Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
pow

Positive Review for Impala SS

21 posts in this topic

Return of the Real Impala By John Pearley Huffman Date posted: 11-14-2005 If General Motors has a distinctive engineering tradition it's a weird commitment to V8 front-drivers. Since the introduction of the 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado, GM has always had at least one V8-powered front-driver in its product line. Usually two. Despite all that history, this V8-powered, 303-horsepower 2006 Impala SS is the layout's first migration to Chevrolet. Dismissing this Chevy Impala SS as a pretender because it isn't rear-drive like the Impalas of yesteryear is a lazy cop-out. It's a cop-out because those old Impalas weren't that great and how this car compares to the crusty ghosts of ancient namesakes is unimportant. What is important is how it stacks up against the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and most directly the rear-drive, Hemi-powered Dodge Charger R/T. It stacks up well, both on the road and on paper. Although a fully loaded Impala SS can break the $31,000 mark, our Laser Blue test car, which had leather, heated front seats; a power passenger seat; polished wheels (which are a steal at $295); a Bose Premium eight-speaker sound system; and XM Satellite Radio but no sunroof, stickered for just under $30,000. (A navigation system is not available.) In the age of the $29,000 V6 Camry, we think that makes the SS a good value. Evolutionary Fitness Displacing 5.3 liters, the Impala SS's engine is a member of GM's small-block family of overhead-valve V8s and its all-aluminum construction means it isn't much heavier than the iron-block V6s otherwise installed in the Impala LS, LT, LTZ and 9C1 and 9C3 police packages. Its 323 pound-feet of peak torque at 4,400 rpm, however, is up 43 lb-ft from the 240-horsepower, supercharged 3.8-liter V6 used in the 2005 Impala SS. To handle the extra twist the Impala has been reinforced. The unibody chassis design carries over but there are thicker frame sections surrounding the engine bay, and the engine and its four-speed automatic transaxle ride in a new extruded aluminum engine cradle. The suspension still uses struts front and rear, rack and pinion steering and four-wheel disc brakes with standard ABS, but the gorgeous 18-inch wheels inside P235/50R18 Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires are new. Although the 2006 edition rides on the same 110.5-inch wheelbase of the 2005 car, it's a little less than half an inch longer and 106.4 pounds heavier. That's more or less the weight of two additional cylinders plus the bigger wheels and tires minus one supercharger. Uniquely GM Like it should, the Impala's small-block V8 idles with a burble through its dual exhausts. There's also an immediacy to its torque delivery that can't be simulated by a V6. The automatic transmission shifts confidently and the generous torque means a 5th or 6th gear isn't necessary even if it would help Chevy's marketing. The operation of GM's Displacement on Demand (DoD) system, which knocks out half the engine's cylinders to conserve fuel when the car is cruising under light load, is nearly impossible to detect. Despite the cylinder shut-off system, however, this is no economy car. During driving heavily weighted to freeway cruising, it returned just 18.6 mpg. In heavier stop-and-go traffic mileage slipped down to 14.7 mpg. So it's thirsty, but it's also quick. With its traction control active you can throw a brick at the accelerator and the Impala SS will rip to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds and bound through the quarter-mile in 14.4 seconds at 97.5 mph. Although that's quicker than a Camry or Accord, it's about two-tenths slower than the last Charger R/T we tested. With its traction control on or off, the Impala tracks arrow straight with no intrusive torque steer. This really impressed us. Despite the V8's ability to light up the front tires with ease, the profound torque steer in the mechanically similar Pontiac Grand Prix GTP simply isn't much of a problem in the Impala SS. According to GM's Impala product manager Mark Clawson that's due to four things. "First, we use equal stiffness driveshafts that effectively compensate for their different lengths," he explains. "Second we have 'tripod' universal joints that ensure that constant and consistent torque is applied to each half shaft. Third, we've balanced the weight over each front wheel to be even. And fourth, our transverse engine attaches with 'torque axis' engine mounts so it's allowed to pitch forward and backward but it isn't allowed to yaw [twist] so that it would push and pull on the half shafts." Cadillac Ride, Cadillac Handling The new Impala SS doesn't drive like an old Impala SS. Instead it drives a lot like the 2003 Cadillac Seville STS, which is another GM front-driver powered by a V8 and four-speed automatic transaxle. And that's not feint praise. Like the Caddy, the Impala SS feels solid and substantial. It's a composed cruiser that's agile despite having most of its mechanical load bourn by the front wheels. The Impala is and feels like a big, heavy car, but dive into a corner and it pulls through with dignity and thrust. We like the four-spoke steering wheel and the way the steering has heft, but more road feel is on our wish list. At 62.6 mph, the Impala is actually a bit faster than the Charger R/T through the slalom (front-drive is often an advantage in that test), but all that weight over the front wheels takes its toll on braking. The Impala SS's so-so 138.3-foot stopping distance from 60 mph is more than 17 feet longer than the Charger R/T's performance. Off the test track, the Impala can't match the Charger's chassis balance or responsiveness to steering input and the car's natural tendency to understeer at the limit can't be overcome with throttle. But it rides better, is slightly quieter and is completely confident in everyday use. Revolutionary Elements Where the old Impala interior was a haphazard riot of cheesy plastic that couldn't make it through quality control at Fisher-Price, the new interior is clean, logical and the materials quality is a leap forward. The dash is simple, the instrumentation is clear and there are side curtain airbags aboard to go with the ones up front. The Bose-tuned audio system features XM Satellite Radio and an iPod-ready input jack and the dual-zone ventilation controls operate intuitively. OnStar is standard. Still, the interior isn't perfect. The SS's "Nuance leather" seats are comfortable, but there isn't enough lateral support and the console-mounted shifter flops limply between indistinct gates. A manual-shifting system like the Pontiac Grand Prix GXP's TAPshift would be great, but we'd settle for any decent shifter. But the controversial interior element is how little room there is for a car this size. The Impala stretches 9.3 inches longer than an Accord sedan on a 2.6-inch-longer wheelbase but offers 0.3 inch less front legroom and only 0.8 inch more rear legroom. In its favor the Impala has more hip- and shoulder room than the Accord and its 18.6 cubic feet of trunk volume eclipses the Honda's meager 14 cubic feet, but this is a big car and a big car ought to have more stretching room. Against the Ropes, Camrys, Accords and Chargers Compared to high-line Camrys and Accords, the Impala SS offers a larger package with more personality and much more power at about the same price. The Impala SS also compares well to the Charger R/T, which shares much of its engineering with Mercedes products. The two cars are about the same size and offer about the same accommodations, but the Impala's interior is better-looking and easier to use than the Mopars. On the other hand, the rear-drive Charger offers a better-balanced driving experience, even more power and even more attitude. Where the Impala is as understated and as confident as a Caddy, the Charger is just plain rowdy. Tear open the space-time continuum and travel back to the '60s and you'll find the story wasn't much different back then. Both were fast, but the Charger was always edgier while the Impala SS balanced comfort and utility in a more restrained design. The more things change — and everything has changed — the more they seem to stay the same. Even when the Dodge Charger is a Mercedes and the Chevrolet Impala reminds us of a Cadillac.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Worth taking note of, again:

>>"Compared to high-line Camrys and Accords, the Impala SS offers a larger package with more personality and much more power at about the same price. The Impala SS also compares well to the Charger R/T, which shares much of its engineering with Mercedes products. "<<
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But the controversial interior element is how little room there is for a car this size. The Impala stretches 9.3 inches longer than an Accord sedan on a 2.6-inch-longer wheelbase but offers 0.3 inch less front legroom and only 0.8 inch more rear legroom. In its favor the Impala has more hip- and shoulder room than the Accord and its 18.6 cubic feet of trunk volume eclipses the Honda's meager 14 cubic feet, but this is a big car and a big car ought to have more stretching room.


Seems like a fine compromise to me... And a 'journalist' wanting to b*tch about something for nothing.


Decent Review.

Perhaps I missed it, but they didn't mention the flip and fold rear seats at all. I think that is a wonderful selling feature over the competition.


Of course they didn't, it's an advantage!
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
They thought it relevant to point out that the Impala has less than one inch less interior room? Wow...just...wow.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Perhaps I missed it, but they didn't mention the flip and fold rear seats at all. I think that is a wonderful selling feature over the competition.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd have agreed with you F_O_G, but I just dropped by a Chevy dealer yesterday during lunch to talk with a high school buddy of mine -- he's a new car salesperson. I had to check out the Impala in person. I would've checked out an HHR, but they simply don't have any to sell. The turnover time for the HHR is about 2 days for them. They'd *love* to have more to sell. Anyways, I throroughly checked out the Impala & one of the things I noticed was that the backseat of the Impala seemed small. I expected it to have more room than my Malibu - but they seem to be roughly the same. To make a long story longer, I convinced a co-worker to check out the Impala after I raved about it comming back from lunch. She checked it out via the Chevy website, went down there last evening & talked to my pal, test drove one and ended up buying a black '06 Impala SS; w/leather and sunroof right there on-the-spot. I'm envious as hell. The Malibu is the car I need. The Impala SS is the car I want. I call shotgun... Edited by cmattson
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The automatic transmission shifts confidently and the generous torque means a 5th or 6th gear isn't necessary even if it would help Chevy's marketing.


Finally... the truth comes out (in print)!

Overall good review. :)
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To make a long story longer, I convinced a co-worker to check out the Impala after I raved about it comming back from lunch.  She checked it out via the Chevy website, went down there last evening & talked to my pal, test drove one and ended up buying a black '06 Impala SS; w/leather and sunroof right there on-the-spot. I'm envious as hell.  The Malibu is the car I need.  The Impala SS is the car I want.  I call shotgun...

[post="43456"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

Talk about a quick decision! I guess some people don't plan their purchase a year in advance like me.

Sorry FOG but I have to agree with the comments about the back seat. I test drove one last week and let my wife drive for a few miles so I could jump in the back seat to see how it was back there and it was a bit tight for such a big car. It was smaller than my Cutlass Supreme 4 door back seat. They gave it a huge trunk but why not just cut down on the trunk a little and add those precious inches to the interior? They made the same mistake with the Cobalt.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It didn't help that I was making wise cracks like "how many miles on your Jeep? 85,000?! And you trust that in the winter? You know that they forecast snow for tomorrow, don't you?" LOL -- she was thinking about a new car anyways & she had previously owned a '96 Impala SS (that she misses dearly); so I didn't exactly lead her to the new-car-cliff; I just gave her a little push. Edited by cmattson
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I just can't believe this is an Edmunds review... It's almost impossible to acknowledge the source when reading it. It's a fantastic review that would make any car manufacturer proud.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm with VenSeattle: I can't believe it is an Edmunds article! It seems that maybe, just maybe, GM has its first big hit with the media and (hopefully) we are seeing the tide beginning to turn.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It was a great article so maybe it can help the Impala pick up steam. My two brothers just got back from a boys trip to San Francisco and Vegas (I didn't have the cash to make it) and I was even more pissed when I found out they had an 06 LT for 5 days as a rental. I asked them what were the good points and bad points about the Impala and they were like, bad points? what bad points? the car was solid, great interior,great engine, a lot better and Quieter than the 05 Impala our family rented this summer when we had relatives in town. They averaged 28MPG and that was with alot of driving in the mountains near San Fran and Siicon valley. I'll ask the question again cause nobody has answered me yet, is 34 too young to be the proud owner of a 2006 Chevy Impala?
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Impala is a very good product with a few rough edges, and it deserves to get a good review. If GM puts out good products then the media will give them good reviews, because even if they don't people will still buy them in droves with little or no incentives and the media will look dumb. As for the back seat, it's probably my least favorite part of the car. It's not small, but I'd much perfer the back seat in my dad's MAXX, which over 10 inches shorter.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Uniquely GM
Like it should, the Impala's small-block V8 idles with a burble through its dual exhausts. There's also an immediacy to its torque delivery that can't be simulated by a V6. The automatic transmission shifts confidently and the generous torque means a 5th or 6th gear isn't necessary even if it would help Chevy's marketing.

[post="43396"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


So it is marketing hype after all... They're really slapping themselves on their face. Edited by ToniCipriani
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So it is marketing hype after all... They're really slapping themselves on their face.

[post="43638"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Just because it's not necessary in the V8 doesn't mean it's not needed in the V6s. Even if it's not necessary, I don't think it's really an excuse for not having one when competitors have had them for a long time.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
and could theoretically improve on performance and efficiency....imagine what these cars will be able to do once they get 6 speeds
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Return of the Real Impala
By John Pearley Huffman
...
Despite all that history, this V8-powered, 303-horsepower 2006 Impala SS is the layout's first migration to Chevrolet. Dismissing this Chevy Impala SS as a pretender because it isn't rear-drive like the Impalas of yesteryear is a lazy cop-out. It's a cop-out because those old Impalas weren't that great and how this car compares to the crusty ghosts of ancient namesakes is unimportant. What is important is how it stacks up against the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and most directly the rear-drive, Hemi-powered Dodge Charger R/T.


*raises eyebrow in defiance*

Wait just a pea-pickin' minute here. Edmunds has a history of writing bad reviews on GM vehicles and now, in the midst of an admittedly good review for the '06 impala, the writer turns the seemingly usual "dissing" onto Chevrolet enthusiasts, who prefer Impalas (as in RWD) instead...? Some nerve....

I agree what is important is how the new impala stacks up to the likes of the Accord and Camry ... but, how on earth can you compare a RWD Charger to a FWD impala? Yeah yeah yeah, I know it is done because of the size of the car. Still, with the "great debate" about RWD vs FWD I find it mildly ironic that people don't see an issue with comparing a RWD to a FWD vehicle.....

Ah, well. What I think doesn't matter anyway.


Cort, "Mr MC" / "Mr Road Trip", 32swm/pig valve/pacemaker
MC:family.IL.guide.future = http://www.chevyasylum.com/cort/
Models.HO = http://www.chevyasylum.com/cort/trainroom.html
"You've made a fool of everyone" ... Jet ... 'Look What You've Done'
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There is some fact in those words. People love to deify the Impalas of yore as hot, fast, powerful highway bosses when in reality, the vast majority were big, floaty, and the cheapest fullsize car you could buy within GM. Essentially, the perfect affordable family sedan, something the 2000+ Impala was as well, merely in a different format for appropriate for the times - economical V6 vs. V8, trimmer size vs. huge girth, FWD vs. RWD. Not all Impalas were as hot as the '94-'96 SSs. As far as FWD vs. RWD goes, I don't see a problem comparing the two because in this segment, its very unimportant. We're talking family sedans with some guts, not all-out sports cars. I would say an Impala SS is a far better buy than a Charger R/T in both the overall package and the details (quality, layout, equipment). I'm not lobbying against RWD for an Impala, merely that the '06 is very easily the best family sedan Impala in a long, long time.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is some fact in those words. People love to deify the Impalas of yore as hot, fast, powerful highway bosses when in reality, the vast majority were big, floaty, and the cheapest fullsize car you could buy within GM.


I'm certainly not deifying them ... or anything, for that matter. That'd be my evil twin ... the same one that, for whatever reason, bought a FWD "monte carlo".....


Essentially, the perfect affordable family sedan, something the 2000+ Impala was as well, merely in a different format for appropriate for the times - economical V6 vs. V8, trimmer size vs. huge girth, FWD vs. RWD. Not all Impalas were as hot as the '94-'96 SSs.


Again, not saying that either ... just simply making the observation. I do agree that the format for both versions was "appropriate for the times" ... just too bad that they didn't leave it named the Lumina.


As far as FWD vs. RWD goes, I don't see a problem comparing the two because in this segment, its very unimportant. We're talking family sedans with some guts, not all-out sports cars. I would say an Impala SS is a far better buy than a Charger R/T in both the overall package and the details (quality, layout, equipment).


Agreed ... to a point. Unimportant, that is, until someone pipes up with "the Charger won't handle well in snow because it is RWD" ... then the current impala gets the nod because it is FWD. Hmm.....


I'm not lobbying against RWD for an Impala, merely that the '06 is very easily the best family sedan Impala in a long, long time.


Agreed yet again. If you read any of my recent posts, you'll know that I'm actually considering an '06 impala (no, my evil twin is not returning) ... and was rather impressed with the one I test drove a number of weeks ago now. Course, I'm also considering an '06 Charger......
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

is 34 too young to be the proud owner of a 2006 Chevy Impala?

[post="43631"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Absolutely not!

:CG_all:
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll ask the question again cause nobody has answered me yet, is 34 too young to be the proud owner of a 2006 Chevy Impala?

[post="43631"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]



My sister was driving an Impala when she was in HS... so I don't think 34 is too young. I would drive an SS, except I don't really need all that car, and would rather save the $$$ for another Camaro.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0



  • Who's Online (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online

  • Who's Chatting

    There are no users currently in the chat room