You have to respect the sturdiness and competence that a car like this must possess…

The much-maligned fleet car Chevrolet Impala is the “I don’t get no respect!” sedan of the auto world, if I may quote the late Rodney Dangerfield.

The Impala I rented in Hawaii early this year was confirmation of the beating, while on the job, that a car like this has to endure. Yet, you have to respect the sturdiness and competence that a car like this must possess.

Body scars left by a multitude of indifferent drivers were visible evidence of the abuse. Although basic on the inside, the Impala turned out to be surprisingly comfortable and the biggest surprise of all was its performance. Impala offers good power, a quiet passenger cabin and a comfortable ride, which helped make the overall driving experience a pleasant one.

Chevrolet first introduced an Impala way back in 1958 and at one time, it was the best-selling car in America. The last time I had driven an Impala was in 2009. Chevrolet had given it a new flex-fuel E85 engine upgrade, so that it can accept up to 85 per cent ethanol content in its fuel.

While an Impala is unlikely to be on your “dream drive” list, if you’re simply looking for an inexpensive, reliable and roomy, near-new sedan, then add it to your used car drive list. In 2010, even the base LS trim came with air conditioning, power mirrors, walnut burl (imitation) interior accent trim, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel, power windows and power locks with keyless entry and automatic headlamps.

Our Hawaii rental was an LT trim which added 16-inch alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, CD/MP3 stereo and a remote starter. The top-line LTZ adds 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, heated mirrors, deck lid spoiler, auto-dimming rearview mirror, eight-way power driver’s seat, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, sport suspension, electronic stability control, and a theft deterrent system.

The 3.5-litre V6 (standard on LS and LT) engine can generate 214 horsepower. Its companion four-speed automatic is smooth, competent and reliable, yet it lags behind five and six-speed units offered by competitors.  Fuel consumption is still decent at 11.3/7.0 L/100 km (city/highway). The 3.9-litre (LTZ) engine can generate 240 horsepower.

This generation Impala may be the last sedan to offer six-passenger seating. A drawback to having a bench style front seat is that it only provides a centre occupant a lap seatbelt. When not in use, however, the centre seatback can flip down and act as a wide central armrest with a built-in storage compartment.

Although it is classified as a mid-size sedan, an Impala actually offers close to full-size room inside. The trunk is huge (527-litres/18.6 cu ft) and the rear seats flip-down to expand cargo space for long items. More than enough for our pack lunch and some beach gear.

Chevrolet added standard body-colour side mouldings to the 2011 model year Impala, and the OnStar system got a new Turn-by-Turn voice navigation feature. Major powertrain upgrades followed in 2012, with a new 3.6-litre V6 replaced both the 3.5-litre and 3.9-litre engines in all trim levels. A six-speed automatic transmission also replaced the previous four-speed automatic. No changes were made in 2013, which was the last year of this generation Impala.


Price Check: 2010 – 2013 Chevrolet Impala (July 2014)

Year                    Edition                                                 Expect to Pay Today

2010                       LT                                                         $10,000 to $14,000

2011                       LT                                                         $12,000 to $16,000

2012                       LT                                                         $14,000 to $18,000

2013                       LT                                                         $16,000 to $20,000

Prices vary depending on a used vehicle’s condition, mileage, usage and history. A complete mechanical check should always be performed by a reliable auto technician prior to purchase.


Safety Recalls: 2010 to 2013 Chevrolet Impala: 

2006 to 2013: An ignition switch defect could allow it to slip out of the “run” position while the vehicle moving, if the key ring is carrying added weight or the vehicle goes off-road or is subjected to some other jarring event. If this were to occur, engine power, power steering and power braking would be affected. In addition, the airbags may not deploy in a subsequent collision. Dealers will replace the ignition switch. Until the correction is performed, all items should be removed from the key ring.

2008 to 2012: The front suspension control arms may fracture on some Chevrolet Impala police vehicles and negatively change vehicle handling. Dealers will replace both control arms.

2009/2010: The front seatbelt webbing may not have been properly secured to the lap belt anchor pretensioner. Dealers will inspect both front seatbelts for proper installation of anchors to pretensioners and, if necessary, reinstall the anchors.

2012: The high-pressure (upper) power steering hose may have been misrouted and could contact the catalytic converter, on vehicles equipped with the 3.6L engine. Heat from the catalytic converter may melt the power steering hose, which could result in a fire. Dealers will inspect, reroute and/or replace the power steering hose and install a protective sleeve to prevent abrasion.

Contact: bob [dot] mchugh [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

This new Impala… cruises with ease, has more than enough room for five full size adults and the interior is quiet and refined…

The All-New Chevy Impala
The All-New Chevy Impala
The All-New Chevy Impala
The All-New Chevy Impala
The All-New Chevy Impala
The All-New Chevy Impala
The All-New Chevy Impala
The All-New Chevy Impala
The All-New Chevy Impala

Canadians love smaller vehicles, the best selling passenger vehicles are compact cars and compact SUVs.

As much as we like to keep things sensible, there is always a place for larger vehicles. Full-size sedans are not big sellers but some buyers prefer them for long distance cruising and the road-hugging stance that a sedan provides. There are some very good choices out there and the latest is this all-new Chevrolet Impala. The previous Impala was a favourite for company sales fleets or rental car companies, with a minority of buyers choosing them for personal transportation.


This is a very handsome car, I can clearly remember seeing for the first time over a year ago at the New York Auto Show and it was the standout of that event. This new design is striking on several levels. The front design has the signature Chevrolet split grille that was so warmly received on this car that they borrowed it and graphed it into the smaller Malibu. The side has sweeping front windshield and rear window with a high rear deck that provides a sleek silhouette. Prices start at just over $28,000 and the 2LT is fitted with the V6 engine and starts at almost $33,000.


It looks and works well, showcasing what GM is doing right. The mixture of materials shapes and colours really makes this cabin pop. The seats can be covered in cloth on the base car, faux suede seats or leather on the top models. The dash is covered in soft touch materials; I especially like the textured aluminum look around the window buttons and cup holders. The MyLink infotainment system is easy to use and the graphics look good and the screen pops up for access to the hidden storage area with a USB jack. Standard features include tilt and telescopic steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, USB, 8-way power driver’s seat and more. But the back seat might be the best part of this car. The legroom has limo like dimensions and the space side-to-side and headroom is ample. The trunk is also huge with a fold down rear seat, providing more space than many small SUVs.


The Impala is now offered with a 4-cylinder or V6. The base engine is a 2.5L with direct injection unit and 195hp. My test Impala didn’t have this engine but I have used this new engine in the Malibu and I was very impressed with it then, one of the best new engines I have used. The V6 engine is a 3.6L direct injection unit with a potent 305hp. Both are matched to a 6-speed automatic that can be shifted manually but the shifter is on top of the knob, not the best place. The big car platform and independent suspension makes for a sure-footed ride with almost luxury car feel. The road feel is there, but never intrusive. This big sedan can actually handle rather well. Not the choice for a backcountry road excursions but stable and secure feeling.


Consumer Reports recently rated this one of the best cars they had ever tested, right behind the Tesla Model S and BMW 135i. This new Impala does everything a big car buyer is looking for: It cruises with ease, has more than enough room for five full size adults and the interior is quiet and refined. I would suggest that buyers of more expensive Luxury brands like Buick or Lexus give this car a shot, it has all the same comfort but with a lower price point. Once main criticism of this new car is the lack of an all wheel drive system. The Buick LaCrosse does off it as dose the Cadillac, the major difference between these products. Mid size sedan buyers should also have a look at the Impala offers for just slightly more money. Hopefully this new Impala will not be relegated to fleet sales and rental lots.

 Contact: zack [dot] spencer [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

The Lowdown

Power: 2.5L 4-cylinder with 195hp or 3.6L V6 with 305hp

Fill-up: 9.9L/6.3L/100km (city/highway)

Sticker price: $28,445-$39,645

After spending a week in an Impala, I have to admit it softened my cynicism to the point of almost buying the hype… (more…)

Chevrolet has certainly listened to their customers and in the Impala; it has given drivers a vehicle that has flair, as well as potency…

The 2014 Camaro features a standard 3.6L V6 with 323 horsepower.
Available for $25,695, 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel offers the best highway fuel economy of any non-hybrid passenger car in America.  All-new Cruze Diesel delivers segment-leading SAE-certified 151 horsepower and 264 lb-ft of torque with segment-leading 46 mpg highway.  It can go 717 miles on one tank of diesel fuel.
The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu makes its world debut Friday, May 31, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The 2014 Malibu has a revised front-end appearance, more backseat knee room, and a new 2.5L engine that delivers an estimated fuel economy of 23 city / 35 highway. Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert safety features are also available. (Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet)

The model year 2014 is already in full swing for Chevrolet as it rolls its products into the Vancouver International Auto Show.

Many of the new and revamped products are already in dealerships so let’s take a look at what’s especially notable for this year.

Cruze Diesel

The popular selling compact from Chevrolet, the Cruz, now comes in an even more efficient setup: the Cruze Diesel.

While the diesel model was launched last summer, it bears a 2014 designation.

Under its hood is a 2.0L turbo-diesel that packs in 151 horsepower and 264 lb.-ft torque. Yes, it has that much torque and is most impressive.

According to the Chevrolet, it has a 0-96 km/h (60 mph) performance of 8.6 seconds, “which is better than the Volkswagen Jetta TDI automatic and competitive with German diesel cars that dominate the North American market.”

In addition to that, it receives an estimated fuel consumption of 4.2L/100km on the highway and 7.5L/100km in the city.

While the Cruze diesel had already been available in Europe, the proven engine needed to be adapted to North American emissions ratings.

It comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission and 376.6L trunk space.

It has an MSRP of $24,945 plus $1,550 destination freight charge.


Chevrolet’s flagship sedan is all new for the 2014 model year. Released in 2013, this five-passenger vehicle can certainly hold its own in a segment whose competitors are getting stronger and stronger.

Among its redeeming new features, an all-new exterior design. I think it looks great. Having had the opportunity to take it for a test drive, Chevrolet has certainly listened to their customers and in the Impala; it has given drivers a vehicle that has flair, as well as potency.

Its cabin/interior also received a major overhaul and the result is pleasing to the eyes and to the touch.

The 2014 Impala is offered with three engine choices, including two four-cylinder powertrains and a 3.6L V6.

Output for the 3.6L V6 is rated at 305 horsepower and 264 lb.-ft. of torque (358 Nm). That is the highest horsepower output in the segment from a naturally-aspirated V6 engine.

The Ecotec 2.5L is part of a new family of four-cylinder engines developed with increased efficiency and greater refinement. It is rated at 196 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque

The Impala’s Ecotec 2.4L engine with eAssist provides electrical assist in certain conditions to help save fuel. It is rated at 182 horsepower.


The 2013 model year brought forth an all-new Malibu. That said, not much has changed for 2014, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t get a few enhancements.

For example, there’s now a fuel-saving start-stop technology added to the standard model, rear knee room improved by 1.25 inches (31.7 mm) and chassis and suspension developments enhance drive experience.

That’s on top off the overhauled Malibu, on the inside and out.

Camaro Z/28

For those diehard track day fans who have been waiting for an even more performance inspired Camaro, the wait is over. Almost.

For 2014, the Z/28 makes its debut.

All 2014 Camaro models feature a revised exterior design that integrates high-performance aerodynamics for more efficient cooling and stability at high speeds. However, the new Camaro Z/28 adds features like a full aerodynamics package that creates downforce at speed, which helps make it the most track-capable offering in Camaro’s history.
Alongside its aerodynamic prowess, under its hood is a mechanical wonder. Its 7.0L, LS7 V8 hand-assembled engine was co-developed with Corvette Racing to make it as potent as possible.

Its monster engine produces an estimated 500 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque.

With those figures on paper, don’t expect amazing fuel results!

And just like it takes an experienced driver to put it through its paces, your bank account will most likely need to be seasoned, too! It has an MSRP of $77,400.

If you get to the show, all the GM brands, including Chevrolet, are well-represented.

Contact: alexandra [dot] straub [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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