2012 Impala New Car Test Drive
The Chevrolet Impala is a big family sedan close in size to the Toyota Avalon. The Impala is a comfortable and convenient car, practical and enjoyable to drive, with decent performance and fuel economy and competitive pricing.
The Impala competes with full-size cars, such as the Ford Taurus, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger, and mid-size cars, such as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima.
Impala carries over to 2011 largely unchanged, though there are some minor packaging changes. 2011 Chevrolet Impala models are available with Bluetooth and the latest version of OnStar Gen 9.0. All 2011 Impalas come with body-color body side moldings.
The Chevrolet Impala is front-wheel drive with a choice of two V6 engines. The 3.5-liter V6 that comes standard on the Impala LT and LS models generates 211 horsepower and 216 pound-feet of torque and gets an EPA-estimated 18/29 miles per gallon City/Highway. The Impala LTZ comes with a larger 3.9-liter V6 rated at 230 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque and 17/27 mpg.
For 2011, both the 3.5-liter V6 and the 3.9-liter V6 are FlexFuel-capable, meaning they can run on E85 ethanol. Fuel economy drops precipitously with E85, however, tumbling 7 miles per gallon in both cases to 14/22 mpg for the 3.5-liter and 13/20 mpg for the 3.9-liter.
On the road, the Impala is very stable, a nice cruiser. There's lots of low-end torque from the 3.9-liter V6. Step on the gas and it goes. Given its size, the Impala handles well, and surprisingly so.
Inside, there's lots of room, 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 lid that simplifies loading cargo, and it has a generous capacity. Optional flip-and-fold-forward 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. Last redesigned for 2006, the Impala looks a bit long in the tooth.
Chevrolet Impala comes standard with StabiliTrak electronic stability control with traction control, and the latest generation of OnStar. OnStar will automatically communicate the nature and severity of a crash as well as the location of your to operators at the call center, who will notify emergency crews.
The 2011 Chevrolet Impala LS ($24,390) comes with a 207-hosepower 3.5-liter V6, a 4-speed automatic transmission, cloth upholstery, six-way power driver's seat, dual-zone air conditioning, power windows, programmable power locks, AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio with six speakers, XM Satellite Radio, OnStar 9.0 with Turn-by-Turn Navigation and six-month subscription to Directions and Connections plan, cruise control, 16-inch steel wheels, a tire-pressure monitor, four-wheel-disc brakes with anti-lock (ABS) and StabiliTrak, which includes the function of traction control. Options include an engine block heater ($75), 40/20/40 front bench seat ($195), and a flip-and-fold-forward rear seat ($295).
Impala LT ($25,605) upgrades to 16-inch aluminum wheels, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, Bluetooth and more interior conveniences. Options include leather upholstery ($1,125), sunroof ($900), universal garage door opener ($100), and rear spoiler ($275).
For 2011, the LT Luxury Package ($2,515) includes front bucket seats with leather appointments, an upgraded OnStar with Directions and Connections and Turn-By-Turn Navigation, heated front seats, six-way power front passenger's seat, Bose premium eight-speaker audio system, XM Satellite Radio including one-year subscription, flip-and-fold-forward rear seat, rear spoiler, plus a new auto-dimming rearview mirror with a new universal home remote and new heated power-adjustable outside mirrors.
The Impala LTZ ($29,930) comes standard with the equipment of the LT, plus the 238-horsepower 3.9-liter V6 engine and the FE3 performance suspension. Inside you'll find leather upholstery, heated seats with eight-way power on the driver's side and six-way power on the passenger's side, upgraded audio with eight speakers, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls. Standard wheels are 18-inch machined alloys with P235/55R18 tires.
Safety features that come standard on all Impalas include dual front airbags, side-curtain roof-mounted airbags for front- and rear-seat passengers, thorax side-impact airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), StabiliTrak with traction control and tire-pressure monitoring.