The 2006 Chevrolet Impala was first introduced as an upscale trim for the full-size Bel Air coupe and convertible in 1958. One year later it became a stand-alone model. In 1961, it was redesigned as GM’s first muscle car and enjoyed insurmountable popularity throughout the 1960s and into the early 1970s. A market trend favoring smaller midsize muscle cars culminated in a drastic decline in sales following the 1973 oil embargo. A much lighter redesign in 1977 pulled the Impala back into the market for a few years. However, its popularity languished again in the 1980s, leading to its discontinuation in 1986. The Impala name was obsolete until an all-new model was introduced in 2000, followed by another complete redesign for the 2006 models. Much like its predecessors, the 2006 Impala remains a large, affordable family sedan, and is available in four trim levels: the LS, LT, LTZ, and SS.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 3.5-liter V-6, 3.6-liter V-6, 3.9-liter V-6, 5.3-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, six-speed automatic
Models: Chevrolet Impala LS, Chevrolet Impala LT, Chevrolet Impala LTZ, and Chevrolet Impala SS
The 2006 Chevrolet Impala was introduced in 2005 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The ninth generation has undergone significant cosmetic and mechanical changes, including new taillights that differ from the previous generation’s four-circle style taillight. Cosmetic alterations have also been made to the headlights and wheels, and the SS now boasts a unique grill of its own. The mechanical changes were primarily body-strengthening improvements and retained suspension geometrics for more stability and better braking systems. New engines have also been added. The base model has a 3.5-liter V-6, the LT and LTZ models feature an upgraded 3.9-liter V-6, and most notably, the SS trim now has a new 5.3-liter V-8, which replaced the older V-6 engine. This is the first time a V-8 has been used in a Chevrolet sedan since the 1996 Caprice.
The 2006 Chevrolet Impala has larger headlights than previous model years, grab-style door handles, and flat-blade windshield wipers. The dual-split grill with a black-diamond crosshatch pattern, gives the front-end of the SS sedan a very distinct look. Corvette-like exhaust outlets have also been added to the SS sedan. The LTZ and SS models come standard with a rear spoiler, which is optional for the LS and LT models. The base is built on a 110.5-inch wheelbase with FE1 suspension. Front sprints are constant-rate and rear springs are variable-rate. It is 72.9 inches wide with a length of 200.4 inches. The newly-introduced LTZ model offers 17-inch alloys. The SS model features monochromatic exterior paint, high performance FE3 suspension, and 18-inch tires.
The 2006 Chevrolet Impala can hold up to six occupants – a rare feat, as very few sedans can accommodate six passengers. Seating is comfortable, with firm cushions offering great lumbar support. It also has much more interior space than its competitors. A brand-new instrument panel, featuring an early Corvette-inspired double-hump design, wraps into the sedan door panels. The glove compartment size has been increased, and the trunk space is a very generous 18.6 cubic feet. The LS, LT, and LTZ models offer either a wood-grain trim or a sportier sterling trim. The SS model has metallic interior trim. GM’s OnStar communication system comes standard in all models. Also available is dual-zone climate control and a remote start option that can either warm or cool the car, depending on the weather. The steering wheel is mounted with cruise control buttons. Any sedan featuring the sandstone leather seating will also include a heated eight-way power driver’s seat and six-way power passenger’s seat. On the audio front, there are three audio systems available with the Impala. An upgraded MP3/CD radio with XM Satellite Radio configuration is available, as is an ICDX radio with an in-dash six-CD changer, and a premium Bose audio system.
Performance & Handling
Despite improvements to the suspension geometry, the 2006 Chevrolet Impala's handling can still be problematic due to soft suspension and imprecise steering. However, for a larger sedan, the ride quality is very agreeable. The V-6 engines provide a nice mix of power with impressive fuel economy. The base model has a 3.5-liter, V-6 engine generating 210 horsepower (hp) and 220 lb-ft of torque. The next level models have 3.9-liter, V-6 engines producing 240 hp and 245 lb-ft of torque. The SS sedan’s 5.3-liter, V-8 engine generates 303 hp and 323 lb-ft of torque. The V-8 produces a serious thrust of power, which may be uncomfortable at times. The V-8 engine features Displacement On Demand Technology that switches back and forth between four- and eight-cylinder modes for better fuel economy while the vehicle is lightly cruising.
This is a very safe vehicle, with five-star passenger protection ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). All-disc anti-lock brakes and traction control come standard for the LT, LTZ, and SS models, and are optional for the LS. Side curtain-type airbags are standard across all models. Models with 17-inch and 18-inch wheels come standard with a tire-pressure monitor as well.
EPA Fuel Economy
Chevrolet Impala LT: 18/28 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Impala LS: 17/25 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Impala LTZ: 17/23 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Impala SS: 16/26 mpg city/highway
- Six passenger seating
- Powerful, yet fuel-efficient engine choices
- Improved interior styling
- Standard side curtain airbags
You Won't Like
- Poor handling dynamics with soft suspension and vague steering
- SS sedan’s V-8 produces too much horsepower and torque for front-wheel models
- Lack of interior leg room
Packs power and personality at a great price.
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