Pros: Stylish design; roomy interior; cavernous trunk; accessible technology

Cons: Busy interior layout; visibility through rear window; tire noise with 20-inch wheels

What's New: Completely redesigned; larger and quieter cabin; new 4-cylinder and hybrid power trains; next-generation Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system; advanced safety systems

The 2014 Chevrolet Impala is redesigned for the 2014 model year, now sharing its underlying platform with the Buick LaCrosse and the Cadillac XTS. When the new 2014 Impala goes on sale, it will be offered in LT and LTZ trim with a V6 engine. In the summer, a 4-cylinder engine arrives, along with a base LS trim level. By fall, the new Impala Eco rolls into showrooms, equipped with Chevrolet's eAssist mild-hybrid technology and a predicted 35-mpg highway fuel economy rating.

Stylish and spacious, the new 2014 Chevy Impala is priced from the high $20,000 range in LS trim without options to the low $40,000 range in LTZ trim with every option.

Comfort & Utility

The new Impala seats five passengers in a larger and quieter interior. Front and rear legroom increase substantially over the 2013 Impala, and though the trunk is about the same size as before, it measures a generous 18.8 cu-ft. A 60/40-split folding rear seat expands the Impala's utility.

For the redesigned 2014 Impala, Chevrolet modeled the front and rear seats after those installed in the car's Buick and Cadillac brethren. The front seats remain comfortable after hours behind the wheel, and are offered with heating and, on the LTZ version, ventilation. The Impala's thick-rimmed steering wheel is pleasing to hold, optionally heated with LTZ models, and all contact points are covered in soft material, including the upper door panels.

Rear seat passengers ride on a supportive bench seat that provides a good view out of the car. Four tall people can fit into the Impala, and ride in comfort for longer distances.

Offered with a choice between four interior colors, Impala cabins rendered in Brownstone or Mojave hues possess a busy, almost confusing look, because of the two-tone decor combined with the layered dashboard design and its multiple textures, tones and trims.

Technology

Next-generation Chevrolet MyLink technology debuts in the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, and is standard for the LT and LTZ models. Equipped with an 8-inch color touchscreen that can be personalized by selecting one of four different themes, the new MyLink system shares plenty of its behind-the-screen programming and architecture with the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) system.

Unlike CUE, the new MyLink system does not include a proximity-sensing screen or haptic feedback controls. It does offer gesture recognition, natural voice recognition, Bluetooth pairing for up to 10 different devices, and a Valet Mode that protects private information stored in the system from prying eyes. A storage compartment behind the screen can be used to hide valuables and can then be locked using MyLink's Valet Mode.

Performance & Fuel Economy

Chevrolet will offer three different power trains for the new 2014 Impala. Initially, only the 305-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 will be available, connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission that drives the car's front wheels. Chevrolet says the Impala with the V6 engine will accelerate to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, a credible claim based on our test drive. Fuel economy estimates are 19 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. AutoTrader observed 21.7 mpg in a mix of city, highway, and mountain driving.

A 196-horsepower, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine becomes the standard power plant shortly after the Impala's initial launch, charged with motivating the full-size sedan's 3,800-lb mass. Chevrolet says this engine will return 21 mpg city/31 mpg hwy, in part thanks to aerodynamic modifications including grille shutters and underbody panels designed to smooth airflow around the car. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard with the 4-cylinder engine.

The Impala Eco model, arriving in the fall of 2013, is equipped with an eAssist mild hybrid power train. A mild hybrid is one that cannot operate solely on electricity supplied by the battery pack. The eAssist power train includes a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine, an electric assist motor, a Lithium-ion battery pack, and regenerative brakes to develop a combined 182 horsepower and to deliver 25 mpg city/35 mpg hwy.

Safety

Chevrolet installs 10 airbags in each 2014 Impala model, as well as a traction and stability control system, 4-wheel-disc antilock brakes, a hill-hold and hill-assist system, and OnStar telematics with Automatic Crash Notification service. The Impala LS and LT models can be optioned with rear parking assist sensors, and the Impala LT is offered with a reversing camera. Both safety features are standard for the Impala LTZ.

The LTZ is also equipped with standard Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert systems. These safety-related features are optional for the Impala LT, and at an accessible price. Exclusive to the Impala LTZ, a full-speed-range Adaptive Cruise Control system with Collision Mitigation Braking can, if the driver ignores the warnings emitted by the Forward Collision Warning system, automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision, or reduce the Impala's speed to lessen the impact of a collision.

Driving Impressions

For a large family sedan, the 2014 Impala is effortless to drive. Strong acceleration gives the Impala V6 the fortitude required to negotiate city traffic, merge onto freeways with the flow of traffic, and climb mountain grades all while returning better than 20 mpg, on average.

The new Impala's electric steering offers pleasing heft regardless of vehicle speed, and crisp response when bending the Impala into a curve or while turning into a parking space. Given that it's the same system as found in the Camaro, recalibrated for the full-size Chevy sedan, perhaps this comes as no surprise. Suspension tuning provides a deft blend of ride smoothness and handling prowess, and while the Impala is not a sport sedan, it can cover ground at a rapid pace on twisty roads.

Chevrolet installs its new Duralife brake rotors on the 2014 Impala, a patented piece of engineering designed to double the life of the rotors to 80,000 miles while simultaneously eliminating rust and reducing brake shudder as the car ages. We found the Impala's brake pedal responsive, displaying natural progression through the range of motion, which helps to fine tune the amount of pressure fed to the brakes.

Chevrolet could improve the new Impala with regard to the 6-speed automatic transmission. We found that it stumbled on occasion, especially when driving in the mountains. A manual shift button is provided at the top of the gear selector, but it is unsatisfying to use, despite the fact that it matches engine revs when downshifting.

Impala LTZ models equipped with the optional 20-inch aluminum wheels sure look terrific, but there is a penalty to be paid in terms of ride quality and interior noise. So equipped, more of the road texture is delivered to the cabin, sometimes rudely, as in the case of traveling over a pothole. The 20-inch tires also create more road noise.

Other Large Sedans to Consider

Chevrolet names the Ford Taurus, Hyundai Azera, and Toyota Avalon as the new 2014 Impala's natural competitors, but this car also competes with the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Kia Cadenza, Nissan Maxima, and Volkswagen Passat. Although Chevrolet would likely state that the Buick LaCrosse is aimed at a different kind of buyer, the Impala is likely to attract some buyers who might otherwise consider the Buick.

AutoTrader Recommends

Among 2014 Chevy Impala models equipped with a V6 engine, we recommend purchasing the LT or LTZ model with the 19-inch aluminum wheels. They provide a more substantial look than the smaller 18-inch wheels while avoiding the extra road noise and degradation in ride quality that comes with the larger 20-inch wheels.

AutoTrader

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