2014 Impala New Car Test Drive
Forget what you know about the Chevrolet Impala. Originally launched as a 1958 model, the Impala name boasts a long, storied history. Though of late it was often dismissed as a mediocre rental car, the Impala is back with a vengeance, sporting a sophisticated design, high-quality interior and spot-on driving dynamics.
Chevrolet is now calling the five-passenger Impala a full-size sedan, though it was previously classified as a midsize. Surprisingly stylish looks grab you from the first glance, and a high-quality interior with many thoughtful touches keep driver and passengers happy in the cabin.
The 2014 Chevrolet Impala is bigger, quieter and more efficient than before. Its wheelbase has been stretched by a little more than an inch, yet it offers nearly six more inches in combined front and rear legroom. The 2014 Impala is front-wheel drive and shares GM's Epsilon platform with the Buick LaCrosse, Buick Regal, Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Malibu.
Three engine choices range from powerful to practical. General Motors' familiar direct injection 3.6-liter V6 is the beefiest of the bunch, with 305 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque. A 2.5-liter Ecotec inline-4 makes 196 hp and 145 lb.-ft., while a 2.4-liter inline-4 with GM's eAssist mild hybrid system is good for 182 hp and 172 lb.-ft. All variants use GM's 6-speed Hydra-Matic transmission. The V6 will roll off the assembly line first, followed 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, with the eAssist version expected a few months after that.
EPA fuel economy ratings for the V6 are 19/29 mpg City/Highway. EPA fuel economy estimates for the four-cylinders were unofficial at press time, but Chevrolet expected the 2.5-liter to achieve 21/31 mpg city/highway, and the 2.4-liter with eAssist to yield 25/35 mpg. By way of comparison, the old Impala got an EPA-estimated 18/29 mpg with its standard 3.5-liter V6 and 17/27 mpg with the bigger, 3.9-liter V6.
Better aerodynamics help the 2014 Impala with fuel economy, in part aided by new wind blockers positioned in front of the tires, which look like mud flaps put on the wrong way. Four-cylinder models get active aero shutter grille and underbody aero panels to make the 2014 Impala even more slippery. Efficiency is aided by new electric power steering that draws energy only when the steering wheel is turned.
A quiet ride is one of the 2014 Impala's strong suits. Acoustic glass in the front side windows, extra foam in the body, and additional sound deadening material in the floor pan and trunk help to keep occupants feeling like they're in their own little bubble.
Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and brake assist come standard on all models, and rotors have a special coating that resist rust, which not only keep them shiny, but also reduce shudder under braking and, according to Chevrolet, doubles the life expectancy of the rotor to 80,000 miles.
Several electronic safety systems are optional on mid-range Impala LT models and standard on Impala LTZ trims, including forward collision alert, lane departure warning, side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert and rear park assist. Top-of-the-line Impala LTZ trims with the V6 engine can also be equipped with full-range adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation braking and brake pre-fill. With this technology, the Impala will automatically keep a safe distance from the car in front while cruising, and will slow down or even stop itself if a collision is imminent.
Chevrolet hopes the Impala will end up in more driveways, not just in rental car lots. Nearly 75 percent of last-generation Impalas were attributed to fleet (mostly rental car) sales.
Although competitors to the outgoing iteration of the Impala were midsize sedans such as the Toyota Camry, the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Impala competes with full-size flagship sedans including the Toyota Avalon, Ford Taurus, Hyundai Azera.
The 2014 Chevrolet Impala comes with a choice of three engines: A 2.5-liter inline-4, a 3.6-liter V6, and a 2.4-liter inline-4 with eAssist.
Impala LS ($27,535) comes with the 2.5-liter engine, cloth upholstery, air conditioning, 8-way power driver seat, 4.2-inch color infotainment display, a six-speaker audio system with CD player and satellite radio capability and 18-inch steel wheels. An optional LS Package ($570) adds foldable rear headrests, a cargo net and rear park assist. (All prices are Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices and do not include destination charge and may change at any time without notice.)
Impala LT is available with the 2.5-liter inline-4 ($29,785) or the 3.6-liter V6 ($30,760) and includes cloth upholstery with vinyl trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system with 8-inch color touch display and lockable storage behind the screen and 18-inch painted alloy wheels. Options for the LT trim are plentiful, including a Convenience Package ($940) with remote start, auto-dimming mirror, universal home remote, premium carpeted mats and a rearview camera. The Advanced Safety Package ($890) adds forward collision, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning and side blind zone alert. The Premium Seating Package ($945) includes heated faux suede front seats, power passenger seat and cargo net. A Premium Audio Package ($1140) upgrades to an 11-speaker Bose surround sound system with additional ambient interior lighting, a120-volt power outlet, rear spoiler and 19-inch alloy wheels. Navigation ($1,095) also includes keyless access and ambient lighting. A power sunroof ($1,050) can also be added to LT models already equipped with one of the aforementioned packages.
Impala LTZ with the 2.5-liter inline-4 ($34,555) or the V6 ($36,580) includes perforated leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power driver's and passenger's seats, push-button start, rearview camera, rear park assist, HID headlamps with LED daytime running lights, exposed dual exhaust pipes with bright tips and 19-inch alloy wheels. Impala LTZ comes standard with the safety features found in the LT advanced safety package. Options on the LTZ include a Comfort and Convenience Package ($1,035), which adds ventilated front seats, a heated leather steering wheel, memory power steering column, seats and mirrors; auto-dimming rearview and driver's side mirrors. Navigation ($795) must be paired with the Comfort and Convenience Package. The Bose Premium Audio system ($700) is also available. LTZ models with the V6 engine can also be equipped with 20-inch alloy wheels ($400) and full-range adaptive cruise control ($1,695) with Collision Mitigation Braking.
Impala with eAssist is similarly equipped.
Safety features on all 2014 Chevrolet Impala models include 10 air bags, stability control, traction control and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and brake force distribution. A rearview camera is optional and can help the driver spot a small child when backing up. Collision Mitigation Braking, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning and side blind zone alert are optional.