2009 CHEVROLET IMPALA: MORE STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES REINFORCE AN ALREADY-STRONG VALUE STORY
Chevy’s popular Impala continues to be one of America’s top vehicles in sales, thanks to a value story rooted in timeless design, a long list of standard features and a range of efficient powertrains – including a segment-exclusive V-8 in the Impala SS.
For 2009, Impala’s value story is bolstered by new standard safety features, including thorax side-impact air bags and safety belt pretensioners for the front-seat lap belts. Anti-lock brakes and traction control are now standard on all models. Available is new Bluetooth phone connectivity through the OnStar system. Bluetooth technology enables hands-free phone calling, with personal cell phone calls connected via the Impala’s audio system.
“In a very tough segment, the Impala continues to shine as one of its stars,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “More and more customers are finding the Impala not only offers a value-packed combination of features, but delivers it in a smart, efficient manner.”
When it comes to efficiency and fuel options, Impala has one of the most compelling stories in the market. The standard 3.5L V-6 is EPA-rated at 29 mpg on the highway, giving it fuel economy that matches or beats many smaller cars. Both the 3.5L and 3.9L engines are available with E85 FlexFuel capability.
The Impala SS is an efficient performer, too, with a 5.3L V-8 and Active Fuel Management. It is rated at 303 horsepower and has a highway mileage rating of 24 mpg. Active Fuel Management can improve fuel economy by up to 12 percent in certain driving conditions.
New for 2009
In addition to the new thorax side-impact air bags, pretensioners for the front-seat lap belts and Bluetooth connectivity, changes to the ’09 Impala lineup are evolutionary and reflect streamlined packaging of popular features. They include:
- New-design 18-inch flangeless, polished aluminum wheel for the Impala SS
- Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and traction control are now standard on all models
- Common rear spoiler design for all models (SS-style)
- Revised rocker molding design
- Dual-zone manual climate control is now standard on all models
- Revised cup holder design
- Illuminated vanity mirrors for the driver and front passenger are now standard on all models
There are also three new exterior colors: Silver Ice Metallic, Aqua Blue Metallic and Victory Red. They replace Precision Red, Dark Silver Metallic and Silverstone Metallic.
Chevy Impala conveys sophistication and exudes big-car roominess. On the exterior, large headlamps have a premium, jeweled appearance with three independent lighting units. These details complement other high-quality attributes, such as tight tolerances of 3.5 mm or less between body components and substantial “grab”-style door handles, to provide an overall feeling of solidity. Also, flat-blade windshield wipers are used to provide consistent pressure on the glass, which helps eliminate streaking and wind noise.
The Impala LS, LT and LTZ models have varied exterior trim cues that identify each model, while the Impala SS receives a distinct front-end appearance. It includes a dual-split grille with a SS-signature black-diamond crosshatch pattern. At the rear, a spoiler is standard on LTZ and SS models and is available on LT. The Impala SS also receives Corvette-inspired bright exhaust tips.
Inside, Impala is packed with thoughtful features, including clever flip-and-fold rear seats (standard on LTZ and SS, available on LT). The forward-flip rear seat cushions reveal a storage tub under the seat that can contain spillage while transporting a variety of items. The tub also serves as a covered storage area beneath the seat with the cushions down, and offers convenient grocery bag hooks when the cushions are flipped forward. A generous pass-through from the trunk can be created by flipping the seat bottoms forward and the seat backs flat – an exclusive feature in the midsize segment.
All of Impala’s available seating features clean, simple and tailored appearances. Uplevel Nuance leather- appointed seating features premium deck seams around their perimeter and French seams on the center cushions. The seats also have firm cushions and lumbar support that provide more comfort, especially during long drives. The driver’s seat also includes adjustable lumbar.
The Impala’s instrument panel wraps around into the door panels and has a double-hump design that is reminiscent of early Corvettes. Impala LS, LT and LTZ models have a wood-trimmed appearance, while the Impala SS comes standard with a “technical”-pattern trim panel, with the wood-trimmed appearance as an option.
Completing the Impala’s comprehensive interior is a host of useful comfort and convenience features, including:
- Dual-zone climate control system with up to 12 degrees F temperature setting difference between the two front zones
- Available factory-installed remote vehicle start system with a 200-foot (61-meter) range and automatic climate pre-conditioning to warm or cool the vehicle prior to entry (Impala LS features available dealer-installed remote start)
- Informative gauge clusters and an expanded driver information center – with more than 50 alerts, depending on the vehicle’s equipment
- Standard easy-access, steering wheel-mounted cruise control buttons
- Steering wheel radio controls on uplevel models
- Eight-way, heated power driver seat standard on LTZ and SS leather-appointed seats; six-way power driver seat standard on LS, LT with cloth seats
- OnStar system offers Turn-by-Turn Navigation
Three audio systems feature simple-to-operate radios that include standard XM Satellite Radio and are compatible with the enhanced OnStar system. The base MP3/CD radio includes a six-speaker system, a two-line, 32-character reconfigurable display and the capability to select between AM, FM and XM stations without having to reset the frequency. An uplevel ICDX radio adds an in-dash six-CD changer. Impala also offers a premium Bose audio system.
All radios include a standard auxiliary input jack for external devices such as an iPod. Located in the lower right-hand corner of each radio, the input allows for plug-and-play through Impala’s sound system.
Chassis and suspension
Quiet, smoothness and refinement are the ride and handling traits conveyed through the Impala’s chassis and suspension systems. A robust front-end structure provides a firmer foundation to help reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), while also enhancing steering and handling performance.
Impala’s fully boxed upper frame rail assemblies have a wider, deeper and structurally stronger upper front tie bar. Stronger ties between the upper and lower rails stiffen the front structure for improved ride and handling and a large, lower front-of-dash panel has been strengthened. To reduce resonant sound, it is constructed of Quiet Steel laminated steel, which consists of sound-deadening material bonded between sheets of steel.
An extruded aluminum engine cradle is used on both vehicles, too, and contributes to a smoother, vibration-free ride. The cradle’s lateral stiffness (at the steering joint) is increased with a new, one-piece machined rear cross member and new aluminum rear body mounts to help improve handling control. Models equipped with a V-6 engine have a two-point engine-mounting system, while V-8 models have a three-point mounting system.
A power rack-and-pinion steering system is standard on all models, with a responsive 13.3:1 steering ratio on LT, LTZ and SS models. All models feature a quiet, efficient power steering system that optimizes internal flow of the hydraulic steering fluid within the pump and reservoirs.
The front suspension features a MacPherson strut coil-over-spring independent setup with gas-charged struts and a stabilizer bar. Tall jounce bumpers in the front suspension help enhance stability and control. The rear suspension uses a trailing arm, tri-link setup with gas-charged struts and coil springs. A rear stabilizer bar is standard on all models. Based on the basic front and rear suspension designs, the Impala offers two levels of suspension tuning – FE1 and FE3 – each matched to the power and expected performance level of its respective model
FE1 (LS and LT): The FE1 suspension provides great control without compromising ride quality. It uses stiff, constant-rate front springs and variable-rate rear springs to provide higher roll rates and, at the front, a stiffer torque strut design reduces NVH and helps provide a smoother, quieter ride. The packages include 16-inch wheels and P225/60R16 ALS (all-season) Goodyear Integrity radials; on LT models equipped with the 3.9L V-6, it includes 17-inch wheels and P225/55R17 AL2 (touring) Goodyear Eagle LS2 radials.
FE3 ( LTZ and SS): Impala LTZ and SS models receive a FE3 suspension, which includes 18-inch W-rated P235/50R18 AL3 (performance) tires and five-spoke alloy wheels, to provide a sporty ride that complements the 5.3L small-block V-8’s performance. A 34-mm hollow front stabilizer bar and 18-mm solid rear stabilizer bar combine to provide more roll control than the FE1 or FE2 suspensions. Also, increased stiffness helps reduce body lean and contributes to greater high-speed stability.
Impala’s V-6 engines are as fuel-efficient as they are sophisticated. A 3.5L V-6 is standard in the Impala LS and LT, delivering 211 horsepower (157 kW)* and 214 lb.-ft. (290 Nm)* of torque – more standard power as a base engine than some key competitors’ top (or only) offering.
Vehicles with federal emissions systems in the United States are equipped with the 3.5L engine, which is compatible with E85 ethanol fuel, allowing the vehicle to run on any combination of gasoline and/or E85. Vehicles sold in YF5 ( California) or NE1 (Northeast) emissions are equipped with PZEV versions of the 3.5L engine. This engine is not E85-compatible. Customers in these areas have the option of ordering E85-compatible engines.
Standard in LTZ and available in LT models is the 3.9L V-6 that features E85 FlexFuel capability. This engine offers more power and usable torque within its operating range, with 90 percent of peak torque available from 1,800 to 5,800 rpm. It is rated at 224 horsepower (167 kW) and 235 lb.-ft. of torque (319 Nm).
The 5.3L all-aluminum small-block V-8 powers the performance-oriented Impala SS. It features Active Fuel Management, which can provide up to 12 percent better fuel economy. Developed exclusively for front-drive applications, the SS’s 5.3L engine produces 303 horsepower (226 kW)* and 323 lb.-ft. (438 Nm)* of torque.
All of Impala’s engines are matched with the Hydra-Matic 4T65 electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission, which is renowned for its smoothness and durability. A strengthened version is equipped with the 5.3L engine to handle the V-8’s torque.
Safety and crash avoidance
Impala offers standard side curtain air bags, which provide optimum head protection for outboard passengers. The side curtain air bags are mounted in the side roof rails and deploy down to the lower edge of the windows from the A-pillar to the C-pillar. Impala’s other safety features include:
- StabiliTrak electronic stability control system is standard on 2LT, LTZ and SS models
- Four-wheel-disc brake system featuring smooth, quiet operation, longer pad life, and more resistance to brake pulsation
- ABS is standard on all models and helps provide improved steering control while braking. It also includes Electronic Brake Force Distribution, which helps provide optimum braking regardless of load, traction or braking speed
- Traction control system is standard on all models and works with the ABS system to help ensure stable acceleration on a variety of road conditions
- Pretensioners are standard on the front safety belts, helping to minimize forward movement during a frontal collision. New, more effective load-limiting retractors have more “take-up” force to cinch the belt more tightly
- Three-point safety belts are equipped in all standard seating positions
- LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat attachment system is included in all second-row seating positions
- Tire pressure monitoring system is standard on all models
- Standard remote keyless entry (RKE) system provides a second function for the red panic button. Drivers can use the button to locate their cars, without sounding the panic alarm.
The Impala includes features designed to enhance the vehicle structure, including lighter, more rigid front and rear bumper systems. Also, the Impala features a strengthened “safety cage” passenger compartment with the front and rear doors designed for improved energy dissipation in the event of a crash.
The OnStar system is standard on Impala. Its digital hardware includes upgraded hands-free voice recognition capabilities, including more intuitive continuous digit dialing and improved voice recognition accuracy. OnStar is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and information services in the United States and Canada. Using the GPS satellite network and wireless technology, OnStar features core safety services and OnStar Personal Calling that allows drivers to make and receive hands-free, voice-activated phone calls using a powerful 3-watt digital/analog system and external antenna for greater reception.
The OnStar service available on the Impala includes the Advanced Crash Response System, making crash data available to 911 centers to potentially dispatch the appropriate life-saving personnel and equipment to crash scenes faster.
Impala’s OnStar system also offers Turn-by-Turn Navigation with the optional Directions and Connections service. Turn-by-Turn Navigation directs the driver through the route by using the digital readout lines in the radio head. Directions are downloaded by the OnStar advisor to the vehicle and can be played back or paused through the drive up to the destination. Besides being an easy-to-use system (all directions are downloaded to the car by an advisor) Turn-by-Turn offers an affordable system that is always up to date (no need to purchase map updates).