2015 CHEVROLET IMPALA IS BETTER CONNECTED, OFFERS FUEL-SAVING STOP/START TECHNOLOGY
Redesigned a year ago, the 2015 Chevrolet Impala builds on the attributes that made it one of the most acclaimed new cars of 2014 – including being named the Cars.com Best Car of 2014 and one of Kelley Blue Book’s 12 Best Family Cars for 2014. Consumer Reports weighed in, as well, after having tested the new version of the iconic sedan.
A pair of new features enhances everyday driving: fuel-saving stop/start technology on the 2.5L engine and new OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity and standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. Stop/start technology shuts down the engine in certain driving conditions to reduce fuel consumption – boosting Impala’s city mileage 5 percent, to an EPA-estimated 22 mpg.
OnStar with 4G LTE and standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected. The hotspot is on whenever the car is on and comes with a three-month/three-gigabyte data trial.
The 2015 Impala also delivers a host of additional advanced technologies at a competitive price, including 10 standard air bags, as well as available safety technologies such as full-speed-range adaptive cruise control, crash imminent braking, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, rear camera and rear-park assist.
Inside, Impala’s passenger environment offers generous front and rear legroom, plenty of storage and almost endless infotainment options via MyLink. It’s also a quiet environment, with BOSE® Active Noise Cancelation technology on 2.5L models.
The 2015 Impala is also offered in an all-new bi-fuel model, making it the industry’s only manufacturer-produced full-size sedan in North America that can run on both compressed natural gas (CNG) and gasoline.
The 2015 Impala’s design is based on the new aesthetic introduced last year for Chevrolet’s flagship sedan –one that honors the cues that helped distinguish the classic nameplate for decades. It has a classic Chevy sedan presence, but doesn’t rely on nostalgia.
Its long, low proportion has a wind-swept profile that suggests motion, while a range of 18-, 19- and 20-inch wheels is tailored to the body to provide that “just right” stance. At the front, low-profile projector-beam headlamps – or HID headlamps and LED daytime running lamps on LTZ – sweep around the corners and frame a wide grille, while a power dome hood conveys performance. The LTZ’s LED daytime running lamps provide a contemporary visual statement, along with great visibility.
Sculpted coves in the body sides add to the Impala’s design drama, with a sweeping signature cue in the rear fenders that acknowledges classic Impala designs. The “greenhouse” area is long, enhancing the sleek look of the car while maintaining excellent visibility. The deck lid appears short to complement the overall proportion, but opens to reveal a trunk with 18.8 cubic-feet (532 liters) of cargo space. Diagonal dual-signature taillamps and – on LTZ – chrome-outlined exhaust outlets complete the rear-end appearance.
Exterior colors include Black, Blue Velvet Metallic, Champagne Silver Metallic, Crystal Red Tintcoat, Cyber Gray, Silver Ice Metallic, Silver Topaz Metallic, Summit White, Tin Roof Rusted, Rainforest Green (late availability) and Autumn Bronze Metallic (late availability).
Interior style and amenities
The Impala builds on Chevrolet’s signature dual-cockpit interior with greater attention to detail and upscale features – seen in everything from the wraparound flow of the bold instrument panel into the door panels and the available ambient lighting, to the soft feel of the materials and the premium appearance of the seats’ stitching.
Premium interior materials and details such as high-quality fabric, sueded microfiber and perforated leather appointments complement the quiet environment and give the Impala a substantive look and feel. The instrument cluster has a rich look, with multidimensional gauges and a configurable color driver information center with a 4.2-inch screen. The cluster’s ice-blue lighting enhances the upscale aura of the cabin, while available chrome trim with “bleed-through” ambient lighting further enhances the cabin’s sophisticated flair. It completely transforms the trim’s appearance by illuminating it during nighttime driving.
A prominent “center stack” is integrated in the instrument panel and houses the climate controls and Chevrolet MyLink, which includes navigation and Bluetooth audio streaming among many other features – and is controlled via a touch screen on an available eight-inch display. A standard audio amplifier is a feature not typical for the segment and a Bose surround-sound audio system is available.
LS models feature cloth seats, while LT comes standard with cloth/vinyl seats. Sueded microfiber-trimmed seats are available on LT and LTZ models, which feature standard perforated leather seating.
Additional available features include remote start, passive entry/exit, keyless starting, heated steering wheel, power tilting/telescoping steering column with memory, dual-zone climate control and heated and ventilated front seats. The Impala also packs great storage options, including a generous center console and a hidden storage area behind the optional motorized eight-inch color touch screen.
Interior color choices include Brownstone, Dark Titanium, Jet Black and Mojave.
MyLink and OnStar with 4G LTE details
Impala’s next-generation MyLink gives customers the best of both worlds when it comes to infotainment. It provides easy, intuitive operation of basic functions, yet it is also highly customizable and capable of linking up to 10 devices such as smartphones, SD cards and MP3 players, giving users more ways of staying connected. It is standard on LT and LTZ models.
Enhanced connectivity and convenience includes a new Text Messaging Alert feature for smartphone users with Bluetooth profile (M.A.P.), which reads incoming texts through the vehicle’s speakers, and Siri Eyes Free for iPhone iOS 6 and iOS 7 users to enhance connectivity and convenience. Each enables voice-controlled connectivity, to help keep phones safely stored and hands on the wheel.
Additional standard and available features include:
- Eight-inch-diagonal color touch screen and multiple USB ports
- MyLink enhancements including gesture recognition and natural language voice recognition
- Available navigation.
Complementing MyLink to enhance Impala’s connectivity is new OnStar with 4G LTE and standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. It provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected. The hotspot is on whenever the vehicle is on and comes with a three-month/three-gigabyte data trial.
4G LTE is the most current and fastest mobile data network – 10 times faster than 3G and 100 times faster than the previous generation of OnStar hardware. And with OnStar, it also offers stronger, broader coverage than smartphones on the same network and it’s easy to use: If the vehicle is on, the connection is on.
At the time of purchase, six months OnStar Directions and Connections includes all of OnStar’s advisor-based safety and security features, including Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Assistance, as well as turn-by-turn navigation.
Five years of OnStar Basic Plan includes RemoteLink Key Fob Services, allowing owners to remotely start and lock/unlock a car (if properly equipped), and activate the horn and lights from anywhere with a data connection. It also includes OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics, which runs monthly checks of a vehicle’s engine, transmission, anti-lock brakes and more, and Dealer Maintenance Notification, which sends a diagnostic report directly to a preferred dealer to simplify service scheduling.
Stop/start technology enhances efficiency
Impala offers two powerful and efficient powertrain offerings: the standard 2.5L iVLC (intake valve lift control) with stop/start technology and a 3.6L V-6 that’s the most powerful naturally aspirated engine in the segment.
The stop/start feature on the 2.5L shuts down the engine in certain driving conditions to reduce fuel consumption. Along with other technologies, including direct injection, variable valve lift control and a six-speed automatic transmission, the 2.5L powertrain contributes to EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 22 mpg in city driving and 31 mpg on the highway.
There are no buttons to push or procedures to learn with Impala’s stop/start system. It automatically shuts down the engine when the car comes to a stop under certain driving conditions, such as a stoplight. The engine automatically restarts when the driver takes his or her foot off the brake. The system monitors vehicle speed, climate control system operation and other factors to determine whether it is efficient to shut off the engine.
Unique components used with stop/start include:
- A tandem-solenoid starter that enables the engine to restart more quickly and more smoothly – even if the engine hasn’t come to a complete stop
- An electrically driven transmission auxiliary hydraulic pressure pump that keeps the fluid in the six-speed automatic circulating and primed for immediate take-off when the driver removes his or her foot from the brake pedal
- Larger, 12-volt absorbent glass mat (AGM) primary battery – which delivers up to four times the typical life cycle of a conventional battery – and a small, auxiliary 12-volt AGM battery
- Dual-battery isolation module that ensures both batteries are properly charged and the primary battery always has a sufficient charge to start the vehicle
- Torque-reaction engine mounts that dampen the vibrations associated with a restart, helping deliver smooth, nearly imperceptible performance.
The 2.5L is SAE-certified at 196 horsepower (146 kW) and 186 lb-ft of torque (252 Nm). Revised transmission shift points and quicker shifts also enhance the feeling of performance – while delivering greater refinement.
Output for the 3.6L V-6 is rated at 305 horsepower (227 kW) and 264 lb-ft of torque (358 Nm). That is the highest horsepower output in the segment from a naturally-aspirated V-6 engine. Lightweight features support a more balanced driving experience and include an integrated cylinder head/exhaust manifold design that saves approximately 13 pounds (6 kg) per engine.
Each engine is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Bi-fuel model details
The bi-fuel Impala will be available in the fourth quarter to both fleet and retail customers in either LS or LT trims.
It features a unique version of the 3.6L V-6, with specific valves and hardened valve seats for improved wear resistance and durability with the CNG fuel system. It is rated at an estimated 260 horsepower (195 kW) on gasoline and 230 horsepower (172 kW) on CNG.
The CNG tank mounted in the trunk has the equivalent capacity of 7.7 gallons of gasoline, which is expected to offer approximately 150 city miles of range on compressed natural gas based on GM testing. EPA estimates are not yet finalized, but with gasoline and compressed natural gas combined, expected range is 500 city miles based on GM testing.
In addition to average fuel savings of nearly $1.25 per gasoline-gallon-equivalent based on current fuel prices, natural gas is one of the cleanest-burning fuels available, so vehicles that run on CNG produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline-powered cars.
The Impala runs primarily on CNG and once the fuel tank is depleted, the system automatically switches to gasoline. Drivers who wish to change fuels while driving can do so by simply pushing a button. A light on the instrument panel indicates when CNG is being used and there is no interruption in the vehicle’s performance.
The CNG fuel system is validated by GM and covered by GM’s three-year/36,000-mile new vehicle limited bumper-to-bumper warranty and five-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, whichever comes first.
Ride and handling
The powertrains are the force behind Impala’s confident, responsive driving experience, which is tuned for comfortable performance and rooted in a robust body structure. A long wheelbase and wide front/rear tracks contribute to an excellent feeling of comfort and control.
A MacPherson-strut front suspension delivers a greater measure of control with rebound springs that are internal to the struts. They enable more refined calibration of the struts that result in a smoother overall ride, while also enhancing body roll control and weight transfer during acceleration or turning. That helps keep the wheels planted, which contributes to a more precise, controlled feel – especially while cornering at speed.
An isolated front cradle for the engine and transmission, as well as a hydraulic ride bushing, help deliver a smoother, quieter ride. At the rear is a proven four-link suspension design, with a slightly wider track that contributes to the Impala’s more planted feel on the road. Isolated mounting provisions for the rear suspension also contribute to the car’s quiet, smooth driving experience.
All models feature an electric variable-assist steering system (EPS) that helps save fuel by drawing energy only when the steering wheel is turned. Designed to complement Impala’s balance of responsiveness and comfort, the EPS’s feel is light and direct, with greater assistance at low speeds and higher effort at highway speeds. It also incorporates Pull Drift Compensation, which automatically adjusts the steering effort to account for factors such as crowned roads or high crosswinds – factors that typically cause the driver to turn the steering wheel slightly to maintain a straight path.
Sensors detect the steering correction and adjust the torque applied to the steering system to relieve the effort on the driver, helping to maintain smooth, straight driving with less input. Pull Drift Compensation is an integrated feature of the EPS system and engages seamlessly, without the driver’s knowledge.
The 2014 Impala offers one of the most comprehensive collections of standard and available safety features in the segment. It employs advanced technologies – including radar – to help avoid crashes. Visual and audible alerts, depending on the alert feature, help drivers identify potential crash situations and even intervene when a crash threat appears more imminent. The alerts are designed to identify potential threats with sufficient warning to give the driver time to react and make changes.
The available safety features and benefits include firsts for Chevrolet and Impala:
- Full-speed-range adaptive cruise control
- Crash imminent braking
- Forward collision alert
- Lane departure warning
- Rear cross traffic alert
- Rear vision camera with dynamic guidelines
- Ultrasonic rear park assist
- Brake pre-fill feature
- Hill hold/start assist.
The advanced, crash-avoidance technologies complement the Impala’s occupant protection features, including 10 standard air bags:
- Dual-depth frontal passenger air bags with passenger sensing system
- Driver and front passenger side-impact air bags
- Driver and front passenger knee air bags
- Rear outboard side-impact air bags
- Head curtain air bags with rollover sensing for front and rear outboard positions
- Safety belt pretensioners
- Child seat restraint system.
Impala also employs systems that enable greater vehicle control, including standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, all-speed traction control, four-wheel disc brakes with four-channel ABS and electronic brake force distribution, which ensures optimal braking force at both axles for maximum stability under heavy braking.