My car is the antithesis of a Jalopnik reader's car. It is big, it is slow, it is front wheel drive, and it is an automatic. The interior is full of fake wood and hard plastic, and it's not even brown or a diesel. It's the base trim of the model range, and the sporting version, the "good" version, was voted the worst car GM made during the recession era. My daily driver is a 2009 Impala LS, that car you tried to avoid at Hertz, and I like it. I said specifically in my review of my wife's Fiat that I don't want to drive around in a refrigerator on wheels, yet I own a car that provides the smallest adrenaline jolt you can get this side of a Prius. This is not a car that I should like, and I'm sure several of you will point that out to me below in the comments, probably in all caps. Regardless of that, it's a car I'm fond of, and it serves as a helpful reminder to me to respect everyone's choice of car, not matter what they drive.

I hated the Impala when my parents bought it back in 2009, and hated it for a variety of reasons. It was slow, boring, had no rear cupholders (which is a big deal to a kid who spends time back there) the dash was ugly, and to my ignorant eyes, the grill was already rusting! It actually wasn't, I was just an idiot and the chrome was merely dirty, but to me, it was another reason not to buy the car. At the time, I wanted my parents to buy a Mazda 6 sedan, which all of the magazines I read told me it handled much better, and you could get it with a manual. The Impala rocked the 4T60e four speed auto, which on a fun-to-use scale of 1 to 10 is just above being castrated by a blind man with no hands wielding a rusty spoon. Regardless of what I said, my parents were not swayed, and brought the big red couch-on-wheels home.

My opinion changed after I started driving it. Our previous car, a 1997 Chevrolet Malibu, was the only thing I had any real experience driving, and compared to this, the Impala was smoother, quieter, quicker, and had a better sound system. The handling limits were hilariously low, but the combination of traction control and tires that would howl for mercy long before they would let go meant that I never wrapped it around a tree while learning to hustle it. I started getting compliments from friends on the color, and how nice it was, and it became OK in my book. It stayed this way until my sophomore year in college, when my parents let me take it to school, and basically let me have my way with it.


Over the next two and a half years, the car has been de-badged, de-chromed, and had a host of suspension upgrades installed, including springs, sway bars, and strut braces. I traded my parents my steel wheels for their alloys, and got experienced with Plasti Dip. I've done everything in this car, from senior prom to getting married to my first autocross; its road tripped to the beach more than once, and survived a deer collision and ditzy girls in parking lots. Despite the car's flaws, I love it, and I'm honestly glad my parents got it. They were crazy gracious enough to title it over to me, so now the future of the car is in my hands. It needs work, and while I'm far too broke to attend to it now, it will get the attention it deserves eventually. Which is a shame, really, because it needs that six speed pronto.