Considering that the 2012 Chevrolet Impala is built on a platform that dates back about 25 years, it performs reasonably well for occupant protection. But shoppers looking for a safe, sound mid-size sedan could do a lot better.
Although the Impala does have ancient underpinnings, in all fairness its structure has seen a number of substantive updates over the years, improving its stiffness and protection, and so its safety ratings are decent. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Impala top 'good' ratings for frontal and side impact, but this Chevy earns only 'acceptable' for rear impact and roof strength. And in federal NCAP tests, the Impala fares quite well, with four out of five stars in both frontal and side impact.
Standard features have been kept up-to-date, although it's lacking the modern active-safety options, like blind-spot systems, parking sensors, or rearview cameras, that have been trickling down to the mass market the past couple of model years. But the 2012 Impala comes with standard dual front, side and curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control; and the OnStar emergency and concierge system is of course included.