Used 2014 Chevrolet Impala Hybrid
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2014 Chevrolet Impala is now a fully modern car, with a spacious, well-built cabin, a comfortable ride and a host of new tech features. It deserves consideration if you're shopping for a full-size sedan.
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.
2014 Chevrolet Impala configurations
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.
Performance & mpg
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. The mild hybrid Impala eAssist has 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 21 mpg combined (18 mpg city/28 mpg highway), which is slightly below average for this class. The 2.5-liter earns an estimated 25 mpg combined (21 city/31 highway), while the more frugal 2.4-liter comes in at 29 mpg combined (25 mpg city/35 mpg highway).
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.
In government crash tests, the 2014 Chevrolet Impala earned a top five-star rating overall, with five stars in front and side crash tests and four stars in rollover tests. In Insurance Institute for High Safety (IIHS) tests the 2014 Chevy Impala earned "Good" ratings in moderate overlap front and side tests.
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.
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.
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Features & Specs
More About This Model
We're standing outside a hotel in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter waiting for the valet to bring our 2014 Chevrolet Impala. This is the hipster neighborhood in California's southernmost metropolis. It's thick with nightclubs and night owls, and when everything shuts down at 2 a.m., nobody's going home in a full-size sedan unless it's a taxi.
It's not our scene, and surely this redesigned Chevy Impala has no business here either.
But that's where we're wrong. Overly regimented people with kids and early bedtimes aren't the primary audience for large sedans anymore. Instead, empty nesters are buying them. And just like a night out in San Diego, these king-size sedans represent an indulgence, so customers want more space, not less. At least that's what Chevrolet officials tell us.
Bigger Than Before
The 2014 Chevrolet Impala shares its Epsilon II platform architecture with the Buick LaCrosse and Cadillac XTS. Like the big Caddy, it's just over 200 inches long (the Buick is 197 inches long), because Chevy wanted to make sure it would have a huge trunk. The Impala's 18.8-cubic-foot cavity certainly qualifies as such, though in this class, it's second to the Ford Taurus (20.1 cubic feet).
A longer 111.7-inch wheelbase opens up more legroom in the new Impala's cabin, and unlike the midsize Chevy Malibu, which feels cramped for its class, the full-size Chevy gives you as much room to stretch out as its key competition, including the Chrysler 300 and Toyota Avalon. Those two rivals still offer more shoulder room up front, but when four of us pile into the 2014 Impala for a four-hour drive through the mountains and citrus groves east of El Cajon, nobody's unhappy.
"We focused on providing occasional adult comfort," says our 6-foot-plus backseat-mate, Todd Pawlik, the chief engineer of the Impala. His knees don't graze the front seatback, even though our co-driver is also a 6-footer. Real-life owners, Pawlik says, won't use the rear seat often, but when they do, their passengers will mostly be adults, and adults expect comfort.
V6 Only To Start
Our 2014 Chevrolet Impala LT test car has the same direct-injected 3.6-liter V6 engine used in last year's Impala. Given that this large sedan weighs around 3,800 pounds (a gain of 125 pounds over the old car), Chevrolet officials expect most buyers to get the V6. It's the engine Chevy will offer when the new Impala goes on sale next month.
You'll notice the ratings on the V6 are slightly higher this year, as it's listed at 305 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 264 pound-feet at 5,300 rpm versus 300 hp and 262 lb-ft previously. Chalk it up to the debut of electric power steering, Pawlik says, as the engine no longer has the drag of a hydraulic power steering pump. Look for all General Motors vehicles with this engine to make the switch to EPS for the 2014 model year.
Last year's six-speed automatic transmission returns to drive the front wheels, and we're told there's no plan to offer all-wheel drive. Gearing hasn't changed, and although the final-drive ratio is numerically shorter, there's no actual difference because the tires are larger.
With four adults onboard, the 3.6-liter feels unstrained, and we're able to pass at will on the two-lane roads in eastern San Diego County. There's nothing exciting about this V6, but acceleration is competitive with the rest of the class. Chevrolet says the 2014 Impala will reach 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, which is on par with the last Chrysler 300 and Hyundai Azera we tested. The Avalon, Nissan Maxima and Hyundai Genesis 3.8 are all a bit quicker.
The transmission shifts smoothly at all times but doesn't match revs on downshifts. It doesn't upshift for you in Manual mode, either, which is inconvenient since there are no paddle shifters, just a toggle button atop the shifter. Chevy says fuel economy ratings will come in at 19 city and 29 highway mpg, which is lower than the V6 Avalon (21 city/31 highway/25 combined) but competitive with other six-cylinder full-size sedans.
Four-Cylinder Comes Later
If you're frugal, Chevrolet will offer a direct-injected 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 196 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque on all trim levels of the 2014 Impala starting in May 2013. It won't be any more efficient than a six-cylinder Avalon, but it will be cheaper.
In the fourth quarter of 2013, the Impala eAssist, a mild hybrid, will arrive with predicted 25 city/35 highway mpg EPA ratings. It will have a direct-injected 182-hp 2.4-liter engine plus a small belt-driven electric motor that contributes another 15 hp. Tip: This Impala's going to be slow. The LaCrosse eAssist took 9.2 seconds to hit 60.
Let's Make It a Road Trip
After four hours, we're still content in the 2014 Chevrolet Impala's driver seat. A big reason for this is the ride quality. Our test car is as compliant as you expect a big sedan to be, yet it's a controlled ride.
Chevy is offering 18-, 19-, and 20-inch wheel and tire packages, and our Impala has the midrange 245/45R19 98V Goodyear Eagle RS-A 2 all-season tires. We notice a touch of float over larger impacts, but otherwise, the car manages bumps without much fuss.
It feels capable enough around turns, too.
"We didn't want to use the HiPer strut front suspension [which separates the spring and damper paths] as on the XTS and uplevel versions of the LaCrosse, because it's very expensive," Pawlik tells us. Instead, the engineering team stiffened up the strut tower housing and specified front dampers with rebound springs to improve handling.
The V6 Impala shares its electric power steering unit (though not its calibration) with the Camaro. It's good steering for this class, with a nice sense of stability on-center and reasonable precision in normal driving.
Its brakes are larger than before to offset the weight gain, and regardless of the wheels you choose, your Impala will have 12.6-inch ventilated front discs and 12.4-inch solid rear discs with single-piston sliding calipers all around.
Amenities for Modern Times
There's a lot going on in the 2014 Chevrolet Impala's cabin. The design is handsome but busy, and we don't love the dash materials or the strangely plain gauges. Chevy's designers have finally brought the car into the 21st century, though, and the fit and finish on our early-production tester is solid.
The best part is the 8-inch MyLink touchscreen interface for audio, navigation and phone functions. It's easy to use if you've ever picked up a smartphone or tablet and it's a radical advance for the Impala, which never before had a factory nav system.
MyLink is standard in LT and LTZ models (it replaces the puny 4.2-inch screen in base LS models), though you'll have to pay extra for navigation functionality. The touchscreen is less sophisticated than the Cadillac CUE setup (there's no haptic feedback when you touch it), but it's surrounded by conventional audio and climate dials. These controls provide redundancy, so even if the touchscreen confuses you, there's almost always an alternate way to accomplish basic tasks, even if you don't want to use voice control.
Even better, the front passenger seat occupant sensor performs double duty in the 2014 Chevrolet Impala: If someone's in that seat, they can pair a phone or enter a destination while the car is moving. The system locks out the driver from these activities, regardless of whether there's a front passenger onboard, Pawlik advises. Really, our only complaint about the whole setup is the low-resolution image from the back-up camera.
Other than airbags and OnStar, last year's Impala was bereft of modern safety tech, too. It's a different story in our 2014 Impala LT tester, which has an $890 option package that gives it the ability to warn us of impending forward collisions, vehicles in our blind spot and motorists who didn't notice us backing up. Veering out of our lane elicits both an audible warning and gentle steering correction. These items are standard on the top-of-the-line LTZ, which is also eligible for adaptive cruise control.
Don't Rent It, Buy It
Our 2014 Chevrolet Impala LT has most of the features you'd want in a large sedan, including nav, Bose audio, suede/vinyl upholstery with contrasting piping and heated seats, and costs $36,165 (up from a base price of $30,760). Leather upholstery, ventilated seats and HID headlights are available when you move up to the LTZ.
A comparably equipped Avalon or Maxima costs more than our Impala LT, while a Taurus or Azera would be similar. The Chrysler 300 remains the best value story in this class, as it's a stylish rear-wheel-drive (or AWD) sedan available for less money than any of the above cars. The slightly more expensive Genesis 3.8 is also tough to ignore.
Ultimately, though, Chevy's greatest challenge in selling this redesigned Impala could come from within. Seventy percent of last year's Impalas were sold to corporate fleets, and now Chevrolet wants to reverse that: It hopes to sell 70 percent of these new Impalas to everyday people, though officials wouldn't get any more specific about an annual sales target than "30,000-70,000 units."
Regardless, it'll be a tall order given that most Americans have only encountered the previous Impala on rental car lots. Further, Chevy plans to continue building the old version for fleets (badging it as the Impala Limited, and it's limited alright), which could add to the confusion.
Of course, there's no confusing the new car with the old in the metal, and once you actually drive it, you'll have to admit the 2014 Chevrolet Impala finally has what it takes to compete for real customers.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Used 2014 Chevrolet Impala Hybrid Overview
The Used 2014 Chevrolet Impala Hybrid is offered in the following styles: LS Eco 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A), and LT Eco 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A).
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Should I lease or buy a 2014 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.