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1. What’s new for 2015?
The 2015 Chevrolet Impala is little changed from the redesigned 2014 model. The 2.5L engine now comes with stop-start technology standard, and all models now have 4G LTE connectivity. Chevy has dropped the eAssist hybrid model, but you can now buy a bi-fuel model that runs on gasoline or compressed natural gas. Built-in Wi-Fi is a new feature.
2. How much does it cost (with Trim info)?
The base LS trim starts with an MSRP of $27.060 and includes the standard engine, 6-speed automatic, 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat and cloth upholstery. Next up is the 1LT model at $29,310 that adds 2-zone automatic climate control and a leather wrapped steering wheel/shift knob. The 2LT upgrades to the 3.6L engine, for $30,285. Top trim levels are the 1LTZ and 2LTZ at $34,465 and $35,440, respectively, with engine choice being the only difference. They provide leather seating, heated in the first row, power sunroof, advanced safety features, 8-way power for the front passenger’s seat and keyless access/push button start.
3. What options or trim level is best for me?
The base engine seems underpowered, so we recommend the 2LT or the 2LTZ. If you want a rear vision camera with park assist, remote start, heated seats, forward collision alert, rear cross traffic alert, side blind spot alert and lane departure warning, you want the 2LTZ. The $1,035 Comfort and Convenience Package adds goodies like ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, power tilt and telescoping steering column, memory settings for the driver seat, outside mirrors and steering wheel, universal home remote, auto-dimming inside rearview mirror, outside heated power-adjustable mirrors with turn signal indicators, ground illumination and driver-side auto-dimming feature, premium carpeted front and rear floor mats and carpeted trunk mat. That’s a long list for a grand.
4. What engine do you recommend?
As mentioned, we don’t care much for the base 2,5L 4-cylinder engine. A much better choice is the 3.6L DOHC V6 direct injection engine with variable valve timing. It delivers 305 hp @ 6,800 rpm and 264 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm. The CNG-capable engine is a fine choice for the environmentally minded, as long as you live near a CNG station.
5. How is the fuel economy?
The base engine delivers 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, thanks in part to stop-start technology, which unfortunately is not defeatable and requires a little getting used to. The larger 3.6L provides fuel economy of 19/29 mpg. Figures for the CNG engine are not available.
6. How does the vehicle handle?
The models equipped with the 3.6L engine accelerates briskly and always feels powerful. The road-going experience is very refined and comfortable. MacPherson struts in the front and a quad-link rear suspension helps ensure excellent handling. Wheel/tire selection is important in this vehicle: the 18-inchers provide a quieter, smoother ride than the 19- and 20-inch alternatives.
7. Are the controls easy to use?
The dashboard is large and has a flowing design. Not all controls are touch sensitive, which we find rather appealing. We like the buttons and dials that control the fan speed, climate control and audio volume. But don’t worry, the 8-inch touchscreen command center offers more than enough fingertip control, and it’s easy to use.
8. Is it comfortable?
The Impala is a large and comfortable sedan. The higher trims approach premium levels, with items like leather seating and soft trim. All seats are attractive and comfortable, and the legroom in the second row is quite generous. The top-line Bose surround-sound audio sounds great. If you experience weather extremes, you’ll love the ventilated and heated seats.
9. What about safety?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2015 Impala a 5-Star Overall Rating, and the only 4-star result comes from the rollover test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety hasn’t fully rated the car yet, but has issued Good ratings for the moderate overlap and side impact tests. It also ranks the high-trim models as Superior for front crash protection. The LTZ models offer a rich collection of active safety features. The Impala frame is made from ultra-high-strength steel and the cabin packs 10 air bags. Of course, all GM cars feature OnStar, which provides the important Automatic Crash Response.
10. How’s the reliability and resale value?
JD Power gives the 2014 Impala a predicted reliability rating of 4 out of 5 stars, but only 2 stars for overall quality, which is a bit of a red flag. Kelly Blue Book says that you can buy a fully loaded used 2014 Impala with 19,500 miles and all the bells and whistles for little as $26,175, which is quite a bargain. KBB feels the Impala’s resale value will endure better than will the comparable Ford and Dodge models, but not as well as Toyota’s entry.
11. What other models should I consider?
Anyone looking at the Chevy Impala in high trim should also check out the Toyota Avalon, which compares very favorably on all features except price. Impala is also less expensive than Nissan Maxima, Kia Cadenza and Hyundai Azera. The Ford Taurus and Dodge Charger offer similar spaciousness and compete well on price, with 6-cylinder entries priced about the same as the 4-cylinder Impala.