TEST DRIVES

2014 Chevrolet Impala LTZ V6: Breath of Fresh Air

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Michelin

Not since the first Chevrolet Impala made its debut as a 1958 model has the Impala looked so good. Never mind that it lacks the original three taillights per side – it is once again drop dead gorgeous. The 2014 Chevrolet Impala is without a doubt the best looking car in Chevrolet’s stable. It is also safer, quieter, and more efficient and practical than any of its forbears.

From nose to tail, this latest iteration Impala exudes sleek styling, with a drag coefficient of just 0.296 (4-cylinder) and thought provoking, complex character lines that work together harmoniously in a larger package. The attractive four sedan displays a coupe-like appearance with its curvaceous roofline and blacked-out “B” and “C” pillars encased by a bright surround trim. The stance of the 2014 Chevrolet Impala is sporty and aggressive. Up front, the upper and lower grilles are fitted into a sculpted surround, with creases that accentuate the headlamps. A tasteful splitter is integrated into the front fascia. The chiseled hood flows into a gracefully and sharply angled windshield. Fenders are pronounced and visually joined by both an upper shoulder line and lower rocker sculpting. The backlight is sharply angled as well, and the decklid includes creases that reflect and complement the theme of the hood. Lower door sections are pinched in, and there is a graceful character line that flows from the rear doors to the taillamps, which are connected by a bright strip. Rectangular dual exhaust tips fit into molded surrounds in the rear fascia with a contrasting composite diffuser to match that of the front.

Power will be supplied primarily by a transversely mounted 3.6-liter, Direct Injection V6 engine that generates 305 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque. The engine’s driving force is delivered to the front wheels via a Hydra-Matic electronically controlled six-speed transmission. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder is also available with intake valve lift control, and a 2.4-liter four-cylinder featuring eAssist will follow near the end of the year. The four-cylinder engine powered vehicles come with an aero shutter grille and underbody aeropanels.

The 2014 Chevrolet Impala is based on the same platform as the Cadillac XTS and will be available in three levels of trim: a well-equipped base LS model; a more upscale LT model, which is estimated to account for roughly 55 percent of total sales; and the flagship LTZ model, which definitely moves the new Impala into the entry luxury sedan category.

The interior is sumptuous – a cut well above what Chevrolet has served up in the past. Double stitching is featured and there is a programmable, four-digit security compartment behind the new Chevrolet MyLink telematics and information system, similar to the CUE system found in the Cadillac XTS. The MyLink system features Natural Voice Recognition, 3-D mapping, a Valet Mode, 60 favorites (radio, contacts, POIs, songs, artists and genres), Gesture recognition (swipe, flick, click and drag), Bluetooth connectivity for up to 10 devices, HD radio, Pandora and Sirius XM, movie viewing from a USB device when in park, storage for up to 1,000 contacts and four different customizable skins. MyLink won the 2013 CE Award for the best in-car technology. The 2014 Chevrolet Impala delivers 3.5-inches more front legroom and .22-inches more rear legroom than the previous model. The trunk is more spacious as well.

Safety features abound in the new Impala, with 10 standard airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and Electronic Brake Force Distribution. Available safety technology includes: forward collision alert, lane departure warning, side blind-zone alert, a rear camera system with dynamic guidelines, rear cross traffic alert, rear park assist, full-speed-range adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking and brake pre-fill — the latter three all being active safety features.

During the national press launch I was afforded the opportunity to experience the 2014 Chevrolet Impala in both LT and LTZ trim levels. Both were powered by the 3.6-liter Direct Injection V6. Both wore exterior coats of Crystal Red Tint Coat and both had black interiors – the LTZ in leather and the LT in cloth. The LTZ as equipped was priced at $39,850 including the destination charge, and the LT’s sticker totaled $31,700. Pricing structure starts with the LS 2.5L at $27,535.

The 2014 Chevrolet Impala with the 3.6-liter motor delivers more horsepower and torque than many of its class competitors, while yielding EPA estimates of 19-mpg city/29-mpg highway.

Power delivery, gear changes and ride quality are smooth. In essence, this latest Impala is one smooth automobile whose looks and amenities rank right up there with a lot of more expensive luxury sedans.

I really only found one slight negative issue – the switch atop the gear shift selector stalk for manual gear changes would be more readily accessible if the stalk was positioned further forward. Other than that, the Chevrolet Impala is back to where it should be – at the top of the Chevrolet model line with virtually everything going for it. There’s a rear-wheel drive Chevy SS with rumbling V8 power coming down the road for those who won’t settle for anything less.

No question about it, Chevrolet is on a roll.

– Article by Arv Voss

Michelin

Founder, Owner & CEO

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