2017 Impala tops Chevy’s lineup of front-drive sedans

SHARE 2017 Impala tops Chevy’s lineup of front-drive sedans

When the publicity plays out for 2017 front-drive sedans, much of the effort will (deservedly) land with Chevrolet’s award-winning Malibu. However, if you want to stick with the bow tie brand but you want a bit more room and a lot more comfort, the Impala is likely on your radar.

The Impala is in its 10th generation, and the current model is a huge improvement over the previous middle-of-the-road model and a sedan that is intensely focused on comfort for five, with less emphasis on the power and performance once associated with the name.

The 2017 Chevrolet Impala is one of the few sedans in its class with a starting price less than $30,000. The base LS trim starts at $28,175 and is equipped with a standard four-cylinder engine. The higher LT trim starts at $30,440 and offers a V-6 engine option.

On the outside, the new Impala gets a bit tightened up as the once dismissible exterior lines give way to impressive character lines running fore and aft with a definitive chiseled side-panel treatment lending more character than the last two decades’ previous models. From the front, you don’t have to try too hard to clearly see a bit of Camaro style between the slim headlamps and across the bow tie-clad grille.

The Impala’s cabin starts with cloth material and graduates to fine leather surfaces. The big, accommodating seats have fine support and generous surface area for long, comfortable rides. One of the best improvements this generation of Impala has made is the great soft-touch surfaces and the lack of hard plastic.

Passenger space is one of the most important considerations when shopping for a large sedan, and the Impala does not disappoint. The second row has enough space for three adults. Plenty of leg room means passengers in the back can stretch out, and head room is plentiful for all passengers.

One of the best features (for the over-40 crowd) is that Chevy employs traditional physical knobs for major climate and audio controls, easily within reach of the driver’s seat. The Impala offers impressive cargo space: 18.8 cubic feet. That is the second-largest space in the class.

The optional Chevy MyLink system offers sharp graphics and a very user-friendly interface. You can pair your smartphone via Apple CarPlay to access all your favorite apps in a familiar layout. Android Auto is also available, which allows you to access navigation and other apps from your phone.

The 2017 Impala offers two engines: a base 2.5-liter I-4 (196 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque) and a 3.6-liter V-6 (305 horsepower,  264 pound-feet of torque). Both engines push power to the front wheels with a six-speed automatic transmission. Testing reveals a leisurely 8.7-second zero-to-60-mph time and a quarter-mile run in 16.8 seconds.

What the four-cylinder engine lacks in overwhelming power it makes up for in excellent fuel economy. The base Impala gets 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, which is one of the best ratings in the class (it takes a hybrid model, the Toyota Avalon Hybrid, to best it). The V-6 is a bit thirstier, getting 18 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway.

Featuring 10 standard air bags and a ton of active safety technology built into the standard package, Impala is impressive on the safety front and has a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA.

Though it has one of the lowest starting prices in the class, the Impala never feels inexpensive. The interior is roomy and thoughtful with a wonderful ride characteristic. For road trips, you would be challenged to find a vehicle that provides a more enjoyable traveling experience.

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