2014 Chevrolet Impala Review By John Heilig
THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig
Model: 2014 Chevrolet Impala
Engine: 3.6-liter V6
Horsepower/Torque: 305 hp @ 6,800 rpm/264 lb.-ft. @ 5,300 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 111.7 in.
Length x Width x Height: 201.3 x 73.0 x 58.9 in.
Cargo: 18.8 cu. ft.
Economy: 19 mpg city/29 mpg highway
Fuel capacity: 18.5 gal.(oops) (regular fuel recommended)
Curb Weight: 3,800 lbs. (est.)
Sticker: $38,000 (approx.)
The Bottom Line: The all-new 2014 Chevrolet Impala has all the attributes of a flagship sedan; quietness, power, comfort and room. While it won’t remind anyone of the more boat-like Impala and Caprice of the past, it will create its own legion of adherents in the future.
With a nod to the company’s performance side, Chevrolet introduced its 2014 Impala to media and dealers in a presentation at Pocono Raceway during NASCAR race weekend. Unfortunately, the weather failed to cooperate, and all the product demonstrations were held in a steady downpour and hot laps with NASCAR drivers at the wheel were cancelled.
However, the dealers and selected media representatives did have the opportunity to take the Impalas on the road and drive them home. Our trip was with Scott Chevrolet General Sales Manager Kevin McDevitt in the passenger seat.
Three engine options are available in the Impala for 2014; a 2.5 and 2.4-litr inline four and a 3.6-liter V6 that powered all the dealer cars. In fact, all the cars were identical; dark blue exteriors and striking black and tan interiors that highlighted the fluidic sculpturing of the interior. While the new Impala has great exterior lines, it’s the interior that the driver and passengers spend their time looking at, and it’s a part of car design that is often overlooked or shuffled off to designers who find it easier to take an interior from the corporate parts bin and make it fit.
In our tester, the lower black of the dash melded well with the black seats and lower door panels. The upper portion was a light tan leather. What was striking was the way the lighter portion swept around into the rear. There isn’t a straight line in the car. The tan areas are close to the windshield after sweeping off the doors, then move forward over the center of the dash. They curve horizontally and vertically. The bad news is that there’s a temptation to stare at the dash and not through the windshield,
The 3.6-liter V6 under the hood proved to be powerful and quiet. On Interstate and back road traveling, the Impala is silent. Some road noise does intrude into the cabin, but it’s more a function of road surface than anything else. The 20-inch wheels didn’t hurt. The Impala uses the same architecture as the Cadillac STS and Buick LaCrosse, two large cars with their own reputations for quiet.
Front seats offer very good side support. This is interesting, because you don’t expect near-racing style seats in a family sedan. Obviously, the same designers who made the dash so interesting also realized that an uncomfortable driver is the kind who tends to make mistakes.
Which leads us to safety. Passengers are surrounded by ten air bags, should anything untoward happen. There is also a forward collision alert, which consists of red lights and alarms setting off and brakes being applied to mitigate any forward collisions. In addition, the Impala has side warning alert to advise the driver of vehicles in the side blind spots, lane departure warning, and rear park assist with rear cross traffic alert.
Rear passengers have very good leg and knee room, even with taller people up front. While the rear seats aren’t as comfortable as the fronts, that doesn’t mean they are uncomfortable. Large windows and a big sunroof let a lot of light into the back to reduce any claustrophobic feelings.
Behind the rear seats is a large trunk of nearly 19 cubic feet. If you need more, the rear seat backs fold down. The opening between the trunk and the extended trunk over the rear seat backs is a good size as well.
Infotainment is handled through a Bose audio system. Our tester had AM/FM/XM and a CD player. I’m sure there was a USB connection somewhere. I liked the reasonably simple audio system controls with two knobs and six buttons. The HVAC controls were equally clear. Audio switches were located behind the steering wheel, much in Jeep/Chrysler fashion. The infotainment screen is a touch screen.
The steering wheel itself is a new design as well, and it’s a good one. Like many “smart” wheels, it has audio and cruise control switches on it. But these are located more in the “horn” area and not close to the wheel itself where they can be pushed by accident. There are also wheel heating and collision alert switches on the wheel.
Hit cruise control and an alert in the information section of the instrument panel tells what speed is set. The large number disappears after a while, but there is still a numerical reminder in the lower section. This panel also tells fuel economy and other trip information.
While the 10th generation Impala is a complete redesign from what Chevy has been offering lately, it isn’t going to scare anyone away. The lines are clean and the interior is a knockout. When it appears in showrooms it will go up against the Toyota Avalon, which is leading the large car segment now. It will be a good battle to see who comes out ahead.
© 2013 The Auto Page Syndicate