Chevrolet has a problem. It’s called Being Chevrolet. And the 2014 Chevrolet Impala 2LZ (as it says on the window sticker) or Impala LTZ (as it says on the trunk lid, and which we’ll use), proves the point. The 2014 Impala LTZ is a car that ranks with near luxury automobiles in turnout, performance and equipment, and yet, despite all that, it’s still “just a Chevy.”
It deserves much more.
The 2014 Impala LTZ is the top of the line of Chevrolet’s full-size sedan, with trim levels beginning with the base LS with the Impala LT as the midrange model. A 195-horsepower 2.5-liter four cylinder is standard across the range, including the 1LZ version of the LTZ. A 3.6-liter is available on the LT and LTZ, a gutsy V-6 rated at 305 horses, capable of spinning the front tires until the traction control kicks in (or longer, ahem, if it’s turned off). Both engines have direct injection for added power on regular fuel. A Ecotec 2.4L engine rated at with eAssist—electric boost in certain conditions—is rated at 184 horses but will achieve 35 mpg highway on EPA test cycle. Availability is at the end of 2013.
As one might expect, the Impala LS starts with cloth seats and basic equipment compared to the LTZ, the latter having standard equipment including a panoramic sunroof, HID headlamps, keyless entry with pushbutton start, leather heated seats (power driver and passenger), dual zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, Chevrolet MyLink, front and rear floor mats, a color 8-inch multi-information display and, as they say, more.
That multi-information display, mounted high on the center stack, has a neat feature. At the push of a button, it slides upwards, revealing a storage bin in the empty space behind it, complete with a USB plug.
It’s part of an interior replete with bins and cubbies, from a cavern under the center arm rest, a lidded bin at the front of the center console, and another opening bin on the lower dash to the left of the steering wheel. It’s where we’d put our loose change. We’d put an umbrella in the dedicated umbrella holder in the front door.
But the knockout isn’t in the equipment, it’s in the presentation. If the stylists were told to swing for the fences, they hit it out of the park. The theme takes the Chevrolet dual cockpit and exaggerates it. Our test 2014 Chevrolet Impala LTZ combined jet black with Mohave, with the Mohave dashtop cut way forward towards the windshield and back over the center stack and along the window sills. Then when the lights are low, there’s not just romance but a band of “mood lighting” wrapping around the interior.
The front buckets are wide and comfy—did we mention the optional ventilated front seats—and with an inch more of wheelbase for 2014, the rear leg room is outstanding, completely worthy of a full-size car, although a smidge more toe room under the front seats would increase effective leg room yet even more.
Shifting to the practical, the trunk holds more than 18 cubic feet of cargo, almost as much as the land yachts of yore, but adds a 60/40 folding rear seatback for long stuff earlier Impalas couldn’t hold.
The 2014 Chevrolet Impala –big brother to the Chevrolet Malibu, which received a revised face and new engine this year, is all new, down to the body. Chevy engineers studied the upper body structure shape, material, and metal gauge to meet performance parameters while keeping weight down, then used the difference to strengthen other areas, such as the front strut towers, for a more rigid feel.
Under the Impala is conventional MacPherson strut front suspension and independent four-link rear suspension, similar to that of its predecessor, only with a slightly wider track at the rear. Isolating the engine via a separate cradle with rubber and hydraulic mounts, along with additionally insulating the rear suspension, contribute to the Impala’s exceptionally smooth and quiet ride.