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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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    Steering wheel is no worse than one in the $100,000 S-Class. In someways it pays homage to the first gen FWD Impala.

    2003_chevrolet_impala_ls-pic-50103383062

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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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      At least Honda got the Ridgeline’s bed right. Compared to the last model, Honda added four inches to the overall length of the bed (64 vs. 60 inches). This gives the Ridgeline the longest standard bed in the class. Unlike competitors, you cannot option a longer bed for the Ridgeline. Honda has also fitted some clever ideas for the Ridgeline’s bed. First is the in-bed trunk that offers 7.3 cubic feet of space where you can stow tools or luggage, giving the Ridgeline a significant edge in practicality than its competitors. Second is the dual-action tailgate which allows the tailgate to be opened downward or to the side.
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      All-wheel drive Ridgelines like our tester come with Honda’s Intelligent Variable Torque Management system. This system quickly redistributes the amount of torque going to each wheel to improve handling and traction. AWD models also get the Intelligent Traction Management system which adjusts the settings of the powertrain to help you get through whatever terrain you find yourself in. We put these systems to the test by driving through an unplowed road with deep snow. The Ridgeline was able to make it through without breaking a sweat. That doesn’t make the Ridgeline a truck you want to take on an off-road trail as it only offers 7.9-inches of ground clearance and no low-range.
      The Ridgeline’s payload is towards the top the of class when compared with other midsize crew cab trucks. Front-wheel drive models can haul between 1,447 to 1,565 pounds in the bed. All-wheel drive models have a payload capacity of 1,499 to 1,584 pounds. For towing, the Ridgeline falls a bit short. Front-wheel drive models have a max tow rating of 3,500 lbs, while AWD models are slightly higher at 5,000 lbs. For most people, the Ridgeline will be enough to handle various towing needs. If you need a bit more, then the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are ready to help.
      The EPA rates the Ridgeline AWD at 18 City/25 Highway/21 Combined. My average for the week landed at 23.6 mpg in a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving.
      Previously, we’ve considered GM’s midsize trucks as having the best ride in the class. The Honda Ridgeline now holds that honor. The unibody platform and four-wheel independent suspension setup give the Ridgeline a ride that is almost equal to a passenger sedan. Bumps and other imperfections are smoothed out. The Ridgeline is a decent handling truck as well. There isn’t much body roll and it feels stable when going into a corner. We do wish Honda would make the steering slightly heavier for the Ridgeline.
      The Honda Ridgeline may not meet the true definition of a pickup truck, but it is one in spirit. Yes, the unibody architecture does limit the capabilities of the Ridgeline as it cannot haul or tow heavy items. Nor can it go deep into the wilderness due to decisions made by Honda on the Ridgeline’s off-road capability. But it is in other areas that the Ridgeline begins to stand out such as the clever ideas in the bed, comfortable interior, and a ride that is more in tune with a regular car. They might not be the advantages you would expect in a truck, but they are something that Honda believes will bring in those interested in a pickup minus a lot of the issues that other models have. 
      To put it another way, the Honda Ridgeline is like Festivus from Seinfeld; they’re both for the rest of us.
      Disclaimer: Honda Provided the Ridgeline, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Honda
      Model: Ridgeline
      Trim: RTL-E
      Engine: 3.5L SOHC 24-valve i-VTEC V6
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 280 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
      Curb Weight: 4,515 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lincoln, Alabama
      Base Price: $41,370
      As Tested Price: $42,270 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: N/A
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