Chevy Impala History
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The Chevy Impala is a four-door sedan that's as familiar to your parents--even your grandparents--as a Corvette. The Impala nameplate has been applied to Chevrolets for more than 50 years, and though it's sometimes been a two-door, it's more often been a mainstay sedan for the bow-tie brand.See our 2014 Chevrolet Impala review for car prices with options, specifications, and gas mileage ratings.
With the past decade of the Impala, Chevy had let its biggest four-door linger on, mostly in fleet sales as police vehicles and taxis. This year, though, the Impala's returned, brand-new, on a common platform shared with the Cadillac XTS and Buick LaCrosse--and it's better in every way. With a new range of four- and six-cylinder engines, the front-drive Impala competes well with the likes of the Toyota Avalon, Ford Taurus, and Hyundai Azera in the full-size and mid-size segments.Chevy Impala: The early years
Originally introduced in 1958, the Chevrolet Impala has seen nine generations over its lifespan, but the last generation has lived a particularly long life. From finned land yacht to clean rectilinear cruiser, wire wheels to steel hubcaps, the Impala was at the leading edge of sedan design through the late 1950s and all through the 1960s—with some of the most memorable, timeless designs—while the 1970s and 1980s were some of the more forgettable. The seventh generation car (which the current Impala still dates back to, mechanically, in some ways) remains one of the most easily picked out of the cars of that era, its smooth and rounded shape at once unassuming and completely unique. After a hiatus at the end of the seventh generation in 1996, the 2000-2005 eighth generation introduced the front-wheel drive layout and more restrained look of the car on the road today.
Chevrolet Impala, 2006-2013
The current Impala first hit the roads in 2006, offering a 211-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine in the standard car and a 5.3-liter V-8 engine in the Impala SS. Later in the 2006 model year, a new 3.9-liter V-6 was added to the range. In 2007, flex-fuel capability was added for the 3.5-liter engine, and in 2009, the Impala SS was discontinued.
In recent years, three trim levels have been available: LS, LT and LTZ. The LS and LT come standard with a six-speaker audio system, cruise control, OnStar, power driver's seat, sixteen-inch steel (LS) or alloy (LT) wheels, and more. The LTZ adds 18-inch alloy wheels, power heated front seats, auto dimming rearview mirror, universal home remote and more. Up until 2012, the Impala used a four-speed automatic four-speed automatic transmission, with the LS and LT getting power from the 3.5-liter V-6 standard (the LT could be upgraded to the 3.9-liter V-6 engine, which was standard on the LTZ).
Standard safety features include front and side-impact, curtain and rear side airbags, plus front safety belt pretensioners, stability control, and four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes.
For 2012, the Impala soldiered along with the same underpinnings and configuration, but received a number of minor cosmetic improvements, newly standard alloy wheels and Bluetooth. The bigger news--and odd, given its short lifespan--was its new 302-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic transmission, with much improved performance, paired with EPA ratings of 18 mpg city, 30 highway. Overall, we've found these Impala models to perform adequately but with little to no excitement; and while the ride is comfortable, the seats are not. The same powertrain carries over to the 2013 model year, which is unchanged as GM plans ahead for a brand-new Impala that will be launched in the 2014 model year.
2014 Chevy Impala
The 2014 Chevrolet Impala, shown for the first time at the 2012 New York Auto Show, goes on sale in spring of 2013. This model is related mechanically to the 2013 Cadillac XTS and Buick LaCrosse, and it's said to offer a better ride and a superior body structure than the Chevy sedan it replaces.
The new Impala will have three powertrains on its order sheet. A base version will have a 2.5-liter four rated at 195 horsepower, and will be teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission sending power to the front wheels. GM's eAssist mild-hybrid technology will appear as well; with a 182-hp, 2.4-liter gas four-cylinder and electrical assist in some operating conditions, Chevy says this version is expected to earn a 35-mpg highway rating. The most powerful Impala will feature the carryover 303-hp, 3.6-liter V-6.It should be safer as well: GM promises ten airbags in all, standard OnStar, and a suite of available advanced features like blind-spot monitors; lane-departure warning system; adaptive cruise control; rearview camera; rear parking assists; and forward collision alerts.
Along with the safety technology, the Impala's infotainment systems get a thorough upgrade. Bluetooth audio streaming is now offered, as is navigation. Chevy's MyLink system controls the secondary features via an eight-inch touchscreen LCD.