By Colin Bird on April 13, 2011
The 2012 Impala ditches the tried-and-true pushrod V-6 powertrains — the 3.5-liter and 3.9-liter V-6 engines — with a modern 287-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, replacing the outmoded four-speed autos formerly found in all Impalas. The V-6 will be E85-capable, like the engines it replaces.
The 3.6-liter V-6 is more powerful than either engine it replaces and is likely more fuel efficient. The current base Impala returns 19/29 mpg city/highway — already good for a full-size sedan. The V-6 is already found on some trims of the Malibu and is standard on the Traverse.
On top of those changes, the 2012 Impala will get a new grille, fog lamps, rear-end appearance and dual exhaust outlets standard on all trims. Inside, there will be new interior color schemes and new wood trim pieces. A new shifter design will come to the LT and LTZ trims.
We won’t know how extensive these exterior and interior updates will be until late May or early June, when photos will be made available, according to GM sources.
Aside from powertrain and aesthetic revisions, each trim gets more standard equipment. The LT trim now gets the flip-and-fold rear seat, rear spoiler, Bluetooth and floormats. The LS trim gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.
A front 40/20/40-split cloth bench seat is still an available option, making the Impala one of the last six-passenger full-size family sedans available.
The updates will probably be enough to keep Chevrolet’s flagship model chugging along for a few more years, especially with fleet customers such as government municipalities and rental car companies.
Expect the new Impala to go into production in mid- to late June or early July. Pricing and fuel economy information will be released closer to the sedan’s sales date.