Lust For Adventure: The 2007 Chevrolet Impala

by Saurabh Sharma - Date: 2007-01-16 - Word Count: 632 Share This!

In the early 1960s gasoline was cheap, President Kennedy was determined to put a man on the moon, and the youth generation's demand for fast cars exceeded its desire for efficiency. The cars that resulted included the Chevy Impala, Ford Mustang, and Plymouth Barracuda, all striking examples of good engineering and sound marketing. Of these, the Chevrolet Impala is often credited with starting the era of the muscle car. What matters today, however, is not how fast the Impala can go from 0 - 60, (which incidentally is under 6 seconds for the SS trim) but how well it competes with Buick Lacrosse, Chrysler Sebring, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, and the Honda Accord. All are within the 2007 Impala's MSRP of $20,330 - $26,330. However, fuel efficiency of 21 mpg city, 31 mpg highway is not one of 2007 Impala's most popular highlights in this company, but its smooth, elegant lines do raise the ante for escape from the ordinary.

It seems the 2007 Chevrolet Impala has been reborn as a very comfortable Chevrolet. Inside the car features a new twin-brow instrument panel that wraps around into the door panels. The LS, LT, and LTZ models have a wood trim with brushed silver, and the SS comes standard with metallic trim panels, with wood as an option. The panels are pleasing to the eye and bring a sense of adventure that is lacking in the usual Chevrolet models. The seats are comfortable, and the cabin features a re-designed, cleaned up interior. Additionally, the optional dual-zone climate control can vary the temperature in a variety of 12 degree increments. The knobs are of high quality, and expand the driver's information center. There are also plenty of large side panels and glove boxes to store maps and/or travel information.

There's plenty to choose from when personalizing the 2007 Impala. The car is available in four trims: LS, LT, LTZ, and SS. The base and the V6 LT, LTZ models are the most pleasing to drive and have the quietest interior. While the SS cuts a conservative but dashing figure with a firmer ride and an authoritative exhaust, it is the least fuel efficient of all the models. Overall, the engines are significantly improved from previous generations, but could do better with fuel economy. Perhaps, the availability of Hybrid technology may change this by 2008. Presently, the base LS trim features the 3.5-liter, V6 engine with 211 horsepower, the mid-range LTZ has a 3.9-liter, 240 horsepower Hemi(r) engine, and the SS has the supercharged V8 Hemi(r) with 303 horsepower. All three provide ample power. For safety, the 2007 Impala has front/side airbags, and side air curtains as standard equipment. However, power brakes (four wheel discs with ABS) and traction control are standard only in the LT, LTZ and SS. We suggest you add them as options on the LS and LT models.

Named for a South African antelope, the Impala was originally a Corvette based prototype. It was an experiment that started in the mid-50s, and became a best selling model once it was launched under its own name in 1960. Ed Cole, Chevrolet's chief engineer at the time, described the Impala as a, "prestige car within the reach of the average American." In essence, the Impala was built on a simple formula of mating a good looking car with a performance engine that was adequately priced for the emerging youth market. The formula worked; Chevrolet sold 7.8 million cars from 1960 to 1969. Although times have changed, the 2007 Impala has changed with them. It is now an expensive, more sophisticated car than any of its predecessors. It's more luxurious than a muscle car, more fuel efficient than ever, however, the availability of a Hybrid engine would position it better in the hearts and minds of the American people.

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Saurabh Sharma is an avid motoring enthusiast who is inspired by cars, and emerging automotive technology. His fascination with automobiles began during his infancy when his father brought him matchbox cars from a trip to Singapore.

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