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USED WHEELS: 2014+ Chevrolet Impala impresses on highway

  • Model: 2014+ Chevrolet Impala
  • Vehicle type: Sedan


The currently-available Chevrolet Impala kicked off its life for model-year 2014 with a total do-over and redesign of Chevrolet’s biggest sedan. A clean-sheet approach saw the Impala come to market as an all-new vehicle, and one targeting a shopper after a modern and spacious sedan with the industry’s latest feature content.

Arguably, the big appeal of a few-year-old Impala is affordable access to one of the best mainstream road-trip machines going. Here’s a car expertly engineered to turn in endless hours of comfortable cruising, plenty of space, and top-notch connectivity and fuel mileage.

Look for features like Bluetooth, automatic headlamps, navigation, heated and chilled leather seats, remote start, push-button start, in-car Wi-Fi, and more. Advanced safety feature offerings included blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning.

Most used models will be powered by GM’s punchy 3.6-litre V6, good for 305 horsepower. This engine is plenty powerful and also turns in among the best real-world fuel economy I’ve ever recorded in a comparable machine. Other models received a 2.5-litre four-cylinder with 195 horsepower. All units were automatic and front-wheel drive.

What owners like: Comfort, fuel economy, V6 performance and a great ride and handling balance were noted by many owners. Easy-to-use interfaces and a tidy, easy-to-use cabin were also reported. A big trunk and plenty of rear seat space added further appeal to shoppers.

What owners dislike

Some (taller) owners wish for more headroom on models with the sunroof and others wish for bigger rear-view mirrors for a better rearward view. Further, the instrument cluster is commonly loathed for looking too old and dated against the rest of Impala’s cabin.

The test drive

A handful of owners have reported the need to have various steering and suspension components replaced at low miles, meaning shoppers should spend as much of their test drive as possible on rougher roadways, listening closely for clunking, snapping, banging or rattling sounds from beneath the vehicle.

Any such noises should be investigated professionally before purchase, as they likely indicate one or more components that need attention. Further, note that problem sounds can often be coaxed from the steering by starting the engine, parking, and turning the wheel fully from one side to another, several times.

Give each display interface a workout, ensuring connectivity with all of your media, Smartphone, and any other device. Freezing, lagging, crashing or failure of certain systems or interfaces to load can often be fixed with a system reset, or the installation of new or improved software. Dealerships may have access to special instructions via a technical service bulletin to help assess problems like these more quickly, if detected.

Confirm the condition of Impala’s taillamps, confirming that there’s no sign of moisture, dirt or rust inside of the housing, and that all bulbs work properly. Some owners have reported that a failed gasket may allow water to leak inside of the taillamps, which can cause problems. This same gasket failure may also allow water to enter the vehicle’s trunk, where other issues are possible, so check there, too.

If, like some owners, you experience problems with strange operation from the blind spot monitoring system, you may encounter a flashing warning light on the side mirrors, or an error message on display in the instrument cluster. Have a dealer investigate if this is the case. Do not attempt to fix problems like these by disconnecting and reconnecting (ie, resetting) the vehicle battery. Also, do not attempt to replace control modules at home — this may be easy, though special equipment is required to initialize the components.

Some owners say they’ve experienced a shuddering or hesitation when accelerating, possibly as a precursor to transmission problems. This issue hasn’t been reported with enough frequency against total sales volume to warrant much alarm, but shoppers can protect themselves from pricey repairs by confirming that all transmission servicing (fluid changes) are up to date, that no trouble-codes are in in effect with the transmission. The latter requires a diagnostic scan by a professional technician, and is highly advised. If the Impala you buy is still under warranty, be certain to report any transmission trouble to a dealer for investigation and documentation as soon as possible, which may help speed future warranty repairs, if needed.

The verdict

With most common problems being fairly minor in nature, and most bigger problems being reported with insufficient frequency to cause major alarm, the latest-generation Impala, thus far, seems like a solid used bet in a big, comfortable sedan, but a full check-over by a GM technician ahead of purchase is highly advised.

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