In my career as an online journalist, I get to test drive a lot of vehicles. And while I like many of the cars that I drive, it’s rare that I truly love one, and would consider actually buying the model that I’m driving. Well, this is that rare occasion. If I didn’t already own a car that I loved, the 2014 Impala 2LTZ would be at the top of my list.
The 2014 Impala is the 10th generation revamp of Chevy’s long-running full-size ride (which debuted way back in 1957) – and dare I say it, I think it’s the best one yet. Sure, the Impala SS of the 1965-1970 generation was a classic, with its big-block V8 and convertible option, but the 2014 is a decidedly more versatile and comfortable vehicle.
Frankly, I hated the looks of the previous-gen Impala, but the 2014 is a real looker. The best word to describe its strong lines and agressive front and drawn-out rear end is “beefy.” This thing is substantial, and it consistently drew admiration from those that I showed it to. No longer does the Impala have the utilitarian looks that it has recently been associated with. This car means business. The striking blue metallic “Blue Ray” paint on my demo car didn’t hurt its looks either. Those LED running lights at the bottom of the grill are pretty slick too.
Yes, the 2014 Impala is a big car. It’s got a massive 201.3 inch length and rides on a 111.7 inch wheelbase. But all of that size means tremendous comfort and space for both passengers and cargo. The interior comfortably seats five full size adults, and I was even able to fit all six-feet of myself in the back seat with the front seats all the way back – with knee and head room to spare.
The Impala 2LTZ offers plenty of power, as its equipped with a 305 horsepower, 3.6 liter direct-injected V6 engine, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, offering up 264 lb.-ft. of torque. The Impala is also available with a 2.5L Ecotec 4, but I can’t imagine that engine is nearly as zippy or well matched to this large car as the V6. The V6 is also E85 compatible, which can help reduce environmental concerns about conventional gasoline. And given its size, gas mileage is actually pretty good. I managed to muster about 17mpg in the city, and a 27mpg on the highway. On average, I got about 22 to 23 mpg. And with a large 18.5 gallon tank, that means you should be able to go about 400 miles on a tank. Not too shabby for a car this big.
The interior of the Impala 2LTZ is quite elegant and comfortable, with two-tone leather, six-way adjustable power heated seats with lumbar support for both driver and passenger. While the leather is quite elegant, see if you can go for the grey or black – the large expanse of tan leather on the dash created an annoying glare while the darker areas did not.
One of the things I just loved about the Impala was just how quiet the passenger compartment was. I can’t remember a car in recent memory that was so silent inside – not a rattle, squeak or wind noise. As a matter of fact, in city driving you’ll barely notice the car is running – until you get it on the highway and push the pedal down – then you hear just the right amount of roar from the engine. An active noise cancellation system keep things quiet on the 4-cylinder models, but the insulation and build quality of the cabin seemed to take care of the V6 model just fine. Between the comfort and quiet, I can only imagine the Impala is a great road trip car.
Even though it’s quiet, that V6 offers plenty of power to pull you along the highway, and safely pass other vehicles without hesitation. It may purr like a kitten, but when you push the pedal down, there’s a small lion hiding under the hood. As a matter of fact, it’ll take you from 0-to-60 in just 6.8 seconds. Acceleration and shifting was buttery-smooth, and steering was responsive – though not particularly sporty. I suppose that between the quiet and smoothness, I didn’t feel as connected to the road as in some cars, but I definitely felt in command of this 21st century cruiser. Keep in mind that the Impala is a front-wheel drive vehicle, so you trade off a little bit of sportiness for stability and traction.
Another benefit of the Impala’s size is its substantial 18.8 cu.ft. trunk capacity. With the rear seats in use, you can still fit four sets of golf clubs in the trunk. With the 60/40 split folding seats down, I was able to fit the box from a 50″ flat screen TV with room to spare.
As configured, my car came with the Chevy MyLink radio and entertainment system, which includes a large 8-inch touchscreen, along with a supplemental display that’s mounted directly between the tachometer and speedometer.
This display offers quick access to everything from trip and speed information to music track and artist information, and navigation guidance. The MyLink system provides AM/FM/HD and SiriusXM (subscription) radio, CD player, as well as Bluetooth hands-free audio for both phone calls and music and Pandora integration for either iOS (wired) or Android (wireless). Fingertip controls on the steering wheel provide ready access to the features on the display, as well as changing tracks or volume on the stereo.
One really nifty feature is that the radio has a motorized screen that can lift up, allowing you to hide a media player or other small items behind it. There’s even a USB port behind there for keeping your device charged up and connected.
The Impala 2LTZ I drove is the top-of-the-line configuration, and that gives you many luxurious benefits, including HID headlights, a large power sunroof with a 2nd row skylight, keyless pushbutton ignition, dual exhaust, chrome accents, dual-zone climate control, and adaptive cruise control.
When the lights go down in the evening, the cabin offers slick ice blue ambient lighting throughout.
All 2014 Impalas come with 10 airbags as well as GM’s OnStar system (and 6 months of service) standard, while added safety features on both the 1LTZ and 2LTZ models include a backup camera, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and side-blind zone alerts on the mirrors. The rear camera offers some really nice capabilities, including an overlay that dynamically adjusts based on your trajectory, and cross-traffic alerts to let you know if cars are coming from either the right or left as you back up.
Overall, I just loved this car. It’s comfortable, ably powered for its size, while still getting decent mileage. It’s packed with luxury and safety features, and it’s one of the best looking and most elegant cars Chevrolet has made in years. Other than the glare of the leather dash on the windshield – and the fact that it just barely fit in my garage – I couldn’t find one bad thing to say about the 2014 Impala 2LTZ.
Prices for the 2014 Chevrolet Impala start at $26,725(USD) for the base model, though the Impala 2LTZ reviewed here starts at $35,770. Once equipped with the 20″ aluminum wheels, premium 11-speaker Bose sound system, power tilt/heated steering wheel, ventilated seats, ground illumination, and memory seats and mirrors, and destination charge, the car reviewed here had a sticker price of $39,510. While that doesn’t exactly make it a cheap car, I found the Impala 2LTZ to provide just about everything you’d ever want in a car, for much less than so-called “luxury” models on the market.
If you’re thinking about buying a full-size car, you owe it to yourself to check out the 2014 Impala.
Disclosure: Chevrolet provided the loan of the car for review in this article. However, all reviews are the unbiased views of our editorial staff, and we will only recommend products or services we have used personally, and believe will be good for our readers.