2014 Chevrolet Impala LTZ

As promised in our recent review of Chrysler’s 300C sedan, we said we would look at how two of North America’s top sedans stack up against one another. This week we will look at GM’s Chevrolet Impala LTZ.  Redesigned for 2014, the new Impala is built on GM’s Epsilon II front wheel drive platform (shared with the Cadillac XTS) making it larger and much more upscale than the existing model.

Chevrolet Impala

Chevrolet Impala

Chevrolet’s full size flagship sedan is totally new from the ground up, providing a muscular appearance while also providing a nod to both its rich history and Chevy’s modern styling cues. This new Impala represents the 10th generation of one of the industry’s most enduring and iconic nameplates as the first Impala was introduced in 1958.  According to GM’s official press release, the Impala has been America’s best-selling full-size sedan since 2004, with total sales of more than 169,000 in 2012.

Front Seat Interior

Front Seat Interior

Our tester came in the top of the line LTZ trim and comes with a price tag here in Canada of $39,645 MSRP.  At this price you get a host of premium features including:

  • Leather-appointed seating surfaces
  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • Power 8-way front and passenger seat adjuster
  • 6-speed automatic with overdrive and Driver Shift Control
  • 10 airbags
  • Advanced Safety Package – includes Forward Collision Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Side Blind Zone Alert
  • 20-inch aluminum wheels with P245/40R20 all-season tires
  • Premium 11-speaker Bose Centerpoint surround sound audio system
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio
  • Chevrolet’s MyLink system with navigation
  • Rear Vision Camera
  • 3 USB ports
  • Remote vehicle starter system
  • Xenon High-intensity Discharge (HID) headlights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Dual exhaust system with bright exhaust tips integrated into rear fascia
  • Sunroof – power tilt/sliding glass panel, with sunshade and express-open feature

The new Impala model provides consumers with innovative styling, greater interior spaciousness and a host of advanced technology goodies never available in earlier models.

Back end

Back End Side View

The Impala offers three powertrain choices which include the 3.6L V6, the new Ecotec 2.5L four-cylinder and the Ecotec 2.4L with eAssist. Our tester LTZ model was equipped with the 3.6L V6 engine which is rated at 305 horsepower and 264 lb. ft. of torque. The 3.6L provides the highest horsepower output in this segment from a naturally aspirated V6 engine and translates into a swift 0-60 mph time of only 6.8 seconds. Hence, our tester provided ample power for all types of acceleration requirements in both city and highway driving environments.

As for fuel consumption, GM provides highway numbers of 6.9 L/100 km and city numbers of 11.1L/100 KM for the 3.6L V6.  Over our week, we were a touch above those numbers but quite close overall.

As for comfort and convenience, the Impala LTZ impressed us in several key areas. First, the interior is very well-appointed making it feel far more expensive than its actual price tag.  Beginning with a rich looking instrument cluster that includes a 4.2 inch screen configurable color driver information center and ice-blue lighting which enhance the “upscale” feel of the interior. Second, the chrome trim with “bleed-through” ambient lighting further reinforces the cabin’s sophisticated flair.  On several occasions, both friends and family complimented how great the Impala looked overall.

The interior sound quality with acoustic glass in the windows, extra foam in the body, and added sound deadening material in the floor pan and trunk help create a serene bubble for its occupants.  GM has also recently made great strides in this area with its Buick Verano model.

As for interior space, the Impala brings its “A” game with an overall cargo space of capacity of 532L. It has a cavernous trunk and with the rear seats folded down provides an absolutely immense level of cargo space for the average family.

Backseat

Backseats

These seats give an ultra level of comfort and passenger space equal to that of an airport limo.  Not surprisingly, after our week with the Impala it started to feel like a modern version of Lincoln’s Town Car.  With Ford no longer building the Town Car we may see the airport limousine industry start to leverage the Impala as their future workhorse.

Having the opportunity to experience the Impala LTZ model in a series of different driving scenarios we can confidently say, it straddles both the full-size sedan segment as well as the entry-level luxury segment.

With its new technology, larger size and sportier exterior this new model should be taken seriously by both competitors and consumers.  As well, GM’s Impala pricing brings great value to consumers in this competitive segment as it is slightly lower than some of its competition.

As for our comparison to the Chrysler 300C, it really is not apple to apples as the latter is all wheel drive and the Impala is front wheel drive.  There is also quite a delta between the two sticker prices. However, both cars are equally impressive and have a ton of great qualities.  If you’re looking for a full size sedan this year, these two vehicles should be on your holiday wish list.

Overall, key segment competitors to the Chevy Impala LTZ are the Chrysler 300C as mentioned above, Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima, Ford Taurus, Hyundai Genesis and Buick LaCrosse.

2014 Chrysler 300C Luxury Series AWD

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The 300 is Chrysler’s roomy full size sedan offered in both rear wheel and all wheel drive versions. It was first introduced in the 2005 model year and underwent a major redesign in 2011. RedlineNorth recently had a chance to test drive the 300C Luxury Series AWD version. First impressions we noted were the nicely appointed interior and the bold exterior styling.  By the end of the test period we had a number of other reasons to like the 300C. Read on to find out why.

In Canada, the Chrysler 300 Touring starts at $34,295 with the base price of the ‘C‘ starting at $39,295 and the Luxury Series AWD version starting at $43,495.  Optional equipment in our test vehicle included an upgraded Harman Kardon audio package, dual-pane panoramic sunroof and the Uconnect 8.4N infotainment system among other extras. These options brought our test vehicle in at $50,955. The 300 comes with a 5 year or 100,000 km power train warranty, with basic warranty coverage for 3 years or 60,000 km. 

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The 300C offers plenty of interior room

The stated fuel efficiency of our test vehicle with all wheel drive is a respectable, 11.4L/100 km city and 7.3L/100 km highway, for a full size all wheel drive sedan.  During our review we did exceed these estimates by a marginal amount with a combination of 50/50 city and highway driving.

The interior of the 300C is well refined with a leather trim throughout.  The analogue clock adds a nice touch, as does the blue backlighting to the instrument panel.  Additional nice to haves in our test vehicle included the heated seats and steering wheel, which warmed up quickly, along with the steering wheel mounted shifters.  While not a big fan of paddle shifters in an automatic car, they performed adequately in the 300C. The addition of the dual-pane sunroof which covers 70% of the roof gave the interior a very open and airy feeling.

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Leather trim permeate the interior cabin

The interior cabin offers plenty of leg room both in the front and rear seats and provides a pleasantly quiet ride even at highway speeds. In addition, a technology feature standard on all models is the humidity sensor, which continuously monitors the windshield for risk of fogging and automatically adjusts the interior climate level to prevent the windshield from fogging up.  We thought this was a nice touch.

The 8.4 inch touch screen utilizes Chrysler’s Uconnect system and is one of the more intuitive menu systems on the market.  We also appreciated the ability to balance the audio in the vehicle through the touch screen allowing you to target zones within the vehicle. Overall, the sound system in the 300C was above average with very nice acoustics in the interior cabin.  This is thanks to the upgraded 19 speaker, 900 Watt Harman Kardon system GreenEdge speaker and amplifier technology.

Combined, these features and the interior fit and finish truly did make the 300C Luxury Series live up to its name. If we were to point to any improvement in the interior cabin it would be in regards to more usable storage space for every day items like smartphones and keys, along with larger cup holders but we’re bordering on nitpicking here.

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Blue illumination compliments the instrument panel

Optional with the 300C is a number of safety systems including a forward collision warning system, a blind spot monitoring system and a rear cross-path detection system.  The latter providing a warning when backing out of a parking spot as to whether vehicles are approaching.  We found the systems worked very well in everyday traffic, identifying potential hazards and were a comfort knowing they were there and in use.

The exterior styling of the 300C is one of those love it or hate it type propositions for some. It has a some what stately look blended with boxy and squared off styling.  Combined with the jeweled C-shaped headlamps, chrome grille and bold wheels the 300 lives up to its Made in Detroit moniker.  We liked the unique styling which grew on us even more by the end of our time with the vehicle.
The 300C offers unique styling

The 300C offers unique styling

Although the 300C is a full size sedan, sight lines in the driver’s seat were surprisingly good and parking in a downtown environment was quite easy, especially with the addition of the rear view camera. Another nice feature is the Adaptive Forward Lighting which aligns your vehicle-to-road pitch, automatically turns the headlamps in the direction you’re steering and computes your speed and steering wheel angle to determine headlamp projection. This system both improves safety, but also adds to the driving enjoyment of the vehicle.
Overall, the 300C Luxury Series AWD is a worthy competitor in the full size sedan market segment.  The attention to detail in the interior with leather trim throughout really provided that sense of luxury usually found in vehicles at a higher price point. As a full size sedan it provides a roomy interior and significant trunk space, however, the performance of its 3.6L, 8 speed engine and suspension demonstrated that full size can still be fun to drive.
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Key competitors to the 300C are the Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima, Chevy Impala, Ford Taurus, as well as the Hyundai Genesis and Buick LaCrosse.  We think Chrysler has a lot to offer with the 300C Luxury Series in this market segment.  Next week find out how the 300C stacks up against one of its key competitors, as RedlineNorth reviews the Chevrolet Impala LTZ.