New Impala does the unthinkable: First American car in 20-plus years to top Consumer Reports ranking
While many Cool Rides Online members swear by American vehicles, driving nothing but automobiles born and bred by the Big Three, it's been quite some time since the major auto magazines have given anything but scorn to the most recent batch of cars produced stateside. In fact, it was quality issues that helped drive Detroit's largest automakers to bankruptcy just a few years ago, as many consumers had turned their backs on coupes and sedans built in the U.S.A.
Well, just a few years since GM was on the verge of shuttering its doors, the nation's largest automaker has done the unthinkable: Produce a sedan that the critics are actually excited about. And when I say excited, I mean all-out pumped, as the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, a model that just hit showrooms, was just named the highest ranking sedan on the market by Consumer Reports – a plaudit that carries a lot of sway among American car buyers.
In fact, this is the first time in at least 20 years that an American car has even come close to the top of the Consumer Reports list. While the trucks and SUVs built by GM and Ford consistently outdo the competition – these are, after all, each company's best sellers and biggest moneymakers – the nicest thing that most reviewers ever have to say about the cars built by the big three is that they come close to meeting the standards set by the foreign competition, but never exceed them.
This changes everything, as the only vehicles that actually rank higher are the all-electric supercar the Tesla S, which is in the hatchback category, and the BMW 1-series coupe. However, with a 95 score out of 100, the Impala is among the best cars the magazine has graded since they adopted a numerical system back in 1992. In fact, the only thing that the magazine didn't love about the new iteration of the Impala is the fact that it doesn't have best in class fuel economy, given the model's length and powerful engine, but they are more than happy with the performance of the sedan to allow this minor hiccup.
"It has been transformed from a woefully uncompetitive and outdated model that was to be avoided even as a free upgrade at the rental-car counter into a thoroughly modern and remarkably enjoyable vehicle," the magazine says in its review of the Impala.
Although the Impala has always been a high seller for GM, more than 70 percent of sales last year alone were to fleets, meaning you were more likely to see an Impala in a rental parking lot than in your neighbors driveway. Chevrolet has made it their goal to reduce that figure to 30 percent at most beginning this year, and it appears this shouldn't be a hard goal to accomplish.
One bad habit that the editors noticed seems to have been kicked over at GM is the fact that the Chevy Impala has often suffered from something of an inferiority complex. The designers would only go so far in creating a model that could truly compete as resources would instead be focused on selling Cadillacs or, more recently, fixing Buick's image. The designers seemed to have left no detail out when crafting this model, and while that usually translates to a more expensive vehicle, its MSRP is only around $26,000. In fact, the reviewers remarked that it is actually a far superior ride to models that cost more than double the Impala's price tag.
Do you think this is a sign of favor returning to the American brands when it comes to cars and trucks? Leave your thoughts below: