2014 Chevrolet Impala 2LTZ Review: Copious Amounts of Luxury Redefine the Impala Name
The 2014 Chevrolet Impala was introduced with an all-new look inside and out – and it needed it. The Impala name was introduced almost 60 years ago and even though there were some years where Chevrolet didn’t offer the Impala, this has long been a popular option in the large car class in America. In the heyday of the big, powerful American cruiser, the Impala was one of the “the cars to have” whether it was a sedan, convertible or hardtop 2-door. From the late 1950s through the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Chevy Impala continued to be a top option among those new car buyers who wanted something big and roomy yet still classier than some of the other big cars on the market in those eras but as the big car died due to rising fuel costs in the 1980s, the Impala died with it. GM would bring the Impala back in the mid 90s as a high performance rear drive sedan that was based on the Chevrolet Caprice but the Impala name disappeared from the lineup as a full scale production model until 1999 – when it returned as a far more pedestrian front wheel drive sedan. It was still big (relative to the rest of the industry) but it was no longer power, it was no longer plush and it was no longer “the car to have”.
General Motors would try to relive some of the old school greatness of the Impala with models like the Impala SS for the 2004 and 2005 model years – and again with the introduction of the 9th generation Impala in 2006. GM went so far as to bring back the V8 engine option for the Impala SS starting in 2006 but it was still front wheel drive and in all fairness, it was better known for being an affordable- albeit unexciting – full sized sedan. That didn’t slow sales all that much as the Impala continued to be one of Chevrolet’s top sellers but the modern front wheel drive Impala garnered a reputation as being ideal for rental fleets, police departments and – as mentioned above – old people.
That all changes with the introduction of the 2014 Chevrolet Impala as this beautifully redesigned large sedan sports a stylish exterior, a plush, loaded interior and a drivetrain that does a fine job of balancing power and efficiency. Like the Impalas of yesteryear, the 2014 Impala is a full sized sedan that is meant to provide the feel of a luxury car without the price of the Cadillac brand and while it is still front wheel drive – this is by far and beyond the best overall large sedan Chevy has offered since the glory days of the original Impala.
My 2014 Chevrolet Impala test subject for this review was outfitted with the top of the line 2LTZ trimline which carries a standard price of $35,770. Options on my test car included Adaptive Cruise Control with Imminent Crash Braking (+$1,695), the LTZ Comfort and Convenience package (+1,035), the Chevrolet MyLink Navigation system ($795), the LTZ Premium audio package (+$700) and a set of optional 20 inch aluminum wheels which, when coupled with the base price of the Impala 2LTZ and the $810 destination fee gives us a total price as tested of $41,205. That is a whole lot of money but you have to consider that this car is pretty much as loaded as it gets an in many cases, the features of this particular Impala are more commonly seen from the likes of far more expensive luxury sedans.
The previous few generations of the Chevrolet Impala received less than exciting reviews of the exterior because they exterior was, well, less than exciting. The past 15 years worth of Impala weren’t bad looking cars and that was clear from their annual sales totals, but they really weren’t what you would call stylish, striking or high tech. The 2014 Impala 2LTZ is very styling with high tech attributes and sharpened body lines giving it a very striking look from the front, sides and rear. While the 9th generation Impala which was introduced for the 2006 model year was much nicer looking than the 8th generation Chevy sedan, none of the modern front wheel drive Impalas have offered much in the way of standout styling. On the other hand, the 2014 Impala has sculpting from front to rear which give this new Impala more personality than we have seen from the large Chevy sedan lineup in decades.
Up front, the 2014 Chevrolet Impala 2LTZ features HID projection headlights set in a sharp, angular lens with LED trim accenting the classy look whether it is light out or dark. These headlights flank a bold grille that has a solid gloss black section accented with plenty of chrome trim all around – with more chrome trim in the lower grille opening and along the bottom of the LED driving lights that are mounted in gloss black housings. More importantly, the 2014 Impala has a heavily sculpted front fascia with hard angles running under the headlights that flow into the lower fascia for a very sporty look. Along the bottom of the front fascia is a sculpted area that flares out under the driving lights for a look that is similar to what we see on the 2014 Corvette with subtle air deflectors added towards the outside to improve aerodynamics and complete the sporty look of this new Impala’s front end. Finally, the 2014 Impala has several hard sculpted lines that run front to back on the hood with a raised center section giving the Impala a very muscular look without going too sporty to hurt the luxurious feel of this new sedan.
Along the sides, the 2014 Chevrolet Impala has a long, low silhouette with a roofline that stretches well towards the rear end and slopes down gently to create a fastback look – broken up by a very short trunk lid and a subtly integrated rear spoiler. The new Impala has a hard body line that flows out of the high tech headlights and runs the length of the body, providing a more chiseled look through the fenders and doors than any of the previous front drive Impala sedans while chrome trimmed mirrors, door handles, windows and a prominent chrome trimpiece along the bottom of the doors leaves no question that luxury is the goal of this particular large Chevy sedan. A set of great looking optional 20 inch wheels complete the look from the side and while these wheels are on the sportier side – they still fit the bill of a luxury themed sedan.
Out back, the 2014 Impala has angular LED taillights that are similar in design to those found on the 2014 Camaro with a chrome trim piece sporting the Impala lettering connecting the two rear light assemblies. In addition to the integrated rear spoiler that extends straight off of the trunk lid, the rear end of the new Impala is sported up by the integrated chrome exhaust tips that are fitted into the black lower fascia piece…more accents that add some sporty feel while still working to make this new Impala look far more luxurious on the outside.
The 2014 Chevrolet Impala 2LTZ has sharp styling that gives it some sporty attitude but it packs all of the chrome trim and high tech features that you would expect from a modern luxury car. This is the best looking modern Impala to date with more personality than any of the “face in the rental crowd” Impalas that have hit showrooms over the past 15 years.
The 2014 Chevrolet Impala 2LTZ looks great on the outside but where it really flexes its luxury muscles is between the doors. The loaded up 2LTZ trimline with the options included on my test car make for a good enough looking interior that you could easily make an interior-only display, throw Infiniti or Acura logos everywhere there is a Chevy bowtie and no one would question that this interior came out of one of those high priced luxury brands.
My 2014 Impala 2LTZ test car was fitted with the two tone Jet Black/Mojave (tan) leather package and when you first climb inside the new Impala, this two tone layout gives the instant look and feel of a luxury sedan. The front and rear seats are covered in rich Mojave leather with black piping while the center arm rest, the dash cap and door panel uppers are also finished in this plush looking tan leather. This tan leather provides a bright contrast against the predominantly black cabin with more leather on the door arm rests, the gauge cluster brow, the steering wheel and the shifter. In addition to the black carpeting and the black headliner, the padded dash, the door panels and the center console are all clad in black with some subtle silver accents here and there along with some marbled, high gloss finishes through the middle of the dash and around the shifter – all of which bolster the luxury feel of the Impalas spacious cabin.
Speaking of space, the 2014 Chevrolet Impala 2LTZ offers a ton of seating space in the front and rear seats so regardless of where you are sitting, you will have plenty of leg, knee, hip, shoulder, elbow and head room. The exception is the rear center seat which is as predictably tight as any other middle rear seat in the segment but unlike some competition – the rear center seat of the Impala is wide enough to accommodate the average adult. Granted, having three adults in the back seat will make things a little tight in the way of hip, elbow and shoulder room but this is one of the few cars I’ve tested with a middle seating spot that is legitimately wide enough for the rear end of a normal adult. Even with the front seats moved back to let a 6 foot tall driver stretch his or her legs, rear riders will still have plenty of space for their legs. The driver and front passenger will enjoy seats that are both heated and cooled along with having power controls that allow for a wide range of people to sit up front comfortably while still accommodating very short drivers. The front seats aren’t as deep as some luxury or luxury-themed models that take a sportier approach to the front buckets, but these plush seats are super comfortable even on long rides. These seats don’t offer the lateral support of some sportier large sedans but you get every bit as much comfort as you do with any affordable sub-$50k) large sedan on the market today.
Finally, the 2014 Chevrolet Impala 2LTZ offers all of the gadgets that you would expect from a loaded up large sedan and that begins with a high end infotainment system. The Chevrolet MyLink system integrates the controls for the sound system, the hands free phone system and the navigation package into a big, bright touch screen but for those folks who prefer the feel of traditional buttons – there is also a small panel under the touch screen with some knobs and buttons to adjust the various settings. This system also features a collection of controls on the heated steering wheel including a voice button so that you can set the navigation system when on the fly. The steering wheel controls also allow the driver to adjust the read out of the small information screen that is planted between the large analog speedometer and tachometer – with the option to show information from the sound system, the integrated phone system, the navigation system or a long list of vehicle information including some additional gauges, fuel economy information and trip mileage in the middle of the gauge cluster. When you add in the dual zone climate control system, push button start and all of the power goodies, the 2014 Impala 2LTZ offers pretty much everything that you could ask for from a far more expensive luxury sedan with the exception of perhaps a high tech TFT (thin film transistor) gauge cluster…but there is enough content in the cabin of the new Impala that you won’t miss the fancy gauges.
The 2014 Chevrolet Impala 2LTZ comes powered by the standard 3.6L V6 that calls on a 6-speed automatic transmission to send 305 horsepower and 264lb-ft of torque to the front wheels. This drivetrain is expected to deliver 19mpg around town and 29mpg on the highway with an average number of 22mpg. In my experiences, the new Impala is very capable of hitting those numbers, even when traveling at the 70 mile per hour speed limit on Detroit’s area highways. I do not have a light right foot and I was able to achieve that 22mpg average over the course of my testing session, but I was also able to get better than 29mpg over the course of a 100 mile highway drive. It isn’t the most efficient large sedan sold in America but the real world numbers turned in by the V6 Impala were more than enough to impress me.
One place where the 2014 Chevrolet Impala 2LTZ falls short of the competition is in offering a higher performance engine like the Ford Taurus’ 3.5L EcoBoost or the Dodge Charger’s 5.7L Hemi but the Impala’s 3.6L V6 is more than enough to allow the big Chevy sedan to get up and go. In other words, we arent likely to see many 2014 Impala buyers modifying their car to go fast like we do Taurus SHO and Charger R/T owners but among the more efficient V6 powered sedans – the Impala is right in the hunt in terms of performance. This tried and true V6 has become a mainstay in almost every GM vehicle on the market today and for good reason – as it delivers a solid mix of fuel economy and power. Again, you arent going to see many of these Chevy sedans at the race track but the 2014 V6 Impala packs enough power to deliver strong acceleration from a stop and when on the open road. This drivetrain also sends enough power to the rear wheels to comfortably cruise well past the speed limit so while you may not be doing much racing in the 2014 Impala – you won’t have any issue speeding down the highway if that is your thing.
More importantly, the 2014 Chevrolet Impala 2LTZ offers a calm, quiet ride on almost any surface – from the rough highways of the Metro Detroit area to the crudely unpaved roads around Milford Michigan. The Impala doesn’t offer quite the crystal clear ride and the opulent silence of the Cadillac XTS but as non-luxury brand large sedans go, I find that the new Impala is one of the more comfortable in terms of ride quality and interior noise levels relative to the condition of the road. Best of all, the chassis, steering and suspension system have been designed to offer that smooth, quiet ride without numbing the handling capabilities of the new Impala. Some large sedans that offer a smooth ride (especially at highway speeds) do so at the cost of compromised handling and that leads to a car that rides like a boat breaking through the waves but that isn’t the case with the new Impala. The Impala is surprisingly confident when moving through long, sweeping highway turns at speed and in tighter quarters, I found that this big Chevy sedan handled better than a great many affordable large sedans sold in the US. I wouldn’t go so far as to call the Impala as nimble as the animal from which it derives its name but as large sedans go – the Impala handles very well in any normal driving situation for a car that offers such a high level of ride quality.
Finally – and most importantly – the 2014 Chevrolet Impala is a very nice driving car. Previous generations of the Impala weren’t fast, they weren’t smooth and they weren’t quiet so they really weren’t all that pleasant to drive. They sold well so it is clear that their downfalls weren’t great enough to keep people from buying them but they weren’t cars that many people looked forward to driving. When you combine the handling attributes, the ride quality and the luxurious interior setting – the 2014 Impala is a car that you will enjoy driving every day.
If you are in the market for a full sized sedan that offers luxury level amenities inside and out with a price far below America’s luxury marquees – the 2014 Chevrolet Impala 2LTZ could be your dream car. The new Impala may not offer the big power of many luxury sedans but there is no question that it offers the exterior styling, the interior comforts, the high tech goodies and the ride quality that you can get from a luxury brand for thousands more. The 2014 Impala is not quite as refined as the likes of the Cadillac XTS but with many of the same features offered in the Cadillac lineup for a price that is significantly less expensive, this new Impala is a luxury car without the luxury name…or the luxury price.
The 2014 Chevrolet Impala 2LTZ is still front wheel drive but it offers all of the styling inside and out that buyers expected of the Impala back in the 1950s, 60s and 70s without a price tag that puts it out of the reach of the average large sedan buyer. At long last, the classy, stylish Chevy Impala is back.