2014 Chevrolet Impala: Second Take

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After spending years as a fleet- and rental-car star, Chevrolet is hoping a revamp will make the Impala worthy of its flagship position in the lineup. For 2014, the large sedan gets more aggressive styling, additional comfort and convenience features, and two new fuel-efficient powertrains.

In his review of the sedan, Cars.com editor Mike Hanley said the new Impala delivers the kind of comfort, roominess and luxury touches expected of a true flagship. Four other Cars.com reviewers recently had the chance to get behind the wheel, and for the most part, we agree that the new Impala is several steps ahead of the outgoing model in many ways.

Three engines are available for 2014, including a new eAssist 182-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a 196-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder that is also new this year. The 303-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 carries over, and it's the one Hanley and the rest of the editors sampled.

Most of us agreed that power was strong and delivery was prompt thanks to a responsive six-speed, but Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder was left wanting more. "I seriously wondered if it was a four-cylinder. Chevy needs to work on the throttle progression. Actual output is pretty healthy but comes with some torque steer," he said.

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With a more composed ride than the previous generation, the Impala delivers a comfortable, refined driving experience, but the car's electric power steering felt highly assisted and annoyed the editors across the board. "I haven't driven a car this easy to steer in ages; you can turn it with a single finger," editor Kelsey Mays said. Editor Jennifer Geiger agreed. "I found the setup touchy, requiring near-constant correction at higher speeds," she said.

Geiger thought the woodlike trim looked rich, giving the cabin an upscale feel, but it didn't convince everyone. "I thought interior quality was good overall, although I don't understand the use of the same bulky plastic from the top of the dash continuing down into the center console. Also, the fake wood seemed very fake and could also have been replaced with another material," Managing Editor David Thomas said. The faux wood trim, according to Mays, isn't the biggest offender in the first row. "The steering wheel's a real eyesore; it reminds me of the wheel in an early-2000s Ford Taurus," he said.

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All the editors praised the multimedia system's control layout and physical buttons, but the system itself seemed slow to react and simple commands often required too many steps. Inputting a navigation address took too long, for example. "The Chevy version of Cadillac's CUE system looked nice, but I couldn't believe how much the physical buttons actually lagged in getting a response. I was glad they were there until I found out how hard or often I had to hit them to switch to 'Media' or 'Radio,' " Thomas said.

The sedan's size won it points in several departments. The roomy backseat isn’t set too low to the floor and offers plenty of space for three passengers. "I liked the size inside obviously, but it doesn't feel like a boat when you're piloting it around tight parking lots or corners," Thomas said. Mays agreed and found the trunk downright cavernous. "Like the Ford, the Impala's trunk should have its own area code. It's nice to see the 60/40-split backseat takes the center belt with it. This is the sort of setup that could accommodate cargo that once required a minivan or SUV," he said.

Though there are some areas that need improvement, the staff's overall opinion of the Impala was favorable – and a lot more favorable than our last Impala impressions. We recently tested the 2013 model and found it dated. Although the 2014 makes huge strides, it’s still up against some strong competition in the large-car class. The Chrysler 300, Ford Taurus and Toyota Avalon also deliver a comfortable ride with premium accommodations.

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"It would be a tough call between this and the Chrysler. If it were just me as a dad of two youngsters, I'd get the 300. But if I really needed the extra legroom or trunk space I'd go with the Impala," Thomas said.

Related
Research the 2014 Chevrolet Impala
Cars.com Reviews the 2014 Impala
2014 Chevy Impala Marks End of Front Bench Seats in Cars

Comments 

Kj

With regard to the comment on steering, the suspension on some cars can be tuned manually by the driver (ex: sports vs. touring) are there any cars on the markets that have manual adjustable power steering?

Derrick G

Quite a few recent Hyundai and Kia vehicles have a three-mode adjustment for the steering effort, though it apparently doesn't really affect steering feel and it's not on the Impala's competition, the Azera and the Cadenza.

Also, on many high-end cars with an adjustable suspension, the settings also make changes to steering assist.

Tony

Saw this car in person another day. Not impressive

JM

All I really got out of this was that you guys hate GM. All other publications have not noted any of these problems. Most of these gripes are purely personal taste. Try to be more objective.

YorkPens

@JM - If you only point out the positives and none of the negatives, what is the use of a review? At that point it doesn't become a review anymore, it becomes a blatantly obvious commercial.

Steve

The same 2.5l four cylinder feels only adequate in the current Malibu, so wouldn't it be even slower for a larger, heavier car like the Impala? Man, the days of one of GM's best engines ever, the 3800, seem like eons ago. Thank God we still have one in our driveway. I can't imagine buying this car with a 2.4 liter engine, especially with passengers and hills......no way.

DC

Completely agree with Steve above - haven't liked the low end torque of any of GM's V6s since the 3800 went away. I still recommend those cars to my elderly persons. (LeSabres and such).
To the reviewer - how would you compare the Impala to a LaCrosse?

DC

Also, regarding the "eyesore" steering wheel - I think it does a nice job blending the complex buttons people want into a simple layout people can use. Much better than the layout on the '13s. Who really cares what it looks like as long as it turns the car?

Emerson

are we going to see a fullsize sedan comparo soon? Hope so!

I just hope chrysler doesnt send you an S model as i feel the more luxury oriented trims are better for the car

bodunk2k

I am sure the pricing on this ode to plastic will be mid 30s to stupid. This is a reinforcement of foolishness not a rebirth. It is rental car update - if you want one wait until enterprise puts 30k on one and but it for half price.

meet_the_dean

Love the look of this new car!

...except the rear end. Looks real half-a**ed.

sheth

A bunch of subjective complaints that really have nothing to do with the car's capabilities as a full size hauler. Who cares about the "bulkiness" of the plastic on the console? Who cares that the steering wheel is a little different? It actually looks like the S class steering wheel. If it's good enough for the Benz it should be good enough for a chevy. Also, how can a car with 303hp and a 0-60 time of 6 secs be confused with a 4 cylinder? seriously? That strains credibility to say the least. The impala is actually faster than the 4000ln+ 300 V6 as well as the Taurus. Its on par with the Avalon and Cadenza.

sheth

steve:

You cannot simply say that V6s are better performers than four cylinders. Hp and transmissions matter. You mention the 3800, but that engine only made 195-200hp vs 196hp for this modern 2.5L engine. MOst GM sedans with the 3800 series 2 hit 60 in around 8 secs- just slightly slower than the Malibu 2.5 in 2013. Impala should manage 0-60 in the low 8 sec range while delivering better mileage than any 3800 equipped sedan. And keep in mind those older cars were 200lbs lighter than the Impala.

ermatthe

I saw one of these pulling onto the road the other day and I actually did a double take because I didn't know what it was. REALLY good looking car in person.

Steve

sheth, aren't you forgetting torque? Even though both engines have similar HP, the 3800 has more usable torque usually low in the rpms. If I can get almost 29mpg right now in our Impala with an outdated 4 speed auto, imagine if I had a 6 speed or even GM's upcoming 10 speed transmissions? How would putting a 177HP snowmobile engine in our car work? It's exaggerated I know, but explains my point. HP is close, but the torque is not. I hope these new little engines last like the old ones, but something tells me differently.

sheth

Steve:

You cant compare what your car offered 5-6 years ago with a hypothetical powertrain that combines an old engine with a modern transmission. The Impala would get better mileage with an 8 speed or 10 speed as well. The reality is today's Impala 2.5L is just as powerful and about 20% more efficient than a 3800 V6 equipped car with a 4 speed automatic. A 3.8L V6 does offer more torque, but the 6 speed automatic partially makes up for that and around town you are going to get similar performance. The 3800 equipped cars are rated around 17/25 under the current EPA standards which is poor for a 200hp engine in modern times. The Impala V6 beats that while offering more torque and 103 more hp. For American driving modern 4 cylnders with 6-8 speed transmissions are more than sufficient unless you are talking about a minivan or truck.

Steve

sheth, It's good to hear how fantastic GM's new 4 cylinder is. More than a few reviewers have complained about the Malibu's slowness to merge on expressways with the 4 cylinder, but maybe throwing it in a bigger car is what it really needed. I'll have to rent the new Impala base model soon and experience myself the awesomeness that is....the 2.5.

Skankzilla

LOL, Steve!

sheth

Steve:

Can you reference the reviews? C&D tested the car (if you care about actual performance figures) and it got to 60 in 7.7 secs which is about average for the class. The test car was a fully loaded LTZ that was over 3600lbs- i.e. not much lighter than the Impala. If a Malibu cannot merge onto a highway with nearly 200hp that means the majority of the vehicles today would have same problem. All the top sellers in our auto market that aren't pikcups are primarily sold with 4 bangers. Thats one reason why several automakers have phased out V6s on CUVs and midsize sedans. The take rate was small and the mpg penalty vs a turbo four isn't justifiable. If a Malibu is too slow I don't know how people manage in CR-Vs, Equinoxes, Camrys, Accords, RAV4s, etc. None of these vehicles really qualify as quick with their base engines, but they are more than adequate for passing and merging.

Steve

sheth, I'll end it simply. I think the four cylinder is too small for a car this size. If it's as great as you say, GM should sell tons with that engine. If people want this car but not the 40 grand for the V6, I guess this is what's left. BTW, I know 2 different people (co-worker and other a friend) who own the 2013 Malibu, and both said it's a decent car and that the power was "average". One has 2 little kids and the other commutes in it. I guess that's good enough. Thanks.

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