Used Vehicle Review: Chevrolet Impala, 2000 2012 used car reviews chevrolet
2000 Chevrolet Impala LS. Click image to enlarge

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By Chris Chase

Since 2000, Chevrolet’s Impala has been one of General Motors’ best sellers in the family sedan class. Its simple styling, spacious interior and strong V6 engines have made it popular with drivers looking for an economical, affordable and comfortable way to get around.

In early cars, engine choices included 3.4-litre and 3.8-litre V6 engines. An SS trim added in 2004 got a supercharged version of the 3.8-litre motor.

The updated 2006 model got new engines: a 3.5-litre V6 replaced the 3.4-litre, and a 3.9-litre V6 was added in 2007. The SS model used GM’s small block 5.3-litre V8. All Impalas used a four-speed automatic transmission.

For 2010, the SS and its V8 engine were discontinued, and in 2012, the 3.5 L and 3.9 L engines were displaced by GM’s 3.6 L V6. As well, the four-speed automatic paired with those old engines was dropped in favour of a standard six-speed.

Used Vehicle Review: Chevrolet Impala, 2000 2012 used car reviews chevrolet
2000 Chevrolet Impala LS. Click image to enlarge

GM’s V6 engines are known for decent fuel consumption, and the Impala was no exception here. In 2002, the 3.4-litre model earned Natural Resources Canada ratings of 11.0/6.7 L/100 km, (city/highway) while the 3.8-litre model was rated at 12.6/7.9 L/100 km. The supercharged SS model was rated 13.4/8.2 L/100 km.

In 2007, ratings for 3.5- and 3.9-litre models were very similar, at 11.5/7.2 and 11.9/7.5 L/100 km, respectively. The small block powered SS was rated at 12.9/8.1 L/100 km.

Fuel consumption for the 3.6 L/six-speed combo was rated 11.7/6.7 L/100 km.

Of all of the engines offered in the Impala, my favourite is the 3.8-litre, for its well-documented durability. The older 3.4-litre V6 is one of the engines known for troublesome gasket leaks. The newer 3.5- and 3.9-litre engines used from 2006 on are based on the 3.4-litre’s design, but to my knowledge, GM addressed the gasket issues in these motors, so they should prove durable in the long haul.

Used Vehicle Review: Chevrolet Impala, 2000 2012 used car reviews chevrolet
2009 Chevrolet Impala SS. Click image to enlarge

Check this site for more info on common problems with the Impala’s four-speed automatic. (Click on the “4T65E Info & Problems” tab at the time of the page for a list of known problems.) This page details a couple causes of outright four-speed failures, which are not uncommon.

An Impala transmission that gets stuck in park is likely caused by the brake-shift interlock solenoid, which can short out.

The 2012 model’s six-speed transmission is the 6T70 model that GM co-developed with Ford. There’s no evidence of problems (yet) in the Impala, but this is the same gearbox that has proven problematic in the 2010-2012 Ford Fusion and 2009-2012 Escape.

An external coolant leak from a 3.5 or 3.9 L engines could be related to this technical service bulletin, issued to address leaking cylinder head gaskets.