1 June 2007

MF Drives The Biggest Piece Of Crap That Ever Crapped Out A Crap

I don't want to incur the wrath of a young Ahnold and be a party pooper, but recent news of the current generation Impala selling like gangbusters needs to be tempered. By quite a bit.

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?

Let me use my first automobile review cliche- the Impala is roadkill. From the outdated platform to the just barely enough but still outdated engine to the sloppy steering to the sloppy styling to the sloppy interior, there is next to nothing that one can point to with the Impala and state, 'that's class leading'. Nope. Nothing. Yeah it's big. And yeah, it rides like uses marshmallows for shocks. But honestly, that's about the only milquetoast praise I can lavish on this vehicle.

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.

29 May 2007

Everyone Take Your Tops Off And Jump In The Pool!

From Jalopnik by way of VWVortex -

Got damn!

Apparently there's a G37 convertible on the way, not to mention an Altima convertible, and a Lexus IS convertible. Nissan in particular is looking to expand their sales with their two 'halo' mass production cars (yes, I know the GT-R and the Z are the 'true' halo cars), and convertibles would be the next logical step since both now have sedan and coupe versions. As for Lexus, they play the BMW monkey see, monkey do game- expect a coupe in addition to the convertible too.

In the last year alone, that means the midsize convertible segment has gone from the Sebring, and uh, nothing...to the Sebring, the Altima, the Eos, the G6 and the Solara (assuming Toyota redoes it).

Of course, the tastier news is that the G37 and the IS will get convertible variants.

Something else to consider- if they're going to do a G37 convertible, does that make room for another model on the Infiniti horizon? I'm talking a 6 Series competitor as a pseudo-coupe and convertible, in both 3.7 VQ and 5.0 V8 trim- the rebirth of the J (J37 and J50 do sound good don't they?)?