2017 Chevrolet Impala

ANDREW WENDLER

Overview: Some returning nameplates strut into a new model year with the braggadocio of a heavyweight prizefighter returning to defend a title. Others just slink in and take a seat in the back, preferring to let their skills do the talking. The 2017 Chevrolet Impala sedan definitely is one of the latter. Comprehensively redesigned for 2014, the 2017 version arrived devoid of hyperbole, with only a few minor changes differentiating it from the previous year’s model. Available solely as a full-size four-door sedan, the 2017 Impala continues to offer three trim levels: LS, LT, and Premier (formerly LTZ). Motivation is provided by either a 196-hp 2.5-liter inline-four or an optional 305-hp 3.6-liter V-6. A six-speed automatic is tasked with shuffling gears regardless of engine choice.

The Impala nameplate is no upstart, having appeared on three different runs of varying duration (1958–85, 1994–96, and 2000-to-present) and even more generational body-style iterations. While it seems unlikely that any modern Impala could inspire the same rabid devotion as the iconic 1950s and ’60s models, this latest version enjoys build quality, practicality, and athleticism far beyond that of previous generations.

What’s New: In short, not a lot. The V-6 is now available in the base LS car (for $1095), leather hides now can be ordered in the LT by checking the box for the Leather package ($1495), and a new Jet Black/Light Wheat interior replaces the previous Jet Black/Mojave color scheme. Although mixing a little more excitement into the 2017 Impala would have been nice, Chevy likely figured that the rear-drive SS sedan adequately covered the full-size, four-door performance realm. And, hey, when you sell more than 116,000 units in the previous year with minimal effort, there’s no reason to risk derailing the train.

What We Like: Despite a sleek profile, the Impala offers a spacious cabin with limo-grade back-seat room and 19 cubic feet of trunk space. The ride is smooth and quiet, and the car gobbles up highway miles like Takeru Kobayashi inhales hot dogs on the Fourth of July. What it gives up in steering feel it makes up for with linear action and precise vehicle placement; rounding corners and navigating on-ramps reveals a chassis far more composed than might be expected from a big sedan. Kudos to GM for letting the Impala stretch its legs and top out at a drag-limited 132 mph for the four-cylinder and 149 mph for the V-6.

What We Don’t Like: This car is virtually unchanged from the 2014 model that finished second to the Toyota Avalon in our test of full-size sedans, primarily due to perceived interior fit-and-finish missteps. While the interior build quality seems to have improved since then, the brake pedal still leaves something to be desired in terms of linear action and feel. Stopping distance for the four-cylinder Impala, however, is right in the hunt at 168 feet from 70 mph with no fade (the V-6 stopped in 178 feet, also with no fade).

Verdict: Large, stable, and composed, the Impala is worthy of its storied badge even if it doesn’t need to flaunt it.

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Specifications >

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

BASE PRICES: LS, $28,375;
LT, $30,640;
Premier, $36,720

ENGINE TYPES: DOHC 16-valve 2.5-liter inline-4, 196 hp, 186 lb-ft; DOHC 24-valve 3.6-liter V-6, 305 hp, 264 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS:
Wheelbase: 111.7 in
Length: 201.3 in
Width: 73.0 in Height: 58.9 in
Passenger volume: 110 cu ft
Trunk volume: 19 cu ft
Curb weight: 3700-3823 lb

FUEL ECONOMY:
EPA combined/city/highway: 22–25/18–22/28–30 mpg


C/D TEST RESULTS FOR:
2014 Chevrolet Impala LT V-6 sedan
Zero to 60 mph: 6.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 15.5 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 34.5 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.2 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.4 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.0 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.8 sec @ 97 mph
Top speed (drag limited): 149 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 178 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.82 g
Curb weight: 3823 lb
C/D observed fuel economy: 22 mpg