By on December 29, 2015

2016 Chevrolet Impala V6-004

2016 Chevrolet Impala 2LT

3.6-liter DOHC V-6, direct injection, CVVT (305 horsepower @ 6,800; 264 lbs-ft @ 5,200)

Six-speed automatic

19 city/29 highway/22 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

21.8 (Observed, MPG)

Base Price: $27,970*

As Tested: $31,950*

* Prices include $875 destination charge

The Impala exists in an odd segment of its own. The full-sized Chevy is one of the largest sedans on sale in America, yet its base engine is only a 2.5-liter four cylinder. Based on the pricing and feature options, the Impala is designed to be a semi-step above the Malibu, yet the number of true competitors the Impala has is extremely small. That’s because GM’s philosophy in the large sedan segment is different from the rest. Most of its competitors have two entries in this segment: one mass-market option and one luxury option. GM, however, slices its pie three ways with the Chevy Impala, Buick LaCrosse and Cadillac XTS.

That puts the Impala in the dubious position of the least expensive option in GM’s full-sized portfolio. It also means the Impala’s full-sized competition narrows to just the Taurus and the Charger. Why? Because the real competitor to the Chrysler 300, Hyundai Azera, Kia Cadenza, Acura RLX and most trims of the Toyota Avalon isn’t the Impala, but the Buick LaCrosse. Meanwhile, top-end trims of the RLX, Cadenza, Azera, Chrysler 300 and Lexus ES cross shop with the Cadillac.

Has GM sliced things just a little bit too fine with the Impala? Let’s find out.

Exterior
To my eye, the Impala is the most attractive of GM’s full-sized triplets.

The current LaCrosse is a hair too bubbly and the XTS’s proportions seem awkward thanks to the Caddy being longer but not wider than the others. For the Impala, Chevy borrowed cues from Cadillac’s Art and Science theme and a bit of last-generation Camaro when crafting the angular and aggressive front end. The look is more exciting than the Avalon and Taurus, and just a hair behind the Charger’s new nose in my book.

Sadly, it seems the sheetmetal budget was spent by the time designers got to the rear. Like many of Chevy’s crossovers, the Impala has a Plain Jane rear end with hidden exhaust tips and large flat surfaces. That said, the Impala has aged better than I thought it would since it was redesigned, and I’d place it just behind the refreshed Chrysler 300 in the aesthetics department.

It may not be obvious in pictures, but the Impala is big. Really big. At 201.3-inches long, this Chevy is 3-inches longer than the Dodge Charger and a full foot longer than a Toyota Camry. Unlike the discontinued Chevrolet SS or the large Chryslers, the Impala is a front-wheel-drive sedan with unmistakable front-wheel-drive proportions. The low front end, short hood and long passenger compartment may not be as imposing as the Chrysler 300’s muscle car profile, but it translates directly to an enormous cabin.

2016 Chevrolet Impala V6-015

Interior
The Impala’s interior is reminiscent of GM’s full-size SUVs in theme, but its variation in interior part quality is what really struck me.

The center air vents and their housings are oversized and cast out of a plastic that doesn’t match anything other than the similarly large and questionable plastic part around the climate control. What makes the quality of these parts vexing is not the parts themselves, but the fact that everything else in the Impala’s cabin is executed with a high level of polish. The stitched instrument cluster cover and trim over the infotainment system are perfect. The steering wheel feels substantial and reminiscent of the last Mercedes S-Class. The door panels are well trimmed in soft plastic. Overall, there’s less hard plastic in this cabin than in a Camcord. The average component in this cabin feels more luxurious than the Dodge Charger or the Ford Taurus. The trouble for Chevy is those cars do a better job of keeping the cheaper bits away from your reach, whereas the Impala shines a spotlight on them.

Redeeming the Impala is an interior that’s enormous. The front seats are large and comfortable, coming in just below the top-end seats in the LaCrosse, Cadenza and Taurus, which is impressive since you have to pay considerably more for the top-end thrones in those models. Sadly, GM decided to remove four-way power lumbar support in the redesigned Impala, but these seats still top the Charger and 300 in general comfort.

2016 Chevrolet Impala V6-011

Although the Impala isn’t a great deal wider than your average Camcord, it’s notably longer. That’s obvious in the back seat where you find more than 5 inches of additional legroom versus the Camry. The astute among you may notice this doesn’t show up in the spec sheet as you’d expect. When considering legroom, it’s important to look at combined legroom (front plus rear) as well as the front and rear numbers individually to get a complete picture. The Impala’s front seats offer a wide range of motion and accommodate taller drivers with ease. Moving the seats to a position that’s comfortable for my six-foot frame (so my feet are on the floorboards) results in limo-like room in the back. In fact, the Impala’s total legroom figures are just 2/10ths of an inch behind the recently stretched BMW 7-Series.

Although GM’s engineers honestly wasted a great deal of room by using tubular hinges and squaring off the cargo area so the hinges don’t interfere with your cargo loading, the Impala will still hold 18.8 cubic feet of your stuff in the trunk. That beats most entries with the exception of the Taurus that uses “hidden hinges” to swallow an additional 1.3 cubic feet.

2016 Chevrolet Impala V6-023

Infotainment
The high point for the Impala’s interior is GM’s latest infotainment system. Yep, that’s right, this software has come a long way.

The software used in the Impala is based on Cadillac CUE, with a few changes to separate the rabble from the upper crust. The XTS’s system features a capacitive touchscreen like your iPad or Android tablet, while the Chevy system makes do with a resistive touchscreen like your old Palm Pilot. The proximity sensor is also removed in the name of cost savings. Thankfully, the touchscreen itself is the only real wrinkle. The software is much snappier and more reliable than when it launched. The optional navigation interface still seems a little old school, but the input method is now more natural and allows you to just type in “123 Main St Brisbane California.” The system will decipher your meaning and give you options based on your input.

Also notably different since the last time we sampled this system is Apple CarPlay integration. (Android Auto will be available via a software update in March.) This makes the Impala and its Buick sistership the first full-sized sedans to offer this new level of smartphone integration. All models with the 8-inch LCD get the feature and the more I use it, the more I like the concept. Instead of paying extra for the full navigation software that I don’t find terribly attractive, you just use what’s on your phone already. GM also bundles OnStar with the Impala, as it does with all of its cars these days, and you can use the OnStar-served turn-by-turn directions if you so choose.

2016 Chevrolet Impala V6-027

Drivetrain
Under the hood you’ll find an engine lineup that’s more mid-sized than full-sized. Things start out with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 196 horsepower and 186 lbs-ft of torque. Since last year, GM has been equipping this engine with a start/stop system standard to boost city mileage, but you should know this isn’t their eAssist “mild hybrid” system which has been dropped. The optional engine is GM’s ubiquitous 3.6-liter V-6 in a 305 horsepower, 264 lbs-ft of torque tune. Both engines are mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic transaxle sending power solely to the front wheels. If you want AWD in a GM body, you need to go up to the LaCrosse.

New for 2016 is a 3.6-liter V-6 engine capable of running off either compressed natural gas or gasoline via a twin-tank setup. The gasoline tank is in the usual place delivering over 300 miles of range, while the CNG cylinder occupies nearly half the trunk and is good for 150 miles.

Before you get too excited, you should keep a few things in mind.

First, it won’t qualify for California’s HOV stickers like Honda’s CNG Civic. Second, it’s 23-percent more expensive than the standard 3.6-liter V-6. And lastly, output drops from 305 horsepower to 260 when running on gasoline and sinks an additional 30 horsepower further on CNG. Torque drops similarly from 264 lbs-ft to 247 or 218 depending on the fuel.

2016 Chevrolet Impala V6-017

Drive
Although the Impala is one of the largest front-wheel-drive sedans in America, it’s not as heavy as you might think. With a curb weight of 3,800 pounds, the V-6 Impala is a scant 200 pounds more than a V-6 Accord, but an all-important 200 pounds lighter than a six-cylinder Charger or 300. (The Impala is also a hair lighter than a Chrysler 200 V-6.) The lighter weight and stout 305 horsepower allow the Impala to drive smaller than it is. Acceleration in our tester was brisk, running from 0-60 mph in 6.0 seconds. Braking was equally impressive, taking just 124 feet to stop from 60 to zero. That’s shorter than the 2016 Honda Accord EX we tested recently. The era of large sedans feeling like boats out on the open road is over with the Impala’s suspension tuned more like the Accord than a 1970s land yacht. It’s also worth noting the 38.8 foot turning circle is actually smaller than that of the Accord Touring.

While GM still needs to fine tune the Impala’s interior, they really know how to design a front-wheel-drive suspension. Handling is excellent even without the Hi-Per Strut suspension that is optional in the Buick and standard in the Cadillac. Aided by standard 235 width tires, the Impala will eat up your favorite winding mountain road with greater enthusiasm than your average midsize sedan. Many shoppers seem to be under the impression that jumping from a Camcord-sized car to a Taurus/Impala sized sedan would result in poorer handling, but that’s not the case. Thanks to the lighter curb weight and tires that are two-sizes larger than the base Dodge Charger, the Impala out handles the price-comparable Dodge. To top it all off, we averaged a very similar 22 mpg in mixed driving, even though the Impala has wider tires and two fewer gears than the Charger.

2016 Chevrolet Impala V6-021

Pricing
The folks that get to figure out the pricing charts at GM have a tough job. The Impala’s mission is to be one of the least expensive big sedans in America without stepping on the toes of the mid-sized Malibu or the closely related LaCrosse. With the Malibu starting at $21,625, the Impala beginning at $27,095, and the LaCrosse stickering for $31,065, the first hurdle seems to be cleared until you look under the hood. Remember that four-cylinder engine? That’s a problem. The Taurus gets a 288 horsepower V-6 for essentially the same price as the four-pot Impala. The Dodge gets 292 ponies and rear-wheel drive for $900 more. By the time you add the V-6 to the Impala, you’re at $30,435, making it more expensive than a comparably equipped Dodge or Ford.

Because Chevy isn’t supposed to step on Buick’s toes too heavily, the Impala tops out at around $40,000 and doesn’t offer the fancy front suspension, optional all-wheel drive or the mild hybrid. But the Impala’s real problem can be seen in the comparison to the LaCrosse. The Impala ends up more expensive than the competition when configured comparably, but the LaCrosse ends up being one of the best deals. If you want the V-6 (and trust me, you do), the Buick is just $630 more expensive. Piling on, the Buick includes $1,500 more standard equipment — such as an 8-inch LCD instrument cluster, power passenger seat, and auto dimming mirrors (among others) — and makes the Buick effectively less expensive than the Chevy. If that’s not enough, the Buick offers a slightly more premium brand and a longer warranty.

2016 Chevrolet Impala V6-002

A serious redesign is coming to the LaCrosse for 2017, and possibly some updates to the Impala, as well. However, I’m not sure they will improve much for the Chevy. The 2017 Buick LaCrosse will be adding a more refined cabin, refreshed exterior and GM’s new eight-speed automatic, which should improve both fuel economy and acceleration. And yet most experts seem to agree that the LaCrosse’s price tag is only going to grow by a small amount. Considering the major upgrades to the Buick, the value proposition of the Impala could actually get worse.

After a week with the Impala, I started to question its existence. It’s not that the Impala is a bad car on its own. It’s that Chevy’s full-sized sedan doesn’t exist in a vacuum. If the Impala’s price tag started midway between the Malibu and the LaCrosse, it’d be a steal. As it is, however, the Impala is often sitting on the same lot as the LaCrosse, which offers more refinement, more comfort, better handling, a longer warranty for $630 bucks and a trunk that’s a few cubes smaller — and that’s in the LaCrosse’s current form. Until GM adjusts the Impala’s MSRP down $5,000 or goes back to a simple badge engineered LaPala, the Chevy is destined to play second fiddle to its Buick cousin.

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

Specifications as tested

0-30 mph: 2.4 seconds

0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds

1/4 mile: 14.6 seconds @ 95 mph

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107 Comments on “2016 Chevrolet Impala Review – Buick’s Second Fiddle (Video)...”


  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    I haven’t driven the LaCrosse to compare its handling, but I was very impressed by the overall drive quality of an Impala rental I had recently. The exterior looks good to my eyes, and while the interior is a bit busy for me, it’s positively CAVERNOUS and comfortable to boot.

    Well done, Chebby!

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I really want to like this car, the looks have grown on me and 1-2 year old used cars look like incredible values. But a few things kill it for me: That low hanging schnoz will get torn up in no time. Secondly, I still have some uneasy feelings about GM’s LFX 3.6L for longer term ownership. Considering how long it is, I feel like that 18.8 cu ft trunk should be even larger. American car makers can never seem to quite match the Japanese for packaging efficiency.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I don’t fault the trunk size, when you consider overall length and leg room, as well as styling constraints (sloped rear required).

      Holds more in the trunk than an old square Cadillac, which is actually 2″ longer.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I think I’m just bothered by the felt liners intruding in on so much potential space, for the sake of a tidy looking gooseneck hinge. Looks inefficient, but I’m sure they crammed a ton of sound insulation in the cavity so it’s not without benefit.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Time for someone to do some peeking and pull that felt back! I’m betting it’s largely hollow. Agree about the waste of covering the goosenecks. Everyone knows what they are anyway and should know by now to avoid putting luggage under them.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Agreed on the common sense assumed in knowing how to pack a trunk. My favorite game of ‘trunk-tetris’ was with a rental Lada 2107 sedan in 2006. We had 5 full grown men and 5 ~40lb packs to fit in this car the size of a Honda Civic but with old school rwd packaging. We miraculously managed to get 4 of the packs in the trunk and slammed it shut, the sheetmetal was quite literally bulging slightly. The fifth pack we ended up laying across our laps in the back seat. Man that poor car really took a beating in the steppe, and never let us down thankfully.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            Pulling back the heather gray covering you’ll find a slathering of trowled is sound insulation. GM is about the best in the business at any level in keeping thing quiet and comfy.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      Good point about the LFX V6. It has been replaced by the LGX in Cadillacs and Camaro, which is an entirely different engine of just over 3.6l, while the LFX was just under.

      I wonder what this Impala and Lacrosse actually use?

      http://gmauthority.com/blog/2015/03/cadillac-rolls-out-new-3-6l-v6-engine-for-ct6-cts-ats/

      Perhaps because of the transverse engine in the Impala/LaCrosse, they just keep making the old one because it already fits.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Is that trunk 18 CuFt?
      Didn’t seem like it to me. The Taurus has 19 and seemed way larger.
      The Taurus rear seats are pretty large and always wonder where this anti Taurus interior comes from.
      It is a large living room couch rear seat.
      And its 4 turbo is way way better than this 4 offering.
      The Taurus is a better value.

      • 0 avatar
        morbo

        My anti-D4 Taurus bias comes from the front seat packaging. The center console and door handles intrude into my seating position, which coupled with uncomfortable seats (to me) make it a a no-go. It’s not the D4’s fault, since I’ve driven the Lincoln Taurus (MK123ABCwhatever) and it’s seating is just fine.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          They went for a cockpit like feeling when they refreshed the Taurus. They straight made a mistake with that. None of the other D-platform vehicles are that compromised packaging wise. Ford just doesn’t want to spend the money to fix a car they are going to kill off anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Mine comes from the horrid rental car experience I had. Was driving from LA to San Francisco in one. It was so awful from a seating position stand point, non-existent headlights, and ride, I was beaten to death. I stopped at the airport in Sacramento and told them I’ll take anything over it. I’ve never gotten rid of an operational rental mid-drive because it was so horrid in my life. I’ve never sat in a front cab in a modern car as uncomfortable as the Taurus was.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Until you drive both and compare them. The Impala is a much nicer car to live with on a daily basis than the cramped annoying Taurus, the Chevy has more V6 power, a more attractive and better designed interior, a superior infotainment setup with the clever storage behind the screen and more rear seat legroom. It also feels and drives more modern with the Taurus feeling clunkier over bumps. The Fords one small advantage is a slightly larger trunk but the Impalas is very useful.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          You can tell the Taurus is basically a six year old product that was an afterthought because Ford put more money into the D4 CUVs. They never fixed the issues because it will be dead soon.

          I’m sure the Taurus transaction price is much lower though. It also does offer AWD, which people seem to like.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I too really want to like this auto (and its ‘GM cousins) and hope they sell well.

    The back seat of the Taurus is too small for the size of the vehicle.
    Rear wheel drive (Charger) is better in good weather but a pain in the winter, and I have found too many new/younger drivers do not know how to react to bad conditions in rear wheel drive vehicles.

    However the light weight and wide tires (and as @gtemnykh noted) of the Impala do not make for something that you really want to drive in the winter.

    As for the Buick being a better deal “the Buick includes $1,500 more standard equipment — such as an 8-inch LCD instrument cluster, power passenger seat, and auto dimming mirrors”. Sorry but I am just not interested in power passenger seats, self dimming mirrors, etc.

    Why not put an extra $1,000 into better parts and materials, keep the MSRP the same and add $500 to the profit and/or negotiated price?

    Wouldn’t the resulting increase in reliability and longevity eventually add up to more sales and increased profits?

  • avatar

    I don’t like that groove over the rear wheel well. At first it circles the wheel then it awkwardly straightens outs. To me it throws off the entire design.

  • avatar
    LastCar

    The SS is not discontinued (yet), the 2016 model is being shipped to US as we speak. 2017 is unconfirmed.

  • avatar
    carr1on

    I recently test drove the Impala and really didn’t like the entry into the front seats. The roof line is low and the seats lower. The doors didn’t open very wide. I felt like I was bending in half to get in the drivers seat. I’m old-ish, fat, and have bad knees, so ingress is a big deal for me. Obviously YMMV.

    The back seats are huge. The drive was good. The infotainment system fine.

    But I don’t want to struggle to get inout of the car.

    Compare this with my current car: Ford CMAX. The CMAX door opens very wide, the seats are relatively high, which makes getting in or out easy. I’d much rather have the Impala for the creature comforts…

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “I’m old-ish, fat, and have bad knees, so ingress is a big deal for me.”

      We who would normally love this car are all in the same fix. I think it’s gorgeous but it’s still a modern sedan which means contortions to enter and exit as well as crap visibility.

      CAFE hates old people.

      • 0 avatar
        carr1on

        RideHeight, agreed. I don’t understand why ingress is so bad for sedans versus other vehicles like the CMAX or Altima. A car the size of the Impala should be easy to get in/out.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          There isn’t a car than has better ingress than a C-Max though. It’s everything that’s good about getting into a CUV, but lowered three inches so you don’t really step up, but in. The interior is almost identical to the Escape.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            This. I think you’ve already got as good as it gets for ingress these days, carr1on.

            I’ll just reiterate that Chevy has done a gorgeous thing with the Impala but that only makes it the handsomest of a dying genus.

  • avatar

    The biggest problem with the Impala is the lack of optional AWD.

    That leads me to believe that GM has gotten so stupid that they don’t even recognize their stupidity on paper before it hits the production stage.

    The Cadillac XTS is a “good car”. It checks plenty of luxury boxes and offers a soft, cushy ride. V6 with AWD is the way to go.

    Only the WORTHLESS “professional reviewers” on C&D who must have a “corner carving low mass car with a MANEWALLL” can find fault in the XTS – while simultaneously heaping praise on the CTS and ATS.

    Unfortunately, you’d have to spend tons more on an XTS to get the “Impala with AWD”. Cadillac’s styling gets dated quickly and their use of transverse mounted engines means you won’t be tuning anything if you got this car cheap and wanted to add more power to it.

    The Impala is a spacious car with decent build quality. I’d take it over an MKS or 300 simply for the interior space and the slower-to-obsolesce exterior design.

    Unfortunately, it’s the NEW HYUNDAI GENESIS that is everything the Impala is plus a bag of chips and even an optional V8.

    You’d also have to go to Hyundai to get a “proper Cadillac” since Cadillac refuses to build “proper Cadillacs” anymore.

    I have no doubt the Impala could probably outhandle the Charger. Thing is, only an absolute GM fanboy or gray-haired retiree would choose an Impala over a new Charger.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “I have no doubt the Impala could probably outhandle the Charger.”

      I’d be a bit surprised if it did, at least universally. I test drove the Impala V6 last year when I was shopping and both the Genesis and Charger had a lot more edge than the Chevy.

      So either GM did some good tweaking for 2016 or Alex is just comparing to the basic Charger SE trim.

      And, I’d like the XTS a lot more if the exterior styling gave it some presence.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        The base SE Charger and up-level SXT trim levels use smaller 17″ tires and don’t feel as confidence inspiring as the Impala which uses 18″ rubber, even on the base LS trim level. I have driven many Chargers and Impala’s and the GM sedans have a better ride/handling balance than the older designed Charger/300 in lower trim levels. Moving up to the AWD Chargers/300 forces even larger 19″ rubber with optional 20″ and that takes away some of the ride quality and quietness so I agree with this reviewer that the Impala gets the nod on suspension design.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          My Charger has 18s and I preferred its ride to the Impala on 19s but it wasn’t a run away. Road noise-wise they were about the same at cruise (and both were a bit louder than the Cadenza or Genesis).

          The suspension on the Impala was fine, but where the Charger really beat it was the steering. I thought the steering in the Dodge was heavier and more “deliberate” (if that makes sense) compared to the Chevy. Really, the Regal GS with the Sport or “GS” button active has the steering feel and weight most similar to the Charger RT I ended up with. I tend to like GM cars so if the Regal was available with a V6 it might have been what I bought.

          The Regal, Genesis, and Charger just had a better comfort/performance balance for me compared to the Impala or LaCrosse (so that’s why I’m a bit surprised to see the Impala’s dynamics praised here).

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      “Unfortunately, it’s the NEW HYUNDAI GENESIS that is everything the Impala is plus a bag of chips and even an optional V8.”

      I really like the Genesis, but it’s also eight grand more than the Impala. Not that it’s not worth that eight grand and more, but I’m not sure how much cross-shopping is going to be going on.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I don’t think the Impala buyer is quite the same as the Genesis buyer. Though it’s indeed very obvious that they’ve MASSIVELY improved the Genesis. Their V8 also puts out some impressive numbers, and I’m glad it’s N/A.

        • 0 avatar
          PeriSoft

          “I don’t think the Impala buyer is quite the same as the Genesis buyer.”

          I’m a potential Genesis buyer and I’m definitely not an Impala buyer. This Impala is a lot closer than others have been, but it still just doesn’t interest me. I’d drop down a size and take a loaded up Optima over it in a heartbeat. The extra space just doesn’t matter that much.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      I worked for an organization this summer that had one XTS and a bunch of new Impalas in the fleet. The unanimous opinion of every single person who drove both was that the Impala had a nicer ride (probably because the XTS had bigger wheels). I wonder how many press-spec cars suffer from the same lack of sidewall – without a cushy ride, it really is a pointless car.

      Say what you will about the CTS and ATS as proper Cadillacs, but they’ve got things they sort of do right (even if no one cares anymore).

    • 0 avatar
      heoliverjr

      Lack of AWD is the only thing that makes the Impala miss my list of Legacy replacements. Wish GM would just let the pricing on the Lacrosse and Impala overlap some and give an AWD V6 Impala. The LaCrosse is nice and all but I’d rather have some LaCrosse options with Impala styling. Oh well.

    • 0 avatar
      mattmacklind

      I’m sure the new Genesis is great, but I would take a mildly used XTS over a used or new Impala post ’15. Seeing the XTS on the road and in motion, I think it has great presence.

      That massive rear haunch design element reaches its most acceptable extreme in the Lacrosse, in the Impala it looks positively cartoonish. The XTS manages to be completely without it and looks great.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      The Hyundai is a couple of ticks off of the Impala LTZ comparing MT’s figure-8 times. My XTS VSport on all season tires is almost a half second quicker in this metric. The AWD XTS VSport has torque vectoring and pounces like a cat in the wet weather. For $99.00 to HPTuners allows of torque management to be released on this GM 3.6 V6. And even more on the LF3/LF4 twin turbo as the LF4 is exceeding Hellcat with ATS-V running 10’s @ 130+ mph.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      That Genesis is overweight with an outdated powertrain. That V8 model doesn’t sell and frankly it gets full sized SUV fuel economy figures, an impressively bad 18mpg combined. And the AWD V6 versions of the Genesis are just as bad, it actually gets worse fuel economy than luxury SUVs like the RX350.
      I mean the friggin’ 600+ HP AWD Audi S8 Plus manages to get better fuel economy than the V8 Genesis.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      FTR I could be the guy to heap scorn on all three Cadillac models for different reasons.

      “You’d also have to go to Hyundai to get a “proper Cadillac” since Cadillac refuses to build “proper Cadillacs” anymore.”

      This is probably true.

  • avatar

    I really like Apple Carplay, but my question is…how will people feel when Carplay is in more cars and everyone’s radio center stacks look and operate the same way?

    Feels to me like laziness if you are simply building a screen and leaving the rest up to the manufacturer of the smartphone. It will do very well – since it charges your phone and simultaneously lets you use your Navigation app/iPod…but I can’t help but wondering what happens the software needs a hard reboot or crashes under load from having so many apps open simultaneously.

    I prefer a true Nav Unit. Carplay is nice in small economy cars like the Volt – which wouldn’t normally come with a Nav unit.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      WOW complete opposite view here. These OEMs can’t design a decent nav / audio interface so I prefer to use the one on my phone that I’m familiar with. That earns bonus points for those of us that often rent. Plus the phone’s software (and thus maps) get updates more often, the UI is always faster and better overall when it comes to multitasking or integration of services, especially when you can just use voice commands for everything. The phone can handle “text my wife I’m running late” as well as “find the nearest coffee place” in addition to “skip this song” during music playback. I think all OEMs should just install a screen an a USB port and be done with it, thus switching over to the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) system. Another advantage is not having to sync the phone data to the car, so when I remove my phone my data goes with me. Again this helps those who travel (and rent often), but it also helps if someone needs to borrow your car. Do you really want them seeing the last place you drove to under “recent destinations”?

      • 0 avatar
        smr1973

        What JMII said. Anybody who’s sat in a Ford running the engine for 40 minutes to “upgrade” Sync will happily stare at an Apple or Android car UI instead. What Big Truck is saying would make sense if any automaker had ever made an OEM Nav system that outdid Google Maps on any level. If you want differentiation, do it via capacitive vs. resistive screens, size and resolution.

        OEM Nav needs to die.

        • 0 avatar
          Japanese Buick

          In general I agree with the BYOD device idea but with one caveat: if you’re navigating with your phone you’re most likely using mobile data and not locally stored info. True that mobile data is more up to date but it’s not that rare for me to start Google Maps on my phone while in a traffic jam to look for alternate routing and it simply won’t load because of a weak coverage spot, or (more often) the cellular data network in that location is simply overwhelmed by everyone else in the traffic jam doing the same thing.

  • avatar
    TNJed

    The interior looks better in person than in photographs, but the office chair style woven nylon seat inserts and Aquafresh blue and red gauges cheapen it.
    As for the exterior, the Impala looks much better in darker colors, which seem to minimize the creases. A black 2LT, without the excess chrome and huge wheels of the LTZ, would be my choice.

  • avatar
    C P

    Go home GM, you’re drunk.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Personally – and I am biased towards the Chevy – this Impala is the most beautiful Impala since the 1972 models and I recently had an opportunity to drive one for a weekend while my 2012 Impala was in the dealer for a warranty repair of a barely leaking front engine cover.

    Needless to say, I absolutely LOVED the new Impala, and I would buy one, but my next car will be something smaller.

    Yes, I am a Chevy guy at heart and always will be.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      How do you feel about the awkward styling cut over the rear wheel, and the rather awful hood shut line?

      *Both these are improved with a darker color, I will say.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        If you are referring to the “hip” line, it would probably look nicer if the main character line extended all the way from front to rear staying straight, but my Impala has a similar “hip” line but barely noticeable.

        As for the hood opening – yeah, I find that odd, but I’d never work on the car if I had one anyway, but a different cut would accentuate the styling. That cut reminds me of a 1958 MGA!

        I wouldn’t dismiss the car for that, because it does add some style, and I’d be sorely tempted if one came along in dark red with a light-colored interior at the right price – the V6 would be mandatory, of course!

  • avatar
    nels0300

    I actually picked one of these over a Taurus at the rental counter not knowing that they came with a 4 cylinder. Of course, the one I picked had the 4 cylinder.

    Holy cripes was it slow, AND it had that clunky stop-start gizmo.

    I really, really regretted not getting the Taurus.

    When I got home, the Camry V6 felt like a Veyron.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I rode in one to lunch with the 4-cyl that was a rental. It was red with the black pleather + cloth. While the space inside was pretty impressive, the buzzy engine noise and constant drone was not.

      As we always say around here, a large car needs at least cylinders of six.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      That start-stop feature drives me nuts – I had a Malibu a few years ago as a loaner, and that is probably the sole reason I wouldn’t but a Malibu. I shudder over the reliability of it, although it was quite subtle, and I guess I could live with it if I had to.

      • 0 avatar
        zaxxon25

        The 2.0T Malibu does not have the stop-start, though what you get in HP and torque you give up in gas mileage. I’ve gotten some very strong low 30 runs in highway driving with my 2.0T, but nowhere near the 2.5’s ratings.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Ah yes, 0-60 in 8 seconds is pathetically and dangerously slow.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        We had a rental 2016 Malibu limited LT with the 2.5 and yes the stop start thing was a little annoying but we did not find this engine any more buzzy or noisy than competing 4 cylinder mid size rentals including a 2014.5 Camry, a 2014 Altima and 2015 Sonata rental. In fact the Chevy 2.5 felt much stronger than the Toyota, Nissan or Hyundai we had and provided very strong performance overall which is not surprising considering it puts out 191 LBS FT of torque which is much better than those others. The Impala uses the same engine and better gearing 3.23 vs 2.89 so that helps mask the 200 weight increase some. It offers more than enough power for 95% of the customers that order these cars.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “Meanwhile, top-end trims of the RLX, Cadenza, Azera, Chrysler 300 and Lexus ES cross shop with the Cadillac.”

    But the Cadillac is more expensive than it’s competitors because it’s entirely overpriced (and also hideous).

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Being $1000 overpriced can be mostly cured by incentives. It’s a lot harder to cure quality or performance shortfalls, but the Impala has been rated highly for quality and performance. I always thought that a small trunk was an unforgivable sin in the current generation LaCrosse. This is especially true in the mild-hybrid version. When my family of 4 took a vacation and rented a car a few years ago, there were only three “non-premium” vehicles available that could swallow our luggage: the previous generation Impala; the Chevy Captiva (rental only CUV) and the Mazda 5 (which has since been discontinued). We needed a true 20 cu-ft. If a company wants to sell more cars than their quality deserves, just build a cheap one with a 20 cu.ft. trunk. The rest of the car can be crap, but there will still be a need.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The fender crease over the rear door, when viewed from 3/4 angle like you had there – drives me nuts. It’s appalling.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      The entire rear end of this car is…difficult. The fender crease, the the contour lines all drawing the back of the car into a narrow taper when the front clip is the size of a bus…

      The Impala has some considerable strengths, but exterior styling is not one of them.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Seems to me that the Toyota comparison should be against the Avalon, not the Camry; the Camry’s competitive segment would be the Malibu.

    Speaking of the Malibu, and hoping for Chevrolet’s sake that the new one turns out to be all they want it to be, the Impala as it currently exists could go away and allow a domestically sourced SS derivative with V6/V8 power (and a lower price) compete against the likes of the Dodge Charger and cover the full-size segment. The Malibu should cover the heavy lifting in the D segment intermediate class.

    I’m sure this thought won’t materialize, but based on this analysis, the Impala, as it is, doesn’t seem to fit.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    A random thought: with GM starting to not put space saver tires on many of their newest cars, instead including a small pump/repair kit, what will folks in the ghetto do when their Wan-Li tire goes flat 10 years in the future? Can’t rock the space saver ad infinitum no mo’!!

    08-12 generation Malibus are starting to show up on the BHPH scene in force, the popular ‘mod’ seems to be to rip the surprisingly convincing faux-alloy hubcaps off, exposing the interesting looking stamped steel 5 spoke steelies underneath.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Well, I listened again after the seeing the review originally on Alex’s You Tube review and still come away convinced this car is in no way a better buy than the Ford Taurus.
    And I think Alex steers away from mentioning the Taurus in many direct comparisons in this review when in fact it is the better comparison, only mentioning a few times.
    And don’t get me wrong, Ales is one of my top 5 reviewers.
    The Taurus offers better everything.
    Even with the turbo 4 cylinder the Taurus is a better car.
    It looks better and has more cargo room and better MPG.
    And is less expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “Even with the turbo 4 cylinder the Taurus is a better car”

      This deserves some elaboration. The poorly packaged Taurus weighs more but is cramped and feels it. The 2.0 cannot keep up with the 3.6. It has a slow dimwitted automatic transmission. Aging platform that is losing comparison tests. From what I’ve read and impressions sitting in the thing, I’m not sure the 3.5 Ecoboost would make it an appealing sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I am a proponent of purchasing the current Taurus/MKS used, but the Impala with the 3.6L is a better car than the Taurus with the 2.0T.

        The Taurus SHO is an appealing sedan if you accept it’s drawbacks and get one significantly discounted or buy used.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          I’d much rather a fictional Fusion with the 3.5 Ecoboost. Or even the Mustang’s 2.3. That’s the Ford sedan for me, four years along and it is still a beautiful car inside and out.

          If I’m going to buy a big heavy sedan like the Taurus, it needs to do more than simply weigh a lot.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            So would I. Personally, I wouldn’t buy a used Taurus because the MKS is close enough in price and has a better warranty if buying through a Lincoln dealership. The 3.5TT versions are cheaper than the Taurus SHO.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Seeing the Taurus and MKS built on a daily basis and comparing to one of my co-workers Impala LTZ V6, the Impala is FAR and above the better car. The interior is better packaged, the gauges aren’t the awful corporate unit that Ford was jamming into just about EVERYTHING, and the materials are of better quality. The Taurus and MKS are outdated and will be going away soon; everyone buys an Explorer.

      As far as the trunk—-what happens with the hidden hinges when you pop the trunk on the Taurus? Nothing. What happens on the Impala—it OPENS. Also the “hidden” exhaust on the Impala is not hidden on LTZ trim.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    A little confused how this FWD full-size V6 sedan listing for $31K is not a competitor to the FWD full-size $32K-$33K Avalon & Azera but somehow is a competitor for a RWD Charger.

    Looks like Chevy built a solid product here. I like the interior style and materials, although that funky weird steering wheel looks like it could belong in a Mercedes Sprinter van or older VW Eurovan. Bizarre. Unfortunately, the gauges are a throwback to GMs of the 1990s and early 2000s. When running from your past, hide as much as you can.

    How is the transmission in the car? The V6 puts out some nice acceleration numbers, but is it smooth and responsive or recalcitrant and indecisive when asking for downshifts?

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      I haven’t driven this 2016 Impala, but I’ve had a recent Buick Lacrosse with a V6 and six speed auto. I’d assume the drivetrain in the Impala is very similar, if not identical. I found the Lacrosse to be a very pleasant, quiet, smooth and powerful car to drive, albeit very nose-heavy and with numb steering, as one would expect with a fairly heavy V6 FWD car.

      If this is the type of car you like, then I think GM has done a nice job on it. I assume the Impala is very similar but with a cheaper interior.

  • avatar
    macnab

    I’ve been watching 3 of the Impala fanboy forums. They’re complaining that after 25K mi or so the steering wheel shakes at idle, tire noise is up sharply, and one person says his suspension is getting clunky, suggesting bushing wear. The shaking wheel is especially annoying but Chev won’t admit there’s anything wrong with the cars and there isn’t any fix. It all sounds like the cars aren’t wearing as well as everybody hoped.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Tire wear would account for some of this, especially oversized 18 and 19″ rubber. 4 new style Impala owners at work have between 15-30K miles and none has complained of the steering wheel shaking at idle so this sounds like someone not describing a problem correctly on those forums. The 3.6 LFX engine does however seem to develop a little roughness to the idle after break in, especially when cold so that might be what is going on.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    A good friend has a 2014 AWD Limited Taurus with about 60K miles on the clock. It is the single most annoying vehicle I have ever been in. I almost always hit my head getting in and out of the darn thing. It rides like a Mack truck often crashing and banging over bumps which makes the ride very unsettled. Worse those massive over sized 19″ tires are truly frightening on snowy roads and that is with close to 90% of it’s tread. Both front wheel bearing have gone bad which made road noise on the highway unbearable. Thankfully those were replaced recently. The front seats are not very comfortable and very narrow for such a big car. With the massive center console Ford had to narrow the front seats to make them work and it gives the feeling of claustrophobia and being hemmed in.

    If you want to turn on the heat in your seats you must go through a stupid touch screen, a big annoyance. The radio is his car also sucks and is a major downgrade from the previous 2008 Taurus he owned. And this is the premium Limited 41K model! The 3.5 V6 is probably the best part of the car but even that comes at a price and that is poor fuel economy and slower performance than most other full sized competitors. It’s also rather noisy.

    If I were to choose it would be a 2016 Impala or Cadenza with snow tires for the Winter months hands down over the cruder Taurus.

  • avatar
    Von

    This was an excellent review of the Buick LaCross.

    Kidding aside, keep up the good work Alex.

  • avatar

    I freaking love the V6 Impala. It’s my favorite rental car—which, having rented over 25 cars this year, is saying something. I prefer it to the current LaCrosse, which is just a visual nightmare.

  • avatar
    smr1973

    Ugh. My lease is up in April and I want something couch-cruiser-y with a V6 and biiiiig, comfy interior with decent tech given my heinous commute. The Impala’s been on the list. But the lack of AWD gives me pause (Chicago, and zero interest in swapping snow tires on every fall, I can drive fine in snowy weather with FWD but would like the extra traction pulling out from dead stops, which is the major problem around here) and some of the long-term reviews of the 2014 platform debut of this car indicating that the long-term quality is typical Chevy.

    • 0 avatar
      Coopdeville

      I hear you and I also want those things, plus something that makes vacation road trips comfortable. I therefore have a very unhealthy fondness for the Toyota Avalon, which is something no one under the age of 40 should feel.

      Haven’t driven the new ones, but a friend at work has a decade+ older model and sometimes we load it up with 6 people and just floooaaat to lunch.

      • 0 avatar
        smr1973

        I’m 42, so I guess the Avalon is in play :)

        Man, my mother-in-law has the previous-gen Avalon before the redesign and, while uglier than all get-out, it is bloody HYOOOOGE on the inside. Just gargantuan. It’s also the floatiest thing I’ve ever driven in; I want _some_ stiffness to the ride (comfy seats outweigh total bump absorption in my book).

        I need to just start booking test drives.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          One of the big changes for 2013 was a fair bit of stiffening up of the suspension on the Avalon, to the chagrin of some of core buyers of these cars. Mind you, it’s never harsh, it just doesn’t swallow up imperfections entirely like old ones might have, instead it ‘manages’ or ‘filters’ bumps into something you feel but it isn’t jarring. You may like it, I thought it was a perfectly reasonable compromise on a test drive of a used one a few months ago. I hear that they’re shifting back to the classic pillow-soft ride for 2016 after the retirees got out their pitchforks ;)

          • 0 avatar
            smr1973

            Good to know. I was planning on checking out an Azera, too, though the current model is a bit stale. Might as well check the Avalon out as well. The thing I kind of have to laugh at in my MIL’s 2005 is just how big every button on the dash is; they’re seriously like 2in x 2in. Toyota knew their audience for that car.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          The new Avalon rides like a cement truck in comparison so it looks like Toyota went the exact opposite in the redesign. Check out Motor Trends comparison test between this and the Impala and Cadenza on there website.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      I drove through the ice storm yesterday—50+% of the cars that I saw spun out on the Dan Ryan and the Bishop Ford were SUV’s and cars with AWD.

      Proper winter tires are worth the “hassle”.

      • 0 avatar
        smr1973

        Unlike whatever drivers you saw, I know how to drive in this crap and have 20+ years of doing it in FWD cars on all-seasons with zero spin outs or accidents to show for it. A basic grasp of physics and some patience work wonders.

        • 0 avatar
          ZCD2.7T

          Until someone does something stupid in front of you, and the “no-seasons” tires on your car don’t allow you to stop or maneuver well enough to avoid them.

          Snow tires are WELL worth the tiny amount of effort it takes to swap them onto the car. Discount Tire (and others) do this in less than an hour FOR FREE when you buy tires from them.

          Signed: Chicago-area guy with 2 AWD vehicles which are fitted with snow tires in the winter.

          • 0 avatar
            smr1973

            If you’re leaving proper gaps in front of you for the weather, again, this isn’t an issue. I realize that snow tires vs. AWD vs. all-seasons is a Council of Nicea issue around here, but I’m comfortable with my decision and will continue to gamble all on my all-seasons as I average 15MPH on the 25 mile commute between the suburbs and my home in the city.

  • avatar
    jjklongisland

    I own a 2015 Impala LTZ (which has every option). It looks great in the upgraded red color with the chrome accents. I went to the dealership to buy a used GMC Acadia and walked out with a new Impala. I was that IMPRESSED. The interior is by far the best interior GM has ever produced and rivals most of its competitors. I have had some quality control issues (passenger power seat broke, side impact collision indicator fault, and the 3rd brake light cover rattles with the Bose sound system) but overall very pleased. It has ample power, great command of the road, and nice styling. The navigation is very clunky to use and voice control is awful. The back seat is enormous and super comfortable for long trips. The biggest fault I have with the car is how poorly it performs in the snow. My 1987 rear wheel drive Cutlass did better. Worst front wheel drive traction. Snow tires are in my future. I know they make a big difference. Super happy with it when comparing it to the competitors.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Seriously your going to need to drop down to a 17″ snow tire if you want to stay on the roads during Winter months. My buddies 2014 AWD Taurus is atrocious with the factory 19″ tires and Tire rack recommended going to a 17″ snow. The difference is simply huge. The ride quality improved dramatically. Road noise went down despite being snow tires. Mileage is up and best of all the car no longer slips and slides through turns and feels far more stable.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    The new LaCrosse looks a little more like the old Lucerne, which is a good thing. Buicks should be nice cars that are attractive in a “Plain Jane” kind of way; Sammy Hagar should put them between Levis and Vogue magazine. There’s no need for an “IEATZ28” custom plate, but it should still be able to get up and go. (Which the Encore definitely fails at, and that new Buick midsize crossover probably will fail at.)

    This review reminds me of the old Buick ad – I think it must have been from the late 1930s, with a similar Depression mindset as America in the twenty teens:

    The GM ad man had a woman buyer walk in the “showroom”, and she was looking at the Buick (maybe the Special; maybe the Century; I don’t know – but that would place it 1936-ish, which memory agrees with…). He pointed out – it was nice, like a Cadillac, and it was fast, but it wasn’t too flashy, and it wasn’t much more expensive than a Chevy, which was too unrefined for her.

    Long live the Buick big car with the V6. An Impala with an I4 is not aspirational.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      “Long live the Buick big car with the V6. An Impala with an I4 is not aspirational.”
      A FWD V6 Buick is aspirational? Jeez this country is doing even worse than I feared.

  • avatar
    JLGOLDEN

    Super happy with my 2015 Impala LTZ. Primarily, the style, acceleration, and comfort won me over. The lower trims have a stupid hidden exhaust, but the 3.6L LTZ has beautiful, dual outlets. I checked out Avalon (poor seating position, hard seats, and excessive squeaks / rattles) and I looked at Genesis (gorgeous, but no folding rear seat). A fat GM card rebate helped accelerate my deal. I’ve put 20K miles on my Impala in 11 months, and could not be happier with the features, comfort, cargo flexibility, and constant “thumbs up” and compliments from people.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Alex –

    While the Lacrosse competes against the ES, it does not compete directly against the RLX (a price segment above the LaCrosse and ES) nor the likes of the Azera and Avalon (the fact that the Impala in base form is offered with a 4 banger doesn’t mean that the V6 Impala doesn’t compete against head to head with the Azera, Avalon, etc.).

    The top trim Impala retails for nearly $41k.

    The RLX, XTS and the outgoing MKS all compete against each other – full size FWD-based luxury sedans in the mid-price, luxury sedan segment (Cadillac basically has 2 sedans in this price segment currently with the XTS and CTS).

    The LaCrosse and ES are priced in the entry-level segment, along with the MKZ (in this price segment, Lexus has 2 sedans with the IS and ES).

    The Cadenza is kind of a “tweener” as Kia has positioned it higher than the Azera – so can be seen as both an Avalon and ES competitor.

    Overall, the Impala has been the most widely praised mainstream, full-size sedans in reviews.

  • avatar
    lot9

    I have driven Impala over the years across country. Great traveling auto even with four adults. Large Trunk. Good gas mileage.
    If you want a large auto… Impala is the auto to buy. I did not have any problems with ones I owned.
    GM did a good job on this one.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    My last 2 Impalas a 2000 and a 2008, have been very good cars with a minimum of issues. The 2000 needed it’s intermediate shaft lubricated twice at 50 bucks for each visit and the upper intake was swapped out for a Dorman upgrade at 120K miles. Other than that it was just routine service. Kept that one until 172K miles and traded it on a 2008 Impala 2LT 3900. That was a really good car and a noticeable improvement over the 2000. The only replaced items were a battery and alternator at 110K. Traded that one in on a 2013 red jewel LT which I currently have. It now is nearing 50k miles with zero problems but a couple of noticeable things. The 3.6 is actually less refined when cold than the 3800 or 3900 in my other cars and is a little rough and ragged at cold idle. It settles down and runs smoothly thereafter. A fresh oil change seems to smooth things out a bit but it has been noted many times that the LFX is a bit rough around the edges when cold and idle. The other thing is the 6 speed auto which 99% of the time shifts clean and smooth until you gas it up and quickly change your mind and lift off the go pedal. It then acts slow and funky sometimes taking up to 5 seconds to up-shift. The old 4 speeds never did that but I have come to the realization that many of these new 6-9 speed automatics in today’s vehicles take some getting used to and aren’t quite as polished as the older 4 speed trans axles.

    When asked if I would buy another Impala of this new generation the answer is a solid yes.


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