THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2007 Chevrolet Impala LTZ family sedan.
DOWN THE ROAD: A carryover from 2006, the front-wheel-drive
V-6 sedan now is equipped with GM's Active Fuel Management system, which deactivates half of its cylinders to conserve fuel. The result is an 8 percent gas saving in certain conditions such as cruising on the highway or at slower speeds. Available in six trims, the Impala is an easy-riding companion regardless of the obstacles on the road.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: A 3.9-liter V-6 engine produces 233 horsepower at 5600 rpm and 240 pounds-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. It is mated to a seamless and slick-shifting four-speed automatic transmission. The power rack-and-pinion steering is accurate in this attractive sedan, making it painless to maneuver through rush-hour traffic. Suspension is handled via an independent front MacPherson strut coil-over-spring with gas-charged struts and a stabilizer bar; the rear gets a trailing arm, tri-link setup with gas-charged struts, coil springs and a stabilizer bar. Seventeen-inch aluminum wheels sit on vented front and solid rear-disc brakes.
LOOK & FEEL: The traditional Chevy bow-tie, centered in the grille, hosts a large headlamp trio. The rear fascia sports a standard spoiler, chrome bar on the trunk door and dual-tipped, stainless-steel exhaust pipes. The cabin is spacious with 37.8 inches of headroom, 37.6 inches of legroom, 58.6 inches of shoulder room and 57.2 inches of hip room for rear-seat passengers. The Impala offers a standard remote start, which can switch on the car from a distance of up to 200 feet. The four-spoke, leather-wrapped and tilt steering steel is equipped with easy-to-operate audio and cruise controls. Splashes of wood on the door panel, center console and shifter area are pleasing to the eye. The instrument cluster encases readings for speedometer, tachometer, fuel and water temperature with a trip computer. The flip-and-fold-flat rear seat opens up room for under-floor storage of your belongings.
SAFETY FIRST: Dual front and side airbags, side curtain for both rows, traction control, four-wheel antilock brakes, tire pressure monitoring system, daytime running lights and one-year OnStar services are standard.
OUT THE DOOR: $26,365, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, 225/55R17; wheelbase, 110.5 inches; length, 200.4 inches; weight, 3,553 pounds; fuel capacity, 17.5 gallons; highway, 29 mpg; city, 20 mpg.
WHY DIG IT: It's not exactly a powerhouse, but the Impala, which has been GM's best-selling vehicle for years, gets the job done quite effectively and at an affordable price. This is one car you want to check out if you are in the market for a roomy, reliable and safe family sedan.