By on April 6, 2018

Talk about a dated movie reference, but here goes. You’ve got a full-size American passenger car dangling from each hand, but you know in your heart you do not possess the strength to save both. One, unfortunately, has to die. But for the other? Salvation.

We come to this grim scenario for a good reason. Earlier this week, a Wall Street Journal report struck fear and sadness into lovers of large passenger cars with long-running nameplates. While unconfirmed, the report stated that Ford will discontinue the Taurus in the very near future, with General Motors planning to do the same with the venerable Impala after the current generation ends.

Two once-beloved models that fell victim to changing consumer preferences — one dating back to the heady 1980s, the other to the Eisenhower administration. Which one deserves to live?

I suspect my own personal choice reflects that of many readers. Simply put, the Taurus stopped endearing itself to buyers long before the Impala, if indeed the Chevy no longer warrants a spot in your dream garage.

Unlike the Taurus, which Ford allowed to wither on the vine (in America, at least) since the start of the decade, the Impala has actually seen significant refinements in the not-so-distant past. The 10th-generation bowed for 2014 with — in my opinion — attractive styling that still holds up, a decreased curb weight, and a more refined V6 engine than its Ford rival. (That 3.6-liter mill actually appeared at the latter end of the ninth-generation model.)

While the Taurus, long since relegated to fleet sales in the mind of many buyers, doesn’t allow much room  for legs up front, the Impala follows the GM mantra of “make the driver comfortable at all costs.” Rear seat headroom, at least for this 6’4″ writer, isn’t up to snuff, but that’s the price you pay for a swoopy roofline.

Despite their gradual disappearance, buyers responded to the Impala in greater numbers. Last year’s U.S. sales totalled 75,877 units. The Taurus? 41,236. To find a year where Taurus sales topped the six-figure mark, you’d have travel back to 2005. For the Impala, it would be 2015. Granted, many of these buyers were fleet managers.

What say you, B&B? Am I off the mark in saying the Impala holds greater value as both a product and a historical relic? Or is the Taurus the nameplate you’d like to see preserved (and perhaps nurtured back to health)?

Maybe — just spitballing here — a few of you would let go with both hands, allowing both models to plummet towards oblivion. That’s on option, too.

[Images: General Motors, Ford]

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115 Comments on “QOTD: The Good Son, Impala vs. Taurus Edition...”


  • avatar
    Ion

    Impala. Simply for the fact that the Taurus has that yuuge center console/ cockpit thing. The last thing you want in a full-size sedan is to feel cramped

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Impala, for legacy reasons if nothing else. There are generations of fond Impala memories, including my own of a 65 SS coupe that I owned for a year in college. There are many fewer, if any, such memories of a Taurus, which was always a sedan aimed at family use (SHO excepted).

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I don’t get the center console width hate. Pick any mid-sized or full sized SUV. Most aren’t as wide as the Taurus, but their center consoles dwarf the Taurus.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        The Taurus is 77″ wide, about the same width as many mid-size CUVs/SUVs. Full-size CUVs/SUVs are about 78″ wide.

        The “hate” mostly comes from the “full-size” Taurus having the same or worse interior dimensions and a smaller fuel tank despite being larger outside than the mid-size Fusion. The only categories where the Taurus exceeds are trunk space (20.1 vs. 16 cu. ft.) and hip and shoulder room (and even then, only by an inch at most).

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          My comment originally was “the Taurus is 76″ wide,” then I changed it after looking up the actual number, not the one on Wikipedia (which is too frequently wrong about these types of things). And in getting the right number, I destroyed the first sentence of my argument. Oh well.

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        Just finished watching Motorweek. The center console on the BMW X3 is quite a bit wider than that of a Taurus.

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    The Impala is a truly awesome car when equipped with the V6. Best highway cruiser I have ever driven.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      The church of the 3800 will be most displeased with this comment

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Have you ever driven a 3800 Series 2 Park Avenue with a front-bench?

      I’ve yet to drive the new Impala, but if it’s better than that, Chevrolet will have reached peak highway cruiser.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        I have driven both. The Impala is better. It somehow manages to combine the bigness/goodness of a large sedan with decent handling, something the Park Avenue couldn’t do, having traded handling for float. It is an exceptional long-distance car. I drove one all the way from Fort Lauderdale to DC, averaging about 65mph and getting an honest 30 mpg (with the 3.6) in comfort. It is, perhaps, the least-tiring long distance car I’ve ever driven.

        It’s a damned shame that buyers no longer want big sedans because the Impala is the best large sedan on the market when price is considered.

      • 0 avatar
        d4rksabre

        As someone who has owned both, I can assure you the old Buick was better. More comfortable, more reliable, cheaper to maintain. Can’t wait to get rid of my ’14. It’s dressed up junk. Great rental car, not great to own. Let it die.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    “They are a dying race. We should let them pass.”
    “The Impala, or the Taurus?”
    “Yes.”

  • avatar
    gtem

    V6 Impala in that wonderful jade/forest green (a damn near impossible combination to try to find used as it turns out).

  • avatar
    jeanbaptiste

    As middle aged man,I have no emotional tie to the impala name. It was once a staple of gm in the mid 1900’s but it hasn’t had any positive connotations for over 20 years and there is no hope for it to return to any glory days. It’s been attached to clunkers for way too long to be worth keeping.

    The Taurus atleast has a lower bar to live up to. But the name is no longer relevant to the people that fondly remember the 80’s and 90’s as they are not buying large American sedans anymore.

    I say let both of them drop.

  • avatar
    LXbuilder

    Let em both go, the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 have it covered.

    • 0 avatar
      cicero1

      Agreed. but I’d like to see the Chrysler products up their quality to at least the Chevy and ford. And, FCA – put a CD player back in the cars.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        An average Impala owner and average 300 owner wouldn’t have anything to quibble with each other about quality-wise. They’re both pretty solid cars.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Also “put a CD player back in the cars”

        Wat.

        Put all your CDs on a USB flash drive then download them to the hard drive in the car’s radio. Or stream them from a bluetooth device.

        • 0 avatar
          redapple

          Yeah
          And groove on the low fidelity.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            You’re not going to be able to hear the difference on these mainstream grade stereos anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “You’re not going to be able to hear the difference on these mainstream grade stereos anyway.”

            Yes, but you’ll KNOW it came from that format, and thus will never be able to enjoy it.

            XD

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Some people don’t care what format it comes in, as long as they can hear it. I have more than once replaced the factory speakers, not the head unit, to get better sound. And yes, more than once that has included the given vehicle’s supposed “premium” sound system. Those tiny magnets on most auto speakers are practically worthless. I only change head units (if I can) to gain capabilities that let you equalize the sound either through more bands or choice of presets (and other functions.)

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “Agreed. but I’d like to see the Chrysler products up their quality to at least the Chevy and ford. And, FCA – put a CD player back in the cars.”

        All of Chryslers full size sedans have better quality than the Taurus and even the Impala. They are far better cars from just about every perspective.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Name some of these perspectives. Only ones that come to mind are the UConnect system (which is really only an advantage over the Taurus) and the availability of the V8 (very handy in typical American traffic). FCA offerings are no better built or reliable, nor are they any roomier or comfortable.

          Of the 3 the Impala is the best all arounder by a wide margin.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Most of it comes down to preferences. The uplevel 300s have better interior materials than uplevel Impalas, and the available Harmon Kardon stereo in the 300 is better than anything GM or Ford offer. Other than those, RWD driving dynamics, V8 power, and styling are reasons someone might prefer them.

        • 0 avatar
          road_pizza

          Uhhhh, yea. Sure. The dozen or so Cleveland PD Chargers sitting out back of a nearby CDJR dealer awaiting replacement cylinder heads (Pentastar V6) would like to have a word with you…

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            How about all the grenaded GM HF V6s due to stretched timing chains? We could pull out outliers all day as “proof”.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            At least it’s not shredded timing gears, an issue that happened to me in one GM car (admittedly years ago.) At least timing gears can be replaced before they hand-grenade the engine–assuming you have enough of a feel for the performance to recognize the lag when it occurs.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “The dozen or so Cleveland PD Chargers sitting out back of a nearby CDJR dealer awaiting replacement cylinder heads (Pentastar V6) would like to have a word with you…”

            A) How old are those Chargers?
            B) While that issue was a problem when the Pentastar came out, I’ve not heard anything about it in years… at least five years that I can recall. This goes back to A)…
            C) How many miles are on these Chargers?
            D) How hard are they driven?

            In other words, I seriously have to question your argument because if that were endemic I’m sure we would have heard a lot more about it over the last five years.

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      I have to agree with this. Quality between all 4 is about the same, but with the 300/Charger (more specifically 300) I can get a big V8 or AWD and a punchy six. The interior feels bigger than the Taurus and materials are nicer than the Impala in top trims.

      But more than that, it’s a cool car. It has a certain appeal to it, especially in certain colors. Taurus/Impala just look like big rental Camrys that Grandma drives to church on sunday.

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    Let both of them go. But if I were at the rental car counter I’d choose the Impala. The Taurus’ interior is horrendously laid out and for a large car has surprisingly little room. I think the Police versions of the Taurus are criticized for that reason.

    • 0 avatar
      ernest

      Agreed here- the Impala would be my choice as well. That being said, I’m still a fan of full-size V8 powered, RWD sedans. I wound up with a Charger by default- it was either that or the 300.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    As much as I want to say save the Taurus because my friend’s father was a Ford salesman back in my teenage years and as such many shenanigans happened in various Tauri, The fact is both companies have destroyed the equity of each nameplate (though at least GM tried with the Impala).

    At this point I just hope Ford keeps a car in their lineup. Too bad the Mazda partnership is no more as a 6 powered by the 2.7 ecoboost would be fun. But as it is I’d like to see a Fusion replacement carrying a decent name like Fairlane or Galaxie.

  • avatar
    Scott_314

    The depreciation on these things is so insanely high, that I’m tempted to buy one on the basis that 1) they’re actually pretty good highway cruisers and 2) I can get a three year old $40K car for something like $10K.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I never really warmed up to these two in their current forms.

    I couldn’t get comfortable with the Taurus and I’m still salty over not getting a civilian LWB Holden.

    In the end, even with my experience with woeful build quality, I think I’d *still* take a Charger or 300 over either one.

    Or a Panther…

    Or a LeSabre…

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      A leSabre T-type would at least pique my interest, though I doubt I would buy one considering my current needs. Now… If I had the space and money for multiple vehicles (rather than just the two I have) I know of at least two others I would like to have and both of them only have two doors.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    Impala by a mile. For the reasons already stated in the article.
    It’s interesting that selling 75,000 copies of a car in a year is not enough to keep it around. The people over at Mazda would be doing handsprings if they sold 75k of Mazda 6s right now – or any time in the past.

    • 0 avatar
      drivlikejehu

      This puzzles me as well. I understand that profit is the measure of importance rather than sheer sales totals, but still, 75,000 is a fair number of annual sales to throw away. I’m sure it doesn’t help that these vehicles have a minimal foreign market presence and have a high proportion of fleet use in the U.S.

    • 0 avatar
      gmichaelj

      “Impala by a mile. For the reasons already stated in the article.”

      Agreed. The Impala is often cited as the best large car value in publications I’ve read – haven’t driven one myself, but I also think they are sharp looking cars.

      “It’s interesting that selling 75,000 copies of a car in a year is not enough to keep it around.”

      Agreed again. for the last 12 months (LTM), they’ve sold ~68,000, but yeah, you have to wonder what economies of scale GM needs that other manufacturers don’t, if they need to sell more than that.

      Camaro sales are about 64,000 LTM. I don’t here any rumors about GM cutting them.

      I’m gonna guess Impala demise rumors are unfounded.

      http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2011/01/chevrolet-impala-sales-figures/
      http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2011/01/chevrolet-camaro-sales-figures/

  • avatar
    mikey

    I’ve owned a “W” LTZ, for 3 years. I also owned a 14 Epsilon LS for 18 months. The 14 was a beautiful car, but hopelessly underpowered with the 4 banger.

    I really think I liked my 09 “W” better ??

    That all being said. My vote would go to the Impala vs the Taurus.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I forgot that the base Impala comes with the 2.5L NA 4 cyl. I can’t even imagine. The rental companies seem to know better as I’ve only enountered V6 models.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        I was given a no option 4 cyl as a service loaner for a couple of days. Not an awful car but pretty cheap feeling and sounding all around. It was slow but not unbearable. Ride comfort and space for the money were the only real redeeming features. I imagine it’s night and day with the V6 and LTZ interior although I have never driven one of those.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          I find them feast of famine. Hertz had them loaded with either engine – the 4 was not enough but the V6 was more than needed. A turbo 4 is probably the Goldilocks “just right”. The 4 is adequate around town but breathless at highway speed, and I assume it would be utterly terrible in any sort of mountains.

          GM’s nicer interiors are adequate, but there are still more than enough cheap feeling bits to remind you the bean counters rule the roost if you are used to something better. They probably seem amazing if you are used to older GM product.

      • 0 avatar
        MLS

        Four-cylinder models definitely lurk on rental lots. I always check for dual exhausts before selecting an Impala in the Emerald Aisle.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          I’ll be sure to double check from here on out.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            They try to hide the exhausts on non-LTZ/Premier Impalas but I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting them. Usually I double check to see if the person in front of me is a cheap ba$tard or knows enough that full size cars shouldn’t have less than 200 hp.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Hertz had no shortage of the 4-cyl Impalas in loaded LTZ trim for a year or so. One of few cars that I would actually say needed more power.

        Of the two, I dislike the Impala a lot less than I dislike the Taurus, so I guess that is a win for the Chevy. Nothing really wrong with it, I just have zero use for this sort of car at all. Doesn’t do anything the next size smaller doesn’t do more efficiently and it just costs more.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Hmm. I guess at some point, they discontinued the 2.0T on the Taurus, which is good, because it was a terrible combination.

    My vote would be the Impala. It’s got up-to-date styling and rides on a superior architecture in terms of handling, plus–like you said–more effort was placed toward occupant space for the driver. But don’t even bother with the 2.5-liter I4; go directly to the V6.

    I had a love-hate relationship with my ’14 MKS, which is the Taurus’ closest relative. I sure wish it had handled and braked better.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      I hadn’t realized they’d dropped the 2.0T. The Ford configurator confirms you’re on point, Kyree.

      I never drove one, but in the Taurus the 2.0T seems to have been worse than the Cyclone/Duratec 3.5 in all respects except gaming EPA tests. And to think it cost an extra $900 or so. (Counterpoint: I should add that I have a pretty light foot and seem to be one of the drivers who really sees the benefit in small turbos, since I’m out of the boost the vast majority of the time.)

      I realize all up-engined sedans are quick at this point, but I’m old enough to be amazed at how quick both the Taurus and Impala are in NA V6 form. If I lived in a rural-ish area and did a lot of driving on county and state roads, I’d be all over a Taurus/Impala/Charger.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Taurus SHO deserves to live.

  • avatar

    The Impala is the keeper of the two, but even then I’d say let it die because GM has the Lacrosse in almost the same segment. Does GM need both?

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    As the owner of a current-generation Taurus, I’d save it. Just bring the Chinese version here.

    Everyone complains about the interior room, but it holds my family of 4 (with two teenagers) comfortably. I’m of average size and the console doesn’t bother me. In fact, all the extra storage it provides is quite nice.

    What are you all driving that makes this car seem cramped? It’s got a ton more room than any of my past cars, save the F-150. Is everyone upset at the demise of the split bench seat or something?

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      It just seems, from the design of the console and interior, to be cramped inside. It’s probably not, but even a 300/Charger “feels” bigger inside than a Taurus. Perception vs. reality kind of thing, but I don’t love the inside of the Taurus. And I have a ’17 VW Golf.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        Agree wholeheartedly, gearhead77. A 6’5″ buddy of mine fit fine in the driver’s seat when we rented a Taurus SEL. That said, the high doorsills and large console give off the vibe of the car’s being cramped, even when it actually isn’t.

        If you can get past that vibe–and it’s a fair criticism if you can’t–it’s actually a roomy, comfortable car for four people. And the trunk is huge. For whatever reason, I was able to acclimate pretty quickly to the Tauruses I’ve been in, and I like them on the whole.

        BunkerMan and you are both right, IMO.

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          The high beltline doesn’t help. However, the Taurus is designed for you to have a more upright (SUV-like) seating position. If you actually do that, the beltline is less of an issue. It’s also the primary reason I insisted on a light colored interior. Feels less confining.

    • 0 avatar
      JHendrix

      Regarding the Taurus, they goofed by abandoning the Ford Five-Hundred nameplate. It denotes legacy a bit like the Impala. Not talked about any more, but the “command seating” feature of the Taurus is/was unique for a sedan. Sitting higher off the road and ease of entry were features now only available in cross-overs and SUVs, i.e., boxes on wheels. I wish both cars would stay afloat – Chevy and Ford are handing over the sedan market to others. It’s a style that may yet return someday.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    3800?

    Even in the previous W-car Impala, the 3800 was dropped around 2012, give or take a year (or two).

    The current Impala V6 is a great-driving car! I had a rental and it was quiet, quick, great ride, excellent handling–it felt like a smaller, sportier car!

    I was prepared to dislike it (it was a rental), but I had to concede Consumer Reports was correct (this was back in 2014) about this car.

    It may be GM’s best car… So yes, then it should be discontinued, lol.

    Just kidding. Taurus vs Impala, which one should be saved. No contest, SAVE THE IMPALA.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I think the Impala is a handsome car, but I just cannot vote for a Chevy. But the Taurus really isn’t for me either, although the SHO version would be kinda cool. I saw a blacked-out one that had “MaxBoost 445hp” sticker on it, so I guess there’s a love for that car. I hate the inside, it’s just oddly designed and doesn’t feel roomy for a giant car.

    Full-size ‘Merican car? I’m going to the Chrysler or Dodge dealer. I’ve had Chargers and 300’s as rentals and I’ve liked them a lot. But with a minivan for family duties, I don’t need a giant car just for me. The decklid of the Charger is the size of my Golf’s roof!

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Personally, I wouldn’t try to save either; they’re both ugly. That said, I’d rather see the Ford stick around because if the video I just saw from Automotive News is correct, the new Chevys are going to look even worse with the restyled nose clips.

    Personally I’m not a fan of the fish-mouth grill treatments I’m seeing, no matter the brand. But the new Chevys look like they’re trying to mash Ford and Lexus grills together and it’s just bloomin’ hideous!

  • avatar
    DEVILLE88

    Hands down……………….the Impala must live!!! i have memories of my mother owning a 64,65,66,68,69,72 and they are an integral part of my childhood not to mention the good ol USA!!!

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    The last real Impala rolled out in 1996 ;)

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Gotta agree with the tribe here, the Ford is the one to go because Ford stopped caring about 10 years ago, GM has done a very good job with the Impala, it might not be the right car for the times but it is a very good car and 70,000 is not bad, as for the FCA fans here just no. I can not buy a FCA product and the sedans that have left just seem old old and old.

  • avatar
    1st_one

    I would love to save the Taurus based on my favorable rentals experience and fond memories of previous generations. However, the Impala seems to be newest and the better looking of the two so the Taurus goes outback.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    At the rental car counter, I’m taking the Impala. In rental spec, it’s the better car. Nicer and roomier interior and trunk, I *think* it handles better and it *feels* faster. However, if I was forced to buy one and they were the last 2 models on Earth, it would be the Taurus SHO since Chevy doesn’t make an Impala SS anymore.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    I’d take the Impala over the Taurus, hands down. It fits me better and it’s really a good highway car. It does make me wonder why anyone would actually buy a Cadillac XTS.

    On the subject of the nameplate…neither means much to me. Now, if they made a Ninety Eight they’d have my undivided attention.

  • avatar
    Verbal

    Bring back the LTD Brougham and the Caprice Classic.

  • avatar
    OzCop

    I haven’t checked, but is the Taurus still available in AWD? I have a friend who has one a couple of years old, with the 3.5 V6 and he loves it.

    My old PD I worked in for many years just received a new fleet with that configuration and from road tests and police car comparisons, it would hang with both the Chargers and the RWD Caprices.

    If I were choosing, I would save the Taurus. I find the current GM Impala a bit gaudy, and taking styling cues from the most mundane car out there in my opinion, Camry, as in the Malibu, is a step backwards. Of the full sized big 3 right now, I would go with the 300 or Charger, and would lean more toward the Charger considering power to weight ratio, rear wheel or AWD availability. Chrysler cars and Ram trucks in terms of quality have not been a problem for me…

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Yes, AWD is common with a Taurus. I’ve also driven countless iterations of the CVPI and some GM attempts. The Ford PI Sedan (Taurus) with the 3.7NA V6 is the best police vehicle I’ve ever driven. That certainly includes the Ford PI Utility (Explorer) that so many oversized cops seem to prefer (pretty good vehicle, but doesn’t touch the Sedan for a driving experience).

      People who complain about interior room of the Taurus have never driven a PI version of the Charger. That’s cramp! I wouldn’t put a four year old in the back seat of that thing with a cage.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I’d stick with the Taurus. The packaging is not the best but for most people it’s fine.You can still get a performance SHO version as well as AWD in most versions.
    The Impala is a very nice and competent vehicle but the styling particularly the rear is generic to the point where it looks like a Hyundai or Kia. You figure they would keep the traditional 4 or 6 taillight styling.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I think the best solution is to fire up the flux capacitor and stop the Taurus design team from creating such an awful interior. Won’t save it, but I think this change would increase sales to some degree.

    I sat in an MKS a few years ago at the auto show. I so wanted to like it, but visibility and interior space were horrible.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    The Impala is the better of the two current cars based on GM’s more recent investment in the latest generation. Too bad that even one of GM’s best cars has trouble in what is a declining segment. Seems that there isn’t enough market share to support both the LaCrosse and Impala, and with LaCrosse benefiting from China, we know which one of the stablemates will survive.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Not even a comparison, the Taurus is a turd.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    At the rental counter with only these 2 options, if the Impala has the 6 it wins. I’m still craning my neck around hoping for an Avalon, considering an “upgrade” to an SUV, asking whoever is relegated to the back seat if they *really* full stop veto the Charger/300 cave, mentally tetrising the luggage to validate a mid size “down grade”… They really should both die.

  • avatar
    xidex

    I will stick with my 13 SHO thank you, impala has no appeal, I do agree that ford has dropped the ball though and let the Taurus die as they have with the flex

  • avatar
    xidex

    I will stick with my 13 SHO thank you, impala has no appeal, I do agree that ford has dropped the ball though and let the Taurus die as they have with the flex

  • avatar
    Fred

    My friend is a Ford man and has a Taurus and loves it. I think that sums it, brand loyality.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Impala is certainly the better car based upon most objective accounts in the press and among the commentariat in the blogosphere. The Impala name is more important, too, in the grand scheme; however, it’s not more important in the front-wheel-drive mid/full sedan market.

    I’m not really sure what the manufacturers are thinking by keeping Fusion and Malibu names in the mix while retiring Taurus and Impala, but maybe they are worried consumers will reject Impala and Taurus simply because they have been fullsize sedans for a while.

    The trouble with fullsize sedans is that they will need to be hybrids in the near future to survive the CAFE cull. It’s an uphill battle to keep large passenger cars affordable and efficient. I guess the American manufacturers are waving the white flag in the non-luxury market. Not sure what FCA is going to do.

    Anyway, Taurus is the sedan that needs to survive, but I doubt either will without regulatory help.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Other than having a uselessly bigger trunk, I can’t see the argument for the Taurus over the Fusion. Unlike in the good ol daze before SUVs and so on, when big American families actually took long road trips in their cars, there’s simply no need for a prodigious trunk in a sedan any more.

    I have no experience with the current Impala, so I can’t offer any opinion. But I do have experience with the current Taurus (a rental SEL), which was required to carry my family of 5 (now all adults) for a drive from Austin to Georgetown TX. They weren’t any more comfortable than they would have been in a Fusion.

    So, burn the Taurus, even as I shed a tear in memory of my 1992 SHO, which I owned for 10 years. While faster in straight- line terms, the Ecoboosted SHOs drive ponderous and heavy compared to the Yamaha V-6 powered versions . . . and the Ecoboost SHOs are seriously under-braked.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      I’d drive a Taurus over a Fusion all day long. The Taurus is tighter than you’d expect for its full size exterior dimensions but in an absolute sense it’s roomy enough. The Fusion is just plain tight, from the B pillar in your shoulder to the trunk lid that doesn’t open up far enough to not hit you in the head. 6 >>> 4 here as everywhere else.

      Of course I actually do drive a F-150 over either, and if I couldn’t have that it’d be an Explorer, and Taurus sales (or lack thereof) suggest that I’m not an outlier here.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Taurus vs Fusion? Taurus. I made that comparison in 2013 and chose the Taurus. For the same money
      – Taurus has better interior materials
      – Is more of a cruiser (you can fall asleep at 90mph)
      – Has more power
      – Is a smoother drive
      – Has more features
      – Has smarts in the transmission
      I need to explain that last one. Put my Taurus in sport mode and it does some interesting things. If I go hard into a corner, it drops two gears, so I can pull out hard. Driving in the mountains, it senses the downhills and engine brakes for me.

      The Fusion is a great car. It really is. The Taurus is just a little bit better. It’s not as cool as the Impala, but it’s very easy to live with.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    If you want to look like a cop and watch traffic part in front of you, the Taurus is the way to go. For all other situations, the Impala, even though I think it hasn’t aged well (but not as badly as the Taurus). I’d seriously keep my eyes open for the Buick or Cadillac version though.

    And of course, LX FTW.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I want to like the Taurus, and it has available AWD, but the Impala has better seats and nicer interior. Here’s how to save the Impala though. Re-body the new Buick wagon as an Impala in a form just a bit bigger and a bit taller, say the same envelope as the Toyota Highlander. There Impala lives on.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I would pick the Impala over the Taurus to survive but both are becoming extinct. One could say the same thing about the Dodge Charger and the Chrysler 300 which are both on aging platforms. Eventually the Charger and 300 will become like the Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis becoming extinct. The market for large sedans has been on the decline for years.

  • avatar
    Weltron

    Keep the Impala. A year ago, I crashed my (now former) Saturn Outlook and was given a 2015 V6 Impala as a rental while it was in the body shop. My gosh that was a wonderful car. So smooth on the highway, and pretty quick too. I was more sad to get my Saturn back and have to turn the Impala in…

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    It’s truly impressive that this question can still arouse passion! Truly, the only good reason for having a trunk on a car is to store the roof when it’s not needed overhead. Name one other reason for the perverse impracticality of a trunk.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Agreed, very much! A two-box form factor makes so much more sense to me. Then it is simply a matter of long or short, low or tall. Trunks are useless.

      Out of five vehicles the only one of mine with a trunk is the Spitfire.

      There was one guy here who argued that trunks were better for noisy or smelly cargo – to which my response is that crap shouldn’t be in the car in the first place.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    V6 Impala Premier in a dark exterior color with a shade of brown leather interior because

    a. Better space utilization
    b. I can buy a performance exhaust for it
    c. 19 cubic foot trunk (I like big trunks and I cannot lie)

    I’ll be the guy with the windows tinted the f*&# out passing you at 10 over the limit.

  • avatar
    71charger_fan

    I recently had an Impala as a service loaner and was very impressed.

  • avatar
    Trucky McTruckface

    The Impala would be worth keeping if GM didn’t still insist on selling multiple nameplates on the same platform with insignificant differentiation in a dying market segment, a strategy it’s been milking for failure since around 1980. The Impala is a nice ride, especially by Detroit standards, but I think GM would be better off killing it and the XTS and letting the newer Lucerne carry that flag (and give Buick a reason to exist.

    Besides, as far as I’m concerned the Impala died in 1985, and few cared then since it had become a fleet-special afterthought to the Caprice. The ’94-’96 SS was pretty sweet, but it was also a relatively low volume novelty whose success led to the revival of retro names on ignominious crap like the W-body Impalas and every front-drive version of the Malibu.

    Then there’s the Taurus. A name that symbolized garbage in the marketplace by 1998 or so. It should have died a decade ago, except that Mulally liked it and Ford’s then-current obsession with alliterative model names was really, really stupid. The Five Hundred/Taurus was a nice car…in 2008. And it was a really sharp looking car with an uncompetitively-sized interior…in 2010. I don’t really care about the Taurus either way, but I just want to take the opportunity to say f**k Ford for going back to the old-days playbook of letting the car line rot and then blaming the market when retail buyers wont go near them anymore.

  • avatar
    brn

    Drive the Impala. Seems like a nice car.
    Buy the Taurus. Great car to live with. Over-engineered.
    Burn the Avalon. Why does this thing exist?

    This was a drive, buy, burn question right?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Here’s what I find hilarious and “useless”.

      The new Avalon will have “sport” options.

      The current Lacrosse has a “sport” package (Hyperstrut, sport switch for the transmission, 20 in wheels)

      That falls into my “why does this thing exist?”

  • avatar
    thornmark

    The current Impala was a flop from the day it was introduced and GM confirmed that by conflating its sales w/ that of the old Impala which was kept around for years as a pure fleet model. We never really knew how big a flop the “new” Impala was because GM desperately tried to hide it – the one area where it was successful.

    I suspect that current Impala sales are heavily/mostly fleet. The Impala has lousy resale value and recently revised mid size sedans blow the Impala away in virtually every area, making this old model’s existence tenuous.

  • avatar
    Oldschool

    As a current owner of a 17 Impala LT with the great 3.6 V6, I hate sounding like a broken record on here, but it’s truly an awesome car that GM should not kill off!! It’s their best effort IMO as far as sedans go.

    Nothing in its segment is as nice as the Impala either, not even the current crop of midsize sedans out there on the market. What separates this car from the everything else, is its build quality. Little things feel more sturdy in the impala such as the center armrest that uses actual metal hinges, vs plastic ones in just about every other car. The car has a heft to it that is missing in other sedans too, it’s doors close with that solid luxury car “thunk”, on the road, the added weight keeps things quiet inside, it has very little road noise, and road imperfections don’t cause the interior to creak or rattle like some other cars. The engine is very very smooth, and it has an effortless amount of power. The car just feels very refined and well put together.

    As some other midsizers still use super cheap-feeling hard plastics on the door panels and the dash, the Impala’s interior is nicely padded and feels more upscale. And the plastics you do touch doesn’t feel extremely cheap, maybe besides for the volume knob and HVAC fan speed control, but other than that, the interior is attractive and well put together, with decent amounts of brightwork and aluminum inserts to give it some pizzaz.

    The Impala is truly underappreciated, and unfortunately, I don’t understand why it isn’t selling better for being such a nice car.

    After test driving an 18 Malibu and the Impala back at the dealer last year, the Impala was superior in every way, it has more interior room, better materials, it rode much nicer, was quieter, feels more premium and looks better. Plus nothing can match its trunk space beside for the Taurus.

    Although I do like the Malibus dash, especially it’s tablet-like display, but sometimes no matter how much great tech a vehicle has, it doesn’t automatically make it a better car to drive, or a comfortable one either.

    Personally, I hate 4 banger engines for one reason only, they start getting ratty and vibrate as they age. They lose their refinement but compared to a V6, you don’t have this problem as much as they stay smooth and quiet as long as you maintain it well. So all in all, I’d say save the Impala, the Taurus looks so old inside and too plain vs the much nicer Impala. Why would GM spend so much money, and put so much effort into building such a great platform, the Epsilon II, to just throw it all away?

    GM should really give the Impala a massive facelift, with up to date tech and advertise the eff out of it, and see what happens. Most of the blame here is GM and Chevy not advertising the Impala at all!! I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Impala commercial, ever. And execs wonder why the car isn’t selling…SMH..

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      What a crock.

      Baruth wrote about the new Accord being the best family sedan in the US in R&T.

      ” No car has been as consistently good as the Accord over the past four decades, and for drivers who do not absolutely require the Sturm und Drang of the old V-6 this is the best Accord, and the best family sedan, ever built.”
      https://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/first-drives/a13818067/2018-honda-accord-review/

      The build quality of the Accord is vastly superior to the Impala as is it’s powertrain. This old Impala may be your cup of tea but it’s an absolute fleet queen flop. Some may think it’s a marked down bargain, but it’s not, it’s just a false economy.

      btw, the last gen Accord was a better car than this old Impala too.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Oldschool–Some great points. I rented an Impala LTZ and went away as being very impressed. It is the one rental car that I hated to return.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    What are the sales numbers of Taurus/Caprice vs Camry/Accord? It used to be four door family sedans were the bread and butter of any dealership. These days it’s SUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Probably better to compare the Fusion/Malibu to the Camry/Accord. Camry/Accord do sell better.

      In the large car segment, Honda doesn’t have an option. Toyota’s Avalon sells quite a bit worse than either the Taurus or the Impala.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    Ford fan here: Kill the Taurus, unless it’s feasible to bring the Chinese-market version here (with a larger engine than the 2.7 EB).

  • avatar
    Oldschool

    @thornmark, and how would you justify that? The V6 3.6 in the Impala is superior to any 4 banger Honda puts out. The interior is much much better in quality than the Accord. The Impala drives, is way quieter, and rides better than the Accord, it has more interior room, it has massive trunk space. Plus it’s a larger car in dimensions.

    Honda is living off its past, just like Toyota, on the surface they might look nice, but when you drive them and start touching things, you realize they are no different than a Chevy or Ford. The only major differences that I can think of is it’s features and tech offerings. I’m currently at the Chevy dealer getting my Impala an oil change, and I just sat in a used 15 Benz E-Class and a 16 BMW 325i. I was appalled by their cheapness!! The interiors were crap for being such an expensive car. Even the leather seats felt cheap n hard. A similar year ATS felt nicer than both the Benz and Beemer.

    I don’t see how the Accord is is supposedly “superior” to the Impala, when I have driven a 17 EX before. Never been a Chevy fan or loyal to any automaker, and I have owned Accords in the past, a 94 which was amazing and I loved that car, but it was stolen sadly and a 98 Accord which isn’t anything to write home about, and was actually worse in reliability including quality than the 94.

    All in all Chevy has really up their game with this gen, and the Impala is the winner by far.

    The Impala was a real surprise to me to be honest, and that is why I bought one.

  • avatar
    watersketch

    As one who does a bunch of road trips in the company fleet vehicle, I will be sad to see the full size sedans go.

    Those good driving cars are all being replaced with utility vehicles that are great on utility but suck for long drives. I dread doing a 4 hour drive in the Escape, Transit, or F-150s that my company now gets as fleet vehicles.


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