What does a manufacturer do with a middle-aged car that was once the best-selling car in the country but has fallen on lean times in recent years?
In the instance of the Chevrolet Impala, introduced in 1958, the car could simply fade away. Or, the carmaker could continue to honor the badge.
That’s what General Motors did with the 10th generation 2014 Impala. The iconic Chevy will likely not return to its heydays, like in 1965 when more than 1 million Impalas sold in the U.S. But the 2014 model has a tremendous amount to offer.
General Motors describes the car as “the reestablishment of a popular, enduring and iconic nameplate with a new outlook on style, comfort, efficiency and safety.”
That’s a mouthful, and it’s accurate.
(Click on thumbnails for full-sized images.)
My Weekly Driver was the 2LT edition. It features a 6-cylinder, 3.6-liter, 305-horsepower engine with front-wheel drive and a shiftable six-speed automatic transmission.
Chevrolet Impala: A Chameleon
From the exterior, the Impala is a chameleon. It looks like its sibling Camaro from the front. But look at it from the side or rear views and the Impala resembles a Kia Optima and the new Ford Taurus. And from an angled view, it could be mistaken for an Infiniti sedan. The design is sleekly modern and handsome.
The interior has more to offer, a well-designed, flowing console and spacious front and rear seating. A lot of small features also add up: a side mirror avoidance system, an night-time, adjustable illuminated interior door and console trim; a large, easy-to-use navigation system. I didn’t find out until my week with the car was over, but there’s also a lockable (via a pin code) security compartment on the dash, just behind the navigation system panel.
And then there’s the drive. The Impala is a six cylinder with decent economy for a full-size sedan with 19 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the freeway. It seemingly accelerates faster than its 6.8-second, 0-60 mph rating and it powers down the highway with a quiet smooth, in-charge feel.
The serene drive makes sense. The new Impala has an improved suspension and all editions come standard with acoustic windows and triple-sealed doors.
Considering the Impala’s rather pedestrian recent-year models, the new Impala might not readily come to mind for full-sedan buyers looking for refinement, spaciousness, comfort and performance for a reasonable price. The Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus and Toyota Avalon are more well-established and bigger sellers.
But with a base price of just under $30,000 the new Chevy Impala should receive major consideration. It honors its nameplate.
Smooth highway drive.
Modern exterior design.
Electric brake lever is awkwardly positioned to the lower left of the steering wheel.
Side view mirrors are oddly shaped.
Facts & Figures, 2014 Chevrolet Impala
Warranty: Bumper-to-Bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 12 years/100,000 miles; Roadside Assistance, 5 years/100,000 miles; Maintenance, 2 years/24,000 miles.
Engine: 3.6 liters, V6 305 horsepower
Price As Driven: Unavailable.
What Others Say:
“Overall, the 2014 Chevrolet Impala’s transformation puts it right back in the competition with the rest of the full-size sedan class.” — Edmunds.com.
“Exceptional road manners are the hallmark of the 2014 Chevrolet Impala. The car is smooth, even around corners, not just in a straight line. Unlike some full-size sedans, the car doesn’t feel like it’s fighting you.” — AOLAutos.com.
“If you’re looking for a sizable sedan that offers sizable value, the 2014 Chevrolet Impala is perfectly capable of capturing your attention.” — Kelley Blue Book.
The Weekly Driver’s Final Words
“Perhaps near extinction after more than 50 years in the automotive mainstream, the Chevy Impala has returned to its iconic status with the 2014 edition. Here’s to another 50 years, and from the looks and performance of the new model, it’s certainly feasible.”