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2005 and Earlier Chevrolet Impala



  • atbearatbear Posts: 322
    "Impala was a excellent deal in 2001. But not in 2002 or 2003. $1000 year price increases are to blame."

    Well they are discounting that sucker like mad..

    "GM needs to get going. They are still thinking they are competing with FORD and have forgotten about Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Mazda."

    All new engines are coming.. By 2005 we'll see many all-new engine designs including the 3.6L DOHC V6.

    "The CTS will soon have a OHC motor. it needs to be offered in all the midsize cars at a premium."

    Haha... you actually have that backwards... The CTS right now has a DOHC 220HP V6. Soon it will get the LS1 in it's V Series that will be OHV.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    I am speaking of the new 3.6L DOHC motor that will
    have 255-260 hp. I am discounting the current 3.2L due to it's 54 degree design, lack of torque and the need to have timing belts changed.

    Many people on the CTS thread are holding off buying the car until the new engine comes out.
    Personally I wouldn't even consider the CTS with it's current engine.
  • atbearatbear Posts: 322
    "I am speaking of the new 3.6L DOHC motor that will
    have 255-260 hp. I am discounting the current 3.2L due to it's 54 degree design, lack of torque and the need to have timing belts changed."

    Ah, gotcha... that engine is going to kick [non-permissible content removed]... it has a turbo version as well, and should make it into the 2005-2006 redesigned Grand Am/G6 making clost to 300HP.
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    "I can't understand why people diss the engine so much."

    "you just don't get it, Scott, do you"

    scottie do scottie do........

    some folks have higher standards.....
  • larryfllarryfl Posts: 214 stay out of this discussion, but I can't any more. You guys are making a mountain out of nothing.

    Having owned numerous cars with pushrod, OHC and DOHC engines from all different manufacturers I can say that they all have different characteristics. The trick is to find a car with the engine that meets your driving preferences.

    I think we'd all agree the pushrod engines have much more low end grunt while the DOHC engines shine at the high end -at the expense of low end drivability. Honda's S2000 has a great little DOHC that screams over 6000RPM but IS A DOG under 4000, for instance.

    Since I don't drive flat out all the time on a race track, I want a car with some low-end performance. As mentioned earlier, Torque is the best rating for that, not HP, and I tend to look at both when comparing DRIVABILITY in a car.

    AND, there's nothing wrong with "last year's technology". That's just silly. If an engine has proven reliability, good performance, and is efficient, what do I care if it's "brand new" this year or 20 years old?? Look at Chevy's LS1. Phenomenal engine, argurably based on 40 year old technology. SO WHAT?

    "And that's all I got to say about that"
      - Forrest Gump.
  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372
    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 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
  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372
    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.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421

    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!
  • 02lssport02lssport Posts: 75
    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 [non-permissible content removed] time. This current form will have lasted 6 years by its end and that's not bad at all.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    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.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    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.
  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372
    For the sake of comparison, here they are:

    2000-03 Chevy Impala:

    2002-03 MINI Cooper:

    Never underestimate the MINI just because it is the shortest car in American roads (But one of the widest in its class too). "Best Pick" per IIHS and did even better than the Impala. The wonders of BMW's German engineering.....
  • johnclineiijohnclineii Posts: 2,287
    And our friend pluto was telling all about the Mazda6's ratings. As I suspected, it has not even been tested as of yet.
  • atbearatbear Posts: 322
    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!
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    Remember when you're comparing IIHS scores:

    "Test results can be compared only among vehicles of similar weight. Like full-width crash test results, the results of offset tests cannot be used to compare vehicle performance across weight classes."

    Impala curb weight = 3,448 lbs
    Mini Cooper curb weight = 2,496 lbs

    Big difference between the two. We're not talking apples-to-apples; more like grapefruit to cherry tomatoes!!

    As small as the Mini is, I'd be afraid to drive one if it didn't have multiple air bags. I can't help but think I'd be safer in my Impala than in a Mini (even when my air bag light is on constantly, which likely means I'm operating without the benefit of airbags!!!!).
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    "The car only came out in 2000 and its only 2003 so its not that it has been around for a looong [non-permissible content removed] time. This current form will have lasted 6 years by its end and that's not bad at all."

    Excuse me while I go to the bathroom. I think I pooped in my pants that was so funny!........


    yup! I did poop in my pants. All clean now.

    "The car only came out in 2000 and its only 2003 so its not that it has been around for a looong [non-permissible content removed] time. This current form will have lasted 6 years by its end and that's not bad at all."

    In case ye hasn't been keeping pulse with the wuto industry, most redesign cycles from revered companies and leading products are occuring at about 4 year intervals. Occasionally 5. Gm of course goes about 8-20 years typically....but the Impala is already an old car by today's standard. If they wait till 2006 or 2007 it will have to sell almost all its production to Avis to move any cars.

    Drivins point about not updating the car is dead on. In the meantime, the competition improves and GM stays where they were.
  • atbearatbear Posts: 322
    Dude just go away... you don't own an Impala... you aren't thinking about getting an Impala... you have no business here. Be gone!
  • charts2charts2 Posts: 618
    I believe most serious crashes involve hitting other vehicles. I guess if a Mini collided with another Mini head on the numbers would be justified...Let them do a test in the real world.....a Mini offset crash into an by Mini!!... The seriously injured Mini driver would would say.... "BUT SHE GOT 50 MILES TO THE GALLON!!)
  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372
    The Impala has a pretty sturdy structure. But no one has been able to answer as to why GM continues to drag its feet and not fit a passenger side airbag? Why side curtain bags are not even offered? See that is a problem. The competition already offers these safety systems either as standard or optional equipment. Bottom line...a new $25K Impala LS still does not offer a passenger side or side curtain airbags. Besides the airbags in the Impala (at least mine) are not dual stage either.

    GM needs to be more proactive and fit their cars with the proper and up to date safety equipment. It is more than a proven fact that today's buyers will pay extra for the added security afforded by these devices.

    For those of you that like to diss the MINI...I highly suggest for you to go and drive one. It is a world class car and the level of engineering on that little sucker puts any Cadillac to shame. Oh yeah and my interior in the MINI is still perfect after 6 months and 5K+ troublefree miles....not a single rattle or noise..just impressive degree of build quality and materials not seen in current day American cars.

    The Impala SS is a nice idea, but came too late. The '04 SS has 3 strikes against it:

    * Price
    * Engine (The 3800 SC has been available in the Regal and Grand Prix since '97 and the engine in the Impala SS is the same exact 240HP unit found in the other 2 cousins)
    * Save some cosmetics enhancements, the car looks the same inside and out. The interior at least needed to have been revamped.

    The SS was much needed at the time the current Impala was launched. The immediate availability of the SC3800 would have at least helped to mitigate the increased criticism fostered upon GM about the re-release of the Impala as a "midsize" FWD sedan. I fail to understand why GM stalled bringing the SC Impala to market for so long when all the hardware was already there in their parts bin. GM could have capitalized, at the time, on the fact that Ford had just discountinued the FWD Taurus SHO after 1999. Disgruntled SHO owners would have seen in the Impala SS an alternative replacement to their SHO. That opportunity has been lost. Today any Accord, Altima, Mazda 6 is capable of matching or exceeding the 240HP rating of the SC3800 Series II without the need of a blower or forced induction.

    And to add insult to injury, the '04 Pontiac Grand Prix will get the SC3800 Series III engine churning out 260HP to the front wheels for about the same money or perhaps less than the Impala SS counterpart. Let's not forget that the '04 GP will have better exterior looks and a much higher quality interior than the Impala.

    Sometimes I wonder what kind of leafs the people at GM are smoking on a daily basis???
  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372
    I frequent the MINI enthusiast websites quite often and many participanst there that have experienced accidents in their cars have posted pictures of the aftermath...these little cars perform incredibly well in the "real world".

    See the thing is not always about size and weight but also about engineering. The degree of safety engineering built into these cars surpasses anything made by Detroit today. Check the safety ratings for all BMW products. Most if not all of them are regarded as "Best Picks". I don't see that level of consistency across GM, Ford's or Chrysler's product lines...some cars have 5 stars and others are utter junk like the Cavalier or the Malibu.

    When you open the doors in the MINI they feel very heavy. In fact people that have seen or been in my car comment on how tight and solid it really feels. The MINI is one very deceiving a small package chock full of world class automotive technology. A little trivia tid bit about the new MINI: The new MINI is 50% more stiffer than the current and larger BMW 3 series.

    I personally want GM to succeed in the market place because I believe they have the resources and technology to make kick butt products...but they simply don't. they just seem to be happy to make "Good enough cars" but not industry standards (Except when it comes to , ugh, trucks). Like I said before, GM needs to get off the rebate and bribe bandwagon to move the metal out of the dealer lots. GM has made substantial improvements in product quality and reliability and now the areas that they need to focus on are design, interior quality, safet engineering and resale value. A lot of people are lured into GM showrooms because of the "fire sale prices" and the "deal" not the virtues of the product. This is very damaging to the long term perception of GM as a maker of truly outstanding automotive products in the market place. In the automotive industry you either, lead, follow or pack and go home.
  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372
    I have $1,700 accrued in my GM Card and not a single product being offered by them appeals to my senses. The only other GM car that has caught my attention is the Cadillac CTS but I still can't get over the weirdness of the exterior wrapper and the weak Catera derived V6 engine. In most other respects, the Epsilon RWD platform has what it needs to succeed against the best Europe has to offer.

    I also like the '04 Pontiac GTO but no way I am going to pay $35K for a Pontiac even if it is RWD and has a 5.7L LS1 V8 engine under the hood.

    I have yet to see the '04 Pontiac Grand Prix.

    So there you go. Every week in the mail I get notices about my $1,000 GM loyalty bonus, the incredible rebates and reminders about my dormant credit card dollars. Yeah I could snatch a Regal GS for peanuts but that is not the point, GM. I want new product, a product that makes me feel good about spending my hard earned buckaroos (Including the GM card points which I have been accruing for 2 years now) and say gee! GM has finally made an alternative to the "Imports"...but where is that magical car?

    I love my Impala and the car has been very good to me and I am generally impressed with the build quality but I personally feel that I have outgrown the car's capabilities...I want more pizzaz!

    If GM were ever to release that Chevy SS V8 RWD prototype, then I would re-consider making use of my GM card points.

    I wonder if Bob Lutz, Rick Wagoneer or Gary Cowger are really listening...
  • 02lssport02lssport Posts: 75
    "yup! I did poop in my pants. All clean now."


    "...most redesign cycles from revered companies and leading products are occuring at about 4 year intervals. Occasionally 5"

    Yea its usually 4 or 5 years. So there will be an Impala/Monte from 2000 to 2005. In 2006 there will be a new version with RWD and v8 power that will kick azz.

    So that's like 5 years with the same basic design. What's the problem?

    Also if you haven't noticed the economy is in the toilet and most auto makers are offering cash back and/or low financing.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    Back in '99 before I chose an Impala, the Wall St. Journal published a ranking of cars, based on safety. They didn't go into detail as to exactly how they figured it, but they factored in the weight of a vehicle along with the govt. crash test ratings. Their theory was that it is generally acknowledged that a larger vehicle fares better in crash situations, so by factoring in the weight of vehicles, they could give a truer "apples-to-apples" comparison of safety from one car to another.

    Naturally the Mini didn't exist at the time, but the Impala was ranked amoung the best sedans. Don't get my comp subscription to the WSJ anymore, so I don't know if they continue this ranking or not; but the articles back then did sway my decision to choose an Impala (as did my $3,000 in GM Card earnings).

    I agree the Impala needs a passenger side-airbag, and they should have come out with the SS version earlier (but better that, than doing what they did with the Monte Carlo SS).
  • atbearatbear Posts: 322
    Cadillac is coming back with a vengeance. It's really amazing. They will have some awesome things available shortly..
  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372 estarticle.html?articleId=93322&*

    Pretty good review I must say. If you have to have a W-body GM sedan, this is the one to have in your driveway. Check out the sweet interior...
  • atbearatbear Posts: 322
    Yeah, the 2004 Grand Prix is definately the W-body to get in regards to power and interior... I wonder about interior room though.. I'm a big guy and need a lot of room.. But it's a good update..
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    I'm sure the little deathtrap mini needs all the airbags it can get.
  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372
    C'mmon Pluto, I am sure you are a pretty smart guy, but that last response of yours, is well, nothing sort of a joke. See, when you say something against a particular car, you have to be able to back it up...repeat after me Back-it-up.

    You seem to be on a vendetta against Johnclineii and myself. See, all the pieces of information that we post here, we have information sources elsewhere to back them up. Now if you don't like to read the truth, TOUGH! John & myself as well as other veteran Impala owners (including yourself) are well qualified to issue statements of praise and criticism on these cars.

    I own a MINI Cooper, you don't, so your rubbish comments are automatically dismissed to the garbage can. Same with the Mazda 6 and all those others "Euro and Asian freak" cars that seem to bother you quite a lot.

    I like the Impala but the truth of the matter is that there are better cars in the market out there and some of these come in smaller packages.

    By the way, do you work for GM??
  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372
    Another interesting tid bit of information regarding the Impala. My insurance company, State Farm, has steadily keep raising the Comprehensive and collision cost premiums in the Impala since I got it 2 years ago. Back in 2001 I used to pay around $1,025 per year (perfect driving record, I belong to the "mutual" auto policyholders guild) which is very low by South Florida pricing standards.

    Today I am paying for the same exact coverage $1,165 per year. Reading my past State Farm issued policy statements, they claim that the medical costs and repair costs of these cars are HIGHER THAN AVERAGE. Very surprising, but I wonder if the lack of additional airbags have something to do with these insurance stats.

    On the other hand, When I got my MINI Cooper over 6 months ago, the premium started at $1,212 per year and the next 6 month renewal came down to $1,132 per year! Reason, and let me quote my State farm Premium policy renewal notice:

    "The claim experience on your make and model of vehicle (MINI Cooper) has resulted in a reduction to your vehicle rating group for comprehensive and/or collision damages."

    The April 2002 State Farm policy renewal notice for my 2001 Impala LS reads as follows:

    "The claim experience on your make and model of vehicle (Chevy Impala) has resulted in an increase to your vehicle rating group for comprehensive and/or collison damages".

    So, what does this say to you, Pluto?
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