The oft-ignored Chevrolet Impala strikes back with an aggressive redesign for the 2014 model year.
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With a more aggressive aesthetic that's been infused with Camaro and Malibu DNA, the Impala doesn't want to simply blend in.
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3.6L V-6 engine
The Impala 2LT is powered by a 3.6-liter, V-6 engine that is capable providing plenty of grunt when called on for acceleration.
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Six-speed automatic transmission
The single transmission option is a six-speed automatic. The gearbox lacks a sport program, but does feature a manual-shift mode activated via the rocker switch atop the shift lever.
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Our example was equipped with the Advanced Safety package that adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, and forward-collision warning to the Impala's suite of active safety technologies.
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A camera mounted behind the center mirror provides data to the lane departure and collision warning systems.
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The precollision warning system has three levels of sensitivity. If you don't want the car beeping and flashing dashboard lights at you constantly, I'd suggest that you go with the middle or lowest level.
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The Impala may have a muscular physique and a sports car's face, but the large sedan retains its laid-back comfort-cruiser driving characteristics.
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The Impala's suspension is supple and smooth, but not at all boatlike. It's a dull ride, but a comfortable one that isolates the driver from the bumps and noise of the road.
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One of the first things that I noted when getting behind the wheel of the Impala was its electronic power-steering system, which is absurdly light -- you could drive this car with a pinky finger, if you wanted.
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The rear end isn't as visually exciting as the front, but the simple design doesn't offend, either.
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The 2014 Impala has a huge trunk. I'd wager that you could fit at least four CNET editors in there.
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The interior is well-appointed and efficiently laid out. The curvature of the dashboard pushes the controls for the infotainment and climate systems toward the driver for easy reach.
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The newest generation of Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system comes standard on the 2014 Impala.
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Hold a button on the dashboard and the LCD slides up to reveal this hidden compartment. There's even a USB port in there, so you can charge your phone while you drive.
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The maps for the optional navigation system are sharply rendered and feature 3D buildings, but the performance was abysmally slow. I'd rather see the system ditch the buildings in favor of smoother operation and more clearly visible street names.
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Destination entry and search is also remarkably slow. Do yourself a favor and just use voice input or call the OnStar concierge.
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The sytem is able to display current weather data and forecasts on its map and can even notify the driver of weather advisories, such as excessive heat.
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Available audio sources include HD Radio, satellite radio, three USB ports for mass storage and iPod connectivity, an SD card slot, a 3.5mm analog auxiliary input, and Pandora Internet Radio integration.
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The system also features GM's OnStar, which can be accessed with the familar high-mounted buttons, but also via the touch screen and voice command interface of the MyLink system.
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Instrument cluster display
Additionally, the driver can access and interact with a variety of infotainment functions with the steering wheel controls and this small, color LCD in the instrument cluster. With the touch screen, voice commands, OnStar, and this secondary screen, there's a variety of ways to navigate the Impala's tech.
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Keyless entry and push-button start, heated seating surfaces, dual-zone automatic climate controls, and a premium Bose audio system round out the Impala's noteworty amenities.
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Heated seat controls
Each of the heated front seats features two heating zones with three levels of warmth.
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The front and rear seats of our 2LT model feature leather trim with suedelike inserts.