Impala Review: Chevrolet Takes a Bow

By The Car Family – August 2013

Chevrolet has produced a car that has captured the hearts of the working class with the new Impala. The looks are eye candy and the interior is vast and user friendly. The bottom line is that if you do your homework and select the option packages carefully you can own a full-sized sedan that delivers 30 mpg on the highway and can cost under $28,000. Of course, there are some areas that need to be addressed such as a GPS that is awkward to use, glare on monitor, and a parking brake button that is difficult to locate, but these areas can be conquered with use.

Mom’s view: It is best if you don’t tell anyone how little you paid for this sedan and let them think you won the lottery. It is elegant. Even better, the ride is quite nice, the interior understated, and the rear seat room and trunk size make SUVs quake with jealousy. Add an abundance of safety features and you have a great family sedan. However, the glare on the monitor and even gauges is frustrating. The base engine is adequate, but it is a four cylinder so don’t expect whip lash while accelerating. You can order an optional eAssist mild hybrid version and a V6 powered version, so it is best to drive these models first. Safety features include standard antilock brakes, traction and stability control, ten airbags, and OnStar service. Of the options, I really liked the rear parking sensors and camera, forward collision alert, and the must-have rear cross-traffic alerts and blind spot monitoring. The LTZ models have these features as standard. An excellent effort from Chevrolet that makes it the best sedan they have probably ever produced. They definitely should take a bow.

Dad’s view: We had the base engine, and it provided a good combination of power and fuel economy. We averaged over 27 mpg in mixed driving on regular gas. The ride is smooth, the six-speed transmission can hunt a bit, but is very smooth overall, and it can be locked in manual mode. One caveat is that the horn is not raised or recessed from the ancillary buttons on the steering wheel and you can activate these functions when using the horn. You can order the Impala with a 195 hp, 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, a 2.4-liter eAssist mild hybrid that should be of interest to those who drive in heavy traffic, and the 305 hp V6.

Young working woman’s view: Looks are everything and the new Impala is everything. No one can resist its look, especially from the side. The rear seat room is cavernous, and the vinyl/suede seat covering option distinctive. If you use the 60/40-split-folding rear seatback the cargo space is enormous. The trunk is already large at 18.8-cubic-foot and the remote lid raises enough to open it with ease. This is an impressive vehicle, but you must do your homework first as the number of option packages can add considerably to the base price. Regardless of which model you choose, you are going to catch a lot of eyes with the Impala.

Young working male’s view: The 8-inch MyLink touchscreen interface is designed for audio, navigation and phone functions. MyLink came standard with our LT model. You can use your smart phone to work with Chevrolet’s system. The GPS system is a bit slow and on one occasion advised us to take a dead end road. One feature I treasured was the accident information center that informs the driver of incidents within several miles of the car’s current position. The optional eight-inch touch screen has good resolution, but the back-up camera needs work. It provides a blurry view. The MyLink can handle 10 Bluetooth devices and hundreds of contacts as well as voice recognition. It works well, and there are steering wheel mounted controls, too. Don’t tell anyone, but you can raise the monitor and it reveals a hidden storage compartment. Very clever and it can be locked. Chevrolet has mastered what Ford can only dream about when it comes to this electronic package.

Family conference: There is plenty of competition in the large sedan field from the likes of the Dodge Charger, Hyundai, Azera, and Kia Cadenza, to the new Toyota Avalon. However, the Impala feels roomier and looks impressive. It has shed the previous model’s fleet car image and is certain to create street presence. And the most important element is the wealth of safety equipment.

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