2014 Chevrolet Impala | Road Test

Posted on Aug 31, 2013 by

Quick Review

GoodGood Smooth ride, quiet interior, loads of space
BadBadTechnology not up to the mark, low resolution rear view camera
SpecsSpecs3.6L, V6, 305 bhp @ 6800 rpm, 264 lb-ft @ 5300 rpm, 6 speed automatic, FWD
PricePriceAED 105,000 (starting) - AED 129,000 (As tested)
RatingEditors Rating Four Star

Goodbye Caprice, Hello Impala!

Completely redesigned Impala has a Camaro inspired front end

Completely redesigned Impala has a Camaro inspired front end

The may not be a very popular name in the UAE. And that is because, the exact same car car was rebadged and sold as the “ Caprice” in our market until the late 90s. Here is a bit of history for you, born in 1958, the has been around for about 5 decades (production was stopped for a few years in between) and spanned over 9 generations. In its 10 iteration, the 2014 has been completely re-engineered on a brand new platform shared with the Cadillac XTS and the Buick LaCrosse(which is a very good thing).

The 2014 Chevrolet Impala is a lot bigger than it looks!

The 2014 Chevrolet Impala is a lot bigger than it looks!

Having driven the car during the launch a few months ago, we were quite impressed with it. So when Chevrolet offered us the car for a few days we were quite keen to find out it first impressions still hold.

Bumper with the integrated exhausts is a neat touch.

Bumper with the integrated exhausts is a neat touch.

What is under the hood you ask? There is good news and bad news. First, the bad news, there is no option of a V8. (at least so far) The good news however, is that the 3.5L, V6 powerplant that it comes with puts out 305 bhp @ 6,800 rpm and 264 lb-ft @ 5300 rpm which is not bad at all. Mated to a 6 speed automatic transmission, the claimed 0-100 km/h time is 6.2 seconds and it will top out at 240 km/h. Yup, we were pleasantly surprised too! We were a bit disappointed that the one American stereotype it doesn’t fit into, is that it is a FWD car. It isn’t a game changer, but RWD cars are awesome for burnouts, donuts and a bit of hooning around.

The Impala has long been favoured in our region

The Impala has long been favoured in our region

There is enough grunt in the V6 with a very linear power output allowing the car to pick up speed with ease. The transmission being a traditional slush box does not compare with modern dual clutch transmissions but is fairly smooth. However, drive with an aggressive right foot and the front wheels are quick to break traction. The traction control is a little slow to sort things out, but apart from some burnt rubber, nothing is lost. Torque steer is apparent with 305 horses tugging at the front wheels but that it didn’t really get too much in the way.

Even with 20 inch rims on the LTZ trim, the ride is smooth as silk.

Even with 20 inch rims on the LTZ trim, the ride is smooth as silk.

The ride comfort is where the 2014 Chevrolet Impala really shines. The suspension is tuned to soak up most road imperfections with so much ease, we were barely disturbed sitting in the leather clad cabin. This does translate to soap box handling but we figured this isn’t the car you’d be using at your Friday autocross. Its duties are best served on the highway and for anyone that spends a fair amount of time on their daily commute this is absolutely fantastic. Add to that, there is active noise cancellation which keeps the cabin extremely quiet and almost isolates you from the rest of the world. The only noise that seemed to seep in was the Tire noise. It seemed louder than normal and we attributed that to the lack of any other sound.

Apart from the tacky black trim in wood finish, everything else feels pretty solid

Apart from the tacky black trim in wood finish, everything else feels pretty solid

Moving on to the looks department, the front end has finally gotten a proper makeover making it seem like something made in this decade while borrowing more than a few design cues from the Camaro. The LED daytime running lights accent the front lip further, while the molded hood adds some very nice lines to the car. The sharp lines carry on all the way till the rear of the car where it is softened a little with a slightly rounder bum and less angular tail lamps. Looks are always subjective, but this one will definitely appeal to most with a rather sharp looking design.

So much space, it is like sitting on your couch in the living room!

So much space, it is like sitting on your couch in the living room!

Being a “Yank Tank” there is plenty of space in the cabin, enough for your kids to wrestle each other in the backseat without you noticing up front. One thing that we noticed was inspite of the car having massive proportions, the sharp lines and design of the car camouflages it perfectly. You only realise how big the car is when you try to parallel park and you notice a spot that you thought was big enough suddenly feels cramped! The interior is lined with soft touch materials and this being the range topping LTZ trim, it came with an all leather interior, heated/cooled seats, power adjustable steering wheel and a Bose sound system. The center stack comes with a 8 inch touchscreen through which you can access audio, navigation and vehicle settings. The bluetooth paired easily and from what we’ve noticed, Chevrolet has one of the best Bluetooth systems. It connects to a paired device rather quickly. Making calls via the bluetooth didn’t work though, as callers couldn’t hear us at the other end. We figured it was a faulty microphone with our test car. The coolest interior feature is the electronically sliding touchscreen which has a USB port and a hidden compartment behind it, should you want to store valuables like your wallet or phone. Apart from that, there are 2 USB ports as well as an Aux input in the massive center console. Along with the HVAC controls for the rear passengers, there is a 230V power socket which we thought was genius!

The motorized secret compartment is definitely the coolest feature on the 2014 Chevrolet Impala

The motorized secret compartment is definitely the coolest feature on the 2014 Chevrolet Impala

Then there is loads of technology available(on the LTZ trim) on the 2014 Chevrolet Impala. It comes with Forward collision alert, which warns you with a loud beep and red LED’s that flash on your windscreen that you may be about to crash into the vehicle ahead of you. It doesn’t take over and brake for you. Just a warning. Lane departure warning notifies you with an audible alert that you may be drifting into the next lane while the blind zone area warns you of any vehicle that may be in your blind spot. All of this technology was a bit of a hit and miss though. The forward collision alert didn’t always work and sometimes it would just shoot off a false alarm, the blind spot indicator and the lane departure warning also either didn’t go off when it should have or went off for no apparent reason. So yes, there is a considerable amount of technology on the car, but all of it doesn’t necessarily work the way it was designed to. What was very useful and we absolutely loved was the rear cross traffic alert that looks out for you while backing up from a tight spot. Extremely useful feature as we all know how much the cabbies hate giving way when they see another car backing up from a 45 degree parking spot!

If you are looking for a large, comfortable cruiser loaded with technology and options the 2014 Chevrolet Impala is going to be hard to beat. Especially at this price point.

If you are looking for a large, comfortable cruiser loaded with technology and options the 2014 Chevrolet Impala is going to be hard to beat. Especially at this price point.

The 2014 Chevrolet Impala really is everything the Malibu is, but on a bigger, better and badder scale. We had the Malibu on a long term test and absolutely loved it. No surprise that we think the Impala is an excellent cruiser then. It comes with loads of features, an engine with enough grunt and an extremely comfortable ride. Sure the added technology bits don’t compare to its european counterparts, but then at AED 129,000 it doesn’t compare on price either. Besides, if you pay a little attention while driving, you really don’t need all those extra electronic gizmos!

 

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