Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Northstar

2006 Chevrolet Impala 3.5 LS - Autoweek

23 posts in this topic

2006 Chevrolet Impala 3.5 LS
Retooling GM’s bestseller: Chevy touts more for less in the next Impala


ANDREW LUU
Published Date: 9/5/05
2006 CHEVROLET IMPALA 3.5 LS
ON SALE: Now
BASE PRICE: $21,990
POWERTRAIN: 3.5-liter, 211-hp, 214-lb-ft V6; fwd, four-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT: 3553 lbs
0 TO 60 MPH: 8.4 seconds (mfr.)
FUEL MILAGE (EPA COMBINED): 24.6 mpg

Of all the trim levels available for the 2006 Chevrolet Impala, the first car sold to a customer was a top-of-the-line V8-powered SS. Sounds like something a diehard Chevy fan would buy, doesn’t it? Actually, the customer is an Orthodox priest, and like many Chevy buyers, he is loyal to the brand.

Believing he survived a serious accident in his previous Impala SS due to the car’s safety, this priest swore right then and there he would buy another Chevy.

For a long time Chevy could count on such loyalty—something akin to home-field advantage—to help it sell cars. While it’s an edge Chevy still enjoys in the truck game, such allegiance to its cars withered long ago due to years of consistently formidable opposition and inadequate responses to that from GM. So right from the get-go Chevy aimed to offer a lot more than just the golden bow tie in developing this new Impala.

For example, you can choose from three engines, all more powerful than before. The base 3.5-liter overhead-valve V6 churns out 211 hp and 214 lb-ft. Then there is the 3.9-liter V6 with 242 hp (2 more horses than last year’s SS) and 242 lb-ft. Each features variable-valve timing, a pushrod first. And for the hot rod parents, Chevy has a 5.3-liter, 303-hp, 323-lb-ft V8 that can deactivate four cylinders to save fuel. And yes, you’ll need the e-brake to do a smoky burnout.

Styling-wise the new car looks like a big Malibu, with softer, rounder edges. In other words, the Impala looks anonymous. That’s not always a good thing, but for a car that must please hundreds of thousands of drivers, ordinary has a proven appeal.

The interior takes on the same generic approach, but this time around there is greatly improved fit-and-finish. The Impala also uses higher quality materials, though there are still some hard plastic pieces.

The car is 1.4 inches taller. It is 0.4 inch longer and track also grows 0.4 inch. The 110.5-inch wheelbase is unchanged. Legroom shrinks by almost an inch in back, but there is more head room.

The Impala is larger than a Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, yet head and legroom are neck and neck among the three. The Chevy leads the way in shoulder and hip room, particularly in the rear.

There is an innovative flip-and-fold feature in the rear. Prop the rear cushion upward to reveal a small storage bin, or all the way forward for a large secondary trunk complete with grocery-bag hooks. Fold the seatbacks down to expose a flat pass-through, which expands the already generous 18.6 cubic feet of trunk space.

A MacPherson strut front and independent tri-link rear (replacing rear struts) suspension system does a decent job when hustling down the back roads. The Impala leans first, then sets in predictable fashion. Its turn-in response is tighter than a Camry, and the car beats its predecessor in overall isolation from road disturbances.

New dual-piston calipers up front work well, but like Ford’s new Fusion, ABS does not come standard on the base LS or LT Impala. (ABS is standard on both Camry and Accord.) The SS employs thicker stabilizer bars all around and dual-rate springs in the rear. Combined with larger 18-inch wheels and Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires, there is at least enough grip to put smiles on most faces.

GM claims 0 to 60 mph passes in 5.7 seconds for the SS, 7.8 seconds for the 3.9-liter V6 and 8.4 seconds for the base 3.5. Each engine is mated to a four-speed automatic, and while the competitive set is fast moving to five- and even six-speed setups, the Chevy engines generally make more torque at low rpm and don’t require the extra ratios.

On sheer value the Impala makes a compelling argument. Pricing starts at $21,990 for the base 3.5 LS ($790 cheaper than last year), $25,420 for the 3.9 LT and $27,790 for the SS, each reflecting GM’s move toward actual transaction pricing. Despite lower MSRPs, the Impala has more equipment, including standard front and rear side-curtain airbags and an auxiliary jack to play your iPod or MP3 player through the stereo.

The new Impala still falls short of the Accord’s refinement and a rede­signed Camry is expected next year, not to mention the recent introduction of the Fusion—all sure to give this Chevy a run for its money. But there is no doubt the new Impala is a dynamically stronger car in every way. And one thing is for sure: Chevy moved 290,295 Impalas last year—good for third overall behind Camry and Accord—and this new model is improved enough to stay in the hunt.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Why would they mention the Camry and Fusion in this argument? The Impala is Fullsize like the 500 and Avalon. Oh yeah gotta stack the deck out of GMs favor. :rolleyes:
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree it's not in the same league as the Camry and Fusion, but not quite full-size. Its size is around the departed Taurus. 500 is larger and Fusion is smaller. So somewhere between it. I would say it's for someone looking for room of a full-size, but in a mid-size package.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The 3.9 is only slightly faster than the 3.5 and only slightly more fuel efficient than the 5.3, so I wonder why GM bothered. I would only be interested in an Impala LS or an Impala SS, depending how much I wanted to spend.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chevrolet has reclassified the Impala as a mid-sized car. Another thing is the size of the car feel a lot smaller than last years even though the specs don't show that much of a change. But one thing is for sure the SS hauls...... not to mention how good the exhaust sounds.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There was barely a mention of the new 3.5 engine. I'd like to hear more about. I guess if it wasn't very good, they would have said something. Still, with it being new on the market, more should be said about it in reviews. Edited by 4gm
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Impala definetly isn't full size. Rear seat legroom is midsize but headroom and shoulder room seem to be like a full size.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I dont think its a full-size car either but it is larger then mostly every car in its class, I also think that its great to offer 3 choices for the engine, because some people might not need, or afford what the LTZ has to offer but want the 3.9 can get a cheaper 3.9 LT, but if they want more then what the LS has to offer, but dont want the 3.9 can pay a little more money for a 3.5 LT. Edited by BlkHhr104
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dont think its a full-size car either but it is larger then mostly every car in its class, I also think that its great to offer 3 choices for the engine, because some people might not need, or afford what the LTZ has to offer but want the 3.9 can get a cheaper 3.9 LT, but if they want more then what the LS has to offer, but dont want the 3.9 can pay a little more money for a 3.5 LT.

[post="9822"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


I understand what you're saying. I guess I'm just disappointed with the 3.9 as a whole... it gets crappy fuel economy and I just thought it'd be more powerful than it is. At least 250hp was my guess.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
242HP should be more than sufficient to move around the Impala, at least for 90% of the population. The 2005 SS only had 240HP, so I'd say the LT/LTZ having 242HP is pretty good. The 3900 is supposed to be getting DOD sometime soon I think, so that should help out fuel economy.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand what you're saying.   I guess I'm just disappointed with the 3.9 as a whole... it gets crappy fuel economy and I just thought it'd be more powerful than it is.  At least 250hp was my guess.

[post="9842"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]



True, I think if it had more torque and they rounded it off to 250 hp and it had better fuel economy, it would be a better engine. Edited by BlkHhr104
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

242HP should be more than sufficient to move around the Impala, at least for 90% of the population. The 2005 SS only had 240HP, so I'd say the LT/LTZ having 242HP is pretty good.

The 3900 is supposed to be getting DOD sometime soon I think, so that should help out fuel economy.

[post="9845"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

I am betting that DOD comes with the 6 speed autos. The computer tuning would have been done in conjunction since it would take longer. The 6 speed autos are just taking a little longer than the new engine to get to market.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The 3.5 in the Impala is only .6 second slower to 60 than the 3.9 and is more fuel efficient and should be enough for most people.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

True, I think if it had more torque and they rounded it off to 250 hp and it had better fuel economy, it would be a better engine.

[post="9846"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]



I am betting that DOD comes with the 6 speed autos.  The computer tuning would have been done in conjunction since it would take longer.  The 6 speed autos are just taking a little longer than the new engine to get to market.

[post="9896"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


You know, if that's the case, then the 3.9 might not be bad at all. If we can get 30mpg out of it for highway, I'll be satisfied.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On a slight side-note, will we see better hp numbers from the new 6A? Or is it just going to affect fuel economy and 0-60 times?
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"Legroom shrinks by almost an inch in back" not sure why it was so tough to stretch the wheelbase a couple inches, raise the roof and inch or two, and contour the seats for a nice passenger pocket, all in the interest of getting any leg room in the back. just an example of continual 'half assing' it.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In this last Synday's paper, in a column written by Steven Cole Smith of the Orlando Sentinal, he states, "Chevrolet Says 2006 V-8 Impala SS Is Its Fastest Ever" Generally the article is very favorable towards the whole 2006 Impala line, and he comments that his "sources" told him that a five-speed automatic was considered, but budget concerns and the general reliability of the 4-speed earned it the job. In his 4th paragraph he states,"The most notable improvement brings "exciting" back to the Impala glossary: a 303-horsepower version of Chevy's 5.3liter V-8 for the SS model, the first Impala V-8 since 1996. And yes, devotees of that particular rear-wheel drive Caprice-based Impala SS might complain that this front-wheel-drive '06 model isn't in the same league, but Chevrolet tells us the new Impala is the fastest model ever-- and that includes the high-powered models from the 1960s." He goes on, "Interestingly, that last Impala SS from 1996 was essentially a V-8 powered Caprice police car with some attractive cosmetic trim. Because Chevrolet builds an Impala police car with a 3.8liter V-6, you might think that Chevy would build a V-8 powered 2006 Impala, but the company won't. We couldn't make a business case for it, says a Chevrolet executive. The V-6 Impala police car will continue." He did not identify the source of this quote in his article, but it sure sounds like the bean-counters are still controlling the product line! :angry:
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On a slight side-note, will we see better hp numbers from the new 6A?  Or is it just going to affect fuel economy and 0-60 times?

[post="9942"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]



I think you'll see better HP numbers too, but maybe that's just wishful thinking.

On a side note: A local DJ I listen to gave the new Impala an awesome "shout out" the other day saying how impressed he was with the car. Not sure why, I think he was on location and a listener pulled up in one or something but anyway, I thought it was great
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He did not identify the source of this quote in his article, but it sure sounds like the
bean-counters are still controlling the product line! :angry:

[post="10201"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

Actually the reason that the 2006 Impala 9c1 uses the 3.9 V6 is because there are cooling issues with the V8 in the W-body car and since a lot of police cars sit with the engine running a lot of the time the V8 might overhead, something a policeman doesn't want with his patrol car. Also I think the 4T65E HD is still not up to the challange of the V8. Though the LS4 is only down like 6 ponies from the current 5.3 DOD in the Envoy Denali and XL GMT360s.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The only way you'd see power gains from the 6-speed is if they had a higher torque/HP capacity than the 4-speeds. I think the 5-speed that is mated to the Northstar limits how much the Northstar can make, though I'm not positive.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only way you'd see power gains from the 6-speed is if they had a higher torque/HP capacity than the 4-speeds. I think the 5-speed that is mated to the Northstar limits how much the Northstar can make, though I'm not positive.

[post="10412"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

Yep, the 5L60E is limiting the N* growth right now. But the 6L80E that is behind the Supercharged 4.4 N* has higher capability. There is a PDF floating on GMI that has torque capacities for both FWD and RWD 6 speed autos as well as some drive ratios.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would have thought the 3.9 would be closer to the 6.6 second 0-60 time the 2004-5 supercharged 3.8 than it was. Maybe the gearing was different. I would want to test both the 3.5 liter and the 3.9 liter to see how different before putting money on the Impala.
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

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0