The 2017 Chevrolet Impala has some hefty heritage behind its name, and has had a range of personalities since its introduction in 1958: from glamour ride to taxicab to the muscular, slightly sinister Impala SS of the mid-1990s. It's a name that means something, even if no one can agree on what that meaning is exactly.
Here's the current Impala incarnation: a big, sleek-ish, front-drive four-door sedan with a handsome smiling face. It's the best Impala that Chevy has made. Do we wish it was still rear-drive? We do.
Of all the current Impala's virtues, the first is that it's as big on the inside as it is on the outside. Built around the same ?Epsilon II? architecture as the Cadillac XTS and Buick LaCrosse, the Impala's rear compartment has room to stretch out or use the floor as a putting green (but probably not both at the same time). There's also a cavernous truck that will swallow up to 18.8 cubic feet of anything.
Next on the list of good Impala things is the car's velvety ride. GM has significantly upped its suspension-tuning ability the last few years and the Impala is a good example of this prowess. Even fully laden, this big sedan's ride is comfortable without being floaty, and controlled instead of harsh when gliding over bumps. There may be no better new American car for a transcontinental road trip.
Like a proper 21st century big car, the Impala also carries a full load of tech. Only the base LS trim Impala lacks an eight-inch touchscreen to control the entertainment and information systems. Smartphones will plug in through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. And there's a buffet of safety tech available, too. Lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and forward collision warning systems are all available. Beyond that, the Impala has received top marks in government crash tests.
Chevrolet offers the Impala in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels, a variety of packages for added comfort, convenience and tech, and three different engines. The base engine is GM's 2.5-liter four-cylinder Ecotec, producing 196-horsepower, and two versions of the 3.6-liter V6, one tuned for regular gasoline and making 305 horsepower and the other a bi-fuel version that makes 260 horsepower on gasoline and 230 on compressed natural gas. All are paired with six-speed automatic transmissions.
Fuel economy numbers are modest. The four-cylinder Impala is EPA rated at 25 mpg combined (22 city/30 highway). The regular V6 comes in at 22 mpg combined (18 mpg city/28 highway).
Size up all the Impala variations here on Edmunds and let us help you find the Impala configuration that's perfect for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.