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2015 Chevrolet Impala Overview
After last year, the Impala finally caught up to the rest of the Big-Boy sedan crowd. Let’s not forget, previous to 2014 the Impala didn’t even have navigation, so the upgrades made to both foundation and features were long overdue. That said, it was still slugging along with 2G powering its new products, and that’s motivation that’s anything but modern.
Starting with the 2015 trims, the Impala finally gets AT&T 4G functionality, so all its gadgets and gizmos can load fast enough to actually be of use. Nothing like having a GPS recalculation take longer than the trip to the next exit. This should no longer be an issue, as long as you keep up with your subscription payments, as 4G offers a giant step beyond the 2G it leaves behind, and not just the “twice as much” the name implies.
This comes on the heels of an Impala upgrade that sees it sharing a platform with GM relatives like the Cadillac XTS and Buick LaCrosse—two namesakes that used to stand for octogenarian comfort rather than youthful agility—a change that means the previously sloppy sedan now has the structure to actually tackle some turns. Electric steering is precise if not profound, and it's capable of keeping this 2-ton barge where you point it.
And while you can choose between 4- and 6-cylinder engines, it’s the car's weight that makes the larger mill a near necessity. While a 195-hp, 2.5-liter inline 4 is standard in LS, LT and LTZ trims, its 187 lb-ft of torque simply aren’t enough to keep the Impala rolling even with the ubiquitous 6-speed automatic, especially when you start packing in passengers. The same can be said of the optional 182-hp 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and small 15-hp electric motor that come in the hybrid version—just not enough. Stick with the 305-hp 3.6-liter V6 that’s an option in LT and LTZ trims. It packs 264 lb-ft of torque and can move things along with authority even when all the seats are full.
Of course if you want to get truly tech-y, GM is offering a version of the Impala that can run on compressed natural gas (CNG) as well as gasoline, featuring a version of the 3.6 with hardened valves and valve seats to accommodate the new fuel. It’s supposed to be able to add 150 miles to the overall range of the Impala, but the extra fuel tank takes up nearly half of the Impala's 18.8 cubic feet of trunk space, cutting total volume down to just 10.
If you do decide to go with the LS, you’ll be stuck with the anemic 2.5-liter engine, but otherwise the Impala is very well appointed, even at this level. Automatic headlights, cruise control, air conditioning and full power, including an 8-way adjustable driver’s seat, are all included here. You’ll also get a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, keyless entry, HD radio with USB and iPod connectivity, and a 4.2-inch center stack display for the OnStar system, for which you’ll have to pay a monthly fee once the introductory period runs out. 18-inch wheels here are steel with covers, which is the only real disappointment.
The LT is where most people should end up, for here those 18-inch wheels are alloy. But you’ll also get upgrades like leather on the steering wheel and shift knob, dual-zone automatic climate controls, heated side mirrors and an 8-inch touchscreen display. You can add a rear camera and parking sensors, remote start and a safety package for fancy tech like a collision-warning system, lane-departure warning system, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts, too. If comfort is more your priority than safety, a Premium Seating Package gets you fake suede and heated seats, and you can even upgrade to 19-inch wheels or add a sunroof.
With the LTZ you get everything already mentioned, along with leather, but the main upgrade here is the option for more options like 20-inch wheels, which should be avoided thanks to their negative impact on ride quality, and adaptive cruise control. Navigation is an option for all trims but the LS, along with a Bose stereo. Finally, a Comfort & Convenience package gets you ventilation for the front seats, heat for the steering wheel, and auto-dimming rear-view and driver’s mirrors.
The upgrade to 4G means the Impala has finally arrived—it's ready to go with buttons buttoned and lunch packed. Without it, all the tech upgrades from last year were symbolic at best, deceptive at worst. Now it stands as a true road-trip vehicle, ready to eat miles and deliver smiles. And it looks the part, too. Stick with the V6, and you shouldn’t have a complaint.
A CarGurus contributor since 2008, Michael started his career writing about cars with the SCCA - winning awards during his time as editor of Top End magazine. Since then, his journalistic travels have taken him from NY to Boston to CA, completing a cross-country tour on a restored vintage Suzuki. While his preference is for fine German automobiles - and the extra leg room they so often afford - his first automobile memories center around impromptu Mustang vs. Corvette races down the local highway, in the backseat of his father's latest acquisition.