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2018 Chevrolet Impala: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader September 2017

As SUVs continue to grow in popularity, full-size sedans are having a harder time attracting an audience. In the case of the 2018 Chevrolet Impala, however, luring in potential customers isn't all that difficult, especially when one considers the tremendous value offered by Chevy's longest running sedan. Although competition in the large-sedan market includes equally storied names such as the Toyota Avalon and the Dodge Charger, the Impala holds its own with aggressive styling, a feature-rich option list and a choice of an economical 4-cylinder or a potent 6-cylinder engine. Toss in strong resale and reliability ratings, a massive dealer network and competitive pricing, and Chevrolet's sedan makes a compelling argument for why large SUV buyers looking to downsize might want to consider coming back to a traditional sedan.

What's New for 2018?

The 2018 Impala sees a number of package and option changes, although the basic car remains unchanged. The LS trim gets new leatherette and cloth seats, a MyLink radio with 8-inch touchscreen, keyless access with push-button start and a rear backup camera. The LT gains remote vehicle start, while the Premiere adds navigation, Bose audio and wireless cell phone charging.

What We Like

Stylish design; roomy interior; huge trunk; excellent ride; modern technology; V6 option for all trim levels

What We Don't

Poor rear visibility; busy button-filled cabin; loud tire noise with 20-in wheels

How Much?

$28,770-$42,000

Fuel Economy

The 2018 Impala offers two engine choices. The LS and LT trims use a 197-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that makes 191 lb-ft of torque. Only offered with front-wheel drive and a 6-speed automatic transmission, it returns up to 22 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

Drivers looking for more power can upgrade to a 305-hp 3.5-liter V6. That engine is also offered solely with front-wheel drive and boasts fuel economy ratings as high as 18 mpg city/28 mpg hwy (14 mpg city/20 mpg hwy with E85).

Standard Features & Options

The Impala offers three basic trim levels: LS, LT and Premier. LS and LT models come standard with the 4-cylinder, while the V6 is optional for all three trims.

The base-level Impala LS ($28,770) is the most sparsely equipped. It includes a 4-cylinder engine, automatic headlights, power accessories, USB/iPod connectivity, GM's OnStar telematics system with in-car Wi-Fi, air conditioning, Bluetooth, a power driver's seat, MyLink 8-in touchscreen audio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio, cruise control, keyless access with push-button start, rear backup camera, and steel wheels with hubcaps. Drivers can also upgrade to the V6 engine for just under $1,100 extra.

Step up to an Impala LT ($31,095), and you'll get remote vehicle starter, 18-in alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated outside mirrors, 4-way power passenger seat lumbar, voice controls and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

Topping the Impala line is the luxurious Premier ($37,295). In addition to a standard V6, it touts rear parking sensors, a backup camera, a remote ignition, dual power front seats, leather upholstery, Bose audio, navigation, wireless charging, heated front seats and 19-in alloy wheels. Optional safety features include rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning and a blind spot monitoring system.

The Impala also offers a long list of optional extras, including a dual-pane power sunroof, adaptive cruise control, automatic forward-collision braking, 20-in alloy wheels, a heated steering wheel and ventilated front seats.

Safety

The 2018 Chevrolet Impala comes standard with all the usual features: side-curtain airbags, front-side airbags, anti-lock brakes and stability control. It also offers a few others, such as traction control, front-knee airbags and GM's OnStar telematics system, which offers stolen-vehicle tracking and remote door unlocking. As for safety-related options, the Impala also offers a long list: There's rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, a blind spot monitoring system, forward-collision alert and automatic forward-collision braking.

In government crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the latest Impala earned a 5-star overall rating. That score comprised two 5-star tests -- front impact and side impact -- along with a 4-star rating in the government's rollover assessment. The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Impala a Good rating in all but the small-overlap front crash test, which earned an Acceptable rating. The Impala earned a Superior rating in the crash-avoidance and mitigation tests.

Behind the Wheel

For a large family sedan, the 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 Impala's electric steering offers pleasing heft regardless of vehicle speed and crisp response when bending the Impala into a curve or turning into a parking space. Given that it's the same system as found in the Camaro but 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 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's unsatisfying to use despite the fact that it matches engine revs when downshifting.

Impala Premier models equipped with the optional 20-in 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-in tires also create more road noise.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 Ford Taurus -- The Taurus offers impressive gas mileage and handling, including the option of all-wheel drive and the high-performance SHO model. But the Taurus is smaller than the Impala, the design is much older and its future at Ford is in serious doubt.

2018 Dodge Charger -- The Charger offers a more sporting drive and more exciting engine and suspension packages, including the fire-breathing Hemi V8-powered SRT and Hellcat editions. Dodge also offers its big sedan with an AWD option.

2018 Toyota Avalon -- Toyota's full-size Avalon sedan offers excellent refinement and legendary build quality, as well as a fuel-efficient hybrid variant. A number of driver-assist features optional on the Impala are standard on the Avalon.

Used Cadillac XTS -- If you like the Impala's size and equipment but not its mainstream Chevy badge, consider the more upscale Cadillac XTS. It's better looking than the Impala and better appointed, but its base price tag of around $45,000 means you may want to consider a used model.

Autotrader's Advice

We like the Impala for its dynamic driving experience, its highly competitive cabin materials and its long list of standard and optional features. If we were choosing one, it would have to be an LT model equipped with a few of the safety gadgets from the upscale Premier. That way, you wouldn't break the bank with features you don't need, but you'd still have all the necessities, including modern safety technology and Chevrolet's excellent MyLink infotainment system. If you can swing the extra money, the V6 is so much better than the standard 4-cylinder and gets nearly the same highway fuel economy.

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New 2018 Chevrolet Impala Premier
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Chevrolet Impala: New Car Review - Autotrader