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2012 Chevrolet Impala Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Chevrolet Impala was new.


Performance: 6.6

The 2012 Chevrolet Impala comes standard with a new, more powerful V6 and an updated six-speed automatic transmission, and the automotive press appreciates the changes. However, the Impala still doesn’t handle as well as other affordable large cars. Check out the Ford Taurus or Toyota Avalon for more power and a better ride.

  • "Chevy should rename it the ImpalaPM as it will put you right to sleep. It's an okay choice for a non-enthusiast who needs a lot of space and doesn't want to spend much." -- Car and Driver 
  • "Any Impala is stable with good steering feel, though no model can be described as agile. Stopping control is good." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The car's suspension also gets high marks for ride comfort. There's a price to be paid for this plushness, however, and that's indifferent handling that leaves much to be desired." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

Because the Chevrolet Impala is a bit long in the tooth, Chevy decided that a heart transplant was in order for 2012. The 2011 Impala’s underwhelming V6 engines have been replaced with the 3.6-liter V6 from the Chevrolet Camaro. Also new for 2012 is a six-speed automatic transmission, which replaces last year’s outdated four-speed unit. The new engine sends 300 horsepower to the front wheels, which is 89 more than last year’s base 3.5-liter V6.

So far, reviewers are pleased with the new mill and transmission, saying that the Impala now offers competitive power. Thankfully, the extra power doesn’t come at the expense of decreased fuel economy. According to the EPA, the 2012 Chevrolet Impala gets 18/30 mpg city/highway.

  • "The new 300-hp V6 under the hood is a distinct improvement over either of the two uninspiring engines that previously occupied that space. With an additional 90 hp on tap, this powertrain delivers competitive acceleration." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

Reports on the 2012 Chevy Impala's handling dynamics are honest and blunt -- test drivers don't like them. Though the Impala offers a comfortable ride, it lacks road feel, doesn't handle curves well and some critics even note that the steering is not properly centered.

  • "With the standard tires, Impala LS and LT models ride softly with noticeable float and wallow." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Most would be better served by the more capable and refined driving character of its competitors." -- Edmunds

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