2008 Chevrolet Impala Review

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful and efficient engine choices, available six-passenger capacity, good crash test scores.
  • Cushy suspension hurts handling dynamics, subpar cabin materials, average legroom.
List Price Range
$1,500 - $11,900

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Edmunds' Expert Review

With powerful and efficient V6 engines, a comfortable cabin and a smooth ride, the 2008 Chevrolet Impala brings a lot to the family sedan table even though its handling dynamics and cabin refinement are still a few steps behind the class leaders.

Vehicle overview

An impala is a bounding, medium-sized antelope that grazes in large herds throughout Africa's savannas. They are prey to almost every predator. The Chevrolet Impala has been grazing American highways and byways for nearly 50 years now, providing spacious transportation for families and lowrider-lovers alike, while being prey to only the odd meter maid and traffic cop. The only thing these two impalas share beyond a common moniker is that neither is an endangered species. Chevy sold almost 290,000 Impalas in 2006, which made it the seventh-best-selling vehicle in the United States. When it comes to finding a full-size family sedan, it's hard to argue with that many people.

The Chevrolet Impala was heavily revised a couple years ago, with extensive improvements made to interior materials and a classy exterior freshening that included discarding the old electric-stove taillamps that looked more GE than GM. In addition to these cosmetic changes, Chevy also stiffened the front-wheel-drive platform and added more powerful engines. What remained was the Impala's ability to seat six and its suspension that was tuned to appease shoppers looking for a smooth highway cruiser.

In its bread-and-butter guise, the 2008 Chevrolet Impala can be equipped with one of two V6 engines. Both provide a good balance of power and fuel economy, with the more powerful 3.9-liter V6 automatically deactivating a bank of cylinders when coasting and braking to improve mileage by up to 8 percent, according to Chevy. For those with only power on their minds, the Impala SS features a 5.3-liter V8 that combines with numerous other sport-tuned modifications to make it actually fun to drive – something no previous front-drive Impala has been able to boast.

Despite the big Chevy's popularity, other models surpass the 2008 Chevrolet Impala in several key areas: The Toyota Avalon is more refined, the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger are more nimble and stylish and the Hyundai Azera offers a better mix of luxury and value. However, none of those cars shares a name with an antelope, and more importantly, none can boast the overwhelming popularity of the big, comfortable Chevrolet Impala.

2008 Chevrolet Impala models

The 2008 Chevrolet Impala full-size sedan comes in four trim levels: LS, LT, LTZ and SS. LS models include 16-inch wheels, a front bench seat, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a tilt steering wheel, a power driver seat, a single-CD audio system with an MP3 jack, and keyless entry. Moving up to the LT model adds dual-zone climate control and remote vehicle start. The LTZ includes 18-inch alloys, performance suspension, heated leather bucket seats, a Bose audio system and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The SS comes with monochromatic exterior paint, a performance-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels and a rear spoiler.

Options for the Impala LS consist of a Luxury Edition Package that includes front bucket seats with leather, a flip-and-fold-flat rear seat, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, OnStar, a rear spoiler and antilock brakes with traction control. Choosing an LT opens the way to two sub packages (called 1LT and 2LT) that include features such as leather seating, a six-CD changer, satellite radio, heated front seats and 17-inch alloy wheels. The LTZ is so well-equipped it has no options apart from a CD changer and a sunroof (which is optional on all trims), while the SS has a handful, including heated seats, a power front-passenger seat, Homelink transmitter and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

2008 Highlights

The Chevrolet Impala carries over largely unchanged for 2008. Satellite radio is now standard on all models, while the lower-level LS and LT models receive a standard six-way power driver seat. Stability control is now standard on 2LT, LTZ and SS trim levels, and the 3.9-liter V6 is now E85 ethanol-gasoline compatible.

Performance & mpg

The Impala LS comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 211 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque. Available on the LT and standard on the LTZ is a 3.9-liter V6 good for 233 hp and 240 lb-ft. The Impala SS has a 5.3-liter V8 making an impressive 303 hp and 323 lb-ft of torque. All models employ front-wheel drive and a responsive four-speed automatic transmission. Both the 3.9 V6 and 5.3 V8 are fitted with Active Fuel Management technology, which deactivates half the cylinders while cruising to save fuel. The V6 engines offer an agreeable blend of power and fuel-efficiency (up to 28 mpg on the freeway based on new 2008 EPA testing), while the V8 offers serious off-the-line thrust. A Chevy Impala SS we tested did the 0-60-mph drill in just 6.4 seconds and ran through the quarter-mile in 14.5 seconds.

Safety

Antilock brakes and traction control are standard on the LTZ and SS, and optional on other models. Full-length side curtain airbags, OnStar and a tire-pressure monitor are standard on all Impalas, and stability control is now standard on 2LT, LTZ and SS trim levels. In crash tests conducted by the NHTSA, the 2008 Chevrolet Impala earned five stars (out of five) for driver and front-passenger protection in frontal impacts. In side-impact testing, an Impala equipped with the side airbags scored five stars for front passengers and four stars for those seated in the rear. In IIHS frontal offset crash testing, the Impala scored an "Acceptable" rating (second highest out of four), while side-impact tests by that agency resulted in a "Good" rating, the highest possible.

Driving

Apart from the SS model, handling is not among the 2008 Chevy Impala's strengths due to its soft suspension tuning. The car does feel solid and substantial, though, and plenty of people will appreciate the big sedan's compliant ride quality. The SS is also a competent cruiser, but is much more agile thanks to its sport suspension and 18-inch performance tires. Although this is still a big, heavy car, send the SS into a corner and it pulls through with dignity and thrust. While the SS model may be tempting to power-hungry buyers, be forewarned that sampling its formidable reserves quickly brings fuel mileage down to the high teens, with official 2008 EPA ratings of 16 city and 24 highway. We recommend sticking with the better-balanced LTZ and its plenty powerful 3.9-liter V6.

Interior

The Impala's interior is functional and straightforward, but it has all the visual pizzazz of The Wall Street Journal. GM says the dash is "reminiscent of early Corvettes," which may indicate an erosion of institutional memory. Audio and climate controls are GM's latest stock units, which are intuitive and feel good but don't improve the general anonymous look. The Impala's interior is a huge improvement over its predecessor and a nice enough place to spend time, but competitors score higher style and quality points. Where the Impala does score is in interior capacity, with room for up to six people and all their luggage, thanks to a generous 18.6 cubic feet of trunk space. Occupants will find hip- and shoulder room plentiful, but legroom is mediocre for a car of this size.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 Chevrolet Impala.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Impala - American Pride At Its Finest.
stevenycer,06/29/2010
I've got 2 years and 36,000 miles in on my Impala LS and have had an overall positive experience with it. This car is strictly a cruiser with very soft handling and very smooth ride. This car is not for performance enthusiasts wishing for feeling the road as they drive. I'm particularly fond of the exterior styling in a mocha brown color and the tail lights are a nicer improvement over the previous design. There have been no mechanical issues with drivetrain, brakes, electric, or any engine issues. Aside from a few minor flaws, I would purchase this car again in a heartbeat. The Impala has proven to be an excellent value for the money, and fuel economy for a V6 is fantastic.
Bad rear door locks
mes1944,11/24/2011
Rear door locks quit working at 32000 miles. I believe this to be a safety issue in that the rear seat passengers especially infants and young children may become trapped during an emergency. The driver will not be able to activate the rear door locks.
NASCAR IMPALA
Nascar Impala,03/16/2010
While the few car magazine reviews of this car give it less than stellar reviews, this car is a great cruiser and can be driven as fast as a car needs to be driven! Passing is a blast. While some reviews call the suspension tuning "boat" like, I'd strongly disagree. I believe it handles very flat and also takes road bumps well. Very good mix. I have yet to cause the front end to push taking corners way to fast. The seats do limit your cornering as they have no side bolsters. Since most seat time is cruising, this is an acceptable trade off. Gas mileage is good also....except if you are using it for the V-8...which is why I bought it!
Great Car. So far so good
chevalltheway,10/10/2013
Purchased used certified from a Chev dealer only 5 months ago with 135,000 km. Was in near perfect condition inside and out. Very fun to drive. Lots of power, no loss of oil or coolant leaks. Recently drove on a long trip and the car performed great! Tons of power through the mountains. Getting about 9.5 liters per 100K. Respectable. I replaced the factory audio system, because it sucked. Performed well but the audio was bad. Replaced with an aftermarket Pioneer deck and the system came to life. Now sounds ok with the factory 6 speaker system. I find better automatic shifting using "3rd" instead of "D" Not a 4 speed. 3 speed with overdrive.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2008 Chevrolet Impala features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Acceptable

More about the 2008 Chevrolet Impala

Used 2008 Chevrolet Impala Overview

The Used 2008 Chevrolet Impala is offered in the following submodels: Impala Sedan. Available styles include LT 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A), LS 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A), LT 4dr Sedan (3.9L 6cyl 4A), LTZ 4dr Sedan (3.9L 6cyl 4A), SS 4dr Sedan (5.3L 8cyl 4A), and 50th Anniversary 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 4A).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Chevrolet Impala?

Price comparisons for Used 2008 Chevrolet Impala trim styles:

  • The Used 2008 Chevrolet Impala LT is priced between $1,500 and$11,900 with odometer readings between 62498 and132010 miles.

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Which used 2008 Chevrolet Impalas are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Chevrolet Impala for sale near. There are currently 7 used and CPO 2008 Impalas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $1,500 and mileage as low as 62498 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2008 Chevrolet Impala.

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Find a used Chevrolet Impala for sale - 10 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $20,009.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 7 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $10,239.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Impala for sale - 9 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $8,998.

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Should I lease or buy a 2008 Chevrolet Impala?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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