In all the excitement over the Chevrolet Impala’s redesign last year, and how monumentally better it was than the long-serving favourite of fleets that came before it, perhaps we did not turn a critical enough eye on it. Is it really that good?

It sure does look pretty, so it’s easy to get carried away and forgive it some foibles, but let’s take a seat and get comfortable to see if it’s worth your time.

First of all, the engine. Our LTZ tester was equipped with GM’s 3.6L V6 with direct injection and variable valve timing for maximum power and efficiency. Power rolls out slowly, but 305 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque come on strong when you need them. As a front-drive car, you wouldn’t want the gearing or throttle to chirp the tires at every light, so the power delivery is smartly managed for those looking for relaxed cruising. Complementing the relaxed power delivery is a velvety feel to the engine. It feels so refined and just a subtle rumbley purr surfaces under hard acceleration, a happy contrast to the somewhat coarse character of the 3.6L V6 in the Cadillac SRX we tested recently.

Its performance is commendable, hustling the 1,754 kg sedan around without issue, and in V6 trim estimated to return: 12.4/8.1 L/100 km in City/Highway cycles as per EPA, or 10.7 combined. Even with a fair bit of highway driving for us, we finished the week at 12.5, though the trip computer showed that over 1,800 km (including my 400+), the previous drivers managed to keep it at 9.9, and that would include driving through cold, snowy winter conditions.

The transmission, GM’s widely used six-speed auto, was an able companion, though hardly taxed in our light use, with moderate commuting and a nice highway cruise.

While it is a large car, it turns where you point it and stays composed in the corners in everyday use. This is not the kind of car you buy if carving corners is a high priority, though it won’t leave you flailing and cursing every time you make a steering input or encounter a winding road as previous generations had.

Unfortunately, the brittle ride was the single most disappointing aspect of the Impala. Sure it was smooth on flat highways and felt stable at high speeds, but for a large, long-wheelbase sedan, I expected rough city streets to be barely noticed, but the suspension bangs and clatters, jarring the occupants far more than expected.

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