2014 Chevrolet Impala LTZ – A Glam Ride
Ever since Impala was introduced back in 1957, the first, second and third generations were the dream aspirations both for the designer and customers. A dream comes true to own a long floating boat on the road. All in all, it remained a glitzy glam ride, until GM started to confuse it with its sibling Caprice. To add to the mayhem there were other marques within GM like Pontiac, Buick, Oldsmobile and Cadillac that had similar offerings, which made everyone start scratching their heads.
Even though Impala remained off & on production, GM was fairly aware of its flying – deer emblem aficionados. It was the 7th Generation Impala SS that made sense and was relatively an impactful model. We love to see it in the movies in a Police uniform guise or just plain black hooligan’s pride! However, as history repeats itself, GM got confused again and killed it for some time. Nevertheless, Chevrolet has brought it back but this time on the midsize platform based on the Lumina. Unfortunately, it lacks the pedigree as GM has shifted from the rear-wheel-drive platform towards a modern front-wheel-drive platform. It was an economical sign of the times. A Spaghetti Incident for sure, whatever that means!
Glam Rocker Design – 8.5/10
It was a hot summer afternoon when this stunning Blue Ray Metallic Chevrolet LTZ arrived. The pearls in paintwork were glistening under the glowing sun. The car resembles like a svelte rock star in a metal (actually leather) jacket. With gleaming chrome, front grille carrying the huge gold bow-tie badge, sparkling hockey sticks like LED Daylight Running Lights. Impala exudes a sleek yet strong image as the proportions are just perfect. It sits on large 20-inch wheels pushed outward for a short front overhang. Retro sculpted lines on the rear overhangs extending from the rear deck sporting a spoiler hark back to 2nd gen Camaros.
Move inside the LTZ spec and get yourself accustomed with Jet-black/ Mohave all leather interior. The first thing you will feel is the well-cushioned comfortable yet well supportive large American seats, fitted with aircon vents. The Impala cabin is stylish yet functional: featuring a signature dual cockpit design. The swooping wraparound chrome bar emits a cool blue illumination creating a beautiful ambiance in the night. Our LTZ is fitted with 8-inch Hi-Res LED touch screen, called as My Link infotainment system. Press a button underneath the screen, the screen will rise to reveal a secret compartment with a USB media connection. The instrument binnacle also equipped with a standard 4.2-inch display with reconfigurable information for the driver as desired. However, the most important thing here with both the Hi-Res screens: they don’t disappear when you are wearing polarized sunglasses! Kudos to Chevy for this peculiar attention to detail. In the rear, there’s ample space for 3 adults to sit in comfort. The whole car is encased like a large greenhouse that keeps the cabin bright via 6 window designs that ensure all-around visibility for the driver.
Powerhouse Performance – 8.0/10
That 1994 7th gen Impala was a serious machine, and hence it carried special SS emblem. It was fitted with a Chevy small block V8 LT1 5.7-liter (350 cu in), making 260 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. Such fun! You see now where I am coming from? As this All new 2014 Impala LTZ (yes without the revered SS emblem) comes standard with Direct Injection VVT 3.6L DOHC V6, producing a whopping 305 horsepower with well supportive 264 pound-feet of torque enough to launch the car for 0-60 dash in a shade over 7 secs. At the same time, bringing the car back zero requires firm pressure on the brake pedal as it felt linear. The Mac Macpherson struts up front combined with Multilink rear independent suspension ensures a dynamic ride with body roll kept in-checked all the time. The damping is appropriately restraint. The bushings are well placed to curb NVH and to provide a comfortable drive with excellent quieter experience thanks to its advanced sound deadening techniques right from an acoustically laminated windshield along with front door’s windows.
The electric-assisted steering seemed over boosted but help park the car at tight places, and it works well, though not a top choice on the highway as it lacks feedback. The six-speed auto transmission aids in achieving an impressive fuel consumption of 8.1L/100km on the highway and 12.8L/100km during a much more spirited driving style. Perhaps the biggest gripe I’ve found in the entire car in terms of functionality where the +/- toggle switch for manual gear change, located inconveniently on top of the gear lever! I can’t get my head around the understanding of ergonomics as there are paddles available behind the functional steering wheel but only for volume control and maybe for aircon speed!
Safety In Abundance – 8.5/10
Chevy covered every aspect to keep the occupant safe hence keeping the customers happy and loyal. Impala LTZ is fitted with 10 standard airbags, alongside with driver and front passenger side-impact and knee protection airbags. Head curtain airbags in case of an unfortunate roll-over situation. Advanced tech starts from here: A camera-assisted forward collision alert positioned behind the driver dashboard area that gives a sharp beep and red LEDs display on the front windscreen. Furthermore, camera-assisted Lane’s departure warning. Side blind zone alert with radar sense tech reflected on the door wing mirrors. Rear cross traffic alerts while backing up alongside with Reversing camera assisted by dynamics lines and ultrasonic rear park assist. Nevertheless, I strongly wished for the front ultrasonic park assist along with dynamic lines as I felt the front bumper valance on LTZ is quite low and chances are it might get scrapped while parking nose-in situations.
A Buyer’s Guide to the Red Carpet– 8/10
Chevy Impala scores high in value even in fully loaded LTZ trim level. Chevrolet designed the Impala with the intended purpose to provide a jitterless and fuss-free long comfortable cross-country rides. It surely excels in that category. When in need the engine provides impressive power, though Chevy never claims this as a full-size Sports Sedan, remember there’s no SS emblem. Another evidence of modesty can be found on RPM gauge that is devoid of redline!
The full-size sedan segment is very tight in terms of competitors. Starting from newly launched Toyota Avalon, Ford Taurus, Kia Cadenza & Dodge Charger. Each of the competitors has its own selling points. One may win on price, other features & technology or even a better rear-wheel-drive experience. Nevertheless, having a balance is always the best option: a value for money. All the criticisms I mentioned above are negligible for most customers. If I wasn’t test driving I won’t be looking for the manual override, and honestly, I found air-con and impressive Bose sound system operation much easier and natural via big round dials on the center stack.
If convinced, you can find yourself driving off in the glamorous Impala from the showroom floor starting from AED 105, 000/- for the base LS model and AED 129, 000/- for fully loaded LTZ. Chevrolet has struck the right note with this new Impala.