The Impala is a full-size car from Chevrolet with a long and varied history. It was first introduced for the 1958 model year as Chevrolet’s most expensive passenger car. It quickly became the best-selling car in the U.S. and enjoyed years of relative success through the mid-1980s. Despite consistent accomplishments, the Impala was discontinued two different times. The first production run spanned the models from 1958 to 1985 and is arguably the Impala’s most successful years before Chevrolet moved on the other projects. In 1994, the Impala was reintroduced as a muscle car, and enjoyed another short stint as big seller up to the 1996 model year. After a four-year hiatus, the most recent rebirth of Impala came in 2000, and it is currently still in production.
The first generation Impala was the 1958 model, available as a two-door convertible or hardtop. This vehicle is considered a very highly sought-after classic today. The very next model year included a significant redesign; the second generation Impala only included the 1959 and 1960 models, but drivers had the choice of a two-door convertible, coupe, or hardtop, or a four-door hardtop or sedan. The third- and fourth-generation Impalas followed and these were built up to the 1970 model year. These saw the introduction of the station wagon option, and a flat and classic body slopping toward the back. The models from 1971 to 1976 included a redesign of the front end and additional engines. The sixth generation from 1977 to 1985 did not enjoy the success of earlier models, switching to a plainer look popular at the time, but not garnering the classic status of earlier models. The Impala was eventually discontinued.
A brief reintroduction from 1994 to 1996 marked the seventh generation, and while it boasted a moderately powerful engine and comfortable ride, again it could not recapture its past popularity. The eighth-generation vehicles from 2000 to 2005 remained relatively plain. These did include a police package; the Impala became a common undercover vehicle in law enforcement. The current generation Impala is the smallest of its heritage and arguably the most mainstream in design. Despite the understated look, the top-tier engines are powerful. The SS achieves a zero-to-60-mph time of 5.6 seconds.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 211-hp 3.5-liter V-6, 303-hp 3.5-liter V-8, 211-hp 3.5-liter V-6 flex fuel engine, 233-hp 3.9-liter V-6 flex fuel engine, 5.3-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic with overdrive
Models: Chevrolet Impala LS sedan, Chevrolet Impala LT sedan, Chevrolet Impala 50th Anniversary sedan, Chevrolet Impala LTZ sedan, Chevrolet Impala SS sedan
The 2008 Impala came with an additional engine option and available flex-fuel models, active fuel management, a powerful 5.3-liter V-8 SS model, standard side-curtain airbags, electronic stability, and flip-and-fold rear seats for more cargo space.
Though the engine is powerful on the SS model, nothing about the exterior gives the impression of anything but a mid-range family car that is used to drop the kids off at school and to pick up groceries. It little resembles its reputation. Some features include standard 17-inch wheels and optional 18-inch wheels on the SS, three independent lighting units, a dual-split grill, and bright exhaust outlets inspired by the Corvette.
Inside the Impala, it is roomy and comfortable with plenty of legroom and headroom for both front and rear passengers. It is available in a number of trims with optional leather seating. It comes with OnStar standard, dual-climate control, remote start optional, and a range of other convenient features.
Performance & Handling
The 2008 Chevrolet Impala comes with three basic engines, a 211-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6, which runs on flex or regular fuel, a 253-horsepower 3.9-liter V-6 flex fuel engine, and a powerful premium gasoline 303-horsepower 5.3-liter V-8.
Standard safety features include side-curtain airbags, all-disc anti-lock brakes (ABS) on the LT, LTZ, and SS, and tire pressure monitoring on all vehicles. Traction control is available on some models.
EPA Fuel Economy
Chevrolet Impala LS: 18/29 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Impala LT: 18/29 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Impala LTZ: 18/28 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Impala SS: 16/24 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Impala 50th Anniversary: 18/29 mpg city/highway
- SS performance
- More horsepower than 2007
- Flex fuel models
- Smooth and fast transmission
- Interior space
You Won't Like
- Plain exterior
- Large blind spots
- Wind noise
- Steering wheel does not telescope
A reliable full-size car in the medium price range for its class, with a powerful SS option.
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