There isn't a whole lot to get excited about in the world of near-luxury, full-size, front-wheel-drive sedans. Stalwarts like the Ford Taurus and Toyota Avalon continue to make their way into the driveways of gray-haired shoppers, and new entries like the redesigned Hyundai Azera are attempting to add a little bit of spice to an otherwise bland segment. In recent years, the Chevrolet Impala has nearly fallen off the map in this class simply because it hasn't been seriously updated since its launch in 2005 as a 2006 model. (The big four-door did get a new engine for 2012, finally.) But that's all about to change.

The 2014 Impala will be based on the same front-wheel-drive Epsilon-II architecture that underpins the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu and Cadillac XTS. But instead of sharing many of its components with the 'Bu, reports indicate that the Impala will use a lot of the features of the XTS in an effort to give it a much more premium feel than the current model. And while the majority of the new car's styling details are still covered up by the heavy camouflage, we can see premium features like large alloy wheels and what appear to be LED running lights up front. We just hope General Motors hasn't just taken the easy way out and created a Malibu on steroids.

Mum's the word on powertrain offerings, but earlier reports have suggested that GM's direct-injected 3.6-liter V6 will be on board, as well as the new 2.0-liter turbo four that's slated for use in the Cadillac ATS. An eAssist version is also rumored to be in the cards.

Look for the 2014 Impala to launch sometime during the 2013 calendar year. Production is slated to be split between GM's Oshawa, Ontario plant, as well as the Detroit-Hamtramck facility where the Malibu and Volt are built.