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.

The Chevrolet Traverse looks different but still has what buyers are looking for.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The Chevrolet Traverse is coming in hot. After record sales of the model in 2019, Chevrolet carried over the 2020 model into the current year with very minor changes. The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse is shaking that all up.

Its exterior is getting new front and rear fascia. There's also a now-standard LED headlights and taillights, new sculpted grille, four new wheel designs. The car's turn signal indicators are now integrated into the daytime running lights.

2021 Chevrolet Traverse High Country

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

2021 Chevrolet Traverse Premier

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The SUV's interior has gotten a more robust makeover with new interior seating options, an available two-panel power sunroof with rear power sunshade, available Apple CarPlay and Android Audo, available 8-inch driver information screen, wireless charging pad, and USB ports in all three rows. The SUV continues to have best-in-class cargo space.

Chevrolet has also given the car newly available adaptive cruise control and Safety Alert Seat, which vibrates the driver's seat if the safety system encounters a predicted unsafe behavior or obstacle. Automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, forward collision alert, automatic high beams, and a following distance indicator are all standard for the new model year.

The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse will go on sale later this year. Pricing will be announced closer to the model's on-sale date, but don't expect too much of an increase over the previous model year.

Chevrolet has recently upgraded the Energy Assist version of the myChevrolet app.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Chevrolet has enhanced its myChevrolet mobile app to include a number of features that will help Bolt EV owners better live with their vehicle as part of their daily routine.

"We're providing EV owners with the tools to easily find available public charging stations," said Rick Spina, GM vice president AV/EV commercialization. "The enhancements to Energy Assist offer Chevrolet Bolt EV owners a holistic charging experience while they're on the go – whether traveling near home or on a cross-country road trip."

MyChevrolet app electric vehicle EV charging The new app functionality allows for more dynamic route planning. Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Energy Assist, which was first available within the app in 2017, enables owners to locate available charging stations along their route of travel. The function will integrate vehicle data that combines with that charging information. When range projections change dramatically, Energy Assist will push notifications to the user about updated charging needs and availability.

According to Chevrolet, updates include:

Dynamic Data Integration - GM is now displaying dynamic data from charging networks EVgo and ChargePoint within Energy Assist, so Bolt EV owners can have a more seamless charging experience with their GM vehicles. Information provided by charging networks includes real-time data on charge station status to indicate if a charging station is available. GM will integrate dynamic data from additional charging providers throughout 2020, which will include EV Connect continuing to enhance the customer experience.

Start-to-Charge - At eligible charging stations, owners can now link their EVgo account to activate and pay for charging sessions right from the myChevrolet mobile app, eliminating the need to toggle between apps and streamline the payment process. Eligible charging stations are noted within the myChevrolet mobile app. GM will continue to add eligible charging stations throughout 2020.

Review and Rate - With crowdsourcing on the rise, GM is implementing a new feedback feature for Bolt EV owners. Coming in early 2020, Bolt EV owners will be able to review and rate charging stations within the myChevrolet app. Similar to other popular crowdsourcing technologies, this feature will rely on Bolt EV owners to share their valuable insights about charging stations by providing a star rating and leaving comments about the station.

Energy Assist provides Bolt EV owners access to all Bolt EV-compatible charging station locations, regardless of the charge point operator. EV owners can now view more than 40,000 charging stations in North America, with access to 30 percent more DC Fast Chargers compared to 2019.

Original purchasers of new Bolt EVs have access to the Energy Assist features in the myChevrolet mobile app at no additional cost for five years from the vehicle delivery date, after they accept the myChevrolet mobile app terms. Energy Assist is available for Bolt EV owners in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The myChevrolet app is available for select Apple and Android devices.