You would think based on the amount of press that the Chevrolet Malibu receives that it would be the sedan sales leader for the Detroit automaker. But it isn’t. At least for the time being, that honor (if it can be called that) belongs to the Impala, some of which were recently recalled for an air bag issue. When “new” features of any car include cupholder highlights, a car has got some serious issues. Taking a look at the 2009 Chevy Impala, most would agree that a redesigned 2010 Impala can’t get here fast enough.
While Chevy probably won’t mind losing a few car sales the Malibu, unfortunately all of the competitors to the Impala from Toyota, Honda and even Chrysler, continue to improve their larger sedans while the once celebrated dashing antelope becomes more Lumina-esque every day. For 2009, the aging Impala gets anti-lock brakes, traction control, and thorax side-impact airbags as standard equipment. A choice of engine options are carried over from the previous year, the first of which is the standard 3.5L V-6 making 211 hp, capable of fuel economy of 18 in city and 29 on the highway. The more powerful choice is either the 3.9L V-6 putting out 224 hp or a 303-horsepower 5.3L V-8. To address a widening ban on handheld cell-phone usage while driving, Chevy now offers the option of Bluetooth connectivity accessed through the OnStar system. Dual-zone climate control is now standard all models. While all of the engine choice provide sufficient power, though substantially lower fuel economy with the V8, most drivers find the typically powerful Chevy to overpower the handling capabilities of the Impala. Other negatives are the design, both inside and out. The usual criticism of past GM products for utilizing cheap-looking materials and poor fit and finish is unfortunately not corrected with the 2009 Impala, which looks like a dinosaur compared to direct competitors. There is, however, hope on the horizon for Impala lovers. A MUCH improved Impala based on the same platform, (rear wheel drive please), as the new Camaro is tentatively planned for 2010. It would appear based on the concept at least, that GM is hoping to push the Impala into a more expensive car segment, and let the Malibu absorb previous bargain-minded Impala buyers. Long overdue if you ask us.