The new Impala looks great on the road and while I haven’t driven one I’ll bet it'll be competitive within it's class (medium well-luxury full-sized sedan). Thousands of Americans seeking an American sedan, who aren’t interested in Cadillac and Buick, but want something from General Motors that is not a Malibu or Cruze, will be happy to Find New Roads in this American icon of a luxury sedan.
The horrible gif in the header was my attempt to envision a new Impala in the hands of today’s automotive customizers (more on that later).
Before you unleash a flurry of venomous text in all caps regarding the gif let me say this:
The ways in which people modify their vehicle is a personal preference and regardless of how tasteless you might find it, I appreciate the effort even if stylishly misguided.
Stance, donk, jacked, wrapped, go-fast, etc. – it’s all automotive, it’s all car-love, so don’t hate.
Back to the Impala…
I can’t shake the feeling that the new Impala, while a good looking car, isn’t the same Impala I remember growing up. I can’t picture it cultivating the same automotive styles I remember.
When I think Impala three memories come to mind:
The Lowrider: Growing up on the East Coast I wasn’t too familiar with California’s car culture, but I owned more than a few Lowrider magazines and watched lots of MTV. Because of this as a young kid I was thoroughly convinced that every mid-60’s Impala in America had been slammed and was only available with gold wire wheels and white walled tires. I was young and stupid, but this was what came to mind when I thought Impala in the early 90’s.
The Badass Caprice: In 1995 my perception of the Impala was flipped on its head. The new Impala SS was the car I dreamed of owning when I was 15 (along with the Countach, of course).
Every-single-SS on the road had some form of exhaust work done to them and they sounded and looked BADASS. I still remember sketching images of the frolicking Impala logo in middle school.
The government / rental car: By the time I graduated high school the Impala had become a big ol’ Cavalier. It was no longer exceptional. It had no V8. It was badass retired. The only thing the car did for me was make me want a previous generation Impala SS even more.
So, you're the new Impala...
Today the Impala is in another transition, and while it may be a great car for the general consumer, it isn't the Impala I remember, the one that stole my heart.
Hotrods, drag strip cruiser, lowrider – whatever your style of Impala the latest iteration from The General seems far from having any of those descriptors applied to it. Instead the only viable enthusiast option I see left for the Impala is bright paint and big wheels. As my gif indicates Donk is the only enthusiast-future for Impala.
Do you think the new Impala missed the mark? Is it writing a new chapter for General Motors or just repeating one that we've read already? As cars becoming less and less customizable?