Everything -- the 2014 Impala shares only a name and its emblems with the outgoing car...
Chevrolet first used the Impala name on a sedan back in 1958, but today's Impala isn't the rear-wheel-drive slice of America it used to be. For that matter, it also isn't the basic, bland appliance it was for the past decade. The 2014 Impala is all-new from head to toe and is infused with more style and flair than any Impala built in the last three decades. The 2014 Impala shares its platform with the Buick LaCrosse and the Cadillac XTS. A 195-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder is standard on the majority of Impala models, but a 305-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 is standard on 2LT and 2LTZ trims. A smaller 2.4-liter four-cylinder, paired with a "mild" hybrid system, is also expected to join the lineup later this year.
The idiom about the ugly duckling matriculating into a beautiful, graceful swan applies perfectly to the new 2014 Impala. Whereas the outgoing car was the flavorless but faithful steed of rental counters coast-to-coast, to consumers, it looked dated and dumpy. That can't be said of the new 2014 Impala. Its long, flowing roofline and cascading rear haunches echo those Impalas from the 1960s, while the front fascia shows a surprising amount of Camaro influence. It's the little things, however -- the taut character lines, the paper-thin panel gaps, intricate grille and headlamp details -- that suggest Chevy's design team didn't phone this one in.
Likewise, the 2014 Impala's interior appointments are a far cry from the cheap plastics that ruined the last car. A two-tier dashboard emphasizes a dual-cockpit look. Monotone color schemes are available, but the cabin truly pops when accented with a contrasting color -- for instance, the noir-and-saddle combination offered on the Impala LTZ. There's plenty of gadgetry to be found, too, as higher-trim Impalas are offered with Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB audio input, and OnStar emergency services. Four-cylinder Impalas even sport an active-noise-cancellation system to further insulate the cabin.
Fortunately, the 2014 Impala drives as well as it looks. The Impala finally ditches the ancient "W-body" platform that dates back three decades in favor of more modern and sophisticated hardware -- and it shows. The suspension dampening is top-notch and soaks up road imperfections without feeling gelatinous. Steering is precise and well-weighted. The 305-hp V-6 is the most powerful engine in the class and renders the Impala rather quick, but the base 2.5-liter I-4 is best described as adequate -- it is, after all hefting more than 3800 pounds with only 196 hp and 253 lb-ft of torque on tap.
The large-sedan segment is starting to heat up, thanks to the recent introduction of the 2014 Toyota Avalon, the 2014 Kia Cadenza, and the 2014 Hyundai Azera, but the Impala's pricing, styling, comfort, and size will likely render it quite popular.
- Ford Taurus
- Hyundai Azera
- Kia Cadenza
- Toyota Avalon