New Chevy Impala to share XTS platform; spy photos offer glimpse
Photo credit: CHRIS DOANE AUTOMOTIVE
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The new Chevrolet Impala will have several things in common with Cadillac's new flagship, the 2013 XTS sedan.
Spy photos snapped this week offer the first glimpse of the redesigned 2014 Impala. The car is heading to Chevy showrooms in early 2013.
Despite the heavy dose of camouflage, the photos reveal a sleek silhouette with a long nose, short rear deck, along with wrap-around headlamps and front fascia.
Although it isn't clear from these photos, one version of the Impala seen in the design studio before styling was locked in -- a full-sized model made of clay -- featured some design cues similar to the previous generation Audi A6, sources said.
A large, tall, split grille similar in execution to the 2013 Malibu was positioned on the clay model. The difference for the 2014 Impala's grille was an abundance of chrome-like materials.
The car's overall appearance was very premium, an upscale presence -- a far cry from the 2012 Impala.
GM typically won't discuss new products at this stage of a redesign.
"I can tell you there will be a next gen Impala," spokesman Mike Albano said in an e-mail today. "Not sure I can go much beyond that."
That clay model also featured a greenhouse with three windows on each side. In these spy photos, the small side window -- if it remains on the production car -- is covered.
Sources say Impala's ride and handling will be significantly improved. Ditto for the noise level in the interior. Plus, a wide range of technology will be offered including backup assist with a rear-mounted camera, navigation system and infotainment. A significant increase in fuel economy is expected, primarily using General Motors E-assist, a mild hybrid system that includes a small electric motor to assist the gasoline engine, regenerative braking and stop-start, which shuts off the engine at idle.
An Impala redesign is long overdue. The current generation Impala has been on the market since 1999. Styling changes and engine upgrades were introduced for the 2006 model year, but the car's overall appearance and driving personality were too similar to the previous version.Even so, Chevy knows how to hit it out of the ball park. Over 2.8 million Impalas have been sold since 1999, according to the Automotive News Data Center. Through the end of November, 160,955 cars have been sold, about the same pace as last year. The vehicle's best year was 311,128 units sold in 2007.
Photo credit: CHRIS DOANE AUTOMOTIVE
The Caddy link
So where's the Cadillac link?
Both the Cadillac XTS and redesigned Impala will share the same vehicle platform, the largest platform developed from General Motors' Epsilon architecture. Both cars will have front-drive with all-wheel-drive availability. And in terms of size, the Impala will be about the same length and width as the XTS.
Chevrolet is creating a new image for the Impala, moving the car one or two steps up market. Sound familiar? Ford followed a similar strategy when it introduced the 2010 Taurus.
No doubt Impala needs a new image. After all, today's Impala is a favorite with fleet customers.