The 1996 Chevy Impala is a full-size sedan produced by Chevrolet which is a part of the General Motors corporation. The vehicle was first manufactured in 1957 and has seen several reincarnations since then. It has also been re-classed several times since its inception as well, having been a high end and budget minded vehicle at different points in its extensive history. Other cars that the ’96 impala competes with include the Ford Taurus, Honda Accord and the Buick Lacrosse. Body styling for this model year is actually very reminiscent of older models, which gives it a distinct appearance compared with other modern cars.
1996 marks the seventh generation of these cars and it had been extensively redesigned in the categories of body styling and drive trains. Body styling was offered in one standard form which was a 4 door sedan. Windshields were made sloping back sharply to contrast dramatically with the hood and side panel proportions. Rear side windows were accentuated with a stationary window above the panel directly behind the rear door. Trunk space was also increased substantially in comparison with previous model years.
Like most other features for the 1996 Chevy Impala SS there was really only one standard set of features for all trim packages. The standard engine was a 5.7 liter LT-1 V8 (350 cubic inches) capable of 260 horsepower. Like other LT-1 engines produced by General Motors it was designed to be a premium engine. That means that these engines were manufactured independently by engineers to meet very strict standards and were only made from the best materials and high end parts. This aim perfection is what allowed Chevrolet to get away with only offering one engine.
The dimensions of the vehicle include a wheelbase of 115.9 inches, a body length of 214.1 in, a width of 77 in and a height of 54.7 inches. These dimensions made the Impala a fairly decent sized car. The standard weight of an average vehicle was 4,221 pounds making it fairly heavy as well. All of these factors combined to make the vehicle handle well, gripping the road with its weight, while remaining nimble going through turns at highway speeds.
Another set of unique features is that the 1996 Chevy Impala SS came with a 3.08 gear, a limited slip rear differential as standard equipment, and an overall suspension system lowered by an entire inch. The camshaft in these vehicles was designed for low end torque instead of speed through horsepower like the Camaro had been. Cast iron cylinder heads were also used instead of the aluminum ones used on other LT-1 engines. The standard transmission was a 4 speed automatic which had not been reinforced from previous model years to handle the additional torque created by this model. That in turn led to many transmission failures at around 100,000 miles. Older models still on the road usually have a different transmission than the original, with a 6 speed automatic usually being installed.
There were also special sport tuned packages available, which many government agencies that bought these vehicles took advantage of. Consumers could also use these upgrades which gave the vehicle a sturdier suspension and enhanced driveshaft. Gas mileage was also fairly comparable to most competitors, with the exception of the Ford Taurus which received about 1-3 mpg better for both highway and city driving.