The Chevy Impala may have been discontinued again, but it’s still popular among young and old fans alike. The Impala is one of the cheapest cars you can buy with a 300-hp engine. However, compared to other cars on MotorTrend’s top list, the Chevy Impala leaves some things to be desired.
It ranked in the middle of MotorTrend’s list, ahead of cars like the Honda Civic Type R and Infiniti Q50. However, that doesn’t mean it’s more well-rounded than rivals with a lower score. We can think of a few areas where the Chevy Impala can improve.
300 hp at a cheaper price point
The Chevy Impala comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 capable of 305 hp and paired with a six-speed manual transmission. That’s a nice improvement from last year’s model, which came standard with a 197-hp four-cylinder. The cost of a four-door Chevy Impala with front-wheel drive is around $32,495.
However, there are other cars that offer the same amount of horsepower for less money. The Chevy Camaro is just below $31,000 and makes 335 hp. Another $31,000 option is the Nissan 370Z, capable of 332 hp.
Average crash test scores
Safety is a priority for any car, especially one you’ll want to drive at high speeds. The Chevy Impala has a five-star rating from the NHTSA, but it struggled in a few areas of the IIHS’s testing. Its headlights got a poor rating and it scored a decent result on the small overlap front driver test.
While these aren’t too concerning, there are a few cars on MotorTrend’s test with better scores. The Toyota Avalon got good safety ratings across the board, with an excellent result on the front crash prevention test. This Nissan Maxima also proved to be a safer large car, though its headlight performance was only average.
The Chevy Impala’s cheap interior quality
At the Chevy Impala’s price point, it’s not unreasonable to expect a quality cabin. The Impala’s aesthetics are pleasing enough, but some critics didn’t like all the hard plastics. Edmunds found that the fit and finish were flawless, but there are some flimsier elements below the center stack.
Some critics also said that while the seats are comfy, visibility is hampered by large roof pillars. On the other hand, the cabin inside the Honda Civic Type R is furnished with more soft-touch surfaces and premium materials. The Dodge Challenger’s interior is upscale as well as unique, with special houndstooth upholstery and stylized gauge clusters.
Subpar fuel economy
Obviously, you don’t expect a car that makes 300 hp to be great on gas. However, the Chevy Impala is exceptionally underperforming in this regard. It’s officially estimated for 19 mpg in town and 28 mpg once you merge onto the highway.
The Ford Mustang is slightly less thirsty, rated for 21 mpg on city roads and 32 mpg on the interstate. The Toyota Camry TRD’s V6 also performs decently, one point higher in each scenario compared to the Mustang EcoBoost.
Why the Chevy Impala is still a good car
Despite these small flaws, the award-winning Chevy Impala still has a lot of charm and functionality. It’s basically an entry-level sports car, but it has a spacious backseat and trunk, a rarity for that segment. The suspension smooths out nearly every road imperfection, giving drivers a plush and quiet ride.
However, when it comes to raw power, the Chevy Impala isn’t the most cost-effective option. The base model also lacks the essential safety features present in some rivals. The Chevy Impala does a lot of things right, but it’s not quite the best 300-hp car.