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USA Today: Impala glimmers with competence

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NASHVILLE — The 2006 Chevrolet Impala is a solid alternative to Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, considered benchmarks among family sedans.

Styling is taut and almost resembles Accord's. Road personality is composed with a hint of sportiness. Comfort is high. Stupidity is low. An optional V-8 engine offers something the Japanese brands don't.

A rich complement of standard features — head-curtain air bags, a trip computer, an iPod/MP3 plug, three sets of child-seat latches, OnStar telecommunications and emergency notification service — give Impala advantages over even some higher-price competitors.

Thoughtful options — rear seats that flip and fold instead of just folding, remote engine start, XM Satellite Radio — suggest that Chevy understands what makes a car enduring and endearing.

Only a lack of a track record for reliability keeps the new Impala from claiming a place on the pantheon. Helping ease anxiety: It's built at the General Motors factory at Oshawa, Ontario, which has won awards for high-quality manufacturing.

Chevy has done the trick using some carried-over hardware, mainly a chassis similar to what's used in the previous Impala and the current Pontiac Grand Prix.

On sale since late July, the '06 Impala sedan, priced $22,000 to $32,000, is meant to bring Chevy more of the solid family buyers that make Chevrolet the best-selling brand in the country: 1,902,898 through August, vs. No. 2 Ford's 1,891,515, according to sales tracker Autodata. Toyota is No. 3 at 1,339,156.

The '06 Impala is exciting not in showiness or slam-bang performance, but in competence and as a vast improvement over its predecessor.

It gives open-minded buyers (those willing to bet that the bugs have been exorcised from a first-year model and who understand that Detroit cars outdo Japan models in some ways) a realistic alternative to foreign-brand autos that often command premium prices and come with fewer features and less power.

The base engine is a 3.5-liter pushrod V-6 with variable valve timing. That improves fuel economy, cuts emissions and boosts power, and until now has been used only on overhead-camshaft engines. It's rated 211 horsepower, a 31-hp jump from the previous Impala, and 21 miles per gallon in town, a commendable 31 on the highway.

Full Review: http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/review...15-impala_x.htm
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I'm curious to know how many people compare the Impala to Camry and Accord instead of the Avalon and 500.
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They're selling very well according to the last GM sales report. 14,500 of them were sold in August, and that's just the 06 model, not counting the 05 as well. They also weren't even on the lots for all of August, and my dealer only ever got an SS model during August, so they had limited supply too.
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In this market, the Avalon is way too much money and their "base" car is not base at all. No, the Camry is shopped against the Impala here. I have to say I haven't really come up against the 500 yet. I've seen a few around but it appears that in the GTA the 500 isn't doing very well. The "imports" are very strong here. The IMpala is getting a lot of interest. The Toronto Star review a month ago really helped. I think the car will take off once more people see it around.
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Great review. Very positive, and I like the last line about mimicing all the good things that make Camcord such good sellers.
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*holds head up high* B)
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"Only a lack of a track record for reliability keeps the new Impala from claiming a place on the pantheon. Helping ease anxiety: It's built at the General Motors factory at Oshawa, Ontario, which has won awards for high-quality manufacturing." What lack of a track record? The Impala has always done well in regards to reliability. Even the dreaded Consumer Reports has recommended it for the last 4-5 years.
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I also agree that I don't know why the constant comparisons of the Accord and Camry to the Impala. To me the Impala is much larger and a different type of car. The Accord and Camry to me are better compared to the G6 and the Malibu. I think those are the models people shop them against.
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Just stopped by our new car lot and took a look at a Glacier Blue Impala LS. I will say it again: this is a very well-turned-out car. I could even see myself in one with rims (tasteful 17") and tinted windows.
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I have looked at quite a few 06 Impalas including base LS, LT, LT-2, LT-3, LTZ and SS. A few thought on what I liked and didn't like. The styling is more refined than before except in the rear where I find it rather bland. LT-2 models should come with lighted visor mirrors. Any base 00-05 model with 1SB package has lighted mirrors. The lower portion of the dash looks and feels cheesy and cheap. The lower end models with cloth interiors have colors that are way too light and will show dirt in the first few weeks of ownership. It's amusing that floorshifter models don't show what gear your in but a Cobalt does. It's also amazing that a Cobalt for 15K has a key hole in the decklid to open the trunk manually but a 31K Impala SS doesn't have this. Very annoying when your looking at these cars at the dealerships with batteries disables and you can't look at the trunk. Other quibbles include indifferent quality control on several cars I looked at including an LS with a poor fitting dash end cover where the fuses used to go and an SS with bodyside moldings that didn't line up quite right. Also how did GM manage to lose back legroom from the previous version and also drop it's once class leading 32 highway rating to 31? This new engine is supposed to be more efficient than the outgoing 1996 designed 3400. It still uses the same old 4T65 tranny and lazy 2.86:1 gears so the decease is weird. Before I get hyped up about this car some of those defficiencys will have to be rectified.
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The lower end models with cloth interiors have colors that are way too light and will show dirt in the first few weeks of ownership. It's amusing that floorshifter models don't show what gear your in but a Cobalt does. It's also amazing that a Cobalt for 15K has a key hole in the decklid to open the trunk manually but a 31K Impala SS doesn't have this. Very annoying when your looking at these cars at the dealerships with batteries disables and you can't look at the trunk.

[post="15977"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


1) Light interiors will show dirt regardless of who makes the car. Regular cleaning helps ameliorate this.

2) Impalas with a floorshifter have gear position indicators on the bottom portion of the speedometer bezel as show here...
Posted Image
...its digital and illuminated only when the ignition is on. Same as the last Impy and both the '00 and '06 Monte Carlo.

3) Agreed that a keyhole on the decklid would be nice, but not necessary with a good key fob with easy-to-replace batteries. And, there's always the interior release.
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I have looked at quite a few 06 Impalas including base LS, LT, LT-2, LT-3, LTZ and SS. A few thought on what I liked and didn't like. The styling is more refined than before except in the rear where I find it rather bland. LT-2 models should come with lighted visor mirrors. Any base 00-05 model with 1SB package has lighted mirrors. The lower portion of the dash looks and feels cheesy and cheap. The lower end models with cloth interiors have colors that are way too light and will show dirt in the first few weeks of ownership. It's amusing that floorshifter models don't show what gear your in but a Cobalt does. It's also amazing that a Cobalt for 15K has a key hole in the decklid to open the trunk manually but a 31K Impala SS doesn't have this. Very annoying when your looking at these cars at the dealerships with batteries disables and you can't look at the trunk. Other quibbles include indifferent quality control on several cars I looked at including an LS with a poor fitting dash end cover where the fuses used to go and an SS with bodyside moldings that didn't line up quite right. Also how did GM manage to lose back legroom from the previous version and also drop it's once class leading 32 highway rating to 31? This new engine is supposed to be more efficient than the outgoing 1996 designed 3400. It still uses the same old 4T65 tranny and lazy 2.86:1 gears so the decease is weird. Before I get hyped up about this car some of those defficiencys will have to be rectified.

[post="15977"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


first off, I would likely buy an Impala before many other cars. I think they did a fairly decent job with it. What is annoying is a couple things you touched on, the cheap lower dash plastic and the reduction in back seat room. The loss ofback seat room is really lame and near unforgivable. The wheelbase is huge on this car, it needs about 3 more inches of rear leg space.

I certainly have other beefs about the car, but compared to the last batch of W cars until 2004, its a godsend. I think the SS lacks a sporting quality ride and handling, its a cruiser. The gauges are too small. Parts of the interior are still cheap looking. And, its pricey in higher trims. Maybe I could still be talked into getting one becuase of the big engine, good mpg, aux in jack and the excellent job they did putting the v8 under the engine bay. But the SS really lacks the ability to be a credible sports sedan as far as handling etc. goes and it could stand some ground effects and wheels arches to make it stand out from the regular Imp too. A 5 speed or 6 speed auto NOW would be nice too. Edited by regfootball
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Key holes are a weak spot targeted by thieves. How any years has it been since you used a key to unlock the trunk of a new car anyway? I don't think "allowing dealers to unplug the battery" is a good enough reason for a keyed trunk lock.
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I have looked at quite a few 06 Impalas including base LS, LT, LT-2, LT-3, LTZ and SS. A few thought on what I liked and didn't like. The styling is more refined than before except in the rear where I find it rather bland. LT-2 models should come with lighted visor mirrors. Any base 00-05 model with 1SB package has lighted mirrors. The lower portion of the dash looks and feels cheesy and cheap. The lower end models with cloth interiors have colors that are way too light and will show dirt in the first few weeks of ownership. It's amusing that floorshifter models don't show what gear your in but a Cobalt does. It's also amazing that a Cobalt for 15K has a key hole in the decklid to open the trunk manually but a 31K Impala SS doesn't have this. Very annoying when your looking at these cars at the dealerships with batteries disables and you can't look at the trunk. Other quibbles include indifferent quality control on several cars I looked at including an LS with a poor fitting dash end cover where the fuses used to go and an SS with bodyside moldings that didn't line up quite right. Also how did GM manage to lose back legroom from the previous version and also drop it's once class leading 32 highway rating to 31? This new engine is supposed to be more efficient than the outgoing 1996 designed 3400. It still uses the same old 4T65 tranny and lazy 2.86:1 gears so the decease is weird. Before I get hyped up about this car some of those defficiencys will have to be rectified.

[post="15977"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Ponchoman, you were able to uncover hopefully some early production
Impala's with iffy quality control. These are important finds, and show that
GM should pay much more attention to detail assembly. It's troubling to
hear about the indifferent quality control. Lets hope they get their act
together soon. In this highly competitive market it won't be tolerated.
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Key holes are a weak spot targeted by thieves. How any years has it been since you used a key to unlock the trunk of a new car anyway? I don't think "allowing dealers to unplug the battery" is a good enough reason for a keyed trunk lock.

[post="15995"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Actually, since you bring up the fact that the trunk can't be opened without battery power...

I want to raise the issue that if someone's battery dies, they'll have difficulty accessing the trunk if they don't have a physical key. I know even dead batteries often have enough juice to move a trunk latch, but maybe you want to recharge the battery and the jumper cables are *smacks forehead* IN THE TRUNK!



...Ahh, I'm forgetting about the fold-down rear seats. Heh... Still something to think about.
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I also agree that I don't know why the constant comparisons of the Accord and Camry to the Impala.

To me the Impala is much larger and a different type of car.  The Accord and Camry to me are better compared to the G6 and the Malibu.  I think those are the models people shop them against.

[post="15875"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]



Well, the Impala is about the same size as far as interior space with the Accord and Camry...it just has a lot of body overhang that makes it longer...and it's in the same price range...so it's competitive with them... as are the G6 and Malibu at the smaller end..

Chevy's strategy isn't that different than Ford's...Ford has both the Fusion and Five Hundred to compete against the big 3 (Camry/Altima/Accord), and the Five Hundred can also go against the Avalon.. Edited by moltar
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The Chevrolet has a bigger trunk than everyone except the exceptionally roomy Ford products. This could explain the greater length.
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The Chevrolet has a bigger trunk than everyone except the exceptionally roomy Ford products.  This could explain the greater length.

[post="16114"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Yes, and the long front overhang...GM's larger FWD models always seem to have a lot of front overhang....
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I liked the Impy..and drove a 06 before they sold though them all here... A white LS....for a around town car it is a cozy ride.. And those 200+ horsies were great on the freeway.. just give me a nice tasteful set of 17' aftermarket rims and a sunroof, and I would be good to go... B)
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I have a feeling that by the time the new Malibu arrives, this Impala will become irrelevant. The Impala needs to move up into the full-size category.
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1) Light interiors will show dirt regardless of who makes the car. Regular cleaning helps ameliorate this.

2) Impalas with a floorshifter have gear position indicators on the bottom portion of the speedometer bezel as show here...
Posted Image
...its digital and illuminated only when the ignition is on. Same as the last Impy and both the '00 and '06 Monte Carlo.

3) Agreed that a keyhole on the decklid would be nice, but not necessary with a good key fob with easy-to-replace batteries. And,  there's always the interior release.

[post="15979"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


The cloth interior cars I looked at were already showing signs of being dirty from people getting in and out of the driver's seat, especially the super light tan. I never noticed this with any of my older cars which had much darker colors that hide normal day to day wear.

Yes obviously they have gear position indicators up above or you wouldn't know what gear you were in at all. Most every other car made except for Chevys new cost cutting full sizers have gear position indicators in both places, even a cheap Cobalt. I said it didn't show what gear you were in on the floor shifter part which makes it look cheap.

My 00 Impala and my buddies 01 Impala LS both had major troubles with the keyless entry systems. One day they would work and the next nothing. It's a good thing they had inside release buttons and key holes in the trunk to unlock it. Batteries do go dead in these newer cars on occasion. I see cores sitting outside of local oil and tire change shops all the time. I would hate to be the person with one of these new cost cutter cars with no way to open my trunk if the battery crapped out.

These are all things that car companies are doing to cut the cost of making a car. Glove box lights are gone. Cigarette lighters are history. No underhood lights. No keyhole in the passenger door if the driver's side ever failed and you didn't have your keyless fob you would be calling AAA just to get in your vehicle. Bodyside moldings are dissapearing off some really expensive makes and it shows the momment these cars are let loose in a mall or store parking lot with dings everywhere. These are all minor annoyances that you may not notice or care about. That is until one day one of these deleted conveniences would come in very handy for that ride you are paying huge monthly payments on!
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Having seen a few Impalas up close I agree with the consensus that this should be a very competitive car. The interior is attractive, with the exception of the cheap-feeling lower dash plastic - an easily remedied fix, just by using the soft-feel dash material from the Grand Prix and LaCrosse.
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EXCELLENT REVIEW!!!!

No one need explain the purchase of a Camry or Accord,


response #1: Of course not, bland uninspired people buy bland uninspired transportation. It's sad and it's called social identity.

response # 2: Now they do, since they can buy this much more appealing DOMESTIC.
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I looked over an Impala SS this weekend. It was OK. The styling is bland beyond belief. The Impala is so completely dull to look at, it makes the Camry look sporty. That alone would turn me off from buying the car. The interior was nice enough. Everything had a high quality feel to it and it all looked very well put together. The stlying of the interior was mearly OK. It's very conventional. This is another example of GM saying, "this is good enough". It's better looking inside than the Camry, but I think the Accord and newer Altima look better and offer more features inside. The seats were not supportive enough for an "SS". The back seats was disappointly short on leg room considering how long this car it. The floor mounted parking brake is a turn off, but common in bigger cars like this. The stereo had a constant low hiss on XM and FM when turned on which was very disappointing. This would not be noticeable when the car was running, but still sounded bad. I'd get a GP GXP before this one, but then again, there are many other cars I would buy before either the Impala or GP for these prices. This particular one had an MSRP of $32 with leather and a moon roof. I would say it should be priced about $4K less. This car competes just OK with the competition (Accord, Camry, Altima, Maxima) today which are all several years old. I don't hold any hope that it will look competitive in a couple of years when the marketplace moves on. Mark
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