Chevy’s flagship car, the Impala, finally has the power to match its heralded name. Ever since the car was redesigned in the late 1990s, the Impala has been more of a pretender than a performer. Now with an optional small block 5.3L V8 added to the mix, the 2006 Chevrolet Impala can go toe to toe with the Chrysler 300 and the Dodge Charger. The changes for the Impala are not all under the hood, Chevy took the time to redo the entire car and they did it with care. Let’s look at some of the changes for 2006.
More Power – A V6 is a great engine, especially in these times of high gas prices. Still, if you opt for a car of the Impala’s size, at least having the option of purchasing a V8 makes sense, doesn’t it? You better believe it. GM has sweetened the deal by plunking in a V8 that incorporates Corvette technology as the engine heads with “their pent-roof combustion chambers and flat-top pistons deliver high horsepower”, this according to Chevrolet’s promotional material. In addition, GM’s “displacement on demand” technology allows the V8 to squeeze out a miserly 28 mpg on the highway [18 mpg city] with computer equipment that shuts down unneeded cylinders at the appropriate time. Cadillac tried this in the early 1980s with its V8-6-4 engine that failed to live up to the job as computing technology then wasn’t what it is today. Fortunately, current GM technology makes this a reality for current models.
Better Looks – When it comes to “looks” beauty is subjective. Yet, previous Impala models had a bit of a pedestrian look to them. In the highly competitive large sedan category, this can easily mean lost sales as the choices for similarly priced, but more aggressive looking cars is strong. All new sheetmetal, a more assertive nose – similar to the Cobalt’s – and updated headlights and tail lights gives the Impala a fresh and assertive look.
More Models – 6 in fact. The return of the “SS” as the signature model should help sales. SS, or “Super Sport” is a term that was originally used for the 1961 Impala and by the mid 60s came to represent each of the performance models in the fleet. The Chevelle, Nova, and Camaro all had that designation then while the Impala, Cobalt, Malibu, and TrailBlazer wear it today.
Improved Interior – If you are going to change the skin and what is found under the hood, you might as well dress up the interior, right? The LTZ model – who the heck knows what that stands for – has heated front bucket seats trimmed in leather. Throw in 8 way power and lumbar support for the driver and you are talking top of the line comfort. On select models new “flip and fold” rear seating is available; side curtain air bags for the front seat is standard on all Impalas; and keyless entry, power windows, tilt wheel, OnStar, cruise control, and a host of other features all come standard on the Impala.