The Impala is all new. So much so that, it would be unrecognizable to my grand uncle who once owned one. Now when I compare the design, it will be more appropriate to forget the sheer grandeur of old times and pitch the new one against the Chevrolet Lumina and Caprice in our region – the models it sort of replaces and will play a dual role for. The new Chevrolet Impala benchmarks the exhilarating driving dynamics of the Lumina, and the exceptional comfort quotient of the Caprice. With the advent of the Chevrolet Impala 2014, expectations are high and the car lives up to them, for most part.
UPSIDE: Effortless drive, enormous legroom, very spacious boot, sporty V6 engine, Reasonable fuel efficiency
FLIPSIDE: Design suggests sportiness than luxury, Questionable cornering skills at high speeds, Hesitant screen response
THE PRICE: LS: AED 109,000, LT: AED 119,000 LTZ: AED 139,000
The Chevrolet Impala 2014 has a nice and sporty V6 sound, slightly reminiscent of the Caprice’s V8 grunt but subtler, just as the cabin is more silent than any Chevy you’ve ever been in. The 3.5L engine metered to a six speed transmission is good for 305 hp with an impressive 358 Nm of spin generated. Even with the quick shifts of the six cogs, the all new Impala manages to be one of the sportier large saloons out there!
The way the new Impala makes its weight felt during quick manoeuvres, it’s not a car to throw about. But that’s not to say the car is not comfortable on winding weekend roads, or the everyday flyover ramps. The Impala is quite complying and body roll is reserved for the extremes.
There is a manual drive option that merely needs your thumb to slide up or down the gearstick head. But other than the acceleration testing grounds, I stuck to the automatic. It sums up the character of the car which favours passenger comfort rather than driving dynamics.
The 0-100 happened in 6.74 seconds with the help of the manual shift with plenty of wheel spin at the start. For the same reason, the automatic mode could achieve this in 7.1 seconds only. Switching off the traction control adds to the torque spin carnival and the Impala does suffer from symptoms of under-steer but, anyway, the sheer size of the car deters you from pushing your luck into a corner or trying something outlandish.
The Impala has not left an inch of ‘designable space’ on its body untouched by a design line or a sensual stroke. The layered sort of design is far from subtle, almost forced, but has found many new admirers – good for this grand old Chevy in its new avatar.
The American Eagle hood sharply descends on the grille, which fashionably runs all the way to the headlamps. Along with the spoiler like rear tip and the sculpted suggestion of haunches on the sides and the doorside grooves, it gives the Impala a powerful design context.
The imposing hood and the low seating, together urge you to brace for poor corner views but things aren’t as bad as they seem. Likewise, while the side view mirrors are rather small in the overall size of things, they are amply compensated by the blind spot assistance.
Cabin and Controls
While the cabin appointments clad in leather and leatherette spells premium, there are odd signs of cheap plastics but then, the Impala also wears a price tag that warrants this.
The new Chevrolet Impala comes with an excellent rear view camera with useful guidelines including “watch out arrows” for approaching vehicles. It’s a pity that some of the clarity of the screen could be lost on a sunny day thanks to the obtuse slant of the navigation screen.
Despite driver pleasing condiments in my LTZ like lane change warning, forward distance alert, blind spot warning and a comprehensive 4.2 inch driver info screen on the instrument panel, there were hiccups. The lane change alert wasn’t very consistent and the navigation screen had to be coaxed into action. But the indicator warning is a new and thoughtful bit, where a bell calls ‘time up’ if you leave the turn signal on for a while.
The cabin silence, enormous leg room, supportive leather seats, soft-set suspensions and finally the heated and cooled seats with an overdose of lumbar support – all make for a very cushy ride in the legendary Impala version 2.13.
The most awesome feature in this cabin is a secret storage niche for wallets or whatever, that the 8-inch screen rises to reveal. It can even be digitally locked. The armrest storage too is deep and there is a lavish coin box to your left, just below the steering. On the flipside, the glove box and the door side pockets are just mandates of the spec sheet with no provision for anything much.
No matter what the segment is, the all new Impala could be a contender for the largest boot. I took the car out for a family airport pick up and despite two-weeks worth of luggage, there was still space for more in 540 L boot.
The Essential Chevrolet Impala 2014
The new improved Impala is an effortless drive. And it has everything to claim pre-eminence in a segment that goes all out to please the riders than the driver himself. Which is pretty much what its direct rival, the Toyota Avalon ends up doing too.
Even though it is far from subtle, the new design of the Impala will do it good because anything that resembles the grand old Impala would be now driven by either my grandfather or someone who collects things contemporary to him.
Competitively priced from AED 109,000 upwards, the Impala will top the consideration chart of those who wouldn’t want to compromise on comfort yet hasn’t lost the sense of value.
Drive Courtesy: Al Ghandi Motors, Dubai
Pictures: Sudeep Koshy