2014 Chevrolet Impala LTZ test drive review. Looks like one of these is in our future
If you’re looking for a review of the 2014 Impala by someone who has experience with Impalas, you have come to the right place. Over the years, my wife and I have owned no less than five cars with the leaping deer on the sail panels. If you add close family members, that number easily could be dozens. Right now, my wife has a 2007 Impala, and my daily-driver is a ’96 Impala SS. So when I was given the opportunity to spend a week with an all-new 2014 Impala LTZ, I obviously jumped at the chance.
The first thing that hits you with this car is how nice it has become. Trying to compare the interior to the stark, plasticky confines of my ’96 is just silly, but even compared to my wife’s ’07 it is a night and day difference. This is not typically what you think a Chevrolet should be like. Heck, this car is nicer than most new Cadillacs were five years ago.
How nice? We’re talking six-way power memory seats with lumbar support. We’re talking about a huge power sunroof with rear-seat skylight. We’re talking about heated and cooled leather, and a heated steering wheel. We’re talking about passive entry and keyless start. We’re talking about soothing blue mood lighting. Backup camera? Check. Lane change and collision alert sensors? Check and check. This car had it all.
And if you’re a technophile, you’ll be right at home in the new Impala. Chevy’s MyLink system is run through an eight-inch touch screen. With it, you can operate your GPS, weather maps, Bluetooth and Onstar, climate control, and more. Of course, the stereo is also in there, and you can listed to Sirius/XM, terrestrial radio, or sync it up to your personal mobile devices. The sound pours beautifully from six perfectly-positioned Bose speakers. And surprisingly, it wasn’t even very difficult to figure out—even for me.
This car had the up-level 3.6-liter, direct injection V6 connected to a six-speed transmission. You can find this powertrain in everything from Camaros to Cadillacs these days, and there’s a good reason for that. It is a nice setup, churning out an impressive 305-hp and 264-lb/ft of torque. This car has strong, smooth power throughout the speed range. I never once thought, “Man, this thing could use some more suds.”
It handles nice too. This car is a front-wheel-drive, so you certainly aren’t going to power fishtail through the turns like you can in my old ’96, but it has its own positive feel. Even compared to the ’07, it corners flatter, and just feels plain better. They have made such huge strides in front-wheel-drive technology lately, I never even wished I was driving something else. This car had 19-inch wheels on Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires (18s and 20s are also available), and I felt it had a great balance between handling and ride quality.
Of course, the thing that most people commented on was the looks. Every single person that came up to talk about it had positive things to say about the appearance. That’s a big improvement over the last generation, which most people think looks like a rental car. All the scoops, creases, and chrome really made this car look substantial. That quarter window is just a thing of beauty.
My wife informed me several times during the course of the week that she will, under no uncertain terms, replace her ’07 Impala with a 2014 Impala soon. This test car was $39,505, so I think she’s going to have to get one with fewer options. But I can’t really blame her for wanting one. This car is extraordinarily nice. The improvement is radical.