AutoGuide.com 2014 Car of the Year Finalist No. 3 - 2014 Chevrolet Impala

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee

We have reached the mid-way point for the AutoGuide.com Car of the Year Award finalists. Yesterday we presented our second finalist, the 2014 Cadillac CTS and today we present the next car, our second entrant from General Motors, the 2014 Chevrolet Impala.

The fact the Impala even made it as a finalist for car of the year is a major victory for Chevrolet in itself. Not just ho-hum and forgettable, the previous two generations of Impalas have been ridiculed during their existence as nothing more than fleet sale specials. But that has all changed this year as the 2014 Impala is finally ready to compete against the best the full-size sedan market has to offer.

A STYLISH NEW LOOK

The first improvement noticed when approaching the 2014 Impala is the exterior styling. The car rivals the Toyota Avalon as the most stylish sedan in the segment; something no one would dream of saying in 2011. Thankfully, the split grill design element found on virtually every new Chevrolet over the past decade is gone, although some found the new bowtie-within-a-reverse-bowtie grill a bit odd. Regardless, it’s safe to say this is the best looking Impala since the 1996 SS.

Inside, the majority of materials used on the Impala are of great quality. There are soft touch materials everywhere, and the whole cabin design finally looks premium enough for a full-size sedan. The stitching, despite being fake in some places, looks nice and accents the Impala’s design theme; yes, there actually is some design in this new Impala. Chevrolet is also poised to cater to more than the Impala’s historic demographic with the inclusion of the brand’s latest iteration of MyLink infotainment system.

See Also: 2014 Chevrolet Impala Review – Video

For the first time ever, a 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine can now be had in the Impala for optimal fuel efficiency. Making just under 200 hp, it is actually nearly as powerful as some V6 engines found in the Impala not too long ago. Those wanting more thrust will be happy as the optional 305 hp 3.6 liter V6 is deceivingly fast while still returning decent fuel economy.

With either engine, the Impala is still the great highway cruiser it has always been. Keeping up to highway speeds and tracking straight has never been an issue for the Impala. Corners however have been. But the new full-size sedan can actually handle curves as well as any other full-size sedan (sport specials not included). In fact, the Impala feels as composed in the corners as a lot of mid-size sedans.

With the improvements made top to bottom, Chevrolet did more than just update the Impala; the manufacturer completely transformed this also-ran in to a legitimate full-size segment player. Enough so, that we’ve included it as a finalist for the 2014 AutoGuide.com Car of the Year Award.

Mike Schlee
Mike Schlee

A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

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