I have the LS model and even with some frustrations.....overall it has been a very good car.
Like many other Impala owners, I've experienced several common issues.
catalytic converters wearing out, brakes, computers.
For cars made during these year models, GM still had not perfected their hubless brake rotors meaning....they dont dissipate heat well and tend to warp causing premature wear, shimmying on the steering wheel, etc.
Try installing high quality performance brake parts. I spent $250 on 2 new slotted & drilled front brake rotors plus high quality metallic pads. I quit having brake problems.
I like this car because of its value for the money.
No....this isn't a Mercedes or Infiniti but, for what I paid for it, it's a great value.
I need a car to one thing...get me from point-A to point-B.
But the impala does that with a very comfortable ride, mine has all power features, heated leather seats, good sound system, great visibility, great handling and engine performance.
I regularly get 22-23+ mpg around town with the AC on and I've experienced 30-32 mpg on long road trips....no complaints here.
And this is the 3.8L V6.
I've had mechanics tell me Impalas are great cars IF you take care of them and I had a body repairman tell me Impalas are some of the easiest cars to repair.
The problem with converters is caused primarily from the ethanol in the gas.
Ethanol breaks down too easily, tends to attract water and creates a lot of carbon when burned in combustion chambers.
A few solutions: Every 10-15 tanks of gas, use some high quality fuel treatment like, Lucas or RXP. This helps remove carbon buildup on engine parts and allows it to get blown out the exhaust.
Another good thing to do is when running the fuel treatment, is to do a few hard accelerations say...going down an access road.
Then when you do replace a converter, dont be cheap.
Get a good quality replacement.
If it's not lasting you at least 3-4 years, you need something better.
I bought the car with 90,000 miles. The car did have a couple cosmetic problems, but the car did run well. After some expected maintenance, changing spark plugs Spark plug wires, etc, the car preformed very well. I drove it form college every weekend and got an average of 32 Mpg using regular 87 gasoline and 35 if I used 89 plus. I was surprised with power that the car had (3.8 liter) The car did have its cons. The Wiper Motor Crank Arm can cause the wipers to park in the up position which cost around 600 dollars overall to repair. I dodged a bullet by having the dealership pay for the repair. The rims clear coat broke down causing unsighlty rust and spots on the rims.
The gas mileage, comfortable ride, roomy interior, and the stereo.
Head light seals break causing condensation in the headlights which damage the bulbs and have to replace both the headlights. The rims clear coat breaks down causing rust and spots.
GM went bankrupt and there vehicles could make you go bankrupt. I have had nothing but trouble, had to rebuild transmission at 115,000, did all the recommended maintience. Ignition switch went bad, air conditioning went bad, catalytic convert plug, wiring harness is going bad. You name it. Heated seats went bad, window module switch went bad. I doubt I would ever buy an Impala or anything close to it again. It's a great road car if the long term reliability was there. U (you) A (ain't) W (working) workmanship is subpar. That's what you get for paying people doctor's wages to build cars. Good luck GM you will need it.
It's a very average car. That's why they sold them to taxi cab owners, muncipalities, and law enforcement.
Fire your chief engineer, and your reliability engineers and reduce the UAW's influence on building cars.
Tons of interior and trunk space, especially rear seat "leg room" which is perfect for child seats. Replaced head gasket at 72,000 miles and cat-converter at 82,000. The clogged cat was a symptom of the prior gasket failure. This is the 3rd GM 3.4L V6 I have owned, head gasket went in all 3, poor engine design. Get the LS with the 3.8L and you'll be just fine. Crossing fingers that repairs over $1,200 are done with for a while.
Rear seat "leg room" great for child seats, and huge trunk.
Bad gaskets and engine design in 3.4L, front seat contour does not promote good posture, go with bucket seats and 3.8L engine.
I have owned this car for almost two years now. It was my father's car and he had purchased it new and neither him nor myself have had too much trouble with it. It's had one new battery, I recently had a tune up for it and put new brakes on it. It always has been good for trips and for having more people riding with me. I bought it with 80k miles on it and now it has 120k and I think it will last another 120k!
The power outlet next to the ashtray and cigarette lighter, convenient to plug in my ipod adapter. The cruise control and climate features are also really good.
Maybe use better quality parts for some stuff, the interior of my driver door is starting to tear apart.