gimmicky than I assumed it would and the light strip is totally invisible by day. The light-up chrome is part of the $1,140 premium audio and sport wheel package.

Base LS models get cloth seats, LT models start with a leatherette and fabric combo, but most Impalas on the lot will have either the LT’s leather/alcantara combo (*bumping the base price to $32,695) or the LTZ’s “premium” leather seats which swap the faux-suede inserts for real cow. Regardless of the seat covering the Impala’s thrones are big and soft and 12-way power adjustibility. Unlike the seats in the Chrysler 300, you sit in the seats, not on the seats, a considerably more comfortable proposition. GM includes a 4-way adjustable lumbar support in all models and many of the Impalas I sampled had the optional 12-way seats on the passenger side as well, something you won’t find in the Azera or Cadenza.

2014 Chevrolet Impala Interior, Night View, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

The fleet-only Impala has a wheelbase just one inch shorter than this new consumer model, but due to its 1980s era platform design the space isn’t used efficiently. This is most evident in the back seat where this Impala delivers nearly 6 inches more rear leg room bringing this big boy up to a hair under 40 inches. This make the Impala the largest overall in the segment with front legroom higher than the former winner the Hyundai Azera and legroom nearly tying with the Chrysler 300′s 40.1 inches. At 18.8 cubic feet the Impala’s trunk is four cubes bigger than the Avalon, two cubes bigger than the 300 or the Korean twins and just 1.2 cubes smaller than the Taurus’ cavernous booty. Like the Taurus the Impala’s rear seats fold but it is worth noting that GM’s pass-through is larger and “squarer” than the Ford and the seat backs fold nearly flat with the load floor.

If size is what you demand, the Impala wins the battle with the most overall space. If however quality is more your bag, you’ll find higher quality parts in the Avalon, Azera, Cadenza, LaCrosse and in many ways even the Chrysler 300. The Impala fights back with supremely comfortable seats, but thanks to GM’s parts sharing the same can be said of that Buick.

2014 Chevrolet Impala Interior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Infotainment

If you’re a regular reader, you will know that I have recently praised GM’s low and mid-range touchscreen systems as some of the best in the business. The IntelliLink/ChevyLink system in the Chevy Volt and Buick Verano ranks second for me below the latest version of BMW’s iDrive. This is not that system. I an odd twist of infotainment badge engineering, the Impala (and the 2014 LaCrosse) uses a modified version of Cadillac’s CUE software. For Chevy duty GM swapped out the expensive capacitive screen (looks like a modern smartphone) for a resistive unit and added a few physical buttons to improve navigation in the system. Sadly all of CUE’s flaws are present including: random crashes, general sluggishness, unintuitive menu layouts and old-school mapping software. Like CUE some multi-touch gestures are supported but the cheaper touchscreen has troubles deciphering your intent. The system is hard to avoid as every Impala I could find had the system and the only way to escape it is to buy an absolutely base Impala LS as it is the only one without the 8-inch system.

On the bright side, some of CUE’s selling points remain. The system’s voice command system recognized more natural speech commands than the Kia/Hyundai or Toyota systems do and the media library functionality is excellent. Instead of treating the three USB ports as separate inputs, the system aggregates them into one large music library allowing you to voice command songs without specifying the device. The base 6-speaker system has an oddly hollow sound, but the up-level 11-speaker Bose branded system would be competitive in any near-luxury sedan. To get that sound system the Impala will set you back $33,835 as you can’t select the $1,140 sound and wheel package without a number of other options packages.

2014 Chevrolet Impala Engine, 3.6L V6, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Drivetrain

Under the hood you’ll find the same three engines as the Buick LaCrosse. Things start out with a 2.5L direct-injection four-cylinder engine good for 195 HP and 187 lb-ft of twist. This isn’t the engine you want. Not listed on the Chevy website yet due to its late introduction there is a 2.4L “eAssist” drivetrain that GM has stopped calling a hybrid. Delivering identical performance numbers to the 2.5L four-banger, the mild hybrid system delivered 29.8 MPG average during our week with the nearly identical LaCrosse. If fuel economy is your thing, stop here.

Although my soul is sad there is no Impala SS model for 2014, the 3.6L direct-injection V6 delivered better performance than in every situation except for the 2006 Impala SS which barely beat the 2014 in the 0-30 run but was still slower to 60. The reason isn’t just the V6′s 305 horsepower (2 more than the 2006′s 5.3L V8) or the respectable (for a V6) 264 lb-ft of torque(59 less), it’s the 6-speed automatic. The Ford/GM unit is closely related to the transaxle found in the Taurus but GM’s programming results in shifts that seem slightly faster and a hair firmer. The high revving six, weigh reduction vs the Cadillac XTS AWD and Chevy’s tire selection enabled our Impala tester to wheel-hop its way to 60 in a scant 5.52 seconds. This number was met with some head scratching on our Facebook page but I tested the number three times with the same result. It is worth mentioning that the Acura RLX posted similar numbers and a 5.52 second run isn’t out of the ordinary for a 305HP sedan that weighs around 3800lbs.

Need more performance? There have been persistent rumors about an Impala SS coming at some point and Cadillac has decided to drop their 410HP twin-turbo V6 into the XTS, will they offer a similar powerplant for the 2015 Chevy? It’s hard to say with the 2014 Chevy SS positioned as the performance sedan with a bow-tie.

2014 Chevrolet Impala Exterior, 19-inch wheels, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. DykesDrive

The Impala benefits from Buick and Cadillac’s noise reduction efforts and it shows on the road with easily the quietest ride in the bunch. My snazzy new noise meter proved more complicated than I wish to admit and as a result I erased the readings, however the Impala was quieter than the active noise canceled Acura RLX, Kia Cadenza and Lexus ES350 I tested.

The Impala has a unique suspension setup that uses neither the Hi-Per Strut (HPS) suspension from the LaCrosse and XTS, nor the magnetic ride control from the Cadillac. Instead we get a traditional MacPherson strut arrangement with a redesigned strut tower for improved rigidity and rebound springs tuned to keep body-roll from turning into body-wobble. This is important because the Impala is a softly spring sedan in the classic American tradition. The combination works better than it looks on paper despite the loss of the HPS design which was created to vanquish the torque steer demons. Speaking of torque steer, there wasn’t any in the Impala during our tests. So much for that Hi-PerStrut. There’s still plenty of tip, roll and dive on winding mountain roads but the new Impala never felt sloppy or uncontrolled. Broken pavement was a problem for the Cadillac XTS with the suspension paradoxically feeling both too hard and too soft at the same time, the Impala’s traditional setup never exhibited this problem. If you jump up to the 20 inch wheels, be warned they have a negative impact on the serene nature of the Impala’s ride transmitting more road imperfections into the cabin than I thought possible.

2014 Chevrolet Impala Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

When it comes to the competition, the Cadenza feels slightly unsettled at times but is nearly as competent. The Azera’s chassis and suspension tuning aren’t quite up to snuff. Toyota’s Avalon gives the Impala a run for its money with similar road feel and a slightly sportier tune to the dampers. The Chrysler 300 is a tricky comparison since it’s the only RWD sedan in the bunch, but the 300′s driving dynamics are superior to the Impala despite being slower to 60. The lack of AWD is disappointing in the Impala leaving the Buick LaCrosse to be the better handling twin thanks to its slightly more precise suspension knuckles and available AWD.

Without a doubt the 2014 Impala is the finest Impala ever made and perhaps the finest large sedan to wear the bow tie. The base 2.5L four-cylinder Impala snags a 0-60 time only a few tenths off the 1996 Impala SS with its 5.7L V8 while delivering 31 MPG on the highway. The eAssist delivers a similar experience with a surprising 35MPG highway score and 29MPG combined, a 60% increase in fuel economy vs “my” Impala. The 2014 V6 model may not sound as good as that 1996 LT1 but the numbers can’t be denied, the new Impala is the new Impala benchmark. But is it the best full-size American sedan? Not quite. A fully loaded Impala manages to be $2,000 more than a comparable Taurus Limited and about the same price as a similarly optioned Taurus SHO. I’d take the Taurus SHO. The Chrysler 300 is about the same price, but brings superior dynamics, a ZF 8-speed automatic and you can get the 5.7L V8 for not much more. Even the Avalon, which ends up being slightly more expensive than delivers comparable handling a nicer interior and a nav system that doesn’t crash randomly. The Impala’s biggest problem however is the 2014 Buick LaCrosse. In typical GM fashion, there is little daylight in pricing between the sister-ships and the Buick delivers a nicer interior, a few improved features, slightly better dynamics, optional AWD and a slightly more premium brand. Just like the Impala SS vs Roadmaster debate in 1996, you just have to get past the Buick’s looks.

 

Hit it or Quit It?

Hit it

  • Aggressive styling.
  • Ginormous back seat.
  • Cadillac for Chevy prices.

Quit it

  • Some interior plastics are underwhelming.
  • CUE based infotainment is slow and buggy.
  • The Buick LaCrosse has a better interior for almost the same price.

Chevrolet provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

Specifications as tested:

0-30: 2.33 Seconds

0-60: 5.52 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 14.33 Seconds @ 97.5 MPH

Average Observed Fuel Economy: 22.5 MPG over 549 miles

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75 Comments on “Review: 2014 Chevrolet Impala (With Video)...”


  • avatar

    If I weren’t addicted to the pure power of the naturally aspirated V8 engine and the exclusivity of the “SRT” division, I’d have absolutely no problem buying an Impala.

    I knew after getting into the XTS that GM had finally hit a turning point and they were finally serious about their interior design. With the lighter colored “orangy orange” interior, the Impala was instantly attractive. The grays still look drab and it’s a shame they aren’t making their interior colors as vivacious as Hyundai makes all of theirs throughout their line.

    It’s also a shame AWD isn’t offered – although with the same engine as the XTS it would be as slow as the XTS. I observed an almost 8 second 0-60 in real world driving with the XTS (which killed my interest in it as a replacement for my 06′ 300SRT8) and I’m not paying no $71,000 for the Twin Turbo XTS.

    I went to the NY Car Show and saw the Impala and SS. The SS didn’t have an exterior as aggressive as the Dodge Charger does. I’m sure people who didn’t get in on the Pontiac V8 would love to get the SS, but it really didn’t attract me as much as the 60 Horsepower advantage of any SRT model you could pick.

    The real hit for the Impala is interior space. I pay no attention to the numbers. I drive cars and feel the space myself. At 2 Meters tall, I comfortably drove the new Malibu – despite the smaller backseat which I wouldn’t be comfortable in, but the Impala/XTS give me almost as much space front/ back/ headroom as my old S550 and easily more than our XJ-L. there’s also more space for the back row than my 300SRT (due to it being RWD). This is a family cruiser for a family of 6 footers!

    “Large organizations are prone to overly simplistic thinking. It’s just too hard to communicate anything complicated or nuanced to all involved. One overly simple idea: reduce the size of the engine, and fuel economy will improve. Need a performance variant? Shrink the engine a little more and add a turbo.”

    Now I’m not saying the Impala needs the Twin Turbo. The Impala seems to be quick enough without it to 60 and so big it would never see a track or be taken seriously as a track car (ala Lincoln MKS Ecoboost). I do think for what they demand on an XTS, the Twin Turbo should be STANDARD. For $70,000 the XTS should be fully loaded. The real shame is that all of the power deficits felt in either car could be solved by producing a more efficient V8 like Chrysler has in their 5.7 HEMI or by dropping in diesels.

    Avalon WATCH OUT! Impala is the way better car! You can even hide your gun or weed behind the nav screen!

  • avatar
    ozzypriest

    It is a nice review but homophones/heterographs are of my biggest grammatical pet peeves. I know I am being pedantic, but it drives me crazy:

    “some makeup and looses the Impala v SS aesthetics battle.”

  • avatar

    the best joke in the world isn’t funny if it isn’t told properly. the best car in the world won’t sell if it’s not marketed properly. under GM management, this car is doomed.

  • avatar

    Hey! It’s Zackman day at TTAC!

  • avatar
    SMIA1948

    The problem with the Buick LaCross is that its trunk is much too small for a car of its size.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Putting the coolant tank right next to the brake reservoir is asking for trouble. Good thing the government takes such an interest in the color of brake fluid.

    Can you turn off that neon strip on the dashboard? I hate this as much as that red border on the Dart.

    • 0 avatar
      Monty

      It’s an option – comes with the premium audio and wheel package. Good question, though, can it be turned off. I would find it annoying at night on the highway, as I like to drive with the dashlights turned down so I can barely see the instrument cluster as it improves my vision to concentrate on the road.

      • 0 avatar
        jpolicke

        The logic behind package is understood only by the marketing people who create them. Someone wants large diameter alloy wheels – then of course they want a high output audio system? And if they want that, then it naturally follows that they want their dashboard lit up like the Vegas strip.

      • 0 avatar
        ktm_525

        I wish more manufacturers concentrated on this. One of my favourite features of my Pontiac G8 GT is a “night” button which shuts off the lighting for everything aside from the speedo which can be reduced with the rheostat.

        I think Saab also used this?

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          My Grand Prix took it a step further, you could turn all inside lighting off at night and drive on the HUD alone. If a critical message comes up, the DIC would illuminate. It was tremendous for night vision on rural roads.

      • 0 avatar
        gmichaelj

        I think the light bar looks tacky; BUT, some hidden ambient lighting is nice for dark interiors. I had a black on black Mustang interior, and things would get “lost” at night

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Well…I first have to ask you Alex if you are a Chevy fan and allow for a bit of anti Ford or Chrysler to slip in? For instance you mentioned how the rear floor hump is lower than the Ford or 300,but perhaps this is due to the AWD offered in them.
    The Low roof is strange considering the overall monster size of the car. Both Chrysler and Ford pull this off and allow for some pretty nice headroom in the rear.
    I don’t recall the trunk space of the 300…but the Taurus offers 19 sq ft….a whole 2 more than this very large Impala.

    I must say…zero to sixty in 5.5 is pretty damned impressive…almost feels untrue. THe MKS with twin turbos does it in 5.6. And I like this NOT for red light racing, Alex…but pulling out onto 55 MPH roads from my street. I need to get up out of the way in a hurry. This is impressive, if true.

    A last note…I wish they would quit with the in dash GPS. Just give me a large back up camera and leave the nav to me or just add to the mirror. It gets soooo old so fast. Another 200 update every 2 years.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      Funny you ask. If I had to say, I would call myself more of a Ford fan than a GM fan although I used to be Mopar all the way in the 90s.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        OK…I believe you. But IS the XTS AWD rear floor bump larger? I am not sure…but I don’t think the XTS has AWD as well. This would allow for the lower hump.

        Another thought I had was the bashing Ford always gets with the MKS/Taurus. Isn’t GM really doing this with the Caddy and the Chevy? Isn’t this the Taurus of the two? The poor guys XTS?

        Not that I don’t agree to some degree. I do wish Ford had left the Fivehundred alone and made its own style stand. The MKS would have been more accepted IF the Taurus had not come along with the likeness a year later.

        • 0 avatar
          Alex L. Dykes

          I could be wrong here, but according to my notes, yes, the XTS has a bigger hump than the Impala. I like the MKS, but I have to admit the Taurus is a better deal. In defence of the MKS, at least it doesn’t get as expensive as the XTS.

  • avatar
    Monty

    This is the General Motors we knew existed outside of the bean-counters and sclerotic bureaucracy. Where the engineers and stylists get the final input into what gets into the showroom.

    From CR – “With its 2014 redesign, the Chevrolet Impala has been dramatically transformed from a woefully uncompetitive and outdated model — one that was to be avoided even as a free upgrade at the rental-car counter — into a thoroughly modern and remarkably enjoyable car. This phoenix-like rise has propelled it from the bottom of our large-sedan ratings to being one of the top-scoring cars we’ve tested overall. And in the process, it’s now reclaimed a stature befitting such a classic nameplate.”

    I cannot recall the last time a Chevrolet was bestowed with such effusive praise. CR found very little wrong with the car, and stated “Overall, the Impala is now a world-class sedan that outscores luxury-brand sedans costing $20,000 more.” as the final line in the review.

    From reading all the reviews, Chevrolet has a winner that will rightfully conquest sales from the competition. GM is starting to hit more than miss, and the competition better start watching out, because GM looks to be hitting home-runs and grand-slams for the upcoming launches.

    I told Mrs. Monty that we’re going to do some test drives next weekend, and the Impala is top of the list. I’ve chosen the Cadenza, Camry, Charger, 5 Series and Jag F-Type for our weekend of fun. We may throw in a couple of other cars time permitting.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    The W body Impala had/has (for those of you still unfortunate enough to get a fleet edition) an interior of a pickup truck. Honestly, a car with the same plastics and surfaces of a work truck is pretty embarrassing for the price. It WAS/IS roomy in the sense of “here’s a big flat cloth chair for your big fat flat American ass.” It also came with a V8, which shockingly didn’t deliver the torque steer or accleration you’d think it would (I guess that’s a win-lose, right?).

    The new car at least resembles something from this century and has interior content and appearance comparable to whatever competition you’d think this car apparently has… such as the “they still sell that?” Taurus SHO (didn’t that have a Yamaha lawnmower engine?) and worst of all the LaCrosse–which apparently is slightly better.

    Another home-run for GM!

    Go team USA!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Yes, GM has quite a hit on its hands, and already I’ve seen several of them around town, mostly upper-level LTs or LTZs. This makes up for whatever (irreparable) shortcomings were made with the Malibu. It is worth noting that the same “rebadged” infotainment system is found in the 2014 Silverado and Sierra, in which I found it to be no trouble whatsoever. They also have the same wide LCD screen in the instrument cluster. My one point of contention is that steering-wheel-hub, which looks like an S-Class knockoff.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    If I was a dedicated GM man I’d buy the Impala over the XTS or LaCrosse (unless I had to have AWD). Alex is right that the Impala wears its sheet metal better than the XTS and the LaCrosse looks even more “squished” in the greenhouse department than the Impala.

    However, if I was a dedicated “Buy American” kind of guy (lets not argue about the origin of the cars, Buy American is the best shorthand I could come up with) it would be hard for me to choose the Impala over the 300 based on RWD driving dynamics alone. But I know I am an enthusiast and in the minority among the buying public in caring which wheels are driven.

    If I am someone who simply wants a large sedan and I don’t care who makes it, well the $30,000 price point suddenly got very interesting. This segment is the best it has been in years when you look at everyone’s offerings.

  • avatar
    mored

    You might want to double check some of your specs. The trunk space (according to Edmunds) is 16 cu. ft. on the Avalon. It is the Avalon hybrid that is only rated at 14 cu. ft. I looked in the trunk of the Impala in a showroom – it was huge. Combine the size with the fact that the back seats fold down (not a feature offered on the Avalon) and there is more storeage space than our first house.

  • avatar
    old5.0

    Saw a black LTZ in person last week. I didn’t get up close and personal with it, but I was still impressed. It just looks premium, unlike the last car, which looked… well, rental. Of course, I also like the Taurus which puts me in the minority around here.

    The only gripe I have is inside. First, who thought the moustache on the steering wheel was a good idea? Second, the gauges. The housing itself is fine, but the facings scream “93 Lumina!!!” Maybe they look better in person, but they appear shockingly cheap in the pics I’ve seen.

  • avatar
    bardrissel

    Just rented a new Impala LT this weekend, they did a really good job with this car. It’s hard to objectively quantify, but the Impala is just really attractive and satisfying see and drive. I think it looks best in dark blue. It’s a shame you can’t opt for the Impala’s body with the interior from the XTS…

    I have to say, I have read a lot of complaints at TTAC regarding the CUE system. Just for the record, I have never experienced any problem with CUE, or the similar system in the new Impala. I rent a lot and I have used CUE on a few 2013 SRX’s… In my experience, CUE worked flawlessly. It is infinitely better than My Ford Touch (that is the system I think of when I think of ‘buggy’), Infiniti’s system and Toyota’s (why are the graphics so cheap/poorly resolved on the Japanese systems?)
    In my experience, CUE is right up there with Chrysler’s UConnect. I actually found the Bluetooth pairing process to be easier with Cue/MyLink, because it doesn’t require you to physically enter a pin.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Me thinks, that after a lot of prodding, and shaking, and a liberal application of “artificial resuscitation” ,the giant finally woke up!

    . Look out competition! The big fella is really hungry.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    When I test-drove the LaCrosse, I liked the way it went down the road, but what killed it for me was the driving position. I’m 6’2″ with big feet, and three specific problems were all deal-breakers:

    1) Like a lot of current cars, the console intruded on my right knee.

    2) The lumbar support pad was poorly located, too intrusive and couldn’t be retreated enough to keep me from getting a backache within 10 minutes (in the showroom, before I even took the test drive!).

    3) The brake pedal was located too far to the right, unlike any other modern car I’ve ever driven, and my shoe got caught behind the brake pedal when I tried to move from the gas to the brake. That’s not just unergonomic, it’s downright dangerous.

    I’ve been puzzled that I’ve never heard anybody else echo this last complaint (many have made the first comment about various cars, and USA Today’s Healey did mention the second one). If the Impala, XTS and LaCrosse are close platform mates, Impala would presumably have the same problem. Has any driver noticed one way or the other?

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      I’m a big 6’2″ fellow as well, and have rented both of these cars for a week or so. I don’t specifically remember a brake pedal issue in the LaCrosse, but it sounds vaguely familiar. The Impala definitely had no such issues in my time with it.

      I know they’re the same platform, but somehow the interior on the Impala feels significantly roomier than either the Lacrosse or XTS. Just wish it had the extendable seat bolster of the XTS…

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      It’s really interesting that you’ve had this issue, because GM actually used Shaquille O’Neal in the ads for the LaCrosse…

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        Saw that, Kyree.

        C/D recently got a 7-foot stand-in (sit-in?) to verify the claim. He fit in the LaCrosse.

        All I know is what my back, knee and work boot told me. (I wear size 15′s.)

        The lumbar support, of course, isn’t a roominess issue. And as for the right knee, you can avoid the problem simply by backing up the driver’s seat so much that you straighten out your leg — which this platform evidently has enough room to allow for. Of course, once you’re sitting that far away, you’d best have arms as long as Shaq’s to reach the steering wheel.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        I believe the LaCrosse is more laid out for the ladies, and beyond the Shaq, who is dressed so non-threateningly, metro-sexual in the ads, is more marketed towards the fairer sex. Heels make shoes even smaller in length and could be the motivation of moving the brake closer to the accelerator.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      I just finished having a Buick Lacrosse for two weeks as a rental. I would agree with points 1 and 2, but I can’t say I noticed any issue at all with the brake pedal placement. I drove a lot of winding roads and dense urban traffic but never had any issue finding the brake.

      The car was certainly quiet and powerful. That V6 engine is very impressive once you get it revving, but I was less enthused with the transmission. But the main thing was for such a large car the driver space didn’t really feel spacious, and I constantly fiddled with the seat adjustments but never succeeded in actually getting comfortable. And the visibility was horrible, as it is with so many new cars these days.

      They certainly got a lot of things right with the car, but ultimately it wasn’t something I’d buy.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    still…I find it had to accept this 5.52 zero to sixty time.
    Call me crazy…but it just seems wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Having experienced the 3.6V6+6-speed in a W-body Impala let me tell you that the engine transmission combo is nothing short of awesome. I lay the responsibility for that 0-60 squarely at the feet of the transmission. Remember that the 0-60 time improves considerably in a Charger with Chrysler’s latest V6 when going from the 5-speed to the 8-speed transmission.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        glad to hear this is for real.
        I love the ecoboost engines for their initial force…and am happy to hear this is here reached without turbo. Not sure about the long term live of the turbos and like the fact my love of low end power is gotten even with this car’s size.
        Then again…my MKS seems a bit heavier than these. Alex says GM hasn’t given exact weights but then the car is listed at around 3800.
        The MKS and others are much heavier (thinkin 4500) and AWD…so not sure this power can be acheived without some kind of help.

        And why aren’t these large GM cars getting AWD? Seems like north of the frost line folks would be wanting it.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          If you want AWD Epsilon II GM would show you a Buick Lacrosse or a Cadillac XTS. GM wants it to be a “premium feature” not available on the Impala.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            It sort of makes sense. GM has to give the LaCrosse *some* kind of advantage, because it’s not got much else going for it compared to the Impala and XTS, even after you take the upcoming 2014 refresh into account…

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Might make me want the old model…sounds like a first class sleeper to me.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          It is. The W-Impala with the 3.6 drove like the best aspects of the old B-body to me. Soft riding, ate up the Interstate and no one paid any attention to me.

          Would I want to buy one new? No. But given that ones with 30,000 to 40,000 miles are selling on Auto Trader for 50% MSRP, then it becomes attractive as a road warrior car.

          Steve Lang would write about customers who used to have him search out old GM H-bodies for a job where they drove many thousands of miles per year. I predict that those customers will be searching for the last of the W-bodies for the same reason.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Would make a very desirable coupe, if they decided to make one. Yes, I know, the Camaro and all that and who buys full size coupes anymore?

    I would.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I finally figured out what this looks like, it’s those last few saabs that rolled out the dealerships, the more I look at it the more Saab-like it gets, and not in a bad way.

    Looks like an excellent job was done, everything seems quite impressive, but if I was in the market, the 392 Charger wouldn’t have to worry about anything for competition. RWD V8 wins hands down.

    Too bad they didn’t just put this body on the same platform as the SS.

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      I think I know what you’re referring to – The profile is generally “thicker” in the front half and tapers toward the rear.

    • 0 avatar
      Monty

      The wide hips and tall haunches, with the rise beginning out of the mid-point of the rear door, is also very reminiscent of the “coke bottle” form of late 60′s and early 70′s Chevrolets.

      In person it’s a very handsome car and attracts attention. The proportions are the best out of Chevrolet in a few decades.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Its good to see that market for full size sedans has become so competitive. Only a year ago there was not much to get excited over (unless you were a fleet buyer) and now the new entrants seem hell-bent on putting luxury can makers on notice. I like.

  • avatar
    dtremit

    Having just rented one of these, I agree with most of your conclusions — though the one thing you’ll not see in a review sample is the poor fit and finish these interiors are being delivered with. Several pieces of the interior trim were misaligned on my car; the worst was the grille over the center speaker position, which was proud of the dash by almost 1cm at one corner.

    I also think the steering wheel is possibly the worst I’ve seen in years — hideous (it looks like some kind of weird pleather crab) and the buttons on the front feel incredibly cheap.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Like the review overall…did you drive the four cylinder model, by chance?

    But this line killed me…”The problem isn’t panel gaps or seams, it’s certain design choices coupled with plastics choices. The air vents you see in the center if the dash and the climate control bank are cast out of hard plastic and look cheap…”

    C’mon, Alex…really? You’re dinging the car because it has hard plastic on its air vents and buttons? What would be better – unobtainium?

    How about this: “The hard plastic vents and buttons are expected on cars at this price point, but you can find better examples of how to execute this.”

    As far as the ride of the Impala versus the XTS is concerned, I bet the XTS had the optional 20 inch tires, versus 19 inch for this Impala.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      I stick by that like, you don’t find the same thing going on in the 300, Avalon or even the Buick LaCrosse. It is something a number of passengers commented on when the got in the car.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        My bet is that all those other cars had hard plastic parts too; if they didn’t, then I stand corrected.

        But if all those other cars had parts made from similar materials that just looked or functioned better, then the more accurate approach would be to frame your criticism that way. Otherwise, you’re holding one car to one standard, and the others to another standard. That opens you up to looking biased.

        I can’t help this kind of stuff…it’s my inner journalism major. Take it or leave it.

        Don’t let my nitpicking distract from the overall quality of the review, though – it was good stuff.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    I gotta admit, Alex, every time you wear that Laguna Seca shirt I ask myself, “Why does Alex have a Marge Simpson shadow profile on his shirt?”

    Another excellent piece and I would point out to the rather snarky comments made last week that Alex did in fact incorporate those suggestions into this Impala review.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      I always thought it looked like Queen Nefertiti.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I am one of those who bluntly criticized Alex for not reporting/commenting on ride quality or NVH in enough detail last week (regarding the Acura RXL review).

        There is NOTHING more satisfying as a reader than knowing that a writer listens to complaints, interprets them as constructive criticisms, and then seizes on them to refine his future reviews into something even more complete & more informative.

        A lesser and lazy reviewer would have chosen the easy path & ignored such criticism, but not Alex.

        Great review, and great photos (as always).

        The car looks awesome in that shade of blue, IMO, I am amazed GM got the curb weight down to well under 4,000 pounds, and the fact this is as quiet, interior wise, as it is, is encouraging.

  • avatar
    84Cressida

    Like a lot of recent American cars, it’s too fat and bloated looking. I’m sure it’s a decent car, but the styling is a huge turn off. Say what you will about the old W pile of trash, but at least it isn’t bloated.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Although I’m generally part of the GM Haters Club, I like the styling on this car, and a few of their others lately.

    Oh, and finally here’s a car with more combined legroom than my former xB1.

    Having just built one online, it’s hard to believe you can push an Impala beyond $44k. Wow.

  • avatar
    Terry

    I realize I’m 2 years older than dirt…(61)
    But is this really a Chevrolet? What specifically is Chevy about it?
    When I hear the word “Chevrolet” the 1st thing that comes to mind is my uncle’s ’63 SS409, the back of my 11 year-old head being slammed into the rear seat speaker grill on hard acceleration.
    Mid to late ’60s Novas, Chevelles, Camaros, and yes, IMPALAS were Chevrolets. These days? Not so much…

  • avatar
    deanst

    its great that the car is getting such good reviews, but i could never get used to the hideous interior – is that a large melting caramel on the dash top? And what blind designer thought that the steering wheel looks attractive? YIKES!

    (I say this as someone who has owned more GM cars than any other brand.)

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Sweet… found a 4 cyl. in Silver Topaz Metallic 50 miles from me. Should still be there by Friday (ya think?) when I can check it out.

    I *have* to compare this with my Camry ’cause I find this Impala gorgeous. Just wish the greenhouse were taller…

  • avatar
    340-4

    I test drove a handful – and almost bought – the revered 1996 Impala SS back in the day. I’ll never forget how amazing that car felt – going from 1968 to 1996 was a shock. Were it not for the bowel-churning dealership experiences, I might have done it. RWD would have been terrifying in my local winter weather, so I look back glad that I didn’t.

    Fast forward to now. I’ve driven a few of the ’14′s so far, and I can confirm the contents of this review and the general accolades on the web and in print.

    It’s a nice car. Solid, comfortable, planted, fast, roomy, you name it. It’s expensive but doesn’t feel or look overpriced.

    My only complaint – the lack of flexibility in optioning one out. Expensive option packages must come together. That’s a bad move, IMHO.

  • avatar
    Aleister Crowley

    Excellent and very thorough review of the 2014 Impala. My only (very small) criticism is that you used the word “attractive” a few too many times in the beginning of the review. On the plus side, having the caption to skip ahead if you didn’t want to hear about the infotainment
    system was a great idea, as well as the split screen in the final segment while you drove on the mountain roads. (That did add a bit of tension, since I was worried you were going to hit someone as you were talking while driving. Very suspenseful.) Excellent job overall.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I love big, smooth cruisers. I should love the Impala. In every mechanical sense it’s the best sedan that GM has sold in years, G8 excepted because for all intents and purposes they didn’t want to sell it.

    But I can’t get past the function that they styled out. The ridiculous beltline and everything that comes with it. The colossal trunk that barely has a back deck because the fast back glass won’t let it. The stubby nose. The zamboni front fascia with a 12 degree approach angle to scrape every curb.

    At the end of the day it’s a modern car, and I hate them.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      I agree with everything you said but what’re ya gonna do?
      Eventually you’ve gotta buy new ’cause the good old stuff degenerates.

      I am particularly obsessed with the front fascia issue because in snow country they instantly become shovels flimsier than anything sold at a dollar store.

      But I find the new Impala’s less egregious this way than the new Avalon’s that give you little platforms in front of the running/fog lights with acutely-angled corners sure to freeze, dig in and snap off.

      Toyota dumber than Chevy. What next? Michael Moore fitness classes?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Great review as always Alex – some feedback.

    It seems as though there is this requirement for all reviewers to complain about hard plastic on touch surfaces and/or is disconnected numb electric steering. It reaches a point, probably because every reviewer, be it a Chevy Spark LS or an Audi R8 GT will complain about use of hard plastic.

    For me, I get it, every car has some hard plastic that doesn’t belong. It just feels like “me too” writing because I can’t think of a review written on any vehicle in the last five years that doesn’t complain about interior materials or electric steering.

    Not personally at you – just an observation.


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