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2003 Chevrolet Impala Sedan

4dr Sdn LS

Starting at | Starting at 19 MPG City - 29 MPG Highway

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  • $24,260 original MSRP
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Printable Version

2003 Chevrolet Impala Sedan

Printable Version

2003 Chevrolet Impala Sedan

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2003 Chevrolet Impala

Source: New Car Test Drive

Introduction

The Chevrolet Impala is a mid-size sedan packing nearly full-size family room. It even feels like a big luxury car. The Impala handles well and accelerates quickly when equipped with the optional 3.8-liter V6.

By any other name, the Impala would be an impressive, significant car. But Chevrolet chose to honor an icon of the 1960s, not only with the Impala name, but with key visual cues as well. Impala is calculated to push the nostalgia button for a certain generation.

From 1958-65, Impala meant the flashiest full-size Chevrolet, a real working-man's Cadillac, tame in its base form but offering performance options to match its aggressive looks. After '65, the sporty Impala was subordinated to the more conservative-looking Caprice, and eventually the name disappeared from the Chevrolet lineup.

Like its namesake, today's Impala is tame and practical with base-level equipment. However, when ordered with the optional 3.8-liter V6 the Impala is quick. The Chevy Impala feels more responsive than the six-seat sedans from Toyota, Dodge, Ford and Buick. The Impala offers competent suspension tuning, distinctive looks, and plenty of interior room.

XM Satellite Radio is available as an option this year and the 2003 Impala comes in new exterior colors with new five-spoke alloy wheels.

Model Lineup

Two models are available: Impala ($20,325) and Impala LS ($24,025). Both are four-door sedans.

The base Impala runs with a 3.4-liter 180-horsepower V6. The more up-market LS comes with GM's proven and highly competent 3.8-liter V6, producing 200 horsepower. The 3.8-liter engine is available as an option ($995) on the base model. So the real difference between the Impala and the Impala LS is the level of amenities.

All 3.8-liter Impalas come standard with traction control and anti-lock brakes; ABS is available as a $600 stand-alone option with the base 3.4-liter engine.

All Impalas come with air conditioning with separate controls for driver and passenger; AM/FM/cassette stereo; four-wheel-disc brakes; a rear window defogger; power locks, windows, and mirrors; tilt steering; front and rear anti-roll bars; P225/60R16 tires on aluminum wheels, and stainless steel exhaust. Remote keyless entry has been added for 2003.

The LS Sport Appearance Package ($1495) adds brake cooling ducts, a strut-tower brace, a tire-inflation monitor, and extra gauges to a graphite-finish instrument panel; the package is distinguished by embroidered logos on door panels and floor mats, a body-color taillight panel, and chromed exhaust tips.

XM Satellite Radio is optional on both base and LS. This high-tech system offers 100 coast-to-coast digital channels, including 71 music channels (more than 30 of them commercial-free) and 29 channels of sports, talk, news, and children's entertainment. XM's sound quality is remarkably close to a compact disc, according to Chevrolet.

OnStar is standard on LS and optional on base Impalas. GM's OnStar is a customer-service network linked via satellite. Among other things, it's a safety feature that you may never notice during daily use, but can serve a critical role if something goes wrong. The system can notify OnStar network representatives of the car's exact location if it is stolen or to direct roadside assistance to you. OnStar automatically notifies the network when the airbag has been deployed, and operators will dispatch emergency crews unless you respond to their calls.

Walkaround

The Chevrolet Impala looks bigger than it is, thanks to its upright windows and roof pillars and relatively long greenhouse. The Impala is significantly shorter (9 inches) than a Dodge Intrepid, yet it's slightly larger in total interior volume.

The Impala's most distinctive styling cues are its headlight and taillight clusters, which use a unique combination of round lights clearly visible from behind trapezoidal covers. It's an aggressive look for a Chevy sedan, so you'll easily spot an Impala in traffic. If you don't like the boy-racer spoiler on the deck lid of the LS, you can delete it for a $175 credit.

Interior Features

The Impala is noticeably roomy inside, with 122 cubic feet of interior volume. Again, credit the high roofline with relatively vertical sides. The Impala's designers also carefully rearranged the rear bulkhead, and moved the seats slightly outboard. The noticeable distance between the driver and the front-seat passenger contributes to the impression that the Impala is huge inside.

Base models come with a three-passenger split bench seat in the front; LS models come with two individual front seats, although by checking off the right options you can put buckets in the base model or a bench in the LS. Or you can opt for a leather-accented bench seat. Because it comes with six-way power, lumbar support, and a side-impact air bag, it costs $1390 on base models and $625 on LS.

At first glance, the individual seats look flat, like semi-benches, but when you sit in them they provide good support for the thighs and back. They feel like bucket seats. But the front-center passenger has to straddle the split between the seats. A slight hump down the center of the floor accommodates the exhaust; but it also hampers legroom for the front-center passenger.

It's easy to orient yourself inside the Impala. Controls are logical, work smoothly, and are easy to see. They follow the function of those in the smaller Chevy Malibu, but they're bigger. Individual temperature controls allow the driver and front-seat passenger to create their own microclimate.

The Chevy Impala boasts more interior volume than the Dodge Intrepid, but the Impala's rear seat area is shorter on useable legroom. Still, the Impala is better in this respect than the Ford Taurus or the even the full-size Ford Crown Victoria. The Impala's rear seating position is comfortable and relatively high, which makes it easy to get in and out. There are three shoulder belts in the rear, as well as LATCH child-seat tethers. In the LS, the rear seat is split 60/40 and folds down to allow bulky items to protrude from the trunk, handy for trips to Home Depot.

The headliner is nicely padded, to meet the Federal head-injury standards. A seat-mounted side-impact airbag is standard on LS and available as part of several option packages on the base model.

Driving Impressions

The Impala feels like a big luxury car, even compared to a Ford Crown Victoria or Toyota Avalon. The Crown Vic seems unrefined when you drive it back-to-back with the Impala. The Toyota feels bland by comparison.

The view out of the Impala is good, helped particularly by the small quarter windows that split the rear pillars. The creases on the hood are useful for judging just where the front of the car is, which in turn is handy for parking a big car in compact spaces. The rear deck lid seems high, however, so care is required when backing up.

Handling is surprisingly quick and sharp. This is not the wallowing, live-axle barge from the 1960s. One reason is the Impala's extruded aluminum engine-cradle subframe, a first for the industry says Chevrolet, which isolates vibration while allowing for a more rigid structure. A monster dashboard bulkhead made of light and strong magnesium further enhances to the Impala's rigidity, giving the car a robust feel. The engine cradle and dashboard structure lock the steering shaft down tightly, so there are no excess wiggly movements. Chevy says a novel link between the steering column and the steering gear contributes to better on-center feel at the wheel. Both Impala models benefit from anti-roll bars front and rear, hardware associated with sports sedans.

On the road, the steering provides good feedback, better than the Toyota Avalon's steering. The LS we tested felt particularly precise, with its quicker steering ratio.

Likewise, the brake pedal feels firm and responsive. Braking is smooth and steady, and we applaud Chevy's decision to use discs at all four wheels, even on the base model.

Acceleration is brisk, especially with the more powerful 3.8-liter engine. Chevy claims the Impala can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds, quick for this class. There's just enough torque steer, felt as a slight tug on the steering wheel whenever you stomp on the gas pedal, to remind you that this is a front-wheel-drive car.

The Impala is used for police duty and the police package includes higher-ratio gearing from the Pontiac Grand Prix for quicker acceleration.

Summary

The Chevrolet Impala delivers excellent value among mid-size sedans, with decent handling, immediately recognizable design cues, and a long list of amenities. It honors the heritage of the original Impala, without reviving the old car's excessive bulk. But even for a younger generation who never knew the older car, the Impala name will still stand for a great family-car value.

 


Model Line Overview

Model lineup: Impala ($20,235); Impala LS ($24,025)
Engines: 180-hp 3.4-liter ohv 12-valve V6; 200-hp 3.8-liter ohv 12-valve V6
Transmissions: 4-speed automatic
Safety equipment (standard): dual airbags, structural headliner, three LATCH rear child-seat tethers
Safety equipment (optional): driver's side-impact airbag, ABS and traction control
Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in: Oshawa, Ontario

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): Impala LS ($24,025)
Standard equipment: dual-zone climate control, ABS, traction control, aluminum wheels, tire inflation monitor, rear-window defroster, power locks, remote keyless entry, power heated mirrors, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, power windows, variable intermittent wipers, fog lights, split rear seatback, six-way power driver''s seat, AM/FM/cassette stereo with RDS, OnStar, rear spoiler
Options as tested (MSRP): Preferred Equipment Group 1SB ($785) includes steering wheel audio controls, trip computer, HomeLink transmitter, theft deterrent system, compass; AM/FM RDS cassette and CD stereo ($445) leather interior ($625); power passenger seat ($325)
Destination charge: ($635)
Gas guzzler tax: N/A
Price as tested (MSRP): $26,840
Layout: front-wheel drive
Engine: 3.8-liter ohv 12-valve V6
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 200 @ 5200
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 225 @ 4000
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 20/30 mpg
Wheelbase: 110.5 in.
Length/width/height: 200.0/73.0/57.3 in.
Track, f/r: 62.0/61.1 in.
Turning circle: 38.0 ft.
Seating capacity: 6
Head/hip/leg room, f: 39.2/56.5/42.2 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m: N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r: 36.8/55.7/38.4 in.
Trunk volume: 18.6 cu. ft.
Payload: N/A
Towing capacity: 1000 Lbs.
Suspension, f: independent
Suspension, r: independent
Ground clearance: N/A
Curb weight: 3450 lbs.
Tires: 225/60R16
Brakes, f/r: disc/disc with ABS
Fuel capacity: 17.0 gal.

 

Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of May 10, 2002.
Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable.
Manufacturer Info Sources: 1-800-222-1020 -
www.chevrolet.com

 

Copyright © 1994-2003 New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

2003 Chevrolet Impala Sedan

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Opt
4-Wheel Disc Brakes Opt
Traction/Stability Control Opt
Tire Pressure Monitoring System Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Opt

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Std
Fog Lamps Std
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Opt
Anti-theft System Std
Telematics Opt
Printable Version

2003 Chevrolet Impala Sedan

Chevrolet Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

2-year/24,000-Mile¹ CPO Scheduled Maintenance Plan.

12-Month/12,000-Mile² Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty.

5-year/100,000-Mile³ Powertrain Limited Warranty for model years up to 2014.

¹Covers only scheduled oil changes with filter, tire rotations and 27 point inspections, according to your vehicle's recommended maintenance schedule for up to 2 years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. Does not include air filters. Maximum of 4 service events. See participating dealer for other restrictions and complete details.

²Whichever comes first from date of purchase. See participating dealer for limited warranty details.

³Whichever comes first from original in-service date. See participating dealers for limited warranty details.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 2009-2014 model year / Under 75,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 172-Point Vehicle Inspection and Reconditioning
Download checklist
Return/Exchange Program 3-Day 150-Mile Satisfaction Guarantee
Roadside Assistance Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $0

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2003 Chevrolet Impala Sedan

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