Retrospective

Once, twice, three times it's out: The continuously discontinued life of the Chevrolet Impala

For much of its life the Chevrolet Impala was categorized as a large car.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The Chevrolet Impala has come and gone three times now. When the last model rolled off the assembly line at General Motors' Hamtramck plant this week, it marked the official end to the tenth generation of the legendary large car.

Before its sales dwindled in the late 2010s and sealed its fate, the Chevrolet Impala was one of the most popular sedans sold – at least in its early history. Starting with the 1958 model year, the Impala made a splash, coming to market as the top-tier version of the Chevy Bel Air. It was flashy with Corvette-like design cues and a longer body style than most of its competition.

1962 Chevrolet Impala The 1962 Chevrolet Impala, shown in a press photograph from the time of its debut. Photo by Getty Images

This was the heyday of the big car and Chevrolet was 100 percent on-trend.

Just one year after its arrival on dealership lots, the model was redesigned. The Impala now came in four variants: four-door hardtop, four-door sedan, two-door sport coupe, and two-door convertible. It had a standard inline six-cylinder engine. It also came standard with front and rear armrests, an electric clock, dual sliding sun visors, and crank-operated front vent windows.

1962 Chevrolet Impala Fern Lynn demonstrating the Valmobile Suitcase Scooter New York State, 1962 behind a Chevrolet Impala. The Valmobile folds into a package the size of a suitcase and fits into a car boot. Photo by Getty Images

A few years later Chevrolet would trim its V8 engine offerings to just seven. Speed and cruise control would become options as technology advanced.

Between 1959 and 1960, the only two years that featured that second-generation Impala, Chevrolet sold 490,000 models.

Chevrolet Impala The Chevrolet Impala went through several different redesigns during a short period in its early historyPhoto courtesy of Chevrolet

In 1961, the third generation of the Impala began when General Motors moved the model to the GM B full-size rear-wheel drive platform joining the Bel Air, Pontiac Bonneville, Oldsmobile Dynamic 88, and Buick LaSabre. Use of that platform by GM brands lasted from 1926 to 1996.

From there, the Impala had a rich history with families across the U.S. and beyond. As the 80s began, Chevy shifted the Impala to become their base level full-size car. The sedan was sold primarily as a fleet car during the first term of the Reagan administration until Chevrolet shelved it in 1985.

Chevrolet Impala The Impala of the 90s was powered by a V6, not the traditional V8 of yesteryear.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

In 1992, the Impala name was brought again as General Motors debuted the Impala SS as a concept car at the Detroit Auto Show. The model featured a body lower than the Caprice and an 8.2-liter engine.

Two years later, the 1994 Impala SS went into production with some design tweaks, including the engine, which was now shared with Corvette. And, just like that, Chevrolet discontinued the Impala again in 1996, this time to give the automaker more capacity to make more profitable SUVs.

1996 Chevrolet Impala Chevrolet saw success with the Impala Police Package.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The Impala name was resurrected in 2000 to slap on the Chevrolet Lumina. With the rebadging, the Impala lost much of its previous identity. It was now a midsize car with a V6 engine. A supercharged Impala SS was sold starting in 2004, sharing its engine with the Buick Regal GS and the Pontiac Grand Prix.

In 2000, the vehicle also was released with a Police Package and an Underdover Police Package. With a stronger suspension and other interior changes from the mass market Impala, the model gained traction as a fleet vehicle.

Following a 2006 redesign, Chevy went back to its Impala roots a bit, giving the Impala SS a small-block V8 though the model was still a V8. It wasn't enough to convince buyers and the SS edition was shelved after the 2009 model year.

2014 Chevrolet Impala The 2014 Chevrolet Impala debuted at the New York International Auto Show in 2012.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Chevrolet went big with the 10th-genneration Impala, first showing it off at the 2012 New York International Auto Show. The model was bigger than the last iteration and it good reviews from noted publications. However, the praise was not enough to make the public purchase the car in the quantities they once had.

With the large car market sagging as demand shifted to SUVs and as the implementation of a General Motors business plan built on electrified mobility progressed, Chevrolet once again announced that the Impala program would end.

The final Chevrolet Impala rolled off the assembly line at the Detroit/Hamtramck plant on February 27, 2020.

General Motors has a habit of bringing old nameplates back (see: Hummer as the most recent example) so it may be too early to completely count the Impala out, though its days as a large sedan may be over for a while.

Trending News

Nuts & Bolts

 
 

New features and some trim level shuffling are in store for the Silverado in 2021.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is getting a refined list of offerings for the new model year, including the Multi-Flex Tailgate that was announced last week. Production of the model will begin in September and it will arrive at Chevrolet dealerships throughout the autumn.

According to the company's polling, 96 percent of light-duty pickup truck owners tow less than 10,000 pounds. Two Chevy trucks are getting a boost to get them closer to that benchmark.

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 The new Multi-Flex Tailgate is just like GMC's MultiPro Tailgate.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Models powered by Chevy's turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that are equipped with a Crew Cab and Short Box see their towing rating increased by 2,500 pounds to 9,300 pounds for the 2021 model year. A new Regular Cab/Long Box configuration offers a tow rating of 9,600 pounds with the same engine.

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 models powered by a 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel engine have their trailer capacity increased by 1,900 pounds for 2021 to 9,500 pounds on two-wheel drive models. Chevy has also given these trucks a $1,500 price decrease for the new model year.

The Silverado 1500 has also gotten new camera technology for 2021. These upgrades are similar to what is in the GMC Sierra for the coming model year. In addition to its previous 15 unique camera views, Chevy adds:

  • Trailer Length Indicator - When making a lane-change maneuver with the turn signal activated, a red overlay twice the length of the compatible trailer is shown on the center console screen, which can help show when other vehicles are present.
  • Jack-Knife Alert - Tracks the position of the compatible trailer in relation to the vehicle and provides an alert if a potential jack-knife situation is imminent.
  • Cargo Bed View enhancement - Cargo Bed Zoom View and Bed Hitch Guidance are now available, which help to align and hook up a gooseneck/fifth-wheel trailer.
  • Rear Trailer View now features guidelines and Trailer-Angle Indicator - Enhanced to include assisting guidelines when backing a compatible trailer into place and a Trailer-Angle Indicator shows the relationship between the truck and trailer3.
  • Rear Side View enhancement: Provides a split view, automatically biased based on the trailer's angle, of the left and right sides of the truck and compatible trailer. This view was previously only available while driving forward and is now available in Reverse for better visibility when positioning a trailer.

The 2021 Silverado 1500 also adds more customer-friendly content at all price points to an already compelling truck lineup, including:

  • Custom and Custom Trail Boss are now standard with Custom Convenience Package and Infotainment Package, which include EZ Lift power lock and release tailgate, bed LED cargo area lighting, remote start, available SiriusXM radio, available OnStar, and more.
  • Work Truck, Custom and Custom Trail Boss now offer 40/20/40 split-bench front seat and a new Safety Confidence Package (late availability), which includes Forward Collision Alert, Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, steering wheel audio controls, and 4.2-inch driver information center.
  • Custom Trail Boss and LT Trail Boss are now available with 20-inch black wheels with Goodyear Territory MT Tires (late availability).
  • LT and RST now come standard with the All Star Edition content, which includes the Convenience Package, Trailering Package, and an auto-locking rear differential.
  • LTZ now comes standard with the LTZ Convenience Package, Safety Package, and 20-inch polished wheels.
  • Wireless phone projection through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability is standard on LTZ and High Country, and available on LT, LT Trail Boss, and RST.
  • A first for Chevrolet, Adaptive Ride Control is now available on High Country models with 22-inch wheels to provide enhanced ride comfort.
Three new packages are available: All Star Edition Plus, Texas Edition Plus, and LTZ Premium Texas Edition. Details on these packages are forthcoming.

Three additional exterior paint job options are also being made available: Mosaic Black Metallic (late availability and at extra charge), Oxford Brown Metallic (available at extra charge), and Cherry Red Tintcoat (available at extra charge).

Trending News

 
 

This autumn, Nissan celebrates the 40th Anniversary of its Maxima flagship sedan with a milestone-marking model. The 2021 Nissan Maxima 40th Anniversary Edition joins the company's stable and builds on the Maxima Platinum grade.

The Maxima is the longest continuous running Nissan nameplate in the U.S. It made its debut on American shores in 1981 as the 1982 Datsun Maxima, replacing the Datsun 810. The original Maxima had the engine of the 240Z and a 5-speed manual transmission.

2021 Nissan Maxima 40th Anniversary Edition

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Datsun brand's presence in North America was phased out just a few years later and for the 1985 model year, the Nissan Maxima emerged also sporting a new V6 engine and front-wheel drive. The 1988 model was the last to be offered in a wagon body style.

The third-generation Maxima was launched in 1989 with a 3.0-liter V6 that achieved 160 horsepower helping it keep up with the German cars of its time. By 1995 the model got larger and had a new engine, which resulted in a power boost.

Nissan's large car is now in its eighth generation. It debuted in 2016 sporting Nissan's fashionable V-motion grilled and a more aggressive design complete with a floating roof. The car received styling and safety updates for the 2020 model year.

A new Maxima 40th Anniversary Edition includes a unique two-tone Ruby Slate Gray Pearl exterior paint job with black roof, exclusive 19-inch gloss black aluminum-alloy wheels, black exterior finishers and trim badges, a 40th Anniversary badge, black exhaust finishers, red semi-aniline leather-appointed seating with 40th Anniversary embossing, red contrast interior stitching, Satin Dark Chrome interior faceted finishers, white speedometer and tachometer faces reminiscent of past Maxima models, and heated rear seats.

In addition to the 40th Anniversary Edition, the 2021 Maxima will be offered in SV, SR and Platinum grade levels. Every Maxima has a 3.5-liter V6 engine under the hood that is capable of achieving 300 horsepower. The engine is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Pricing and on-sale information will be revealed soon. The 2021 Nissan Maxima will arrive at dealership lots this autumn.

Trending News