2014 Impala marks death of front bench seats

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1959 Impala

The 1959 Impala is a classic by any standards. Image: .Robert./Flickr/CC BY-ND

Chevrolet’s Impala, a sturdy boat well past its glory-days, has been in need of a reboot for some time. However, the General Motors division is attempting to change all that with its 2014 model. The new Impala, among other changes, may mark the death of the front bench-style car seat.

A stodgy reputation

The Impala moniker hit the nation’s showrooms in 1958 and since that time, it has spawned many classics. However, in recent years it has earned a reputation for being a stodgy workhorse, sold mainly to rental lots and retirees.

Chris Perry, Chevy’s head of global marketing, said:

“The current Impala is much more of a fleet vehicle than it is retail. There’s no hiding that fact.”

Tenth-generation moves ahead

However, a new generation of Impala was revealed Wednesday at the New York International Auto Show, proudly advancing into view alongside the classic Impalas from the past. It is the iconic makes 10th generation.

A family sedan

Mark Ruess, General Motor’s head of operations in the U.S., said the Impala reboot will ride more quietly than past models, and is tailor-made for the modern American family.

“You’ll get a true family sedan here. We really haven’t had a true family sedan since I’ve been at the company since 1986.”

John Cafaro, General Motors’ Director of Exterior Design, said Chevy’s goal was to make an Impala “that had reach, that was expressive” and that wouldn’t soon date itself. The result is, in Cafaro’s words, a “contemporary classic.”

Slab-sided, one critic says

Not everyone agrees. According to Digital Trends, the new Impala, though an improvement on the stodgy design of recent years, retains the “slab-sided look of the 1960s Impalas.”

The end of front bench seats

While holding on to some design elements from the older models, one interior feature is gone from the 2014 Impala. Until now, it has been the only sedan to hold on to the traditional bench-style seats in the front. The 2014 version sports side-by-side twin bucket seats, which is the norm today.

In showrooms mid-2013

General Motors says the new Impala will start coming off the line early in 2013, and will be in showrooms around mid-year. GM hopes the car’s update will broaden the base of Impala buyers.

[Asking “What car should I buy?” You’ve come to the right place.]

Not just about trucks anymore

Reuss said that the Impala remake is a sign of how well General Motors has picked itself up by its bootstraps following its government-sponsored bankruptcy and restructuring in 2009. Reuss said:

“Here is the transformation of a company which used to put a lot of capital and resources into only trucks because of the distress in the company. [Now, General Motors is] able to fund really, really good sedans with technology and safety that are obtainable by everybody.”


Chicago Tribune 
Digital Trends 
Chicago Tribune

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