Our Cars: Chevrolet Impala

Can we manage to find any fault with our favourite big saloon?

By Shahzad Sheikh

Read our original launch review here

Read the Impala new meets old feature here

Week 4 – 20-26 September 2013

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Time has flown by way too fast with the Impala – I wish I had it for longer. But the month was up and it’s now gone back. We covered just under 1000km in the car consuming fuel at an average of 11.2L/100km in the end – with a mixture of long-legged cruising, city driving and some foot-to-the-floor stuff.

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There was nothing much to report in terms of any issues or problems either, and I couldn’t really find any thing further to dislike after my last report.

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I did appreciate the fact that my tea-mug fitted snugly into the cup holder, not too deep in, so it held the cup upright, whilst leaving the handle clear for easy access.

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The ventilated seats were also a boon when things got a little sweaty on shoots, and I found myself constantly marvelling at the quality of the interior finish and styling on this car, particularly the way the dash wraps back around into the doors.

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You can see how sad it made me to have to part with the Impala from this final picture, but I honestly believe that for the money, there’s very few cars out there that can touch it for space, comfort, kit and appeal.

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I’d have one, and I’d have this one again any time you can spare it Chevrolet Arabia!

 

Week 2-3 – 6-19 September 2013

Chevrolet Impala new and old feature

This is ridiculous – there must be SOMETHING I don’t like about this car. Surely it can’t be perfect? Well of course nothing’s perfect, and I’ve been trying very hard, in the interests of public service, to find fault with the new Impala – aside from the slightly compromised rear visibility as mentioned in my last report, but obviously offset by the reversing camera, that marks out your rearward path.

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Sure enough I’ve found a couple of things. The first is that the colour of the time and outside temperature displayed on the upper corners of the main screen is in a turquoise colour, and virtually vanishes when using the sat-nav which displays blue sky at the top.

Having said that, I noticed in the all-new GMC Sierra that I drove recently (review coming soon), and which uses the same sat nav display, that the time and temp are in bright white now and do stand out quite clearly. Which suggests that the GM guys have already identified this problem and addressed it in later systems.

Aside from that though, the sat-nav does work very well and is easy to use, but the best bit is the fantastic 3D display of the buildings around you.

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Secondly, the hazard button. These should always be placed in a very obvious position, so you can hit it instinctively particularly in traffic when braking hard to warn others. Unfortunately from the driver’s seat, the button is hidden behind the right spoke of the steering wheel.

Now as an ‘owner’ I have identified this and do remember that it’s there, however its proximity to the stop/start button means that on a couple of occasions I’ve hit that instead! Fortunately it does not switch the engine off on the go without warning you. Phew.

Is that it? Really? Is that all I could find to fault with this car? Yeah, I know, but I was really being fussy and picky even to identify these issues. Plus I’ve still got another week with the car to see if I can find any other problems, so stay tuned.

Chevrolet Impala new and old feature

The fact is though, that this car is continuing to prove itself a supreme all-round large family saloon. Every time I get back into this car, after driving something else – even more expensive and premium metal – I’m impressed by the smooth ride, the surprising refinement, the class-above quality and finish, and the easy driveability, not to mention the gutsy performance, tons of interior and boot space and decent dynamics.

I honestly can’t think why you’d buy anything else in this segment, and am frankly astonished not to be seeing more of these on the road, although the boss of GM Middle East, has confirmed to me that the Impala is doing extremely well indeed in terms of sales. That’s good to hear, because apart from the Camaro, which is a different kind of car altogether, I’d say this is the best Chevrolet on sale and the finest product to ever wear the bow-tie.

 

Chevrolet Impala new and old feature

Week 1 – 29 August-5 September 2013

This new big car from Chevrolet instantly won us over at the launch with its style and elegance, pace and driveability, and excellent space and comfort – read our review here.

And we’ve had this very same car before when we photographed it alongside an ancestor, and paid tribute to a lineage that now finally has a worthy successor – that feature here.

But now we get to spend some quality time with the car to scratch beneath the sleek surface and see if the beauty is more than skin-deep.

Chevrolet Impala new and old feature

Despite our Impala having stood around for a lot of its first week due to us travelling and testing other cars, we’ve got to learn a few things about it already – for a pretty potent 305bhp V6 (good enough for 0-100kph in a surprisingly sprightly 6.2 seconds) it’s remarkably economical. I’m seeing around 9.0L/100km, despite my leaden right foot.

The kids are very happy with the capacious rear cabin and the boot could swallow several weeks worth of shopping and still have room for all the little yellow ‘Minions’ from Despicable Me to hide in.

The wife was impressed with the blue LED lighting that shines through the interior chrome trim on the dashboard and doors at night, and I was wowed by the fact that just a single squirt and sweep of the wash/wipe was enough to crystal-clean the windscreen, after accumulating several days of dust – and you all know how sometimes the wash/wipe just makes it worst!

Chevrolet Impala

I also like the fact that the Bluetooth audio playback also provides all the track information on the big, easy-to-use central screen, and when the phone rings it alerts you to who’s calling right there on the instrument panel in front of you.

The only issue is that nobody can hear me, but since I have successfully used hands-free on this same car before, I have to surmise there’s some setting in the car or on my phone that’s been altered. I might have to consult the owner’s manual…

There’s lots of nice little touches I’m still discovering, really well thought-out stuff like slots in the doors to hold umbrellas in – okay, those are not much use here perhaps, but a good idea, is a good idea regardless. How they could be used is to store rolled up prayers mats in perhaps.

Chevrolet Impala

Whilst at a GM dealer the other day, I also picked up the fixed servicing tariffs for the Impala (each service centre keeps a stack of leaflets with details of every Chevy model). What surprised me most was that the Impala was a cheaper car to service by between AED100-200, depending on the mileage, than the less expensive Malibu.

New Impala servicing costs are: 10k service AED439; 20k AED579; 30k AED559; 40k AED759; 50k AED439 and 60k AED699.

The only little gripe that I can find so far is that rear-visibility is slightly compromised by the high boot line, but then I guess that’s the price you pay for looks, and besides, there is the reversing camera.

So far, so great then!

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