Revealed at the New York International Auto Show, the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Impala is intended to deliver expressive style, cabin refinement, and high technology that's easy to use. When it goes on sale in early 2013, the 2014 Impala will represent the 10th generation of one of the industry's most enduring nameplates.
The upcoming Impala will feature a stylish coupe-like design. Design has recently become especially important in the full-size sedan segment, a once-vast market niche that has, in recent years, been dominated by stodgy and dated designs. Nowhere is the shift away from stodginess toward expressive design more apparent than with the introduction of the 2014 Impala.
There was a time, back in the 1960s and early '70s, when Impala was America's best-selling nameplate, reaching a one-time peak of more than a million vehicles a year. In more recent times, the Chevy sedan hasn't fared as well, but the maker is hoping to make some headway with the redesign that bears more than a subtle similarity to the striking Audi A7, though at a fraction of the price. The goal was to create a car inside and out that looks much more lavish and high-quality than the flabby rent-a-car Impala buyers have come to know.
The upcoming Impala features some high-end design cues, such as the coupe-like roofline. Unlike the Audi, Impala doesn't get a hatchback.
Impala has been influenced by the recently redesigned Chevy Malibu, with similar exterior and interior design details, such as the pop-up LCD screen concealing a hidden cubbyhole that can be used to store a cellphone or MP3 player.
Technology is a big draw these days, and Impala will be loaded with it, including safety features such as lane departure warning and blind-spot detection. Impala's infotainment system will include the new Chevrolet MyLink system, which not only allows handsfree Bluetooth cellphoning but can be used to control smartphone apps, such as Pandora radio.
Beyond the high-tech gadgetry, the cabin was designed to be quiet and plush, with much more elegant materials, such as chrome and leather, than buyers might typically expect from a Chevy if they haven't been in one for a while. That's a major shift for the maker, which previously put out a corner-cutting full-size sedan designed almost specifically for discounted fleet markets.
Chevrolet has recognized that it needed to improve perceived quality to win over skeptics. And things like a quiet drive keep buyers satisfied during the ownership cycle.
The new Impala will no longer have to square off with Ford's classic Crown Victoria but it will face an assortment of other competitors, including Hyundai's newly updated Azera and a stylish new Toyota Avalon replacement.
In its heyday, Impala had plenty of things going for it, including some of the more powerful engines on the market. But the V8 is no longer on the option list. Instead, the new Impala will offer a 3.6-liter, 303-horsepower V6 and two four-cylinder alternatives. The base engine is a 2.5-liter inline-4 making 197 horsepower.
Impala also will get a 2.4-liter I4 mild hybrid, the same eAssist system first introduced on the Buick LaCrosse and more recently the Chevy Malibu Eco. With such fuel-efficient pluses as Stop/Start, which briefly shuts the engine down when it would normally idle, say, at a stoplight, it is expected to push highway mileage up into the 30 mpg range.
That's the sort of number few traditional Impala owners likely could have ever imagined, and Chevrolet is hoping it will be one more reason why the Chevrolet Impala might again become a serious competitor in the American market.