When the Chevrolet Impala first hit the boulevard in 1958, it was a typical 1950s land yacht; drenched in chrome and long—really long. Over the years the Impala has filled many roles, from staring as a hydraulic hopping lowrider in a Snoop Dogg Video to serving as your friendly neighborhood police cruiser. The Impala blurs all social lines.
HISTORY OF THE CHEVY IMPALA
For most of its life, the Impala was offered as both a coupe and four-door. It wasn’t until the mid-90s that it was offered exclusively as a sedan. The Impala has always sold well, thanks to its ability to blend utility and style. Unlike most sedans, the Impala has managed to continuously avoid the “old lady car” stereotype, by offering a performance oriented Super Sport (SS) version. The Super Sport, with its unique appearance package and performance upgrades, has kept the Impala in vogue since its introduction. While the Impala has been on sale for 57 years, CarStory has chosen to focus on model year 2000 and newer vehicles.
The Impala had always been an all American, rear-wheel drive, V-8 powered brute until 1996 when the last of the rear drivers rolled off the assembly line. Soon after, the Impala took a four year hiatus until being re-released in 2000—as a front-wheel drive. Hot Rodders everywhere voiced disapproval, but front drive offered the improved economy and traction GM was after. Base and LS models got either a 3.4L 6-cylinder or a 3.8L 6-cylinder. An SS model was also made available, with a supercharged 6-cylinder between the frame rails. All models came equipped with a four-speed automatic.
A facelift, as well as new taillights, marketed the introduction of the ninth generation Impala (2006-2013). Base and LS models got two new V-6 engine options; the 3.5L and 3.9L 6-cylinders. The real news was the debut of the 5.3-liter 8-cylinder in SS models, which made the Impala capable of a 5.6 second 0–60-mile-per-hour (0–97 km/h) time and a quarter-mile time of 14.2 seconds traveling at 101 miles per hour. All models shared the four-speed automatic, as well as updated audio systems, a redesigned instrument panel, new seats and standard side curtain airbags.
The current, tenth generation Impala, debuted with a bang becoming the first American sedan to earn Consumer Reports top score in 20 years. Beginning in 2014, the front-wheel drive layout remained, but the optional V-8 was replaced by a lineup of four and six-cylinder engines. This includes a 2.4L four-cylinder mild hybrid, 2.5L four-cylinder and a 3.6L 6-cylinder. A 6-speed automatic supplied power to the wheels.
Trim levels include the LS, LT, and LTZ. Many new technological goodies were also made available such as an 8-inch MyLink touchscreen interface for audio, navigation and phone functions.
In 2015, the Impala began being offered as a bi-fuel model that can run on gasoline or compressed natural gas (CNG). In addition, the base 4-cylinder engine got start-stop technology to save fuel, and 4G LTE with built-in Wi-Fi hotspot became optional.
More than half a century and the Chevy Impala is still going strong. It’s the go-to sedan. Hey, if it’s good enough for rap stars and the fuzz, it’s good enough for us.