2014 Impala: “Bold styling that will turn heads for years to come”

April 12th, 2012

2013 Chevrolet Impala, profile

GM’s North America President Mark Reuss spoke the memorable line I’ve used as a title, which will likely prove false if GM produces as many Impalas as it hopes. Still, Chevy has come up with a sharp-looking, interesting new mass-market midsize car.

It seems Impalas have been criticized forever for their blandness. CNN’s Peter Valdes-Dapena called it a “brown paper bag on wheels” in a video here, echoing our very own tgriffith, who called it “a brown paper sack on wheels” some days earlier. We are thrilled that CNN is stealing our stuff.

Most everything is new on this car, which takes design cues from Audi, Camaro, etc. but finally makes its own effective statement. With new sheet metal and a lot of techy stuff inside, the Impala should outclass the Malibu and convert many of those who have learned to dismiss it.

1959 Impala convertibleFor all its contemptuous press, the Impala was still GM’s third best-selling car in the U.S. last year, beating out brands like Acura and Cadillac, Mitsubishi and MINI.

When it began its life in 1958, the Impala also made, for its time, an incredible, freaky styling statement. My sainted mother had a 1959 Impala convertible that looked something like this one and drew stares and raised thumbs. (She also, for the record, had a ’62 Corvair coupe and a ’66 Mustang. Kind of a suburban hot-shoe momma.)

2014 Impala, secret dashboard panelSo: The new car has a choice of three engines, ranging from 182 to 303 hp—two Ecotec fours and a V6. A 6-speed automatic is standard.

The interior appears to be very snazzy for a car that will do a lot of fleet sales, though the dash is too busy for my taste. One cute trick: The touchscreen display rises up to reveal a storage compartment—possibly for you to conceal your pistola, since handguns and touchscreens are clearly the wave of the future.

The car also has 8 cupholders, though only 5 seats. What are people using these things for?

Let’s say you’ve been a Camry owner for five years. Would the new Impala interest you?

—jgoods

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  1. Randy
    | #1

    I’ve always said that people with bad taste need to buy cars, most likely to get their Thomas Kinkade prints home. Sure, it looks like a dried turd with a Malibu painted on the outside, but that’s the Chevrolet styling department for you, yes, the same folks who brought you blockbusters like the Chevette, Citation, Nova II (x-car), Vega, Corvair, original Malibu, and many other direct-to-junkyard products have continued Chevy’s answer to the simply awful Chrysler Sebring. If those undead zombies you see in movies ever learn to drive, they will all want an Impala.

  2. | #2

    my 2008 Impala only has two cupholders unless it had the optional Flip N Fold rear, which then adds two more cupholders for a total of 4 cupholders. I enjoy the spacious that I get from having front three passenger seating arrangement.

  3. Randy
    | #3

    I saw some other pictures of the new Impala, and you know what? The design did “turn my head”…….to barf.

  4. Cycleguy
    | #4

    Wow. Some ancient history dredged up there. All companies move on and evolve. Now is now, then is then. All manufacturers company deserve credit where credit is due. AUDI used to make that dorky DKW Junior, why would I even look at an S4 because of that car having existed 40 years ago? When I think of the old homely Toyota Cressida and they way their seats self destructed in the sunlight, why should anyone give a 2012 Lexus GS the time of day? Perhaps you would look at a Subrau BRZ and instead of seeing a new car they created, perhaps you only see the ugly Tribeca? Let’s then piss on the Nissan GT-R citing how butt ugly a Datsun B210 was. This is fun. This, makes me feel like a liberal. Wheeeee. Let’s look at those darn BMW LS cars… WHY when a company made that car with a motorcycle engine (it actually SAVED the company) would anyone consider a current 5 series? By today’s standards, those old LS models were pathetic! SHAME on BMW, let’s ignore their progress forever.

    To most peoples tastes, the 2013 Impala is very good looking and with today’s competition, will surely prove to be a well-engineered car. It WILL be comfortable, quiet, solid, handle incredibly better than the Imapla’s of just five years back, and will (as it has traditionally done) remain a great VALUE compared to many of the imported marques you surely favor. The new 6 speed auto mated to a healthy 303hp V6 is a great improvement over the previous 3.5 200hp push-rod V6 engine with a 4 speed automatic. That new engine has already voted into the “Top 10 Engines in the World” by automotive engineers from around the world. Yeah… the same group that has always praised the wonderful Nissan 3.0 to 3.8 V6 series.

    Did you read that, Randy, 303 hp in a great looking new Impala!

    Speaking of GM engines, the “small block” Chevy V8 series is still a world class engine by most standards. It is indeed a design that any other manufacturer in the world would have been proud to have introduced in 1955 and developed so well over that astounding time frame. Surely you have completely dismissed that achievement as insignificant as well since it was from an American manufacturer.

    I seriously doubt if you have ever been behind the wheel of ANY of the cars you regularly diss, Randy.

    Now, let’s both sit back and see what the Impala does in the marketplace where real men vote with their dollars.

    OH NO! Ford has many great vehicles on the market as well. I am confident that, too, makes you sick. Go ahead and Barf Randy. Feel better now?

  5. J. R. McKelvey
    | #5

    So, I guess now we know where Chris Bangle ended up! First the 2013 Malibu, then the Cadillac ATS and 2014 Impala… one so-so design (Malibu) and two very promising styling jobs, all ruined by a droopy case of Bangle-Butt. This unsightly protuberance appears prominently as well on Chevy’s Alpha-platform show car from the NAIAS, but that hideous thing was so ugly overall, the grafted on bustle hardly stood out. Just saw a 2013 Malibu parked next to a 2012 at a dealership this weekend. Same color, inside and out, and the new one was NOT the more attractive car. Plus, the five-inch deficit in wheelbase will not go un-noticed by rear passengers! The new Fusion is gonna CREAM this thing in the marketplace.

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