What's New for 2014
The 2014 Chevrolet Impala is fully redesigned.
Although the Chevrolet Impala is well known because of its iconic name and significant presence in rental fleets, the previous-generation car wasn't exactly a hit with everyday consumers. It was an anonymously styled sedan with little to offer beyond its spacious interior, and we took issue with its cut-rate cabin materials and soggy handling. The fully redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Impala is a vastly better car, however, and worthy of consideration if you're shopping for a large sedan.
The 10th generation of Chevy's big sedan is built on a new platform shared with the Buick LaCrosse and Cadillac XTS. Not only is the 2014 Chevy Impala roomy, it finally has the composed ride and precise steering you expect in a modern sedan. Perhaps more importantly, the new Impala sheds its old personality -- which was about as dynamic as a sweater vest -- for bigger curves, bolder lines and a bit more length. Inside, designers have brought the Chevrolet Impala into the 21st century with a new dash and center stack design, quality materials and a touchscreen infotainment interface now expected of cars in this class. Remember, the previous Impala didn't even come with a navigation system.
Initially, all new Impalas will come with a V6 engine, and that 305-horsepower six-cylinder provides competitive acceleration and fuel economy for this class. Later on, Chevrolet will also offer two four-cylinder engines on the Impala: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and a 2.4-liter eAssist mild hybrid option. The Chevy Impala eAssist, which uses a small electric motor in some conditions to save fuel, is expected to achieve 35 mpg on the highway. But we also expect it to be rather slow; this same engine drags the similarly sized Buick LaCrosse from zero to 60 mph in 9.2 seconds.
Overall, though, the 2014 Chevrolet Impala's transformation puts it right back in the competition with the rest of the full-size sedan class. A Toyota Avalon will cost you a bit more but has arguably become the standard-bearer in this segment. The Hyundai Azera is also worthy of consideration, benefitting from more favorable pricing and a generous warranty. On the home front, the Ford Taurus is a key domestic rival, as is the stylish rear-wheel-drive Chrysler 300. But with its striking new looks, contemporary cabin and stout road feel, the Impala is finally a legitimate contender among full-size sedans.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Chevrolet Impala is a full-size sedan offered in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels. When you're shopping, you might notice the LT and LTZ are further subdivided into 1LT and 2LT, and 1LZ and 2LZ packages. It sounds confusing but the packages merely identify which engine the car has: The 1LT and 1LZ have a four-cylinder engine; the 2LT and 2LZ come with a V6.
Standard features on the entry-level LS (which is four-cylinder only) include 18-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, keyless entry, cruise control, air-conditioning, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a trip computer, OnStar emergency communications, Bluetooth and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite and HD radio, USB/iPod connectivity, an auxiliary input and a 4.2-inch color display. A convenience package with rear parking sensors, foldable rear headrests and a cargo net is the only option on the LS.
Moving up to the LT gets you 18-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and the MyLink infotainment interface with an 8-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth streaming audio and an SD card slot. A four-cylinder engine is standard on 1LT models, while the 2LT has the V6. Options on the LT are grouped in packages (and often have to be purchased in combination with one another) and include an upgraded Convenience package with parking sensors, a rearview camera and remote start, and a Safety package with a collision warning system, a lane departure warning system, rear cross-traffic alerts and blind spot monitoring. There's also a Premium Seating package with simulated suede upholstery and seat heaters; a Navigation package that also includes keyless ignition/entry; and a Bose Audio package and Wheel package that fits the car with 19-inch wheels. A sunroof is a stand-alone option.
The top-of-the-line LTZ has all of the above items as standard, save for the Bose audio system and navigation system, which remain optional. The sunroof, meanwhile, is optional on 1LZ models but standard on 2LZ models. All LTZ models come with leather upholstery and are eligible for exclusive options like 20-inch wheels, adaptive cruise control and the Comfort & Convenience package with ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, driver memory settings and auto-dimming rearview and driver-side mirrors.
Powertrains and Performance
A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is standard on all three trim levels of the 2014 Chevrolet Impala. It's rated at 195 hp and 187 pound-feet of torque.
A 3.6-liter V6 rated at 305 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque is optional on the LT and LTZ models.
Late in 2013, the mild hybrid Impala eAssist will debut with a 182-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a small 15-hp electric motor that operates in certain conditions to save fuel.
A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, as is front-wheel drive.
In Edmunds performance testing, the V6 Impala accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, which is about average for a large sedan. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 18 mpg city/28 mpg highway, which is slightly below average for this class. The 2.5-liter earns an estimated 21 city/31 highway and 25 mpg combined rating, while the more frugal 2.4-liter should come in at 25/35.
The 2014 Chevrolet Impala's list of standard safety features includes antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front seat side-impact airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. Also standard is GM's OnStar service, which includes automatic crash notification, an emergency assistance button, remote door unlock and stolen vehicle assistance.
Rear parking sensors are optional on the LS and LT. A rearview camera is also optional for the LT, as is a Safety package with a forward collision alert system, a lane departure warning system, rear cross traffic alerts and blind spot monitoring. All of the above items are standard on the LTZ.
In Edmunds brake testing, the V6-powered LTZ with 20-inch wheels came to a stop from 60 mph in 120 feet. This is a good result that's about a half-car-length shorter than other large sedans.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Impala's cabin transformation is just as striking as its new exterior look. The dash and console design finally looks modern and sophisticated, although some of the plastic elements in the center console look decidedly down-market and are flimsy to the touch.
A longer wheelbase opens up more legroom all around, giving 6-foot (or taller) front and rear passengers plenty of room to stretch out in wide, comfortable seats covered in cloth, a cloth/suede combination, a vinyl/suede combination or leather. The vinyl/suede combo (optional on the LT) is our favorite, as it looks quite upscale thanks to contrasting piping on the edges of the seats. Unlike last year, there's no front bench seat option, so seating capacity tops out at five. There is, however, a 60/40-split-folding rear seatback standard that helps expand the trunk's already generous 18.8-cubic-foot hold. Expect less capacity in the eAssist model, which has a battery pack mounted under the cargo floor.
The Impala also leaps into the 21st century with the 8-inch MyLink touchscreen interface for audio, navigation and phone functions. MyLink comes standard in LT and LTZ models (with navigation optional). Though it can be a little slow to respond at times, MyLink does provide a straightforward control interface that you'll adjust to easily if you already have a smartphone. One other minor annoyance is the rearview camera display: It's better that not having a camera at all, but the resolution isn't very good for an image projected on an 8-inch screen.
The center stack also offers redundant audio and climate control dials if you don't want to bother with the touchscreen. One particularly nice feature is that the Impala's front passenger is able to pair a phone or program the nav system while the car is on the move if the occupant sensor detects that someone is in that seat.
We've only had the chance to drive the 2014 Chevrolet Impala with the V6, but this is definitely the engine to get in a sedan that weighs nearly 2 tons. Even with four adults onboard, the 3.6-liter had no problem keeping up on winding back roads, and it delivered respectable passing power when asked. There's nothing particularly spirited or exciting about this engine, but acceleration is competitive with other V6-equipped large sedans.
The Impala also delivers the comfortable ride you expect from a full-size sedan, and still feels planted to the road on all but the most pronounced patches of road rash. We would suggest skipping the optional 20-inch wheels if you want the best ride quality, however, as they add a bit of ride harshness on rough pavement. In terms of handling, though, the 2014 Impala is capable around turns, and its steering is impressively precise. Overall, it's a major upgrade over previous Impalas and a car that we'd be happy to take on a road trip.