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Impala is impressive flagship for Chevrolet

| Saturday, May 11, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

SAN DIEGO — My brother called me a few years ago from a rental car counter. He, along with four co-workers, was trying to figure out which car would hold them all, along with their luggage. Among the candidates offered, only one was a full-size car: a Chevrolet Impala.

I told him to go for it.

They were amazed that this unassuming, drab gray sedan swallowed them and their luggage so easily. What it lacked in glamour, it made up for in utility. But it never garnered their respect.

But when the 2014 Chevrolet Impala goes on sale this month, Chevrolet is hoping to change that.

The tenth-generation Impala has a new design, although it rides atop GM's Epsilon platform, which is used for the midsize Buick Regal, Opel Insignia and Chevrolet Malibu, as well as the full-size Cadillac XTS and Buick LaCrosse. These cars share the same width, varying only in the length of their wheelbase.

With the Impala, engineers worked to ensure that it was worthy of being Chevrolet's flagship sedan.

First, company planners decided that unlike some other Epsilon models, which come with optional all-wheel drive, the Impala would be offered only with front-wheel drive. This saved weight, which was used in other parts of the vehicle to enhance performance.

Next, designers and engineers went to work on the sort of details you may never notice. The doors use laminated side glass and triple door seals to reduce noise.

Larry Printz is automotive editor at The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va. He can be reached at larry.printz@pilotonline.com.

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