2010 Chevrolet Impala Review

Consumer Reviews
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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
January 18, 2010

The 2010 Chevrolet Impala is ideal if you’re after a large sedan for a reasonable price; just don’t expect too many frills.

The editors at TheCarConnection.com have put together this review covering the 2010 Chevrolet Impala, drawing from a wide range of review sources. They've also driven the Impala and incorporated their opinions of the sedan into a Bottom Line assessment that compares the Impala to its rivals.

Chevrolet’s large sedan offering comes in the form of the front-wheel-drive Impala, which while having a comfortable ride, does not match up to the standards of refinement expected from a car of its class today.

The 2010 Chevrolet Impala won’t win any awards for styling; its exterior is quite bland and looks thoroughly outdated next to more modern large sedans like GM's own Buick LaCrosse or Ford's Taurus. Inside, the Impala appears dull and drab, and even though the instrument panel is cleanly designed, the interior trim could be described as more utilitarian than artistic.

Sadly, the 300-plus-horsepower V-8 SS model is no longer included in the 2010 Chevrolet Impala lineup, but thankfully, the model has other positives. Two engine configurations can be chosen with the 2010 Chevrolet Impala: the standard 3.5-liter V-6 found in base models and another 3.9-liter V-6 that comes standard in the top-of-the-line LTZ version only. A four-speed automatic transmission is the only option, which is disappointing against newer six-speed autos found in many rival models. Both engines in the Impala offer decent performance, with the only downside being a certain roughness while accelerating, though it must be noted that while cruising, the engines are rather smooth. The 3.5-liter unit is rated at 211 horsepower and 216 pound-feet of torque and returns a fuel economy of 18 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. The 3.9-liter mill produces 230 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque and returns fuel economy of 17 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined.

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The Impala does offer lots of comfort and a large, accommodating passenger cabin with a configuration that’s more useful than that of many other sedans. The backseat has ample headroom and legroom, along with a flip-and-fold rear seat that allows access to a covered storage area. The seats on the Impala, even though comfortable, are not suited for providing support during long hauls. The 2010 Chevrolet Impala offers a comfortable ride, with the FE1 suspension that's included with the 3.9-liter engine sacrificing hardly any ride comfort for the more responsive handling. Additionally, barely any road noise permeates to the cabin.

As a larger vehicle, the Impala should score well in crash tests, but unfortunately, it doesn’t stand out for crash-test protection. It does well with five-star frontal ratings and a mix of four- and five-star ratings in side protection from the federal government, but only an "acceptable" frontal rating, a "good" side-impact rating, and a "marginal" rear-impact rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) round of testing. Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, stability control, and side curtain airbags, all for an affordable price.

The 2010 Chevrolet Impala range starts with the base LS, which gets keyless entry, cruise control, air conditioning, and a CD sound system, as well as Bluetooth connectivity, which is offered as standard across the range. The LT model is next up and adds more popular comfort and convenience equipment, while the range-topping LTZ comes with many of those same features as the LT, plus dual-zone climate control, an eight-speaker Bose stereo, and an alarm system.

6

2010 Chevrolet Impala

Styling

The styling of the 2010 Chevrolet Impala can only be described as forgettable.

Most reviewers find the styling of the Impala bland and outdated against its rivals. The 2010 Chevrolet Impala won’t win any awards for styling; its exterior is quite bland and looks thoroughly outdated next to more modern large sedans like GM's own Buick LaCrosse or Ford's Taurus.

Edmunds claims the Impala received a “classy exterior freshening” a few years ago, discarding the “old electric-stove tail-lamps that looked more GE than GM.” Car and Driver finds that the Impala’s "anonymous styling" might have been overlooked in recent years. In today's world, sedans like the Honda Accord, the Ford Fusion, and Chevrolet’s own Malibu set a new standard for family sedans, with the Impala taking the backseat. Though the bland styling does have some merits, the generous headlights that sweep back along the sides of the hood, with its unique twin grille openings, lend the Impala a hint of modernity.

Inside, the Impala looks dull and drab, and even though the instrument panel is cleanly designed, the interior trim could be described as more utilitarian than artistic. Edmunds describes the interior of the Impala as "functional and straightforward," with "all the visual pizzazz of The Wall Street Journal." Car and Driver finds that the "overall look is pleasing enough, with a dark gray upper and lighter lower dash separated by faux wood, and the control layout is wonderfully simple and logical," but adds that "the featureless black plastic on the center stack and instrument cluster is almost insulting." Cars.com reports "nuance sandstone leather seating with French seams on the center cushions."

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7

2010 Chevrolet Impala

Performance

The 2010 Chevrolet Impala offers nothing more than competence when it comes to performance and is definitely outmatched by its rivals now that the SS model is gone.

Sadly, the 300-plus-horsepower V-8 SS model is no longer included in the 2010 Chevrolet Impala lineup, but thankfully, the model has other positives. Two engine configurations can be chosen with the 2010 Chevrolet Impala: the standard 3.5-liter V-6 found in base models and another 3.9-liter V-6 that comes standard in the top-of-the-line LTZ version only. A four-speed automatic transmission is the only option, which is disappointing against newer six-speed autos in many rival models.

The 3.5-liter unit is rated at 211 horsepower and 216 pound-feet of torque, returning fuel economy figures of 18 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. The 3.9-liter mill produces 230 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque and returns fuel economy of 17 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined.

Both engines in the Impala offer decent performance, with the only downside being a certain roughness while accelerating, though it must be noted that while cruising, the engines are rather smooth. The 3.9-liter offers noticeably more torque off the line, which may be more useful with a full load. Car and Driver claims "the idea of the base 211 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 would drop our eyelids, [but] the 3.9-liter V-6 is not a bad choice in this car ... it feels strong, even at higher rpm and speed, and never sounds labored," adding that its "233 horsepower is enough to giddyap to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds." Edmunds states that it’s “plenty powerful.” ConsumerGuide finds that the "3.5 and 3.9-liter V6s provide similar acceleration in around-town driving, but the 3.9 has better passing response in the 35-55-mph range." All Impala engines are capable of running on E85 ethanol fuel.

Car and Driver reports that "a four-speed automatic is standard on all Impalas," and Cars.com tells us it "works with all engines." Edmunds notes, “All models employ front-wheel drive and a responsive four-speed automatic transmission.” Many competitors offer six-speed automatics in the class, however.

ConsumerGuide tests find that "an LT 3.5 averaged 24.2 mpg on conventional gasoline in mostly highway driving," which drops significantly using E85. The 3.9-liter V-6 uses Active Fuel Management technology to shut down one bank of cylinders when coasting or cruising at freeway speeds, which "increases gas mileage by as much as eight percent," reports Cars.com.

ConsumerGuide finds the Impala "stable with good steering feel," adding "stopping control is good." Edmunds claims "cushy suspension hurts handling dynamics.” According to Car and Driver, "the Impala soaks up bumps well" when traveling in a straight line, but "once the road starts to wind, the Impala dips, leans, and squats as though the road were one big yoga mat."

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7

2010 Chevrolet Impala

Comfort & Quality

The cabin of the 2010 Chevrolet Impala, while spacious and comfortable, does not offer much in terms of refinement or quality.

Compared to some of its rivals, especially the ones from Japan, the 2010 Chevrolet Impala does not match up in terms of sophistication, but it offers lots of interior and cargo space, along with a generally quiet interior.

The backseat has ample headroom and legroom, along with a flip-and-fold rear seat that allows access to a covered storage area. But TheCarConnection.com thinks that the front seats on the Impala, even though comfortable, are not suited for providing support during long hauls. Edmunds reports that “occupants will find hip and shoulder room plentiful, but legroom is mediocre for a car of this size.” Car and Driver raves that the front seats are like their "favorite recliner," but notes that "the slightest hint of aggression will rock you out of your comfort zone."

ConsumerGuide comments that the 2010 Chevrolet Impala’s "trunk is roomy, with a usefully flat floor," but "an oddly shaped opening hampers loading bulky objects"; in addition, "cabin storage is merely adequate." Cars.com reports "trunk space totals 18.6 cubic feet."

Edmunds points out that "the Impala's interior is a huge improvement over its predecessor and a nice enough place to spend time, but competitors score higher style and quality points." Car and Driver, on the other hand, is not particularly impressed with the interior materials and assembly, particularly the driver controls: "Although the redesign for 2005 greatly improved the interior, the Impala’s cabin materials still pale next to those of the Honda Accord, Toyota Avalon, and Hyundai Azera." ConsumerGuide more or less agrees, reporting that "cabin materials are serviceable, but Impala trails most like-priced rivals for quality feel ... hard plastic expanses dominate the cabin, giving it a budget look and feel."

The 2010 Chevrolet Impala provides a comfortable ride, and the FE1 suspension that's included with the 3.9-liter engine sacrifices hardly any ride comfort for the more responsive handling. Additionally, barely any road noise permeates to the cabin. ConsumerGuide reports that "wind rush and tire roar both intrude slightly."

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7

2010 Chevrolet Impala

Safety

When it comes to safety, the 2010 Chevrolet Impala lags in its class, with only mediocre crash-test results to show.

A larger vehicle, the Impala should score well in crash tests, but unfortunately it doesn’t stand out for crash-test protection.

It does well with five-star frontal ratings and a mix of four- and five-star ratings in side protection from the federal government, but only an "acceptable" frontal rating, a "good" side-impact rating, and a "marginal" rear-impact rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) round of testing.

Standard safety features on the 2010 Chevrolet Impala include anti-lock brakes, stability control, and side curtain airbags, all for an affordable price. The OnStar emergency communications system is also standard.

Review continues below
6

2010 Chevrolet Impala

Features

The 2010 Chevrolet Impala, while providing the basics, lags behind the competitors in terms of features.

The 2010 Chevrolet Impala range starts with the base LS, which gets keyless entry, cruise control, air conditioning, and a CD sound system, as well as Bluetooth connectivity, which is offered as standard across the range. The LT model is next up and adds more popular comfort and convenience equipment, while the range-topping LTZ comes with many of those same features as the LT, plus dual-zone climate control, an eight-speaker Bose stereo, and an alarm system.

Standard equipment is acceptable, but its list of optional high-tech gadgets is lacking. For the latest model year, only three Impala trim levels are offered: LS, LT, and LTZ. The sporty SS model is no longer offered.

Edmunds reports that the Impala has plenty of power features, including air conditioning, tilt steering, a power driver’s seat, a CD player with an MP3-player input, and keyless entry. LT versions get remote start and dual-zone climate control, while the LTZ adds a tauter suspension, leather bucket seats, and an eight-speaker Bose audio system.

Car and Driver points out that for those Impala passengers wishing to work on a laptop during extended road trips, Chevrolet offers "three power points" in the vehicle’s cabin: "two are tucked out of sight at the base of the center stack in the bottom of a deep storage tray, and a third is in the center console. This allows you to power the cell-phone charger, the radar detector, and the iPod." Kelley Blue Book is a fan of the "clever features, such as the auxiliary audio input jack,” and remarks that it goes a long way toward satisfying the kids on long trips.

Unavailable on the Impala are features such as a DVD- or hard-drive-based navigation system, a panoramic sunroof, all-wheel drive, and some other features found in the class leaders.

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October 2, 2015
2010 Chevrolet Impala 4-Door Sedan LT

Decent car for the money, but a bit disapointing as far as reliablity goes.

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We use this car for our long trips as it is comfortable and quiet. Compared to my toyota, though, it is problematic. We've had to replace the head gasket and transmission hoses early in our ownership and last... + More »
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