2009 Chevrolet Impala

The problem with American’s family sedan is that there’s so much right with its kid brother.

2009 Chevrolet Impala

Impala. As if you could get any more American a car. Besides tearing up the racetracks in NASCAR-style oval racing, the full-sized Impala sedan has served this country since 1958 as a relatively efficient, comfortable, and affordable highway cruiser.


1. Chevrolet advertises the Impala as “The luxury sport sedan with appetizing MPG.” Don’t be fooled: the base model has a paltry 211 horsepower.

2. They’ll put a 303 hp small block V8 underhood for you for $31,000.

3. This car was designed to soak up the Interstate; fuel economy is at worst 24-mpg city and 16-mpg highway with the V8; V6 models achieve nearly 30-mpg highway.

Problem? It’s actually built in Canada. There’s good reason for this: General Motors’ Canadian factories regularly rank at or near the top in quality. It’s also assembled alongside the all-new Camaro — what better a place for your most hallowed brand names as a factory with a great track record.


One word: Malibu. Ever since the Impala’s kid brother hit the scene late in 2007, the Malibu has been giving customers a Toyota Camry-beating experience at a competitive price. And since a “mid-sized” Malibu is much nearer the “full-sized” Impala, customers who have taken both for a test drive are immediately aware the difference a year or two can make.

This latest Impala has been around since 2006, and is a perfect example of “play it safe” GM engineering. Basic looks, basic performance, and basic capability for the average consumer is exactly what the Impala delivers.

Unfortunately, playing it safe isn’t the best game plan right now.


On LS and 1LT trims, the base motor is an ancient (but your mechanic is sure to have spare parts for) 211-horsepower 3.5-liter pushrod V6 with variable valve timing. From there, you can opt for a 3.9-litre V6 with 233 hp. Both V6 engines are Flex-Fuel capable, and can be run on E85 fuel…but good luck finding it. Top trim SS models get a small block V8 with 303 horsepower, driving the front wheels — all Impalas are front-drive only, and only available with a four-speed automatic.

Price? Base LS: $23,790; 1LT: $24,645; 2LT: $27,110; LTZ: $29,630; SS: $31,135.

Remember that Malibu I was talking about? It starts at $21,605 for 4-cylinder equipped models, but tops out at around $29,000 for a top-spec LTZ model with leather, 6-speed automatic transmission, and 252 hp V6 engine. Its output may not seem like much, but for the same money you’d be rocking a 233 hp Impala LTZ…and that slow-shifting 4-speed automatic. Fuel economy? They’re nearly equal, with the Malibu one tick worse on the highway (27 mpg vs 26 for the Impala.) City measurements are identical, at 17 mpg.


Standard on the LS are dual front airbags, dual side airbags, dual side curtain airbags, air conditioning, AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo, four wheel disc brakes, cruise control, one year of OnStar monitoring, keyless entry, a power driver’s seat, tilt steering, traction control and 16-inch steel wheels with wheel covers.

The 1LT adds, notably, a remote vehicle starter, a more adjustable power driver’s seat, and 16-inch alloy wheels. Go for the 2LT trim, and you’ll enjoy anti-lock (ABS) brakes, an upgraded 233 hp engine, dual exhaust, fog lamps, rear spoiler, stability control, steering wheel audio controls, and 17-inch alloy wheels.

In fully-loaded V6 guise, the LTZ has a Bose stereo, auto dimming rearview mirror, heated seats, power passenger seat, and 18-inch wheels.

Though not many customers will opt for the full-on V8-powered SS model, your hard-earned cash will get you the most powerful engine available and better suspension. Inside, the wood trim is replaced with a more modern, “techno metallic” trim.


I drove the 2LT model equipped with just about everything you’d want in an Impala. My tester came in at $30,280 (including a $750 destination fee.) Upgrades over the basic 2LT were a power sunroof ($900), upgraded power seats ($1,125), and a 6-disc in-dash AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo featuring an auxiliary input jack ($295).

While far from the sportiest car on the road, the Impala is likely just about right for the set of customers it hopes to attract. I found the power good, the handling good, the fuel economy good… ”Good” is about the only way to describe my drive, actually. Taking a corner quickly in the Impala is like inducting a La-Z-Boy recliner into the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection; likely the most pointless exercise imaginable for either object. Best to stick to the nation’s impressive network of Drive-Thru lanes.


Nothing like supporting the home team Built in Canada alongside the Camaro It’ll lap up your commute like a kitten with a bowl of milk


As sporty as sweat pants on Kenny Rogers The Malibu does 110 per cent of what the Impala does, for less money Front suspension and steering can start to feel “loose” early on


Sales-wise, the Impala hovers around being the country’s 6th best-selling sedan and 8th best-selling car overall. True, you get a ton of car for your cash. But if you’d like a Chevrolet, the Malibu is a far better buy. And the Pontiac G8 V6, at $28,935, will give you even better performance — and even comes with a rear-drive powertrain like the Impala yousta.

GM does make some of the best sedans on the market — thankfully, the Malibu (technology, style, value) and G8 (performance) are two that embody the spirit of the original Impala. Too bad the real Impala is so painfully average.


2009 Chevrolet Malibu Review – Practicality meets peace of mind

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked