For 2006, the Chevrolet Impala trim line-up changes, with the introduction of three new engines that replace 2005’s powerplants entirely. The base model is now the LS; along with the LT, it uses a 3.5-litre V6. A new LTZ model uses a 3.9-litre, while the Impala SS moves from a supercharged V6 engine to a 5.3-litre V8.

Other 2006 changes include new front and rear fascias with new headlamps and taillamps; new 16-, 17- and 18-inch wheels; a revised instrument panel and controls; premium seating options, including Nuance leather; flip-and-fold rear seats; new audio systems; standard dual-stage frontal airbags; standard side curtain airbags; and standard OnStar.

The Impala is basically a larger, four-door version of the Monte Carlo coupe, with the same wheelbase but overall longer length, and with the same engine choices and trim lines. All use a four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission.

The base Impala LS seats six and features dual-zone manual air conditioning, 16-inch steel wheels, heated power mirrors, cruise control, floor mats, tilt wheel, power windows, CD player with six speakers, variable intermittent wipers, four-wheel disc brakes with optional ABS, and power locks with keyless entry.

The five-passenger LT adds fog lights, rear deck spoiler, 16-inch aluminum wheels, tire pressure monitor, tachometer, leather-wrapped wheel, six-way power driver’s seat, 60/40 folding rear seat, ABS, touring suspension and traction control. The 3.9-litre used on the LTZ sedan can be optioned on the LT in the U.S. market, but in Canada, the LT is strictly a 3.5-litre.

The all-new 5.3-litre V8 in the Impala SS uses Displacement on Demand technology, which cuts the engine back to four cylinders under light load and provides up to eight per cent fuel economy. The SS also has a unique front-end appearance, with a dual-split grille and SS-signature black-diamond crosshatch pattern.

The redesigned Impala may be one of the better buys in the market. It’s roomy, comfortable, and offers significant savings over the 2005 models: the Impala SS gains two cylinders and 63 hp, and yet its price drops by $4,320. It’s one of the few remaining four-doors available with six-passenger seating, too. Even the Buick Allure, which represented a better deal in 2005, now costs more. Handling, engine response and interior appointments have all improved, and the new flip-and-fold seats open up this sedan for even better cargo space. And best of all, it’s Canadian.

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