History (Rewind)

In 1958, Chevy added the Impala to its family. For years, the Impala was a premium class fullsize sedan. Unfortunately, over the past decade or so, the Impala became a bland mainstream sedan which was better suited for the rental car fleet, as opposed to a must-have head-turning vehicle. Well, fast forward to today, the front-wheel drive 2014 premium-class Impala makes its return with a new body style, an upscale interior and loads of high tech gadgets which will surely attract consumers to vehicle again.
Styling

John Cafaro, the lead exterior designer for the Impala, used a number of styling cues to set the vehicle apart from years of bland unassuming designs. The battle for the design team was to create a classic, but contemporary design, according to Cafaro. Cafaro also notes how he affectionately mentions how the design team incorporated the 1958 Impala into the side rear profile of the brand’s flagship.

And depending upon the angle the vehicle is viewed, one can also find styling cues from the sporty Camaro, when viewing the vehicle from the front. And from a side profile once can capture sloping shapes of the Infiniti M-Series. Yes, the curvaceous Impala mixes in a number of designs to create this stunning work of art on wheels. Ironically, the Impala is built off of the same platform as the Buick LaCrosse. And unlike Buicks’flagship vehicle, the Lacrosse, the Impala has a longer greenhouse, which helps enhance the sleek look of this redesigned Chevy.
Target

GM is back in the fullsize game. With the tenth-generation Impala, Chevy is going head-to-head with the Chrysler 300, the Ford Taurus, the Hyundai Azera, the Nissan Maxima and the Toyota Avalon. With the redesign Impala, Chevy plans on dominating the fullsize vehicle segment, just as they have since 2004. However, the folks from GM plan on making retail sales a significant part of the sales equation, as opposed to depending upon the rental car fleets to boost sales.

Arrival Date

After 8 years of wearing the same bland exterior design, the tenth-generation Impala arrives in April.

Price Range

The Impala expands from three trim levels to five trim levels for the 2014 model. The base model Impala starts out a respectable $27,535 and rise up to $41,845, when fully optioned.

What Makes This A Premium Class Vehicle

Since 1958, the Impala has come a long way, baby! Today’s Impala has almost every feature available as if it were a Cadillac, Lexus or Mercedes-Benz. In the Impala, one can expect such features as a forward collision alert system, a lane departure warning system, a rear cross traffic alert system, a rear parking assist system, an adaptive cruise control system, LED Headlamps, a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, a push-button keyless starter, a power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, an electronic parking brake, a touchscreen audio infotainment system known as ‘My Link’ and 20-inch wheels.

In addition to the high-tech features, Crystal Windham, the lead interior designer, incorporated an upscale feel and look in a mainstream brand. Two-tone colors and sewing machine-like stitching surrounds the cockpit, the doors and the seats. Added to that, the ambient lighting throughout the vehicle gives the roomy Impala an upscale feel.

Ride-And-Handling

The 2014 Impala rides on 18-inch, 19-inch or 20-inch wheels, depending on the trim level selected. Each Impala is reinforced with a front strut tower for ride-and-handling stiffness. Moreover, each of the fullsize Chevys are outfitted with a rebound strut, which provides better control. The fullsize Impala seems to find the perfect balance. The ride isn’t too firm like a number of imports we’ve driven nor does it ride like the luxury vehicles of yesterday that floated like a boat. With the 2014 Impala, Chevy has managed to find the perfect balance, as it relates to the ride. While driving the vehicle on the twisty hilly roads outside of San Diego, California, we found that the vehicle adequately gripped the roads, while soaking up every curve.

Engine Choices:

The 2014 Impala is available with either a 4-cylinder or a 6-cylinder engine. The 4-cylinder engine spurts out 195 horses from underneath the hood, while the 3.6-liter engine pushed out 305 horses. The 6-cylinder engine was quite impressive, while rolling through the twisty, curvy roads outside of San Diego.

The brand’s signature Ecotec engine is coming later this year, offering a 2.4-liter hybrid-like engine, which is expected to achieve 35-mpg of highway driving. The only other vehicle that offers a hybrid engine in the large car segment is the Toyota Avalon.

Warranty

Chevy offers the typical new car bumper-to-bumper warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles. The powertrain warranty covers owners for 5 years or 100,000 miles.

Early Quirks

The Impala lacks lateral support in the driver’s seat. And the rear seat headrests aren’t designed for comfort, but it seems to meet safety standards.

Early Verdict

Chevy’s large, big body sedan has truly become the brand’s flagship vehicle, offering style, high-tech safety features and an upscale interior. In addition to the standout interior and exterior design, Chevy’s flagship vehicle offers loads of leg room and rear cargo space, too. While the folks at Chevy won’t reveal how many vehicles they plan on selling to retail consumers, they do know that fewer of the 2014 Impalas will end up on rental car lots. But, by all accounts, Chevy should have a hit on their hands. The vehicle offers a variety of trim levels to meet the needs of today’s price conscious consumers. We will just sit back and see how many new-vehicle sales they rack-up.

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Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to JeffCars.com. Follow him at twitter/jeffcars.

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