April Showrooms Bring 2014 Chevrolet Impala

By Sue Mead, April 6th, 2013

The 2014 model-year vehicle marks the 10th time Chevrolet has introduced a new Impala. The 2014 Impala is a refined, modern take on the iconic five-passenger sedan.

Its looks have not always been consistently stunning, in fact, the outgoing model was growing a bit long-in-the-tooth. However, the 2014 Chevy Impala's design team has hit it out of the park with a gorgeous design that is equal parts American muscle and European sculpture.

It also gets an updated interior with some luxury chops; new features, like the updated MyLink navigation and infotainment system; updated safety, with 10 airbags; and an improved ride. The 2014 Impala is on sale now starting at $27,535. The top-of-the-line editions, with all the bells and whistles, run up to $41,000.

Chevy says its all-new, full-sized flagship is the exclamation point in the Chevrolet portfolio. Buyers will likely agree when looking at the Impala's exterior styling. Its lines and side profile remind us of the Audi A8's regal beauty. The wide, grinning front grille is accented by a low air intake that seems to float beneath it, thanks to a partial frame of painted sheet metal. Narrow wraparound headlamps give the large sedan a look of fast motion, even when standing still. Scooped-out sides are a fresh take on a historically wide-waisted vehicle; rear port glass cutaways add a tasteful trim feature.

The rounded curve of the rear end, which sits high above the ground, looks as stately as many luxurious Euro sedans. Trapezoidal twin-exhaust pipes hint at power under the hood, and the decklid of the trunk includes an integrated spoiler.

A dual-cockpit cabin is unified by a wraparound dash and soft-touch materials. Standard fabric seats have a nice stitching detail and the instrument panel comes with a standard 4.2-inch color display. Icy blue lighting is easy on the eyes, as are the optional chrome trim and ambient lighting throughout the cabin.

A notable feature comes with Chevy's next-gen MyLink. In addition to 3-D mapping; valet mode; gesture recognition (this means you can swipe, flick, click and drag to communicate with the system); Bluetooth connectivity for 10 devices; HD, Pandora and Sirius XM; storage for up to 1,000 contacts -- the driver can also change the color and icons for in the screen and gauge cluster. This system was recently voted Best of the CES Award Car Technology.

Chevy has paid attention to noise reduction with new windshield glass and suspension tuning that, combined with insulation and noise-canceling software built into the car, makes for a quieter and more comfortable ride and a lower coefficient of drag, also improving fuel economy. Eight-way power adjusting driver and power up/down passenger seats are standard, as is single-zone climate control.

strong>The front-drive Impala offers three powertrains: a 3.6L V-6 delivering 305 horsepower and 264 lb.-ft. of torque; a new Ecotec 2.5L four-cylinder that delivers 196 horses and 186 lb.-ft.; and the Ecotec 2.4L with eAssist, an electric motor boost that puts the motor's highway gas mileage estimates around 35 mpg, but drops horsepower to about 182. All are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

We drove the new Impala on a 150-mile-long route from San Diego to the foothills of the Sierras, on roads that provided ample opportunity to try out its handling features, as well as its interior comfort and convenience features.

Front MacPherson struts and a rear four-link suspension, combined with the Impala's wider track, help give it a firm stance and improved ride on the road. Chevy also has refined the electric power steering and added drift-correction technologies that clearly refine its road feel. While there wasn't a driving need that called upon traction and stability control, they are bundled into the driving dynamics and are standard. We did, however, have a panic-brake incident that brought us to a full stop with Impalas four-wheel disc brakes with ABS; it was impressive how well balanced this full-sized sedan handled a sudden, unplanned maneuver with a flat chassis (no vehicle diving, porpoising).

We particularly liked the interior quietness and spaciousness of the cockpit that now has more front and rear legroom and a trunk that can swallow up to 18.8 cu.-ft. of gear. The rear seats are a 60/40 split-folding configuration and fold flat for additional storage.

We drove the V-6 model rated at 19/29 mpg, although with our more spirited driving we achieved about 24 mpg. As a short-stature driver, my only complaint was with an oversized driver seat, however, with power adjustability, I was able to maneuver it to get good visibility and the height/telescoping steering wheel adjusted to a good fit, too.

The Impala is available in three trim levels: LS, LT and LTZ. LT and LTZ models can be ordered with either the 3.6-liter V-6 ($30,760 for the LS and $36,580 for the LTZ) or the 2.5-liter Ecotec engine ($29,785 for the LT and $34,555 for the LTZ); LS models come standard with the 2.4-liter motor ($27,535).

Specifications

Base price $30,760
Curb weight 3,800 lbs.
Displacement 3.6-liter
Epa mileage rating 19 mpg city, 29 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 18.5 gal.
Horsepower (net) 305 at 6800 rpm
Motor type 24-valve V-6 w/DI
Overall length 201.3 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 264 at 5300 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger FWD full-size sedan
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