I’ve always called it the brown paper bag of vehicles.
A family friend had one when I was younger, and I rented one when I was a young adult on a business trip. Those two experiences were enough to turn me off from the Chevrolet Impala ever since. This was a car that could go unnoticed in traffic and blend in like a brown paper bag in a bag full of other brown paper bags.
The Impala was uninspired, lacked any sort of intriguing design elements whatsoever and drove like a giant sheet of plywood.
So you can imagine my surprise, walking to the mailboxes at my apartment complex, when a car’s rear haunches caught my eye before revealing a word I would never have expected to see emblemized on the rear: Impala.
At first glance I might have guessed those sexy curves belonged to an Audi or even a BMW. The car sat, large and proud, in a row of other cars, but it was the Impala that caught my attention. New, shiny, sparkling and with a shape that made me take a second, and third, look.
I’m not the only one who has been taken aback by the formerly ignored Impala.
Consumer Reports doesn’t test every car every year, and sometimes a car goes through a refresh or two before getting tested again. Automotive News noticed that CR took another look and said,
The Impala went from being a “dated and inferior rental car option to contemporary, roomy, comfortable and enjoyable to drive. In other words, one of the very best cars on the road today,” Consumer Reports said in a statement.
The Impala’s overall CR test score leapt an astonishing 32 points from 63 to 95 on a 100-point scale.
As far as I’m concerned, that kind of change is worthy of a new name. When I saw the Impala in the parking lot that day, my first reaction was to try and not like it simply because of my previous experiences with the name. My brain’s instinct was, “Oh, it’s just an Impala, nevermind.” Had the car been called something else, maybe I would have said, “What is that? I think I want one.”
As great as the new Impala seems to be, the name might keep it hidden beneath that brown paper bag and lumped together with all the used Impalas on the market.
The new Impala looks to be heavily improved. Would you consider one?