2014 Chevrolet Impala Review

First drive from the UAE launch of the all-new Impala

By Shahzad Sheikh

Read our long term report on the car

Read the Impala new meets old feature here

2014_Chevrolet_Impala_1

Forget the rent-a-bore last two generations of the Impala, even GM guys admit that was a dismal fleet-fodder car. With the all-new clean-sheet 2014 edition, they want to remind of you of the Impala heydays of the 50s, 60s, 70s and even 80s.

And you know what, they might be onto something here. It’s one of those cars that’s instantly handsome – no dispute whatsoever. The stance, the proportions and the silhouette are all highly appealing. And that’s before you start going over it in detail.

2014 Chevrolet Impala first drive

The front prow has a distinctly Camaro look to it, the bonnet is carefully contoured rather than just a featureless plank, the gentle curves and creases on the side bounce and reflect light with some sensuality, and the flare around the rear wheelarch gives it a rather muscular poise.

The greenhouse is nicely done, and when you go around the back you’ll find a couple more surprising creases that add interest to the bootlid, a rather prominent incorporated spoiler and overall an Audi-esque look to the back.

2014 Chevrolet Impala first drive

What is an Impala?

This is Chevrolets new large saloon that competes directly with the Ford Taurus and Toyota Avalon (the latter of which currently dominates the segment followed by the Hyundai Azera, Ford Taurus and Dodge Charger according to figures supplied by GM Middle East).

It is front wheel drive featuring a 3.6-litre V6 producing 305bhp, giving it a 0-100kph time of about 6.2seconds and a top speed of 240kph.

Chevrolet is emphasising the styling, comfort, cruising ability, affordability and durability. It’s got more power than the Taurus 3.5 and Avalon 3.5 (288bhp and 270bhp respectively), and Chevy also claims the most front head room and the most front and rear legroom of the three.

2014 Chevrolet Impala first drive

At AED105,000 ($28.5k ) it sits smack in the middle of its chief rivals (AED99k and AED117k respectively for the Taurus and Avalon), although you’d never buy the base models on any of these cars.

In the case of the Impala the mid-range LT at AED114k ($31k) is the one to go for, although we tested the range-topping AED129k ($35k) LTZ at the launch – and that’s the car you see in these pictures identified by the front lower bumper LEDs.

Interestingly Chevy also presented us with a cost of maintenance comparison and claimed that thanks to its 10,000km service intervals, over 100,000km the Impala would cost AED5,660, whilst the Taurus (also with 10,000km service intervals) could cost AED10,998 and the Avalon AED13,900.

2014 Chevrolet Impala first drive

How is it on the inside?

It’s a very appealing and inviting cabin indeed. Starting in the back I can sit comfortably behind a front seat set for myself, despite my tall frame, and in the front there’s no issues at all, with good seat adjustment, decent visibility, and efficient ergonomics.

There’s a lot of attention to details in the choice, use and presentation of trims materials in this car and a definite advance upmarket in feel and tactility. The big central MyLink screen operates all your infotainment needs, is very quick and simple to use (somewhat like a tablet but with a little more force required, and there’s no haptic feedback like the Caddy CUE system) and hides a lockable compartment with a USB port. Stereo’s pretty good and you can even enable Siri in your car.

2014 Chevrolet Impala first drive

How is it to drive?

On the go, what strikes you most is that this is not the big wallowy barge that you might have been expecting. I found the steering response and turn-in surprisingly eager with little of the play around the straight-ahead that you find in the Avalon.

But it’s not just the steering, understeer is kept well in check, and the body displays decent poise and composure when asked to briskly change directly. The brakes are strong too, which is good since it can head into the horizon at a decent pelt if you floor it, and the engine seems keen and strong rather than strained or troubled.

2014 Chevrolet Impala first drive

This is not a sports saloon exactly, but it’s certainly a more engaging drive than the Avalon – although the comparison with the Taurus might be more even. As you’d expect it rides well too, serene and quite, even on the 20-inch wheels we tested.

Verdict

So our quick first drive left us impressed and certainly proved to be more engaging than we’d expected. On first acquaintance the new Impala turns out to be a highly appealing and competent large saloon that should actually fit into perfectly to the needs and wants of the region.

Buy it in the lighter shades – though not white – to best show off its contours, and make sure you get a decent spec.

2014 Chevrolet Impala first drive

Avoid the base LS which does without some of the clever interior electronics and only comes with the 18-inch wheels. Stump up another AED9k and opt for the LT at the very least with electronic drivers aids including collision alert and rear cross-traffic warnings for reversing, blind spot alerts, rear camera, MyLink with the 8-inch central display, sat-nav, better speakers, suede interior upholstery and 19-inch wheels.

Go for the range-topper though and you get leather upholstery, front LEDs, heated and cooled seats, power-adjustable steering column and 20-inch rims.

We’ll try to bring you a more detailed road test soon.

2014 Chevrolet Impala
Specs
Price:
LS – AED105,000 ($28,500)
LT – AED114,000 ($31,000)
LTZ – AED129,000 ($35,000)
Engine: 3.6-litre V6, 305bhp @ 6800rpm, 264lb ft @ 5300rpm
Performance: 6.2secs 0-100kph (est), 240kph (est), 10.7/100
Transmission: Six-speed auto, front-wheel drive
Weight: 1723kg

Would you have it over a Ford Taurus or Toyota Avalon? Let us know below

One response to “2014 Chevrolet Impala Review”

  1. sam says:

    went to alghandi and found different prices.

    119,000 AED for LT , without most features found in your version
    139,000 AED for LTZ

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