2006 Chevy Impala SS: More Vroom!

Chevy’s flagship car, the Impala, finally has the power to match its advertised name. Since the car was redesigned in the late 1990s, the Impala has been more of a suitor than an artist. Now, with an optional 5.3L V8 small block added to the mix, the 2006 Chevrolet Impala can go head-to-head with the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger. The changes for the Impala aren’t all under the hood, Chevy took the time to redo the entire car and they did it with care. Let’s look at some of the changes for 2006.

More power – A V6 is a great engine, especially in these times of high gas prices. Still, if you go for a car the size of the Impala, at least having the option to buy a V8 makes sense, doesn’t it? You better believe it. GM has sweetened the deal by launching a V8 that incorporates Corvette technology, as the engine heads with “their pitched-roof combustion chambers and flat-roof pistons deliver great power,” according to Chevrolet promotional material. Plus, GM’s “shift-on-demand” technology allows the V8 to squeeze 28 mpg on the highway. [18 mpg city] with computer equipment that turns off unnecessary cylinders at the right time. Cadillac tried this in the early 1980s with its V8-6-4 engine that was not up to the job, as computer technology was not what it is today. Fortunately, current GM technology makes this a reality for current models.

Better appearance – When it comes to “looks”, beauty is subjective. However, previous Impala models had a somewhat pedestrian appearance. In the highly competitive large sedan category, this can easily mean lost sales, as options for similarly priced but more aggressive-looking cars are strong. All new sheet metal, a more assertive nose, similar to the Cobalt, and updated headlights and taillights give the Impala a fresh, assertive look.

More models – 6 in fact. The return of the “SS” as a signature model should help sales. SS, or “Super Sport” is a term that was originally used for the 1961 Impala and, in the mid-1960s, came to represent each of the performance models in the fleet. The Chevelle, Nova, and Camaro had that designation then, while Impala, Cobalt, Malibu, and TrailBlazer use it today.

Improved interior – If you are going to change the skin and what is under the hood, you could also dress the interior, right? The LTZ, who knows what that means, has heated leather-trimmed front bucket seats. Add 8-way power and lumbar support for the driver and you’re talking about ultimate comfort. On select models, new “fold down and fold” rear seats are available; Front seat side curtain airbags are standard on all Impalas; and keyless entry, power windows, tilt steering wheel, OnStar, cruise control and a host of other features come standard on the Impala.

Prices start in the 20s {US} and go up to almost 30K {US} for fully loaded SS models. It remains to be seen how the SS sells, but its bold and fresh look is sure to appeal to those who previously ditched the Impala.

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