The Chevrolet Impala is one of the best-selling nameplates of all time, and continues to be the sales winner of the company’s line-up. As venerable as the Impala nameplate is, the brand has had some serious ups and downs.
At this year’s New York International Auto Show, Chevy unveiled an all-new full-sized design for the 2014 model year, and this thing is a looker. The 2014 Impala is a completely new car, and a huge departure from the current model, which had remained unchanged for almost an entire decade.
The sedan that’s on the road today has looked pretty dated from day one. The ninth generation was introduced in 2005 on the updated W Body platform shared with the Buick LaCrosse. Unlike the eighth-generation model, which had a relatively fit, squared-off and tidy appearance, this new car looked every bit the part of a full-size model. The designers removed the slick lines and replaced them with clumsy curves, while dumbing down the look of the car overall. This bad style was topped off with two-way oversized headlights that would ensure this generation would never win a beauty contest.
In terms of sales, the current model has been one of GMs most successful cars, but many, if not most, of those sales have been to fleets. The Impala has replaced the Crown Victoria in many municipalities as the go-to police car – not something you’d expect for a nameplate once associated with speed and coolness.
The new design for 2014 takes a few cues from the current incarnation of the nameplate, but appears to have more in common design-wise with the eighth-generation model. It’s as if GM threw something together as a placeholder for the past seven years while they worked arduously to make a car that may actually be worthy of dominating the full-size market – and not through fleet sales.
Following General Motor’s recent brush with bankruptcy, it’s clear that the guys designing new models aren’t sitting on their laurels and phoning-in lazy updates of already aged models, as they had been known to do in the past. Instead, The General has taken bits and pieces of the best cars it currently pumps out. There’s more than a little bit of Camaro present in the front fascia, with a grill that is void of the signature horizontal bar that Chevy has smacked on most of the cars its put out over the past decade or so. As well, the wide hips and raised scoops on the back fenders over the rear wheel hubs of the new Impala give the car a similar strut to the Camaro sports coupe, which is a good model to work off of given it’s popularity.
Furthermore, the car stands on either 18- or massive 20-inch wheels that give it a noticeable presence.
One of the more significant features of the new Impala is how competitive it seems to be in a market filled with worthy players. This model features appropriate engines for its size, and is even more fuel efficient than many of its closest competitors – its four cylinder engine offering gets 6 mpg better gas mileage than the Ford Taurus. One point does go to Ford, however, as the Impala’s drivetrain only gets 186 horsepower compared to the 288 offered by the Taurus.
So do you think the new model lives up to the Impala name? Leave your opinion on the matter below:
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