Reviews

2015 Chevrolet Impala Walk Around



The design of the Chevrolet Impala oozes sophistication and quality, attributes that were not associated with the previous (pre-2014) version. The front grille is stretched horizontally, giving it a broad, unique look while keeping Chevrolet’s signature dual-port look. Round headlamp bezels are evocative of those on a German luxury. Fog lamp housings are short and wide, nearly mimicking the shape of the headlamp housings above.

From the side, a high, deep belt line cuts straight across from the top of the wraparound headlamp housing to the rear door handle. A sharp arcing character line starts in the rear door, flows high over the rear fender, and straight into the top of the rear tail lamp lens. Bright trim around windows and across rocker panels on the LTZ model add class, and optional 20-inch wheels give the Impala an almost show car-like presence. Standard 18-inch wheels on LT models and 19-inch alloys on LTZs still look good, if not quite as impressive.

The wide, horizontal theme continues in back. Tail lamps start tall on the outer edges and narrow as they point inward. They have a raised detail that is not only visually interesting, but serves as an aerodynamic aid to keep air flowing off the vehicle, rather than around it. Small touches like these help with fuel economy and contribute to reduced wind noise levels in the cabin. The rear bumper is big and beefy, and exposed exhaust tips on LTZ models have a chrome-like finish with an almost rectangular shape.

Interior

The cabin is attractive and comfortable, with very good fit and finish and quality materials.

The center stack is well laid out and has many controls without using an overwhelming number of buttons. Climate control knobs are large and easy to see, with the temperature digitally displayed inside the large circular dials.

There’s lots of storage space for drinks, accessories and snacks. A little cubby in front of the center console storage fits a mobile phone. Door pockets will accommodate an average-sized water bottle perfectly.

Seats are roomy, supportive and comfortable. Front passengers have lots of knee and legroom thanks to a pushed-back glove compartment and instrument panel. Front legroom is 45.8 inches, a 3.5-inch increase over the 2013 and earlier Impala. Concave doors add to the roominess. Smaller drivers might not be able to rest an elbow on the door armrest while gripping the steering wheel.

Rear passengers have plenty of space, too. A 6-foot, 2-inch passenger sitting in the back seats was comfortable, with a couple of inches of headroom to spare. Concave seatbacks reduce cramping around the knee and leg area, and foot room was adequate. Legroom measures 39.8 inches, 2.2 inches more than the previous-generation car.

The trunk is quite large, measuring 18.8 cubic feet. The Bi-fuel V6 model, however, loses nearly half its trunk space to the compressed natural gas tank, dropping luggage room to just 10 cubic feet.

Impala LTZ models can be equipped with an optional sunroof. We like that the sunroof cover is opaque, unlike the translucent, perforated covers used in the Cadillac models that let in a lot of light. This kept us cool and shady, without having to worry about glare on the instrument panel.

Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system is standard on Impala LT and LTZ models and uses an 8-inch color touch screen with natural voice recognition, the latter of which is similar to the system used the Cadillac CUE interface. We like that the Impala’s touch screen has a matte finish, unlike the glossy screen found on Cadillac’s CUE, which shows fingerprints far too easily.

MyLink is versatile and relatively customizable. Apps such as Pandora come pre-loaded, and up to 10 devices can be paired to the system using Bluetooth. Users can drag application icons around to put their favorites first. You can also listen to music or watch movies from a USB drive. A choice of four different skins allow users to change the look of the screen, although we found most of them cartoon-like and wonder whether Impala drivers will want to deviate from the standard setup. New for 2015 is a text messaging alert feature for smartphone users that uses Bluetooth connectivity to read incoming texts through the car’s speakers.

MyLink’s Valet Mode allows valuables to be locked in the storage compartment behind the touch screen using a four-digit PIN that the user selects each time, much like an in-room safe. Not only will Valet Mode secure the storage area, it will also lock out all electronic information on the car such as navigation destinations, contacts, radio presets and other personal settings.

Chevrolet says the new OnStar with 4G LTE system is 10 times faster than 3G. The standard 3-gigabyte data plan is free for the first three months of car ownership.

For cars not equipped with navigation, OnStar offers Turn-by-Turn directions that are sent to the vehicle and displayed in the center display screen. The directions can be played back or paused anywhere from start to destination and provide a less expensive alternative to GPS navigation, according to Chevrolet.

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