• Completely redesigned 2014 Chevy Impala
  • Top ranking in Consumer Reports "large sedan" category
  • First domestic-brand model to top sedan rankings in 20 years

Achieving a score of 95 out of 100 points in Consumer Reports testing, the 2014 Chevrolet Impala is the highest-ranked vehicle in the independent product-testing organization's "large sedan" category. The completely redesigned Impala also tops Consumer Reports' ratings for all sedan categories and is among the top-three vehicles tested overall.

The all-new Chevy sedan's improvement is noteworthy for two reasons: First, it's the first domestic-brand vehicle to top the "large sedan" category in two decades. Japanese and European models reigned for at least 20 years, shutting out Big Three U.S. automakers such as Chevrolet. The Impala's high score also represents a monumental shift for the model. The last Impala that Consumer Reports tested scored just 63 out of 100 points, failing to earn the organization's recommendation.

Consumer Reports cites several factors for the 2014 Chevrolet Impala's jump to the top of the category. Its engineers say the new Chevy offers the ride of a luxury sedan along with sharp handling, strong acceleration and great brakes. Consumer Reports is also impressed with a well-designed, spacious and high-quality interior. It cited good fuel economy, too: 22 miles per gallon for the V6-powered Impala, as measured by Consumer Reports. That number matches the vehicle's combined Environmental Protection Agency rating.

Pricing for the 2014 Impala starts at $27,535 with a 4-cylinder engine or $30,760 with a V6. The only two vehicles that currently outscore the Impala in Consumer Reports rankings are pricier than the Chevy. The BMW 128i Coupe starts at $31,200. The electric Tesla Model S is priced at $71,070, including destination charge and before any state and federal incentives for electric vehicles. The Model S scored 99 out of 100 in Consumer Reports testing. Although the Model S is both large and a sedan, Consumer Reports does not categorize it alongside the Impala. Instead, the Tesla falls into the "hybrid/EV" and "luxury car" categories.

Consumer Reports will not officially recommend the 2014 Chevrolet Impala until it has a track record for reliability. That could take time. Still, Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports' director for automotive testing, says the Impala's score represents great progress by domestic brands such as Chevrolet.

"The Impala's performance is one more indicator of an emerging domestic renaissance," said Fisher. "We've seen a number of redesigned American models deliver world-class performance in our tests."

What it means to you: If you're shopping for a large sedan, don't overlook domestic models such as the new Chevy Impala. Consumer Reports scores the all-new 2014 Impala nearly as highly as the $70,000 Tesla Model S.

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Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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