I have owned several fun performance cars including two E36 BMW M3s, an 87 Thunderbird Sport 5.0, a heavily modded 06 Mustang GT and my 96 Implala SS. The 350 Chevy Impala SS with the Corvette LT1 engine is my favorite! The more you drive it the more you appreciate the capabilities of the gem John Moss designed. At 4300 pounds it is planted to the pavement and careens down the highway in command of its surroundings. The 350 LT1 Gen II paired with 3.73 gears and a race tuned PCM makes for quick launches and plenty of passing power at speed on the freeway. Moss used the police version of the Caprice with a beefed up suspension as the basis for the SS and then added enormous 17" tires for good measure. The Impala's handling is very responsive and the braking is superb making you forget you are in a 4300 pound lead sled. It is hands down the most comfortable and fun daily driver I have owned. It's a phenomenal highway cruiser and a joy to drive on long trips. Many enthusiasts lusted after these cars in 96 and still do today so there is no shortage of respect and admiration from people of all ages when out and about. Mine has been maintenance free for $45k miles other than tires, front brakes and regular oil changes. Very low tech which I love. The washer fluid light alerts me when I'm low and the "change oil" light reminds me when it's time for new engine lube. It's not fussy and never throws gratuitous mystery lights. A truly great vehicle when you focus on performance and looks and get past the fact that parts of the interior build quality are probably not done to the very high standard of the rest of the vehicle. Truly a great car for folks like me that want a beautiful looking automobile and love the ride of a heavy Chevy with a 350 small block and 300 ponies!
Big & Beautiful no short & squeeze to get into. GM took its Vette engine and put into a sedan so that instead of a stogy ride they gave a family car the kind of Zip in 1996 terms that made that car into a screamer. In all respects this car is fun to drive and a beauty to be seen in.
This car reminds me of the "lead sleds" that I grew up driving (my first car was a '65 Impala SS 396), with a notable difference. While it encompasses everything I love about a muscle car, it's also a luxury sedan with all the creature comforts that we "older folk" learn to appreciate. When you're a kid, you don't care if your car is a little rusty and rough around the edges, as long as it's cool. It doesn't even have to be reliable. But this '96 Impala SS is solid, reliable, and a rust-free, one-owner original that has stood the test of time. It turns heads and gets comments almost every time I go out. It still looks like new, inside and out. The lumbar support in the driver's seat is unsurpassed, and the comfort is perfect, on a short drive or a road trip. I fully anticipate another 20 years worth of joyful and comfortable driving in this big iron beast!
4/26/16 Update: I've had to replace the tires, fuel pump, distributor, catalytic converters (including 4 oxygen sensors), front shocks, and the stabilizer bar links. The repairs were shockingly expensive, but necessary, and now the car performs even better than before, is always reliable and drives like a dream!
10/26/16 Update: Still loving this car! Still runs and drives like a dream!
I have seven cars, including a Porsche Boxster, Jaguar XJ8, Honda S2000 and some winter AWD/4WD vehicles. Driving the SS is somehow very very satisfying, it lopes along, big, black, bad, and then, when called on, just puts you into the comfy seats and gets to really outrageous speeds in a blink. I'm sure that more modern vehicles beat the numbers on acceleration, etc, but blasting around a freeway on ramp at 80 to 90 in a couple of heart beats with this beast is extremely fun!
comfort, torque, handling for a large vehicle, bullet proof feel, stability at speed, great stock engine, wheels, tires, brakes package!
can really tell the build quality difference from GM to the overseas marques, just little stuff -- knobs, trim, window guides, handles and such -- would be nice if they didn't break or fall off when I'm a little ham fisted.