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    2014 Chevrolet Impala LTZ


    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    August 7, 2013

    "And the winner of Miss Fleet Queen 2013 is.... the 2013 Chevrolet Impala! There she is, Miss Fleet Queen for 2013."

    A bit harsh, but sadly it is true. The last generation Impala is known in the automotive world as being a fleet queen. Not many Impalas end up on driveways: Instead you can find them at your nearest rental lot, police station, or used car lot at very low prices. In fact, General Motors said that 70 percent of Impala sales in 2012 were to fleets. This isn't good news when you consider the resale value proposition and legendary status of the nameplate.

    General Motors knew it was time to try and salvage the Impala nameplate, which brings us face to face with the 2014 Impala. GM hopes the new Impala can very much erase the past of fleet service and start a new chapter as Chevrolet's full-sedan. Can it though?

    The first thing you can say about the new Impala is that it's a major improvement over the last one. The new model has presence and a style that is distinctly Chevrolet. The front end is very much influenced by the current Camaro. You have a long and very stout front end, with a small grille that is flanked by a set of narrow headlights. The sculpted hood and LED daytime running lights help give an aura of class.

    gallery_10485_676_983783.jpg

    Moving to the side, the Impala has two bold character lines; one stretching from the headlights to the rear door handles and the other running along the wheel arch. The back end features a chrome bar with the Impala name stamped and a set of chrome-tipped exhaust ports.

    The big surprise of the new Impala lies inside. If you were expecting acres of hard plastic, awful wood trim, and just plain blahness, then you will find yourself with your mouth wide open at what Chevrolet has pulled off. The center focus of the interior is the dual brow dashboard that gets stitched leather accents along the top of gauge cluster and along the top edges of the dashboard and door panels. Chrome trim runs along the bottom to provide some contrast and has ambient blue backlighting which adds a nice touch of class. Materials and build quality are excellent.

    gallery_10485_676_633638.jpg

    Being a full-size sedan, you expect it to be very spacious for you and your passengers. The Impala delivers that in spades. The driver and front passenger will find power adjustments and heated and cooled seats. The driver also gets a power tilt and telescoping wheel. In the back, you'll find plenty of head and legroom.

    As for technology, the Impala comes with a 4.2-inch color display in the instrument cluster that displays infotainment and vehicle information in a very clear and easy manner. The big news is the next-generation of Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system. Housed in a eight-inch display, the second-generation system provides a new interface with large buttons to press, 3D maps, a much improved voice recognition system, and number of changes. Playing around with the system, I found it to be a little bit sluggish. Trying to move around the system or changing a system with touchscreen took longer than expected. Thankfully, Chevrolet provided a set of buttons and knobs below the screen to help control certain functions. Much like Cadillac CUE, I expect MyLink to get better after a update or two.

    gallery_10485_676_1004384.jpg

    Powering the 2014 Impala is the well-known 3.6L direct-injected V6 engine with 305 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front wheels. If you have read past reviews of mine concerning GM vehicles equipped with the 3.6L, you know that my biggest compliant is that you have to work the engine to get to the power. The Impala is a little bit different. I found that Impala had a bit more power on the low end and was able to accelerate much quicker than its sister car, the Cadillac XTS. Much of this is attributed to Impala's lower curb weight of 3,800 pounds. The six-speed automatic provided smooth and crisp shifts.

    Fuel economy wise, the EPA rates the 2014 Chevrolet Impala at 19 City/29 Highway/22 Combined. During the week, I averaged 22 MPG in mixed driving.

    The 2014 Impala mostly follows the book on full-size sedan ride. The suspension does an excellent job of lessening the impact of road imperfections, even with the LTZ's twenty-inch wheels. Chevrolet also borrowed a couple engineers from Buick to help with quietness. There is a large amount of sound deadening, additional door seals, and acoustically treated front and side windows. The Impala is very quiet on most surfaces; the only place it falters is when you're driving concrete parts of freeways. This is mostly down to the tires as I figured out.

    gallery_10485_676_569060.jpg

    Where the Impala differs is in relation to how it drives. The steering is somewhat heavy and responsive, something I wasn't expecting in a full-size sedan. The Impala's body is very rigid as well. Pair these two items together and you have a very confident full-size sedan. Driving on a curvy road, the Impala allows you to have some fun. It's no Toyota Avalon in driving fun, but for many the Impala offers the right balance.

    At the end of my time with the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, I was awestruck. Here was a nameplate that was dragged through the fleet mud for a number of years and General Motors realized it was time to save it. From the design to how it rode, you could see the hard work that was put it to make the new Impala stand out and leave its fleet past well behind. That work seems to be paying off as Consumer Reports named the Impala the best large sedan, and sits right behind the Tesla Model S and BMW 135i in their ratings. Meanwhile in the sales chart, the Impala record a 38 percent increase in July sales.

    It's a vehicle that GM and Chevrolet should be very proud of.

    gallery_10485_676_665001.jpg

    Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the Impala, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year - 2014

    Make – Chevrolet

    Model – Impala

    Trim – LTZ

    Engine – 3.6L VVT SIDI V6

    Driveline – Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Transmission

    Horsepower @ RPM – 305 @ 6,800 RPM

    Torque @ RPM – 264 @ 5,300 RPM

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/29/22

    Curb Weight – 3,800 lbs

    Location of Manufacture – Oshawa, Ontario

    Base Price - $35,770.00

    As Tested Price - $39,510.00* (Includes $810.00 destination charge)

    Options:

    LTZ Comfort & Convenience Package - $1,035.00

    Chevrolet MyLink with Navigation - $795.00

    LTZ Premium Audio Package - $700.00

    20' Aluminum Wheels - $400.00

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    I see Consumer Reports has picked the new Impala to be the best all around sedan or some such. I hope that recognition is a good thing...

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    such a handsome car!

    I always thought so.

    But you did not like it, when we discussed about it in Detroit. :P You said it was not a cohesive design.

    Growing on you?

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    My objection was with, and remains, the layout of the interior and the look of the steering wheel....

    but the exterior is what I love.

    I'll agree with you on the steering wheel.. That I think looks completely out of place..

    What is it about the interior layout you don't like?

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    I was never a fan of the steering wheel of the '14 Impala. Other than that, I think this is a winning flagship Chevrolet has deserved for the past several years. This model says "cars matter here", whereas 5-25 years ago Chevy wanted to be all about trucks (and the Corvette). This car says to all comers, Game On.

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    Hopefully, Chevy and better yet GM can have the right people in place to say "Game On!" for both cars and trucks. Game changers need to be there for every product line to show segment leading design, technology all at the right affordable price.

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    • By William Maley
      Most luxury SUVs will never go fully off-road. The closest they’ll ever get is driving down a gravel road. But that doesn’t mean some automakers aren’t filling them with the latest off-road for that one person who decides to. Case in point is the LX 570. Lexus’ variant of the Toyota Land Cruiser has been updated inside and out to try and draw buyers away from the usual suspects in the class.
      For 2016, Lexus has softened the LX’s boxy-shape with some rounded edges and more imposing fenders. The front grille has grown in size to match other Lexus vehicles, though to our eyes it looks more like the head from a Cylon in the 1980’s Battlestar Galactica tv show. The rear features new taillights and a reshaped tailgate. The interior has somehow become more opulent since the last LX we drove. A new dash design features real wood trim and more soft-touch materials. Our tester featured leather upholstery that can be described as red-orange. At first, I thought it was a bit much. But over the week I grew to like the color as it adds some personality. Sitting in either the front or second-row seats of the LX is a pleasant experience. There is plenty of head and legroom for both rows, along with heat. Front seats also get ventilation as standard. The third-row seat is a bit of joke. Getting back there in the first place is quite difficult due to the small gap when you move the second-row forward. Once back there, you find legroom is almost negligible. Finally, the way the third row folds up by side walls and not into the floor hampers cargo space - only offering 41 cubic feet. Lexus’ Remote Touch interface has arrived in the LX this year with a gargantuan 12.3-inch screen sitting on top of the dash. On the plus side, the screen is vibrant and easy to read. The negative is the remote touch controller as you’ll find yourself choosing the wrong function because the controller is very sensitive to inputs. Power comes from 5.7L V8 with 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic and full-time four-wheel drive system. On paper, the V8 should move the LX 570 with no issue. But a curb weight of 6,000 pounds negates this. Performance can be described as ho-hum as it takes a few ticks longer to get up to speed. At least the eight-speed automatic transmission is a smooth operator and quick to respond when you stab the throttle. The LX 570 is chock full of clever off-road tech such as crawl control, hill start assist, 360-degree camera system, and multi-terrain select system that optimizes various parts of the powertrain and four-wheel drive system. Sadly, we didn’t get the chance to put any of these to the test. No matter the condition of the road, the LX 570 provides a smooth and relaxing ride. Impressive when you consider the LX is riding on a set of 21-inch wheels. Road and wind noise are kept to very acceptable levels. Lexus added a set of adaptive dampers for the 2016 LX and you can adjust the firmness via a knob in the center console - Comfort, Sport, and Sport+. The dampers do help reduce body roll in corners, giving you a little bit more confidence. Steering is what you would expect in an SUV, light and numb. This makes the LX a bit cumbersome to move in certain places such as a parking lot. Compared to the last LX 570 we drove, the 2016 model has gone up in price. Base price now stands at $88,880 and our as-tested price comes in at $96,905. This one feels a bit a more worth of price tag that Lexus is asking for, but I still think a Cadillac Escalade or Range Rover are slightly better in terms of value. If you’re planning a trip to Death Valley or the Rocky Mountains and want something that can you there and back, along with providing all of the luxuries, look no further than the LX. Otherwise, there are a number of other luxury SUVs that make more sense if you’re planning to stay on the pavement. Year: 2016
      Make: Lexus
      Model: LX 570
      Trim: N/A
      Engine: 5.7L 32-Valve, DOHC Dual VVT-i V8
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Full-Time Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 383 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 403 @ 3,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/18/15
      Curb Weight: 6,000 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Aichi, Japn
      Base Price: $88,880
      As Tested Price: $96,905 (Includes $940.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Mark Levinson Audio System - $2,150.00
      Dual-Screen DVD Rear-Seat Entertainment System - $2,005.00
      Luxury Package - $1,190.00
      Heads-Up Display - $900.00
      Cargo Mat, Net, Wheel Locks, & Key Glove - $250.00
      All-Weather Floor Mats - $165.00
      Heated Black Shimamoku Steering Wheel - $150.00
      Wireless Charger - $75.00
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