2018 Chevrolet Impala: Former Star Is Now the Elder Statesman

The 2018 Chevrolet Impala is a luxury sedan that provides a big slice of American muscle in a conservative overcoat. Scroll below to learn about its performance specs and defining features:

Although the full-size cars don’t sell the same numbers as the mid-range machines, this car can make a major difference to the company’s reputation. So, it’s important for Chevrolet to make an impact with the Impala, for PR reasons as much as the bottom line.

The Impala has a storied history dating all the way back to 1958. The Impala was an icon in the early days and inspired rabid devotion among its fans. Nowadays, it’s happy to stand at the back in the family photos and let the young pups take the limelight, but it’s still an incredibly competent car and one of Consumer Reports’ Top 10 picks.

It has to contend with some potent opposition, though, and large sedans also fall into the crosshairs of the burgeoning crossover SUV market. So how does the 2018 Chevy Impala stack up?

Performance Spec

The Impala starts at just $28,375, which means is excellent value for a full-size sedan. In fact, the Impala has more than one “Best Large Car on a Budget” awards to its name.

That buys you the LS, which comes with a surprising amount of standard equipment, including the entry-level 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission that comes with 196 bhp and 186 lb/ft of torque.

Step up to the LT model, which starts at $30,640, and you get the same engine with stop-start tech and a more advanced interior. But it’s the range-topping Premier model where things get really interesting.

The Premier model costs $36,720 and can get more expensive if you hit the options list, but it does come with the 3.6-liter V6 powerplant that pumps out 305 bhp and 264 lb/ft of torque. You can order the lower specs and upgrade the engine, which is a tempting proposition when you see the performance on tap. It will take this luxury sedan with leather chairs to 60 mph in six seconds and on to a seriously respectable 149 mph.

There used to be a hybrid, but Chevrolet clearly couldn’t find a market and have quietly dropped the petrol-electric hybrid car from the line-up.

Fuel Efficiency

The smaller engine option will appeal to those that really want to save money at the gas station, but there are more efficient options out there. The 2.5-liter engine returns 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, which goes some way to compensating for the lesser performance.

The bigger 3.6-liter V6 pays for the added power with fuel economy figures that might make the frugal-minded wince. It will give you just 18 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, which puts it back in the crosshairs of some of the smarter SUV crossover vehicles.

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Safety and Infotainment Features

The Impala gets a clear, five-star overall rating from the NHTSA, but that’s just the start. You can tick the box for the optional forward collision alert, lane departure waring, blind spot warning, and rear cross traffic alert. Alternatively, order the Premier and all those features come as standard.

Active safety is conspicuous by its absence in a large, luxurious family sedan. You can’t even add active safety, it simply isn’t there. In its place, you do get OnStar Crash Response, which will alert the emergency services if things go wrong.

The base model comes with an Apple CarPlay or Android Auto-ready eight-inch touchscreen that comes with Chevrolet’s patented MyLink radio and a three-month subscription to SiriusXM. You get voice-activated controls, Bluetooth streaming, three USB ports, and more.

The only real difference as you climb up the range in the base equipment is that you get improved navigation. Plus, you can spec an 11-speaker Bose surround system with the Enhanced Technology Package that includes a power outlet and wireless charging.

Chevy has cleaned up the interior with a 2017 redesign and the new car has a fit and finish befitting the class these days. It’s still not quite a luxury car, despite its dual-climate air conditioning and eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, but at this price point that’s understandable.

How It Stacks up Against the Competition

Chevy has gone to war with its U.S. rivals in pretty much every other class and here the Impala faces off against the Ford Taurus and Chrysler 300. But we can’t seriously discount the likes of the Toyota Avalon, Honda Azera, and Nissa Maxima.

The Impala is a dynamic match for all of them and has drawn universal praise for the way it hides its girth on the open road. The most powerful version is certainly rapid enough to take the fight to most on the list, although the Taurus has got the edge in terms of raw performance.

The Chrysler 300 offers four-wheel-drive and its distinctive style might tempt you away from the conservative cut of the Chevy’s cloth. The Avalon and Maxima both come with just one engine, a 3.5-liter V6. In both instances, they lose out to the more powerful Chevy. The Nissan, though, is a powerful contender as it’s close in terms of performance and the cheapest version undercuts the Impala Premier by a healthy margin.

The Impala is a solid option that edges out the Japanese option. It’s a closer call with the homegrown opposition, though, and really comes down to personal preference.

Pros

  • Elegant design that is understated and classy.
  • Solid infotainment, even in the base model.
  • Redesigned interior is much classier than the old car.
  • Bigger engine is seriously peppy.
  • Stunning price for the base model.

Cons

  • Front-wheel-drive only won’t appeal to everybody.
  • Bigger-engined model isn’t the most economical.
  • Active safety just isn’t an option.
  • Ford Taurus and Chrysler 300 are strong options.
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