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2006 Chevrolet Impalla review

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Chevrolet dressed up and powered up its most popular car this year, giving the Impala line more upscale interiors, improved convenience features and mightier engines.

Best of all, pricing for some models is decreased, and there are more Impala versions offered, including the V-8-powered, top-of-the-line SS.

The base 2006 Impala sedan with 3.5-liter V-6 has a starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $21,990, a full $1,020 less than the $23,010 cost of a 2005 base with V-6.

Ranked as a large car by the Environmental Protection Agency but often cross-shopped with mid-size sedans by consumers, the Impala competes in the family sedan category. Among its competitors are cars classified as large: the 2006 Chrysler 300, which starts at $24,200 with V-6, and the 2006 Hyundai Sonata, which starts at $18,495 for a four-cylinder model and $21,495 for a V-6 model.

Compared with just three trim levels last year and only V-6 engines, this year's Impala comes in four grades -- LS, LT, LTZ and SS -- and has the new, 303-horsepower V-8.

Too bad, though, that despite new headlamps and taillamps and some mild restyling, the Impala is rather bland on the outside and is certainly nothing like the expressive Chrysler 300. This dullness extends even to the 2006 Impala SS which, among other things, wears a rear spoiler and 18-inch wheels and tires.

Indeed, some consumers who were able to immediately recognize earlier Impalas because of their four prominent, round taillights now will find its rear appearance less distinctive and more like that of a mainstream sedan from a Japan-based carmaker.

The interior, however, impresses.

Radio and ventilation controls are a streamlined, easy-to-use arrangement from a new generation of components now going into many vehicles from Chevrolet parent company General Motors Corp. A low cowl means even a 5-foot-4 driver like me can see easily over the Impala dashboard and onto the hood.

Dashboard materials in the test car had an upscale look compared with earlier Impalas. Yes, the dashboard is covered by plastic, but the plastic has a pleasing feel, and the grain of the plastic and the lack of a cheap-looking sheen make for an attractive appearance.

On the ceiling, the old-style fuzzy material is replaced by a higher-quality, textured fabric that's similar to what's in Volkswagens.

The thick front seats -- with optional leather in the tester -- were mostly comfortable, though I wished for some contouring on the flat driver seat cushion to help me stay in place behind the wheel of the SS. I also wished that the carpeted coverup of the support or brace bar behind the driver seat in the tester was more professionally finished. As it was, the fabric was puckered and pulled awkwardly and was the first thing I noticed as I settled into the back seat.

Front-seat head restraints -- with ''SS'' stitched prominently onto them -- are height adjustable and lock into place, just as they should be.

The three back-seat head restraints are fixed in place, so they don't get in the way when someone puts the seatbacks down to extend long cargo from the trunk. In addition, these fixed rear head restraints appeared to be large enough to catch and hold my head if there's a crash.

The SS is a five-seat car, though other Impalas offer five or six seats. Even the middle person in back gets a shoulder belt.

This year for the first time, all Impalas come standard with curtain airbags.

But stability control -- which is standard on every Sonata -- isn't offered on the Impala. Even antilock brakes, which also are standard on the Sonata, are an option on the base Impala.

The 5.3-liter V-8 in the tester provided ample power for passing or just cruising with ease. I enjoyed the strong, deep engine sounds that came each time I pressed the accelerator, and on occasion, I squealed the SS tires at startup. Peak torque is 323 foot-pounds at 4,400 rpm.

This power brought on a bit of torque steer in this front-drive car a couple times. Torque steer is the jerking of the steering wheel to one side or the other as strong power is delivered to the front wheels at startup.

The V-8 in the SS includes Displacement on Demand technology that automatically shuts down four of the engine's eight cylinders in certain situations when full power isn't needed. This can occur when the car is cruising, and the driver isn't likely to notice the change.

Nor is the driver likely to notice when the engine automatically returns to full V-8 operation. Chevy officials said this on-and-off system can help give the Impala SS an 8 percent fuel economy improvement over what it would have had without DOD.

For the record, the Environmental Protection Agency rates this model at 18 miles a gallon in city and 28 mpg on the highway, which is the best in the EPA's category of eight-cylinder-powered large cars.

The Impala's new six-cylinder powerplants also are competitive in fuel economy.

The base, 211-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 earns a rating of 21/31 mpg, which is third best in the EPA's category of large cars with six-cylinder engines. This engine produces up to 214 foot-pounds of torque at 4,000 rpm.

Impala's mid-level engine -- a 242-horsepower, 3.9-liter V-6 generating 242 foot-pounds of torque at 4,400 rpm -- is rated at 19/27 mpg.

All Impalas have a four-speed automatic transmission, which does not include a shift-it-yourself, manumatic mode.

Note that Chrysler's 300 has higher-powered V-6s and V-8, while the Sonata includes a fuel-thrifty four cylinder and a 235-horsepower, 3.3-liter V-6.

The underlying front-wheel-drive platform for the Impala hasn't changed, but suspension tuning has been adjusted for better ride comfort and handling.

The interior of the tester was mostly quiet, save for some wind noise that emanated from around the driver window and occasional tire noise from textured concrete highway surfaces.

There have been no safety recalls of the redesigned 2006 Impala or of its predecessor, the 2005 Impala, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

There was only one for the 2004 Impalas. It involved 47,991 cars which needed to be checked to ensure bolts on some brake components were sufficiently tightened to avoid brake problems.


http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/monterey...ss/13200806.htm
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I hope GM doesn't get the impression that the Impala's interior is fine. Vastly improved it may be, it's still far away from classleaders.
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While down in NJ I checked out an '06 Impala at "Malek Chevrolet". It was a tiny little dealership wiht like 20 cars on the lot, and Malek is a Slovakian sounding name that is a play on words meaning "small" to boot. I'm not kidding, like 20 cars! Anyway the gunmetal gray Impala they had actually appealed to me somewhat. I actually liked it. Still it should be called a Biscayne and should have a RWD big sister called Impala or Caprice Classic. Edited by Sixty8panther
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UM.. Yeah.. Pretty sad when you can't read the emblem on the back of the car. Either the review wasn't taken seriously or the author and editor were idiots that shouldn't be in journalism. Not a bad review though.
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I hope GM doesn't get the impression that the Impala's interior is fine. Vastly improved it may be, it's still far away from classleaders.

[post="45379"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]












In what way? My only thing about it is I dont know about the new guage markings. Liked the old ones better or the one like in my Equinox. Otherwise it looks much inproved to me. I dont really see where a Camry or Accord interior is better and I have sat in both.
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In what way? My only thing about it is I dont know about the new guage markings. Liked the old ones better or the one like in my Equinox. Otherwise it looks much inproved to me. I dont really see where a Camry or Accord interior is better and I have sat in both.

[post="47511"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


I think the rubber gasket on the inner trunk seals of the Accord has a nicer texture. Also, the anterior side of the glovebox latch on the Camry has a richer, low-gloss matte grain.
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In what way? My only thing about it is I dont know about the new guage markings. Liked the old ones better or the one like in my Equinox. Otherwise it looks much inproved to me. I dont really see where a Camry or Accord interior is better and I have sat in both.

[post="47511"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


The new Impalas interior is pretty good but has several things that annoy me. One is the sterile looking shifter that is so obviously lacking gear indicators. Every freaking other car I looked at had this but not the Impala/Monte. And no glove box light either. The Accord/Camry/Sonota all had this. Also why does every car that GM makes have such hard ass seats? The leather ones seemed a little better but the cloth ones were really hard. With the front seat moved a little more than half way back for my 6' frame I was amazed at the lack of rear legroom. My 2000 had more of this. The Accord/Camry/Sonata and even the Fusion all had more back seat legroom with the front seat adjusted where I wanted it. Without the $275.00 optional split rear seat on LS and LT models, there is no fold down armrest for rear passengers whereas all these other cars have this on all models std. Lastly the lower portion of the dash just looks and feels cheap along with the door panals which once again are rock hard with no padding. This always annoyed me about my 2000 also on long drives where my arm would often fall asleep resting on the hard armrest.
Don't get me wrong the new Impala is indeed a nice step forward for Chevy and the new powertrains deserve praise but I couldn't help feeling the whole time I drove an LT base rental that I was driving yesteryears technology and that better sedans exist.
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In what way? My only thing about it is I dont know about the new guage markings. Liked the old ones better or the one like in my Equinox. Otherwise it looks much inproved to me. I dont really see where a Camry or Accord interior is better and I have sat in both.

[post="47511"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


As far as the interior of the Impala goes, my only complaint is the overall feel of the plastic used on the dash, door panels, and other interior trim pieces. The Japanese brands do have the advantage here. Chevrolet knows how to do it right, too. Just look inside a Malibu MAXX to see what I mean. I like how the controls are laid out in a very common sense way, and the new "black tie" audio systems are much improved. But otherwise, how can anyone complain about the '06 Impala? I think it's way more car than the previous body style. The price point is great - you can't buy a Camry LE V6 or Accord V6 for anywhere close to the price of a Impala LS. I am really impressed with the new 3.9 V6. My daily driver is a '98 Buick Regal GS, and the naturally aspirated 3.9 will give my supercharged 3800 a run for its money with better fuel economy. Let's not forget that this is the first year for the re-designed Impala. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one right now, but I'll be anxious to see how they improve it over the next couple years.
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When I first saw an '06 Impala, I had to look at it for several seconds to figure out what it was. The basic sillhouette looked familiar but most of the styling cues were missing. It had kind of a generic quality, almost like a Honda Accord or the new Sonata. I'm probably in a minority here, but I was sad to see the Taurus-like taillights on the new model in place of the round ones used on the previous Impalas. That being said, I have to say that I think the Impala is one of the best car values out there. Even the base V6 has more than adequate power and it gets excellent fuel economy. The interior is roomy and quite comfortable. The styling, while not "standout", is certainly pleasant...
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While down in NJ I checked out an '06 Impala at "Malek Chevrolet". It was a tiny little dealership wiht like 20 cars on the lot, and Malek is a Slovakian sounding name that is a play on words meaning "small" to boot. I'm not kidding, like 20 cars!

Anyway the gunmetal gray Impala they had actually appealed to me somewhat. I actually liked it. Still it should be called a Biscayne and should have a RWD big sister called Impala or Caprice Classic.

[post="45380"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

That's not a bad idea! Biscayne, Bel Rey (trademarked), Impala and Caprice should be left to rear-drive cars, as well as any SS level.
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I hope GM doesn't get the impression that the Impala's interior is fine. Vastly improved it may be, it's still far away from classleaders.

[post="45379"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

dont worry lutz wont ever let it get any worse... it'll only improve
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The new Impalas interior is pretty good but has several things that annoy me. One is the sterile looking shifter that is so obviously lacking gear indicators. Every freaking other car I looked at had this but not the Impala/Monte. And no glove box light either. The Accord/Camry/Sonota all had this. Also why does every car that GM makes have such hard ass seats? The leather ones seemed a little better but the cloth ones were really hard. With the front seat moved a little more than half way back for my 6' frame I was amazed at the lack of rear legroom. My 2000 had more of this. The Accord/Camry/Sonata and even the Fusion all had more back seat legroom with the front seat adjusted where I wanted it. Without the $275.00 optional split rear seat on LS and LT models, there is no fold down armrest for rear passengers whereas all these other cars have this on all models std. Lastly the lower portion of the dash just looks and feels cheap along with the door panals which once again are rock hard with no padding. This always annoyed me about my 2000 also on long drives where my arm would often fall asleep resting on the hard armrest.
Don't get me wrong the new Impala is indeed a nice step forward for Chevy and the new powertrains deserve praise but I couldn't help feeling the whole time I drove an LT base rental that I was driving yesteryears technology and that better sedans exist.

[post="47680"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


the small back seat was one thing that kept me from seriously considering an 06 imp when i bought recently. its a good car, but the biggest chevy needs more room.
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