Used 2015 Chevrolet Impala Review
Edmunds expert review
With its appealing blend of style, space and available V6 power, the 2015 Chevrolet Impala is a force to be reckoned with among full-size sedans.
What's new for 2015
Following its radical reinvention last year, the 2015 Chevrolet Impala largely stays the course, and with good reason: Chevy got it right the first time. Whereas the previous-generation Impala featured styling and trim that only a rental agency could love, the current model is attractive, well-appointed and fully competitive in its class. Indeed, it's hard to think of another car that has gone from zero to hero this quickly. If you're looking for a large sedan, the Impala is a genuine must-drive.
For most shoppers, the only relevant changes for the 2015 Impala are the addition of standard in-car 4G data connection with WiFi capability -- a nice perk, for sure -- and the elimination of the short-lived "mild hybrid" eAssist model. But if you're a fan of innovative engineering, you'll want to watch for the fourth-quarter arrival of the bi-fuel Impala, which can run on both gasoline and compressed natural gas (CNG). Although most examples will be sold to commercial and government fleets, the bi-fuel Impala will be available to consumers as well. Regardless of what's under the hood, the Impala will impress you with its quiet ride, roomy interior and huge trunk -- all things that will certainly satisfy large-sedan shoppers.
Of course, the Edmunds "B" rated Impala isn't the only choice out there. The standard-setter continues to be the Toyota Avalon, with its spacious interior, super smooth V6 and available hybrid model. We're also fond of the sleek and well-equipped Hyundai Azera and Kia Cadenza cousins, which nip at the Avalon's heels. Another compelling option is the luxurious, rear-wheel-drive 2015 Chrysler 300. The exceptionally well-executed 2015 Hyundai Genesis V6 may also fall into your price range.
But should you buy any of the above without test-driving the Impala first? Not if you can help it. If you haven't driven an Impala since you were at the rental counter a few years back, we strongly recommend giving Chevy's reborn full-sizer a chance.
Trim levels & features
The 2015 Chevrolet Impala is offered in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels. The LT and LTZ are further divided into 1LT and 2LT, and 1LTZ and 2LTZ sub-trims. It's less confusing than it seems -- the numbers simply signify whether the four-cylinder (1) or the V6 (2) is under the hood.
Standard features on the entry-level LS, which comes only with the four-cylinder, 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 with 4G WiFi capability, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, a USB port with iPod connectivity, an auxiliary input and a 4.2-inch color display. The LS Convenience package adds rear parking sensors, foldable rear headrests and a cargo net.
The 1LT adds 18-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and the MyLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen, voice controls, Bluetooth audio connectivity, two additional USB ports (for a total of three), an SD card slot, HD radio, Internet radio smartphone app compatibility and voice-to-text messaging capability for certain smartphones. The 2LT is similarly equipped, but substitutes the V6 engine for the 1LT's four-cylinder.
Options on the LT are mainly grouped into packages. The Convenience package includes rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, remote ignition and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a universal garage door opener. The Advanced Safety package adds a forward collision warning system, a lane-departure warning system, rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring. The Premium Seating package contributes synthetic suede upholstery, heated front seats and an eight-way power front passenger seat. There's also a Premium Audio and Sport Wheels package, which includes 19-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, ambient interior lighting, a 120-volt power outlet and an 11-speaker Bose sound system. Finally, the Navigation package adds navigation to MyLink and also includes keyless ignition and entry. A sunroof is a stand-alone option for the Impala LT.
The LTZ starts with the 1LTZ sub-trim, which is essentially a fully optioned 1LT plus leather upholstery, but minus the rear spoiler, sunroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror, 120-volt power outlet and Bose stereo. It's also eligible for a couple of options packages of its own. The Comfort and Convenience package adds exterior ambient lighting, the auto-dimming rearview mirror, ventilated front seats, a heated power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and driver memory settings. The Premium Audio package throws in the Bose system and 120-volt outlet.
The 2LTZ sub-trim is similarly equipped but upgrades to the V6, and it's the only Impala that can be outfitted with optional 20-inch wheels and adaptive cruise control with automatic braking for frontal impact mitigation. Both LTZ sub-trims offer the sunroof as a stand-alone option.
Note that the bi-fuel Impala is offered in familiar LS and LT (technically "3LT") trims, but has slightly different equipment, including standard single-zone automatic climate control for the LS and a mildly modified options structure.
Performance & mpg
All 2015 Impalas are equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. The base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 195 horsepower and 187 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy is EPA-rated at 25 mpg combined (22 city/31 highway). Included with the four-cylinder is an automatic stop-start system that automatically shuts off the engine when you come to a halt to save fuel.
Optional on the LT and LTZ is a 3.6-liter V6 rated at 305 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque. The standard EPA rating is 21 mpg combined (18 city/28 highway), but there's also a California emissions version that returns 22 mpg combined (19/29).
In Edmunds performance testing, the V6 Impala accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, an average showing for a large sedan.
The bi-fuel Impala uses a special version of the 3.6-liter V6 modified for CNG duty. The trunk-mounted CNG tank holds the equivalent of 7.8 gallons of gasoline and yields an estimated 150 miles of city range. The bi-fuel Impala runs on CNG by default until it's depleted, but a dash-mounted switch lets you change fuels on the fly as desired. When running on CNG, output drops to 230 hp and 218 lb-ft of torque.
The 2015 Chevrolet Impala comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side 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 on the LT, as is an Advanced Safety package with forward collision alert, a lane-departure warning system, rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring. All of the above items are standard on the LTZ. Optional for the LTZ is automatic braking for frontal crash mitigation that's bundled with the adaptive cruise control.
In Edmunds brake testing, the V6-powered LTZ with 20-inch wheels came to a stop from 60 mph in 120 feet. That's slightly better than the norm in this class.
In government crash testing, the Impala received a perfect five stars for overall crash protection, including five stars for total frontal-impact and five stars for total side-impact collisions. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Impala its best rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests. Also in IIHS testing, the effectiveness of the LTZ's optional frontal collision warning and automatic braking systems earned a top rating of "Superior."
You may be tempted to stick with the four-cylinder engine on account of its lower price and higher fuel economy, but if you shell out for the V6, you won't regret it. The unremarkable sprint to 60 mph doesn't tell the whole story here -- when you punch it at cruising speed, the six responds with real authority. The base four is smooth and willing, but its 110-hp deficit is readily apparent from the driver seat.
As expected, the Impala takes road impacts in stride, soaking up the bumps and ruts like a big car should. The interior is also pleasingly quiet, with minimal amounts of wind and road noise at freeway speeds. For maximum ride comfort, however, we advise skipping the 20-inch wheels, as they ride a little too harshly over sharp bumps. Taken around turns, the Impala demonstrates modest handling limits that don't quite jibe with the car's sleek styling. In the absence of sporting performance, though, the Impala still provides a secure feel on winding roads.
The Impala's dynamic, modern exterior writes checks that its interior is pleased to cash. The graceful dual-cowl dashboard flows organically into the door panels, creating a wraparound effect that has become a GM trademark as of late. When specified, the 8-inch MyLink touchscreen for audio, navigation and phone functions really ties the room together, providing crisp, high-resolution graphics (except for the oddly grainy rearview camera view) and an intuitive interface like that of a smartphone We would ask only for quicker and more predictable responses to touch inputs, as well as upgraded materials to replace a few flimsy plastic elements in the center console.
A generous wheelbase gives the Impala serious passenger space front and rear. Four 6-footers could do a cross-country road trip in perfect comfort; that's what we expect from a large sedan, and the Impala certainly delivers. The wide, plush seats offer a variety of upholstery options, including cloth, a cloth/suede combination, a vinyl/suede combination and leather. We're partial to the vinyl/suede combo (optional on the LT), as its contrasting piping on the edges of the seats results in a particularly upscale appearance.
The standard 60/40-split-folding rear seatback adds useful additional cargo space to the already ample 18.8-cubic-foot trunk.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.