2012 Chevrolet Impala Review

Pros & Cons

  • Simple controls
  • available six-passenger seating
  • large trunk
  • strong and efficient engine.
  • Cheap interior materials and construction
  • lackluster handling
  • bland styling
  • generally outpaced by the competition in most respects.
List Price Range
$6,499 - $11,690

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Despite a spacious cabin and comfortable ride, the 2012 Chevrolet Impala is outdone by most competitors. You can do better.

Vehicle overview

It's been six years since the Chevrolet Impala last received a significant update, and even longer since it was redesigned from the ground up. Since then the segment has been flooded with competitors with more style, substance and sophistication than Chevy's venerable four-door flagship. In fact, even Chevy's own Malibu is a more appealing choice. That's not to say the Impala is a bad car that'll leave you stranded by the side of the road or with a repair bill the size of Texas. It's certainly spacious and reliable, but nonetheless there are an awful lot more appealing choices out there that meet those criteria as well.

There is some good news for 2012 as the Impala gains a new, more powerful and more fuel-efficient 3.6-liter V6 engine. Paired to a new (for the Impala) six-speed automatic transmission, Chevy's full-size sedan finally has a modern powertrain. Unfortunately, the rest of the car can't claim the same modernity. Its stale styling, cheap-feeling interior materials and lack of many desirable features make the Impala seem impossibly behind the times.

Overall, we'd strongly urge family sedan shoppers to consider any of the Impala's much more modern competitors, including the Buick LaCrosse, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus, Hyundai Azera or Volkswagen Passat. Any of these would be a substantially better choice than the 2012 Chevy Impala.

2012 Chevrolet Impala models

The 2012 Chevy Impala is a full-size four-door sedan offered in three trim levels: LS, LT and LTZ. Seating for five people is standard, but an optional front bench seat offered on LS and LT models bumps passenger capacity to six.

Standard features on the entry-level LS include 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, keyless entry, cruise control, full power accessories, air-conditioning, a six-way power driver seat, a tilt-only leather-wrapped steering wheel, OnStar, Bluetooth and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack.

Stepping up to the LT gets you 17-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, remote ignition, dual-zone manual climate control, a folding rear seat, a rear center armrest, a leather-wrapped shift knob, and a trip computer with compass and outside temperature display.

The top-of-the-line LTZ adds 18-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, heated mirrors, leather upholstery, heated power front seats (eight-way driver, six-way passenger), an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an eight-speaker Bose premium audio system.

A sunroof is available on the LT and LTZ.

2012 Highlights

The 2012 Chevrolet Impala gets a new 3.6-liter V6 and six-speed automatic transmission along with slightly revised front and rear styling. All Impalas also now feature Bluetooth and a leather-wrapped steering wheel as standard, while the LT's standard equipment list loses foglights but gains a rear spoiler, flip-and-fold rear seat and leather-wrapped shift knob along with a sunroof option.

Performance & mpg

The front-wheel-drive 2012 Chevrolet Impala gets a new 3.6-liter direct-injection V6 that puts out a healthy 300 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard.

Though this powertrain is significantly gutsier than either of the V6 engines it replaces, the Impala's fuel economy has actually improved a bit. EPA estimates are a strong 18 mpg city/30 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined.

Safety

The 2012 Chevrolet Impala's list of standard safety features includes antilock brakes, traction and stability control, OnStar telematics, front side airbags and side curtain airbags.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Impala the top ranking of "Good" in both its frontal-offset and side-impact tests, but the second-best rating of "Acceptable" in the roof strength test.

Driving

From behind the wheel, the 2012 Chevrolet Impala gets mixed reviews. The new 300-hp V6 under the hood is a distinct improvement over either of the two uninspiring engines that previously occupied that space. With an additional 90 hp on tap, this powertrain delivers competitive acceleration.

The car's suspension also gets high marks for ride comfort. There's a price to be paid for this plushness, however, and that's indifferent handling that leaves much to be desired. While this ride/handling balance might suit a few full-size sedan buyers just fine, most would be better served by the more capable and refined driving character of its competitors.

Interior

One look inside the 2012 Chevrolet Impala's passenger cabin is all it takes to understand the car's strengths and weaknesses. On the plus side, the interior is roomy with seating for up to six passengers -- something that's increasingly hard to find these days. Gauges and controls are also well laid out and uncomplicated -- it's a potentially refreshing difference from the sea of buttons and complicated control interfaces common of most modern cars.

Unfortunately, that's where the good news ends. Those controls are simple because they're attached to fewer features than are available on competitors. Furthermore, the cabin design is pretty stale and consists of subpar materials that are well behind GM's more recent offerings.

It's a similar trade-off in terms of cargo room. The 18.6-cubic-foot trunk is certainly generous, but its folding rear seat is optional and lacks the more common 60/40 split design.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2012 Chevrolet Impala.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

2nd Impala - Best Car I Have Ever Owned
carloverinbr,06/02/2013
This is simply the best car I have ever owned. I bought my first Impala in 2008. It was brand new and a few years later I had a wild hair to get an expensive, premium European car. I kept that car for about a year because it was constantly at the dealer for repair under warrantly. I really missed my Impala so I got another one! The 2012's new engine and transmission is awesome. My car was a rental and got a great deal. If you read the professional reviews, they are almost always negative but I really believe that these cars are underappreciated. If you want a great value on a car that will give you years of trouble-free driving, check out the Impala. I now have 38k on the Impala.
Great Car!
cj7123,11/26/2012
If you need something to change in every year of a car, then this isn't the car for you. If however, you want a safe, comfortable and reliable car, this is it. It has many creature comforts from heated seats to satellite radio and sync. We are getting 30 mpg with the new engine and transmission! So, if you need "bling" you might want to look elsewhere, but if you want a strong, reliable car with descent gas mileage for thousands of dollars less that the other cars they compare the Impala to, look no further!
Could not ask for better value
savantrep,03/10/2013
I recently purchased my first LTZ- a 2012 model after searching high and low for that perfect mix of performance, comfort and style. This car has it all. The 302hp engine is awesome as well as the ample room (I'm a tall guy).
Excellent LTZ
kmw8770,02/08/2013
Own a 2012 Impala LTZ loaded with every option. Solid build structure, very roomy, many features and great value. The fact that the 2012's & 13's have GM's new direct injected V6 engine and a six-speed auto make them that much better then the 11's. 302hp and on a trip back from southern PA to upstate NY averaged 30 mpg! Love the Bluetooth for phone, Bose sound system, XM satellite radio, heated seats etc. Love the car and plan on keeping it for a while, or at least until I can afford a 2014+ Impala LTZ.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2012 Chevrolet Impala features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver2 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat3 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover11.3%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Acceptable
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Marginal
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Acceptable

More about the 2012 Chevrolet Impala

Used 2012 Chevrolet Impala Overview

The Used 2012 Chevrolet Impala is offered in the following submodels: Impala Sedan. Available styles include LT 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), LS 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), LTZ 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), LS Fleet 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A), and LT Fleet 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Chevrolet Impala?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Chevrolet Impala trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Chevrolet Impala LTZ is priced between $6,900 and$9,995 with odometer readings between 69214 and141078 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Chevrolet Impala LT Fleet is priced between $6,499 and$9,995 with odometer readings between 65764 and126889 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Chevrolet Impala LT is priced between $8,988 and$11,690 with odometer readings between 13577 and48006 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Chevrolet Impala LS Fleet is priced between $10,495 and$10,495 with odometer readings between 45131 and45131 miles.

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Which used 2012 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) 2012 Chevrolet Impala for sale near. There are currently 10 used and CPO 2012 Impalas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,499 and mileage as low as 13577 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 2012 Chevrolet Impala.

Can't find a used 2012 Chevrolet Impalas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Chevrolet Impala for sale - 11 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $12,067.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 11 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $17,473.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Impala for sale - 4 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $10,594.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 6 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $23,531.

Should I lease or buy a 2012 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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