Last post on Aug 13, 2013 at 5:42 PM
You are in the Chevrolet Impala
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Chevrolet Impala, Sedan
#11588 of 13621 Allow me to weigh in.....
Mar 19, 2003 (3:36 pm)
I think everyone so far has made good arguments on the pros and cons of the current Impala model. I also believe this is one sweet car in its own right and has a reasonably balanced mix of performance, quality, reliability, comfort, economy, safety and so on.
However, having said this, I think that if GM intends to continue to capitalize on the 'success' of the Impala they need to pay very close attention as to what the competition is currently putting out in the street and how they must proceed to keep the car up to date and interesting to prospective customers.
Face it, the Impala sells mainly because of the customary GM discounts and rebates. Take away those and I'll gurantee you that the Impala will soon fall off from under the "10 best selling sedans in America" radar screen. When the Impala was introduced in April 1999, the car was a welcomed departure from the utilitarian looking Lumina sedan and presented itself as the "All-American" alternative against the import copycat oriented style of the Ford Taurus and the questionnable design compromises of Daimler-Chrysler's LH sedans 'Cab Forward' design. The Impala took over the Malibu's role as the true "Import fighter" family sedan to lure away buyers from the Japanese sales powerhouses known as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. Keep in mind that according to GM's brass at the time, the Impala was not aimed at compete directly with the Camcord models but rather against the likes of the Toyota Avalon (Japan's only answer to US full size sedans), Ford's Taurus and RWD Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis and Chrysler's LH sedans. So from the get go, the Impala was not really intended to be a contender of the Asian makes due to the controversial exterior styling and the very "American" interior packaging decor and flavor.
The Impala during its first 2 years of production proved to be a hit in the market place and succeeded to a point in taking away buyers from Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Mazda that refused to make the move to either a Minivan or SUV but had already outgrown the Japanese Midsize sedans and found the Avalon's style/price to be absourdly out of reach. So the Impala promised comparable quality and reliability of its Japanese breathen in a roomier, more powerful package at a similar or lower price point. So the idea worked for GM.
The Impala is the best selling and most popular W-body sedan in GM's lineup. It outsells the Grand Prix, Century, Regal, Montecarlo and Olds Intrigue (No longer made)at least 2 or 3 to 1. It even has managed to put a dent on the G-body "Full size" sedans (Although the Impala is the largest W-body sedan and its is classified as a full sizer) such as the Bonneville, LeSabre and the now defunct Olds Aurora, which was a memeber of the G-body platform (which is also shared with he current Cadillac Seville).
Back in 99-2000, the Impala beat the Camry in many tangible aspects such as interior room, price, standard powertrains, etc. It had a substantial size advantage over the previous Accord, it practically run off the road the old Nissan Altima and made the frumpy looking Mazda 626 even worse. The Impala proved to be a more pleasurable day to day car than the Chrysler lH sedans, more nimble and more economical than Ford's full size behemoth RWD sedans and was a clear alternative to the dubious quality Ford Taurus.
Fast forward to 2003....Basically today's Impala looks and feels exactly the same as the first batch of cars delivered to Chevy Showrooms in April 1999. GM failed to make a strict follow up on the car in terms of powertrain, suspension, transmission, interior and exterior improvements/updates. Look around the competition....Mazda 6, new Nissan Altima, new redesigned '04 Nissan Maxima, all new Honda Accord, new Toyota Camry, etc, etc. All these family sedans have either matched or surpassed the Impala's best attributes. So what keeps moving the Impala out of Chevy's lots? Well, the $2K rebate, the 0% financing, the $1K loyalty bonus and the GM credit card points. Take away all of it and the car will start automatically to suffer at the mercy of its much fresh and improved competition. I agree with B4z...the Impala was a terrific deal back in 99-01 but today a $25K Impala is a very optimistic pricing set forth by GM. Everyone knows here that $25K today buy you a much better car than the Impala. GM has historically been known to artificially increase the prices of their cars so at time of sale when all the plethora of rebates and credit card points have been applied to the sticker price, the customer truly believes in his/her mind that they are getting the deal of the century. Nothing could be so far away from the truth.
I Have owned an '01 Impala LS for 2 years now and other family acquintances also own Impalas as well. Again they are excellent cars in their own right (But they have some sore points...ISS, plastic intake manifold, durability of brake components)but they don't offer ANYTHING special or better that other sedans from the Asian/Euro/American competition can't offer, nothing guys, zero. yeah the rebates and incentives can not be counted as virtues of the car..they are the effective "bribe" sales system predicament in which GM as well as Ford and Chrysler have put themselves in.
The Impala's interior is extremely functional with very good ergonomics (Save a few items that GM still need to revise). The materials are econo-grade and utilitarian in presentation and finish. Sure nothing inside my LS rattles or squeaks even after 20K+ miles (A milestone by old GM standards) and no plastic piece has fallen or broken in my hands. But the cabin decor/materials and presentation do really need a substantial amount of work to improve it. This is got nothing to do about being an "Euro or Asian Freak" as put forth by our friend Pluto...is about making the car more appealing not only for the prospective buyer but for those of us that spend time in the car on a daily basis. The fake wood strips help to add some warmth to the otherwise rubbermaid interior but sometimes I feel that the interior of this otherwise very nice car could be an industry standard in the likes of VW, BMW, Honda, etc. Bob Lutz, GM's NA president has said it time and time again that the interior presentation in GM's products has always been one of the weakest links in comparison to to other automakers. GM has a systematic problem with its interiors that affect everyhting from the Cavalier to the cadillacs and Corvettes. The Corvette is one of the best American sports cars (At any price point) but what kills it?? The cheapo $1 rubbermaid interior. read any Corvette review in the media and you'll see that the only are of deficiency where the car gets blasted is in the interior, nothing else.
Lutz believes that GM should at least emulate the interior presentation and materials of industry benchmarks such as VW. Upon joining GM in 2001, Lutz organized an emergency interior design comittee to ide
#11589 of 13621 Long post continued....
Mar 19, 2003 (3:43 pm)
Upon joining GM in 2001, Lutz organized an emergency interior design comittee to identify the problems in current GM interiors and bring these to world class standards. He ordered the dashboard and interior door panels of a VW product to be yanked out for further examination in design, feel and material quality.
I disagree with Pluto's comments. Pluto is without a doubt a hardcore GM loyalist and does not wish to see GM cars improve in weak areas to compete with the best the world has to offer. Sorry Pluto, the years of GM's conformism are long past and GM needs once again to offer examplary world class products that not only appeal to the typical GM buyer but also to the Import buyer. Remember the time when GM was the standard or the world???
GM should step away from the image of maker of "bargain and discounted transportation devices". GM needs to come out back from the hole by offering sedans that not only match the camcords or Passats of the world but that also beats them by staying 2 steps ahead of the game from pricing to engineering and design and quality.
Last, but not least, the Impala is languishing in safety BIG TIME. Can anyone tell me, why GM has refused to install a passenger side airbag in these cars in almost 5 years of production?????
Look, my 2002 MINI Cooper has 6 airbags STANDARD at a $16K base price and the airbag system is next generation, unlike the Impala's (At least the earlier ones). 2 front airbags, 2 side airbags, 2 side curtain airbags that use the same exact system as the ones found in the BMW 745 sedan (A $70,000 vehicle). The Interior quality of my MINI and design beats anything currently put out by GM or any other American manufacturer BARNONE. People line up to see the interior of my MINI Cooper. While the interior in my Impala is functional and has good ergonomics, no one has ever complimented me on its looks or materials...see the systematic problem GM has???
So yes, the Impala is a terrific car and value but other have already surpassed in many ways and GM doesn't seem to be too concerned about it.
#11590 of 13621 Chat tonight!
Mar 19, 2003 (3:55 pm)
Join us tonight, 6-7pm PT/9-10pm ET for another
round of automotive trivia and member-to-member chat.
Test your skills (or multiple choice guessing ability)
against other Town Hall members.
Hope to see you there!
Mar 19, 2003 (4:53 pm)
Some good point there. You really know your Impala history! Thanks for the info.
I do think that you underestimate the current Impala a little. The new SS will have a positive impact (even though its not as good as it could have been) and there is a major redesign coming in 2006 with a RWD v8 and new interior / exterior styling.
The car only came out in 2000 and its only 2003 so its not that it has been around for a looong ass time. This current form will have lasted 6 years by its end and that's not bad at all.
#11592 of 13621 Milestone
Mar 19, 2003 (5:37 pm)
Boy are your right on that one! A typical GM car would loosen up somewhere around 5-6,000 miles.
I am at 37K and only have the ocassional interior trim buzz over steel deck bridges or washboard roads. My front suspension does make noise but the structure is still tight.
While my Olds Intrigue didn't really loosen up over time it had a pillar creaks and console creaks that where prominent from day one.
The body structure of the Imp is stiffer than the intrigue's, but it could be stiffer still to compete with some of the Imports.
#11593 of 13621 safety
Mar 19, 2003 (5:41 pm)
The Impala's airbag count is low, but given the choice of which car to get in an accident in, I would choose the Imp. Especially if it is a head-
with a Mini. LOL.
But seriously, I don't think there is a member here who would chose to be in a Mini in an offset or head-on crash, if the other choice was an Impala.
Mar 19, 2003 (6:31 pm)
And our friend pluto was telling all about the Mazda6's ratings. As I suspected, it has not even been tested as of yet.
#11597 of 13621 drivinisfun
Mar 19, 2003 (6:32 pm)
You made some good points and I agree with almost all of them except a couple.
"Last, but not least, the Impala is languishing in safety BIG TIME."
That's not true! The Impala gets the highest rating in most crash tests, and my Impala has dual front airbags and a drivers side side airbag. It may not have 6, but that doesn't make it a safety problem. Imapalas are awesome in crashes and are very safe.
As for the Mini Cooper... hmm.. I drove a new one from the dealership about two months ago, and I found the interior the cheapest I have ever seen in a car-- EVER. It was laid out great, and looked really really cool, but it was FALLING APART at the seams.. I mean that sucker was literally coming apart everywhere! Fabrics were coming untucked, unglued, unstitched.. and it was tiny... I would never get one. Plus I'm 6'3 and barely fit, but that's just me... is your interior not falling apart like this one?? It was brand new!