As we begin flying again, the old familiar choices return. One of the choices we travelers make is which airport rental car to pick when given the option. Although many families may prefer the convenience of a crossover like the Nissan Rogue, many drivers still like a full-size sedan. For those drivers, we suggest the Chevy Impala. Here’s why.
Chevy Impala - Simple To Operate Controls
Let’s face it, we just want to go when we are at the airport car rental hub. None of us are in the mood to learn new and silly controls. You want a simple gear selector - check. You want a simple to use heating and air conditioning system - Check. And you need Nav to work and you want it fast - Check.
The Impala checks all of these boxes. All of the controls make sense and are where they should be. The door locks are on the door - duh. The window controls are like you expect. And to blast the heat or AC you need only turn a knob. The AC button is right there. Press it. It works. No hunting in the infotainment system. Conventional, and just what you want.
Chevy Impala - Simple Infotainment
In our opinion, and in AAA tesiting results, the best way to navigate is to use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Your preferred navigation system be it Apple Maps, Google Maps, Waze, or whatever, will be there and ready to help. If you use Google Maps and Gmail, the system will ask you if you want to go to the hotel, or the other recent locations you searched for in the browser. Answer by tapping the suggestion. How much easier can it get? And remember, your phone can use GPS to navigate once a destination is set. So dropped cell coverage won’t mean no Nav.
Chevy Impala - Space
The Chevy Impala is an old-school large sedan. Four adults can sit in comfort on long drives. Five in a pinch. Or two adults up front and three kids in back. The back seat is a full-size seating area for three. Up front, the Impala offers generous driver and passenger space. We were impressed with the driver’s right knee room. Unlike many crossovers, the Impala doesn’t have a center dash area that rubs your knee raw.
The Impala also has a large and easy to use center consle for your phone, mask, hand sanitizer and other essentials. The cup holders are right where they make sense.
Related Story: Chevrolet Impala Production Extended to 2020
Chevy Impala - Cargo and Spare
The Chevy Impala has a huge trunk. It can swalow luggage for four with no difficulty. And best of all, Chevy doesn’t steal your spare. It’s there under the cargo floor. If you are traveling in the West where the spaces between cell coverage and help is measure in multiple hours, a spare can be very handy.
Chevy Impala - The Drive
With 197 hp, the Impala LT has plenty of get up and go. Best of all, it’s a grown up engine. No surging, no delays. You give it gas, it goes nicely. You never feel like passing or merging will be an issue. The Impala has ample power in all situations.
Rental cars can be hit or miss due to maintenance. If the person before you hit a curb, you’re going to have a vibrating steering wheel. However, we should not be so negative. Our Impala rental had over 25,000 miles on the odometer and the tires were perfectly balanced. Good job, Avis. That meant a super-smooth ride.
The Impala favors ride comfort over sport, but it is a decent handler. We had a great drive on back mountain roads in the Rockies and were glad we opted for a low-slung sedan instead of a tall crossover. The Impala hugged the turns, and was easy to keep in the lane.
On the highway, the Impala offers a confidence-inspiring ride even at 80 MPH (legal in Wyoming). You can set the cruise and steer with a light touch all day long.
Rental car selection is luck of the draw, but if you opt for the Impala you tip the odds of a good experience in your favor. Happy travels!
John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career to chase his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin
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