by Aiden Eksteen
Despite the planned discontinuation of the Chevrolet Impala in the USA slated for the end of the 2019 model year, Chevrolet extended production of the large sedan for an additional seven months, sparing the nameplate for those who still have an interest in the slowly dying class. Chevrolet has narrowed the selection down from three to two models for the 2020 model year though, both now solely equipped with the 3.6-liter V6 engine from last year's top-tier trims. This mill produces peak outputs of 305 horsepower and 264 lb-ft of torque, it's coupled to a six-speed automatic gearbox, which directs outputs to the Impala's front-wheel-drivetrain by default. The Impala's powertrain is competent, its cabin commodious, and its trunk highly practical. It's an aging bull, however, with a dated aesthetic and poor outward visibility, all considerable flaws considering its many formidable competitors, with the Toyota Avalon, Kia Cadenza, and the Nissan Maxima all avoiding outright extinction.
The base-level Impala LS trim has been dropped in the US for the 2020 model year, leaving only the mid-spec LT and the top-spec Premier, the latter of which now comes standard-fit with the V6 engine in place of the prior year's 2.5-liter four-cylinder base engine. A few of the Impala's available packages and options have also been deleted, likely as a result of the nameplate's forthcoming execution. Essentially, the Impala's trim-line has been simplified and the model's customizability limited in an aim to reduce Chevrolet's production costs of the slow-selling model.
The Impala may be aging on the inside, but its age certainly doesn't come through on the outside, as its aesthetic remains rather contemporary. Its front end may have you think you're seeing double, with its chrome dual-bar center grille with flanking headlights underscored by another chrome dual-bar grille on the lower-fascia flanked by squared foglight housings. The LT is fitted with halogen headlights and the Premier with high-intensity discharge headlights, but both models feature automatic on/off headlamp control and both have LED daytime running lights. The LT is equipped with 18-inch painted alloy wheels, while the Premier has 19-inch alloys instead.
The new Chevy Impala is a sizable bull, with dimensions comparable to that of even the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV. With a total body length of 201.3 inches, the Impala is only 2.7 inches shorter than the Tahoe, with its 111.7-inch wheelbase measuring only 4.3 inches shorter too. The Impala's overall height comes in at 58.9 inches and its width, excluding the side mirrors, at 73 inches. As for curb weights, the Impala LT weighs in at 3,787 pounds and the Premier at 3,811 lbs. The Impala's dimensions are sizable, but nothing beyond what's expected of the large sedan segment.
Many of the Impala's exterior color options have been washed away for the new model year, leaving a total of only five hues for the lineup. Black and Silver Ice Metallic are the only two standard cost-inclusive options available for both models, and the LT is exclusively available in Summit White as well. A Cajun Red Tintcoat exists for both Chevy Impala models at an additional cost of $395 as does an Iridescent Pearl Tricoat at $995. The Iridescent Pearl Tricoat carries a hefty up-charge but is arguably the best hue for the Impala; the Cajun Red Tintcoat or the standard Black are otherwise also aesthetically pleasing, and a lot more affordable.
Unsurprisingly, the Impala isn't a very quick vehicle with performance falling well below that of comfort, luxury, and economy - sensibly fitting its nature as a front-wheel-drive full-size family sedan. That said, the Impala's 305 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque allow for a 0 to 60 mph sprint time of around 6.5 seconds which is pretty much on par for the class, though it'll take a while to reach its top speed, according to most test drives. The Toyota Avalon, with its V6 mill, completes the sprint in just a little faster in 6.1 seconds. The Impala was ridiculously slow with the old 2.5-liter, which lugged the hefty sedan from 0-60 mph in a snail-like nine seconds. Thank goodness for the cull.
With Chevrolet dropping the lethargic 2.5-liter flat-four engine for the 2020 model, only the peppy 3.6-liter V6 persists and comes equipped in both the LT and the Premier this year. Though this did result in a bit of a price jump for the LT model, the 2.5-liter was a drag. It was underpowered, unrefined, and not that much more fuel-efficient than the V6. The V6, on the other hand, is a robust and consummate fit for the large family sedan; off-the-line acceleration is gradual, but power delivery is instant and progressive. It delivers just the right amount of pep for smooth and consistent motoring around town, and makes for easy, quick highway merges and overtakes. The engine is solely coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission as standard, and overall this transmission feels significantly unrefined - automated shifts are consistently slow and it feels as though the engine's power is never fully utilized. Its shifts are smooth, but it would be nice if it allowed the engine to reach a slightly higher rev range before shifting.
A comfortable ride quality is one of the Impala's top priorities, and there's no better way to describe the Impala than as a luxury couch on wheels. The full-size sedan doesn't feel as big as it is from behind the wheel, it always feels composed, and its suspension is set suitably soft but without being underdamped. All but the most prominent of road imperfections and undulations are readily dealt with and barely any exterior and engine noise makes it into the cabin, either. Though not very communicative of road feel, it's steering is surprisingly precise and responsive, and in fact not as numb as most family sedans out there. The brake pedal is notably spongy, however, but fortunately, stopping power is still adequate and the Impala comes to a halt in reasonable space of time. Because of the Impala's large size, hefty weight, and softly-tuned suspension, body roll is rather prevalent around turns, but this doesn't detract from its serene ride. It feels most suited to the open road where it can simply cruise on effortlessly, making it a great family vehicle for taking on long-distance road trips or vacations.
The large and hefty Impala is somewhat of a gas guzzler with the EPA returning estimated gas mileage figures of 19/28/22 mpg city/highway/combined - having it trail behind the Toyota Avalon V6, which returned figures of 22/31/25 mpg on those same cycles. Fortunately, the Impala is equipped with quite a large 18.5-gallon gas tank, so stops at the waterhole won't be too often. With a full tank, the Impala should reach a maximum range of around 407 miles before running empty.
The Impala's cabin is well-designed and is generally quite well put together, however, some hard-touch plastics are prevalent on the dash and center stack, detracting from the overall impression. Nevertheless, the Impala's interior is a pleasant place to spend time - passenger room is plentiful and the seats are spacious, comfortable, and supportive. The layout of the cabin is very ergonomic, thanks to all the available room. Driver controls, passenger controls, and general storage points are all practically set out. But, the aging design is a detractor, and the poor visibility is cause for concern. There may be an abundance of features, but the interior is where the Impala falls well behind its rivals.
Five fully grown adults will comfortably fit into the commodious cabin of the Impala, overall passenger room is ample throughout and the seats themselves, including the center rear seat, are all spacious and plush. Because of the Impala's cavernous cabin and its large sedan doors, ingress and egress are as effortless as can be. The rear seats deserve particular praise - the space is simply cavernous, with an abundance of head and legroom for all occupants. But from the driver's perch, there's limited visibility, where the Impala's massive dimensions count against it. The seats are comfortable though, suiting both short and long drives.
Both of the Impala models are standard-fit with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob, and both feature carpeted front and rear floor mats. In the LT, Jet Black premium leatherette/cloth seating upholstery is standard, complemented by Jet Black cabin accents and panel trim. The seats in the Premier are accoutred with Jet Black perforated leather upholstery, also matched by Jet Black cabin elements; in the dashboard is a turquoise-toned chrome strip that runs through to the door panels as well. Faux wood adorns the center console, which can feel cheap and nasty.
Practicality is high in the Impala, thanks to its expansive size; even with so much room dedicated passengers, there's still a cavernous 18.8 cubic feet of cargo room left in the trunk. That's more than what both the Toyota Avalon and the Nissan Maxima offer, with 16.1 cubes offered from the Avalon, and only 14.2 cubes from the Maxima. The Impala's 18.8 cubes are good for two large suitcases and perhaps a couple of carry-on cases as well. The trunk is considerably deep and the rear seats feature 60/40-split foldability, although they don't fold entirely flat.
In-cabin storage solutions are bountiful too. There are large bottle holders on all four doors with small-item storage points, a miniature driver's side cubby, a small center console cubby, a hidden compartment behind the touchscreen, dual cupholders, a large center armrest storage console, and a large passenger-side glove box. In the rear are seatback map pockets on both front seats and dual cup holders in the center rear seat backrest.
As a full-size sedan, the Impala comes fittingly equipped with features that give it a premium air. A remote start system is standard, so those residing in cold-weather states can warm up the sedan while prepping for the day. Keyless entry and ignition make things utterly convenient, and there's a keyless trunk opening touchpad and power trunk release, too. The LT features a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob, a tilt/telescoping steering column, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, and a rearview camera. An eight-way power-adjustable front passenger seat is standardized in the Premier along with heated front seats, a universal home remote, and ambient in-cabin lighting. Furthermore, driver-assist technologies are augmented with rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-change alert with blind-spot monitoring.
Infotainment is covered admirably in the Impala. An eight-inch touchscreen is standard in both the LT and Premier displaying clear images, and the LT's stock six-speaker sound system delivers decent sound quality. But it's the Premier's 11-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system that truly impresses. Both models are also installed with an AM/FM stereo, and the Premier gets a single-CD player and MP3 playback capability. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration are standard in both models as well, along with SiriusXM radio connectivity, voice-activation, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability, Bluetooth connectivity, audio streaming, and hands-free smartphone operation. The system is upgraded with a 2D and 3D GPS onboard navigation system in the Premier. There are two USB ports located inside a floor console and one behind the infotainment's touchscreen. The Premier gets a wireless charging pad in the center console.
The 2020 Chevrolet Impala has remained recall-free to date with the 2019 model being subject to just one issue. That recall pertained to an isolated incident regarding insufficient coating on the rear brake caliper pistons on the sedan, and was part of a broader recall for a range of GM products. If reliability is a concern, Chevrolet covers the 2020 Impala with a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and with a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Roadside assist is also included for five years/60,000 miles.
Chevrolet built and equipped the Impala as a car with optimal levels of safety as the large sedan is a family vehicle. A top-notch overall safety rating of five stars was given to the 2020 year model by the NHTSA while the IIHS' review of the Chevy Impala returned top ratings of Good for four of five specific crash test evaluations, although headlights scored Poor ratings.
With decent safety scores to back the equipment up, Chevrolet equips the Impala with a standard consignment of ten airbags, including driver and front passenger knee airbags and rear seat side airbags. An integrated rearview camera and cruise control are the only standard driver assists in the LT. The Premier comes standard with rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane change alert with side blind-spot monitoring, all of which are optional for the LT via the Driver Confidence Package. The Premier has access to a Confidence Package of its own, which adds forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and advanced dynamic cruise control. Sadly, many rivals offer these as standard.
For a car that's been around since 2014 and that's now on the verge of death, the Chevrolet Impala is still a rather attractive sedan. However, its age is certainly obvious on the inside with hard-touch plastics taking away from the premium experience, and with no hybrid or turbocharged engine options, the engine selection does seem behind the times. The V6 is a good fit for the full-size sedan, but it isn't very economical and the gearbox it comes with is as unrefined as an old automatic can be. Apart from those drawbacks, the Impala is actually a very appealing vehicle - it's great value for money and is competitively priced for the class. Its cabin is exceptionally commodious and the seats are pleasantly cozy and supportive. The infotainment system is contemporary and highly functional, and the Bose audio system in the Premier is a great element. We can't not make mention of the Impala's class-leading cargo capacity either, which means that as long as you can stomach some awkward materials, the Impala might well be good value for money that the world simply underappreciates.
Despite a $3,000-plus price increase from the previous year's base price, the Impala is still a considerably well-priced vehicle for the class. So how much does it cost? The LT starts at an MSRP of $31,620 and is followed closely by the Premier with its sticker price of $36,720. Those are excluding Chevrolet cost for the Impala's destination, processing, handling of $875 as well as any tax, registration, or licensing fees. A fully-loaded Impala Premier model will cost roughly $40,000.
Only two configurations make up the Impala lineup (LT and Premier), and for the first time, only a single powertrain services both models - a 3.6-liter V6 mill that's coupled to a six-speed automatic gearbox to drive outputs to the sedan's front-wheel-drivetrain.
On the outside, the base model LT comes equipped with 18-inch painted alloy wheels. It's fitted with standard halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights, and heated power side-view mirrors. Remote activation, keyless entry, and keyless ignition are all standard features in the LT. There's a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob, a tilt/telescoping steering column, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Only a rearview camera and cruise control cover driver aids. The LT's infotainment system is comprised of an eight-inch touchscreen, a six-speaker sound system, and an AM/FM stereo. There's full functionality in Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM radio, Bluetooth connectivity, voice control, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity.
The Premier rides upon 19-inch alloy wheels as standard. It's fitted with high-intensity discharge headlights and features chrome door handles, chrome front door sills, and a body-color strip. On the inside, it gets an eight-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, heated front seats, a universal home remote, and ambient in-cabin lighting. In the way of driver-assist additions, there's rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and the infotainment system is upgraded with onboard navigation and an 11-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system.
Though Chevrolet limited the Impala's selection of optional packages and standalone options for the new model year, the selection is still decent.
Available for the LT is an $875 Convenience package that upgrades the LT with steering wheel heating, front seat heating, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, universal home remote, 120-volt power outlet, trunk cargo net, carpeted trunk mat, and with premium front and rear floor mats. The LT's Driver Confidence Package costs $495 and includes rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane change alert with blind-spot monitoring.
For $1,275 the Premier can be optioned with a Confidence Package that comprises 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and forward-collision warning. An available Convenience Package equips the Premier with a heated steering wheel, a power tilt and telescoping column, ventilated front seats, driver memory settings, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a driver-side auto-dimming and ground illuminating side-view mirror, and with premium carpeting upgrades. This package costs $935. A power-operated dual-pane sunroof is available for the Premier as a standalone option with a cost of $1,050.
Though quite a bit pricier than the LT, the Premier is the model we'd go for. It comes standard with a few more features overall, but it's the additional advanced driver-assists that represent the greatest appeal over the LT. And, considering the Impala's massive size and limited rearward visibility, the particular assists (rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane change alert with blind-spot monitoring) improve things significantly. We would still, however, suggest throwing in the available Confidence Package to further augment safety with the forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and advanced adaptive cruise control.
The Malibu is the Impala's smaller and arguably uglier sibling; it did undergo a complete makeover in 2018, but it still doesn't quite match up to the Impala's contemporary aesthetic. There are, however, five Malibu models to choose from with a selection of two engines as well, a 1.5-liter turbo-four and a 2.0-liter turbo-four. Both engines are far more fuel-efficient than the Impala's V6 and, in terms of acceleration, perform as admirably in the Malibu as the V6 does in the Impala. The cabin of the Malibu is obviously smaller than the Impala's and it's trunk capacity a little less at 15.7 cubes, but it gives off a far more modern impression and is just as comfortable. The Malibu is a lot more affordable than the Impala, with only the top-spec model exceeding the base Impala's base MSRP by a small margin. While the Impala boasts space and comfort, it simply doesn't provide the same value for money and quality found in the smaller Malibu. The Impala may be dead, but we'd rather have the Malibu in any case.
The Ford Fusion falls into the mid-size sedan classification and is a lot more affordable than the Impala, barring the top-spec Titanium model, which falls right between the two Impala models. There's a selection of three engines within the Fusion lineup, including two turbocharged options. The Fusion is also available in either FWD or AWD. The Fusion is not nearly as quick off-the-line in comparison to the Impala, however, it is a little more enjoyable to drive, delivering fluid chassis dynamics and enthusiastic cornering. All three of the Fusion's engines are considerably more fuel-efficient than the Impala's V6, too. The Impala is a lot more spacious than the Fusion, both in terms of passenger room and cargo capacity, with only 16 cubes in the Fusion's trunk. As the higher-end vehicle, the Impala is going to be the more premium. It's the more sensible buy as a comfortable family hauler and well worth the money. But if you'd rather have a contemporary cabin, more tech, pay less on fuel, and enjoy driving more, then the Fusion is the better sedan by far.
Check out some informative Chevrolet Impala video reviews below.