2008 Impala New Car Test Drive
The Chevrolet Impala is a big, roomy sedan. While classified as a midsize sedan, it's large for that class. Close in size to the Toyota Avalon, competes with mid-size and full-size cars. Among them: the Ford Taurus, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, as well as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Nissan Altima.
We find the Impala's neat, clean lines pleasing to the eye. Its styling looks fresh, and it is, having been sharpened when the Impala was last redesigned for 2006. Other people think so: the Impala is among the top-10 best-selling cars in the U.S.
This is a roomy car, in the front as well as the back seats, and getting in and out is easy. The Impala has a big trunk with a big trunk lid that makes loading cargo easy, and it has a healthy cargo capacity. Optional flip-and-fold rear seats are exclusive in its class, and provide not only holding wells for groceries but a flat cargo floor that expands the trunk for long items.
On the road, the Impala is very stable, a nice cruiser. There's lots of low-end torque from the larger of the two available V6 engines, a 3.9-liter V6 with advanced technologies. Step on the gas and it goes. Given its size, the Impala handles well, and surprisingly so.
Several models are available, ranging from strong, reliable, fuel-efficient family sedan to sleek and powerful performance car. The mid-level Impala LT probably best exemplifies the model line. We like the LT with the optional 3.9-liter V6, which features GM's Active Fuel Management to improve real-world fuel economy. The LTZ adds a heavy-duty suspension, leather interior and convenience features. The SS comes with a small-block 5.3-liter V8 engine that sounds great and delivers strong acceleration performance.
Chevrolet continues to improve and upgrade the Impala. We highly recommend the StabiliTrak electronic stability control. The audio system has been upgraded for 2008, and XM Satellite Radio is standard on all models. OnStar is standard, and in its latest version it will automatically communicate the nature and severity of a crash as well as its location to the 911 centers.
Overall, the Chevrolet Impala is a comfortable and convenient car, practical and enjoyable to drive. It also offers low prices.
The 2008 Chevrolet Impala spans a broad model range that includes the base LS, the mid-range LT, the loaded LTZ, and the high-performance SS.
Impala LS ($21,255) comes with a 211-hp 3.5-liter V6, a four-speed automatic transmission, cloth upholstery, a 40/20/40 front bench seat with six-way power for the driver, air conditioning, power windows, programmable power locks, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio with six speakers, XM Satellite Radio, OnStar, cruise control with buttons on the tilting steering wheel, 16-inch steel wheels, and a tire-pressure monitor. Four-wheel-disc brakes are standard, also; anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and traction control are optional ($600). The clever flip-and-fold rear seats are available ($295); so is an engine block heater ($75). A flex-fuel version of the V6 can burn E85 ethanol; it's standard in most states, optional in others.
LT ($21,865) upgrades to dual-zone air conditioning, eight-way power adjustable driver's seat, dual exhausts, fog lights, 16-inch aluminum wheels, a compass, and more interior conveniences. The standard engine is still the 3.5-liter V6. Options include the complete LS list plus leather upholstery ($1125) on bench or bucket seats, a premium audio system ($295), eight-speaker Bose system ($495), sunroof ($900), universal garage door opener ($100), and rear spoiler ($275).
The LT Luxury Edition package ($2,070) includes leather trim, an upgraded OnStar with Directions and Connections and Turn-By-Turn Navigation, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, flip-and-fold rear seat, ABS/EBD with traction control, and a rear spoiler. The 2LT package ($2675) includes the 3.9-liter V6 with Active Fuel Management (formerly called Displacement on Demand) and 233 horsepower; as well as the premium audio system, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, flip-and-fold rear seat, ABS/EBD with traction control, rear spoiler, and 17-inch vented steel wheels with chrome wheel covers.
LTZ ($26,830) comes standard with the 3.9-liter V6 and, for 2008, the same FE3 performance suspension as the SS model (see below). ABS/EBD and traction control are also standard. Inside you'll find leather upholstery, heated seats with eight-way power, upgraded audio with eight speakers, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls. Standard wheels are now 18-inch five-spoke machined alloys wearing W-rated P235/50R18 performance tires.
The SS ($28,235) boasts a 303-hp all-aluminum 5.3-liter V8 designed specifically for front-wheel-drive applications. It also features Active Fuel Management and drives through a heavy-duty four-speed automatic. The SS comes with 18-inch chromed aluminum wheels, P235/50 W-rated performance tires, FE3 performance suspension, and leather-appointed bucket seats, although cloth-upholstered buckets are available for a credit ($1125).
Safety features that come standard on all Impalas include dual front smart air bags and side-curtain roof-mounted air bags for front- and rear-seat passengers. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and traction control are standard on 2LT, LTZ and SS, optional on LS and LT. StabiliTrak is offered for the first time on an Impala and is standard on 2LT, LTZ, and SS. A tire-pressure monitor is standard.
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