2014 Chevrolet Impala 2.5 1LT First Drive

Chevrolet says that four-cylinder engines power roughly 60 percent of its models sold here. With its 2014 redesign, the Impala joins the ranks of four-banger Chevys. The Impala's 2.5-liter four, which is the car's base engine, is related to the 2.5-liter four in the Malibu and the 2.0-liter turbo-four in the Cadillac ATS. It is rated at 196 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque, which is not a lot given the sedan's estimated 3800-lb curb weight. And indeed, the engine often sounds strained and quite vocal despite the engineers' attempts to quell NVH. In the quest to keep the racket to a minimum, Chevy has employed active noise cancelation, which nets the added bonus of a subwoofer for the stereo. The bow-tie brand has also taken a page from Buick and used copious amounts of liquid-applied sound deadener, sound-absorbing carpet, an isolated engine cradle, and an acoustically laminated windshield and front-door glass -- all of which are a first for any Chevrolet sedan. The six-speed automatic is good at keeping the four-cylinder within its power band, but with peak horsepower at 6300 rpm and peak torque coming in at 4400 rpm, that means keeping the revs up. The six-speed often needs to shuffle gears to stay in the meat of the power curve, and its shifts are less than smooth.

Among the Impala's competitors, only the Ford Taurus also offers a four-cylinder (turbo); the rest of the segment -- made up of the Toyota Avalon, the Hyundai Azera, and the Kia Cadenza -- offer V-6 engines only. While the turbo-four Taurus feels more balanced than its six-cylinder siblings, the Impala's I-4 does nothing to aid the big Chevy's handling. Granted, the Ford's four-banger has a different mission than the Chevrolet's. The Taurus' 2.0-liter turbo-four is a standalone option offering higher fuel economy that also happens to drive better, while the Impala's 2.5-liter I-4 is simply the entry-level engine. Buyers seeking the best fuel possible economy from an Impala will want the mild-hybrid eAssist model, which will be available later this year and is expected to achieve 25/35 mpg.

That leaves us wondering whether buyers save enough money at the pump and at the dealership to make up for the Impala 2.5's 109-hp deficiency versus the optional 3.6-liter V-6. The larger engine is rated at 19/29 mpg, just two mpg fewer than the four-cylinder's 21/31 mpg. On the Impala LT, the V-6 adds only $975 over the four-banger's $29,785 price tag; the top-spec LTZ model sees the $34,555 base price swell by $2025 moving from the four to the V-6. Base Impala LS models, which start at $27,535, are four-cylinder only.

Chevrolet expects the majority of Impala buyers to opt for the V-6, namely the mid-level 2LT model. With most people going for the V-6, Chevy might be better off with just the six-cylinder and the eAssist, similar to what Toyota offers with the Avalon and Avalon Hybrid, and losing the 2.5-liter altogether.

2014 Chevrolet Impala 2.5 1LT

Base Price (with destination): $29,785
Price as tested: $32,560
On Sale: Now
Engine: 2.5-liter I-4
Power: 196 hp @ 6300 rpm
Torque: 186 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Drive: Front-wheel
Wheels and tires: 18-inch aluminum wheels and P235/50R18 all-season tires
Fuel Economy: 21/31 mpg city/highway
Curb Weight: 3800 lbs (est.)
Doors/Passengers: 4/5
Cargo:18.8 cu ft
Legroom (front/rear): 45.8/39.8 in
Headroom(front/rear): 39.9/37.4 in
Towing: N/A
Nicest Rental Car you can get right now. Better than the Taurus and way better than the Rentibu.
The 2.5 and e-Assist models are to meet CAFE standards, otherwise I'm sure GM would only have the V6 and a V8 as an option.It will do fine for fleet sales and rentals. I would personally select the Chrysler 300s, over the new Impala if I wanted a full size sedan.  
Gaetan Junior Tshis
Good luck selling a used 2014 Impala with a 4 banger for anywhere near low end KBB.
Very few people actually need the size of the Impala.  And if they did, more than likely they would buy an SUV.   Personally, and considering the amount of cars on the road, if I were to buy a sedan it would be a compact car. 
Homer Felknor
Adam is right. The overwhelming majority of the time, the overwhelming majority of the people do not accelerate hard. However, even if it was only once......what if you NEEDED to get to 60 in less than 8 seconds or so.........you need enough power to be safe..
Oslo Frisby
I don't know. Power to ratio rate?
Doesn't look like anyone noticed. But compare this new Chevy against every other Chevy in existence. Now compare it to the Honda Accord. Does anyone see a Honda Accord with a bowtie badge??
Bill Lair
Years ago they moved heavier vehicles with less horsepower. No plastic; all metal.
Marc Hamady
No. The 2.0L turbo should be standard on the Impala. I would be tempted to go with the V6, though, but I understand if Chevy has to offer a 4-cylinder option for obvious reasons.
Al Lebo
Chris Story
For many people, sure. But, is the mileage gain significant enough to make people check the box?
Karuna Kalita
I have driven the 2013 Malibu with the 2.5, and I was quite impressed with the power and smoothness of the engine, and the ride and handling are really good-- for a hefty midsize sedan.  I have read that the 3.6 is a bit coarse.  I also think I have read that the 2.0 turbo in many GM cars, including as an option in the Malibu, is something you would not like to live with.  If I bought a Malibu, I would only consider the 2.5.  197 hp and 191 lb ft of torque are quite enough.
Mel Andrews
Buy this car with the V6. The Malibu's four-cylinder-only lineup is a massive disappointment in both performance AND fuel economy. This Impala offers something the current Malibu no longer does: a generously smooth and potent V6 engine. First year on the market and it's already Consumer Reports' top-rated full-size sedan. What was the Malibu in its first year on the market: a disappointment in nearly every way. In each comparison test it was featured in the Malibu finished no better than last place. This 'Mpala is clearly on the other end of the scale.
Michael Maron
Nope - also do not think a smaller engine in a big car will do much for gas mileage
The 2.5 exists for one reason:  rental car lots.  Enterprise and all the rest will snatch these up on fleet sales just to save $975 per car.  It's too bad, too.  While I'm not in the market, I was hoping to try one of these out the next time I rented.  Too bad it will probably have a four-banger.
Brian Michael
No. I guess that's the Great Grandpa model.
Jordan Dietz
Adam: You clearly don't drive in my town. :-)
Adam Roeger
Anyone ever noticed that very, very rarely do people actually use the full power of their engines? I've estimated that real world 0-60 times of avg drivers are around 20-30 seconds.
David Moore
It depends......how much torque is this engine putting out? For comparison's sake, that's 26hp MORE than the 1992 Chevy Caprice produced, a car that weighed 4,354 pounds. I'd take a V6 option over a 4 cylinder in a car this size.
Justice Edwards
Hell no, and FWD is bogus too!!
Nir Cohen
In Israel, the new Impala is sold only with GM's 3.6 V6 (305 HP). Is the 2.5 strong enough for a car this size ?
Luis A. Alvarado Guerra
Orin. You are partially right, V8s from the past used to make less horsepower, but they had more torque. Cars were also lighter, they didn't have ten airbags, impact absorb zones, or active safety sistems
Jeff Redwine
I love the complete stupidity of people.. People will inevitably run out and, probably purchase this heap of crap. With the honest belief that this car is going to get great mpg. When in fact because of the cars hefty 3,500lbs weight this car will probably get worse gas milage then a larger v6. GO GM keep waisting that government bailout money... smh
Andrew Cavett
196hp is adequate. I'd still opt for the V-6
Robby Robinson
i actually like this looks of this car...however, would never buy one. agree with the post below most peeps looking at this car could care less about horsepower. the way the power is delivered is fine for most peeps these days.
Luis A. Alvarado Guerra
I don't think so. The competition uses either a V6 or a turbocharged I-4 as the base engine. If I was looking for a full size I'd definitely spend the extra cash for the bigger engine. I really doubt the fuel economy would be vastly improved with the 4 cylinder but it will be lacking performance
Frank Samara
A 4 cylinder in an Impala is ridiculous. But it probably helps them meet some standards for all the green mandates handed down by the government.
Orin O'Neill
Um, yes. V8 engines didn't used to make much more horsepower. Anybody with a working knowledge of basic physics or automotive engineering (I.e., nobody who reads your magazine) would know that...
Michael Chen
Most people who consider these cars probably don't care about hp or 0-60 times!
Chad Pope
196 not really,had it been 210 than probably
Rahul Khond
definitely ,
I asked a man who owned a new Honda Accord with the CVT:  "How do you like the CVT?"  He said:  "Uh... what's a CVT?"I guess most people just don't care much about the inner bits of the car they are driving.  If it gets them where they are going, then it's good enough, and don't tell me you want to sell me a more expensive engine.  It is quite possible that most people buy the car that has the best color they see on the lot.  And none of those people are going to read this article.
@JiWiz I'm glad you mentioned it. It looks very similar to the accord, but uglier.
@Chris Story It's going to be more for those people who like the look of the Impala but cannot afford the higher trim levels
@sbdude Impala's have been typically running about 75% fleet, so there has got to be quite a few 6-cylinders in the mix. Even the Rentibu (last generation) that I had last week was the V6 model.
@David Moore Vehicle performance expectations have evolved quite a bit since 1992, at least for U.S. consumers.  Nobody buys 1992 cellphones or 1992 laptops, either.
@ed124c The Accord CVT is probably the best on the market right now. And I hate them (I have owned manuals for the most part)
@ed124c       So true. 
@FalkonKillah @JiWiz Funny the Impala is hailed as one of the best looking cars on the road. Also The accord is beautiful. To bad its the only good looking car in honda's lineup. On the plus side it is most likely the future design language for them.
@nknorka @ed124cThis is SOOO true. I am a Service Director at a major Mopar dealer, and I ask people all the time how they like the ZF 8 speed trans in there 300/Charger. Most people are like "my what in the what??" It is astounding to me how most people do not know anything about what they buy. I bought my 12 300 specifically because of the new 3.6 and ZF powertrain, but if you ask most people, "do you have a v6 or a V8?" I mostly get blank stares. LOL

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