Yeah sure, sales are moving along briskly- the current Impala is actuallyl gaining sales year over year- it's on pace for its best year in a long time. But after having spent a full day in an LT model this past week, my old question is- who spiked the punch?
From the outside, the Impala looks like a 2 generations ago Camry put through an American to Japanese translator set to bland. Twice. The resulting shape and style can kindly be called soapish. While not ugly per se, it's viciously inoffensive and will immediately identify anyone driving it as a lover of mediocrity. The delicious irony in all of this is that Chevy fans are some of the most vocal about the blandness of Toyota, when the Chevy lineup has two of the worst offenders in the industry with the Impala and Malibu.
Inside, things only get worse. Either the Impala interior looks like the Lucerne interior or vice versa, but either way, that is definitely not a point of praise. Fit and finish is horrid- theupper dash portion squeaks, rattles and has gaps large enough that losing toddlers could become a worry. Hard plastic is found throughout the interior, and the whole thing in general gives off a mid-90's GM vibe, minus the Fisher-Price rounded instrument tackiness. Which sounds self-defeating, but actually isn't, and when you see it in person, it all makes sense.
On the plus side, the seats are hella comfortable, and the steering is light, but by no means does it ooze feedback. Speaking of comfort, the Impala will ferry you around like a king, until you turn the steering wheel. Make a turn, ANY turn, and immediately feel car sickness set in. Wallowy body motions, overboosted steering, and an itchy gas pedal all compromise any ideas of driving smoothly when the esses enter the picture. Heck, forget esses- right and left hand turns at intersections are enough to eviscerate the chassis of the Impala.
Bottom line- even though GM is selling boatloads of the Impala, it is EXACTLY the type of sale they don't need at this point in their comeback- it absolutely reeks of mid-90s crappy engineering, and it is an unpleasant reminder of what GM used to be and what GM is trying to move away from. Every Impala sold to a customer is a further reminder to said customer about how far behind GM is in the passenger car arena. Sure it's cheap and is a best seller- but so is Kraft Dinner- and pretty soon the Chinese will be here with cheaper, and then what?
Two enthusiastic thumbs and two enthusiastic toes down.