Thursday, December 5, 2013

Chevy Impala carries U.S. passenger car banner

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website – via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

This review originally appeared in the November 2013 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg

What better place to test the latest generation of the venerable Chevrolet Impala than the mean roadways stretching from Los Angeles to San Diego, where every lane change is challenged and every on-ramp merge is a fight for survival?

My ride was the 2014 2LTZ primo version of the Impala, starting at $35,905, and most important, equipped with a 3.6-liter V-6 engine rated at 305 horsepower.  You don’t want to venture out on the low SoCal interstates with an underpowered sedan.

You pay a bit of a price in the fuel ratings, of course, with an estimated 19 miles per gallon in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, but I’ll take the power advantage every time in this urban jungle.

The good news is that I survived my week slicing and dicing on the 5, the 15, the 215, the 10, the 110 and the 605.  The Impala not only looked the part of a SoCal freeway warrior with a broad-shouldered front, smooth-on-top look, it earned its stripes by muscling into tight spots with authority when asked.

Brakes were firm and even, the better to avoid the ever-present, mysterious Southern California interstate stop from 80 miles per hour to 5 mph in the time it take to snatch a quick glance at the deep blue Pacific Ocean.

On a performance level, my Impala tester just felt like it belonged.  Very few challenged its path when I whistled it into parking space-size traffic holes traveling at 75 mph.  Risky business, that, but I confess that I admire a commuter culture that can hook into an 80 mph nose-to-tail freight train of cars stretching for a mile or more.

I also admired the Impala’s interior, a nicely laid out mix of comfort features and downright luxurious perks.   Leather, cool interior lighting and chrome accents made me feel like a high roller for at least a week.

Interior noise was remarkably mute, even when the Impala was breezing along at nearly full song.  And there’s plenty of room for five sizable adults in the seats.  The Impala had a little bit of sideways give during sharp, high-speed corner maneuvers, but not enough to give me discomfort.  It stuck sure enough, and I never felt like I was losing control of the steering.

All in all, this is a very nice job on a vehicle that counts 1958 as its debut model year.

 This latest Impala will do little to damage its status as America’s standard-bearer amid a sea of monster-selling, foreign-made passenger cars.  Impala has been the nation’s top-selling full-size sedan since 2004 and periodically challenged the Camry-Civic-Corolla-Accord powerhouses for the overall top-seller spot in some populous states during that time.

The 2014 Impala remains a contender in the ring of passenger cars that sell well and consistently get good reviews.

1 comment:

  1. $35,905 for new Impala? I think I need to tripled my job to have that car asap. BTW there's custom vinyl signs in Pompano Beach FL specializing graphics vinyl just exclusively for Impala.