2009 Chevrolet Impala

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2009 Chevrolet Impala. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    20-24 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    211-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 (flexible; E85)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    4-speed automatic w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Impressive size-to-dollar ratio
  • Interior space and comfort
  • Gas mileage
  • SS performance
  • Adept transmission

The Bad

  • Uninspiring design
  • Electronic stability system not standard
  • Large blind spot
  • Steering wheel doesn't telescope

Notable Features of the 2009 Chevrolet Impala

  • Choice of three engines
  • 5.3-liter V-8 in Impala SS
  • Flex-fuel versions available
  • Standard side curtain and side-impact airbags
  • Bluetooth phone connectivity

2009 Chevrolet Impala Road Test

Joe Bruzek

Chevrolet's Impala is a full-size car without flash, extravagant features or risky styling. Even so, it's a rare six-seater that's a consistent top-seller; in 2008 it was the eighth best-selling car in the U.S. Of course, many of those sales can be attributed to fleet sales. More about that later.

The model I drove was a 2009 Impala LT, which is a step up from the base LS. While the Impala LT got the job done and was a comfortable sedan, there really isn't anything there to get excited about. As an overall package, it lacks style, originality and individualization — basically anything a person could get passionate about; you won't take this car home to show off to your neighbors. Competition like the 2009 Ford Taurus, Dodge Charger, Toyota Avalon and Chrysler 300 offer flashier features, like advanced multimedia systems with navigation, all-wheel drive and aggressive styling in the 300 and Charger.

Of course, what the Impala lacks in uniqueness it makes up for with an impressive size-to-dollar ratio, as the Impala is priced lower than other full-size sedans.

I drove the 1LT, but the LT trim level is available with 1LT and 2LT option packages. Upper-scale trims include the 
Chevrolet Impala LTZ and V-8-powered SS model. It's also important to note that the tester was a rental car. Compare the 2009 to the 2008 model here.

 

The Fleet Question
Not to say that fleet sales don't count, but what makes a car a fleet favorite isn't ...

Chevrolet's Impala is a full-size car without flash, extravagant features or risky styling. Even so, it's a rare six-seater that's a consistent top-seller; in 2008 it was the eighth best-selling car in the U.S. Of course, many of those sales can be attributed to fleet sales. More about that later.

The model I drove was a 2009 Impala LT, which is a step up from the base LS. While the Impala LT got the job done and was a comfortable sedan, there really isn't anything there to get excited about. As an overall package, it lacks style, originality and individualization — basically anything a person could get passionate about; you won't take this car home to show off to your neighbors. Competition like the 2009 Ford Taurus, Dodge Charger, Toyota Avalon and Chrysler 300 offer flashier features, like advanced multimedia systems with navigation, all-wheel drive and aggressive styling in the 300 and Charger.

Of course, what the Impala lacks in uniqueness it makes up for with an impressive size-to-dollar ratio, as the Impala is priced lower than other full-size sedans.

I drove the 1LT, but the LT trim level is available with 1LT and 2LT option packages. Upper-scale trims include the 
Chevrolet Impala LTZ and V-8-powered SS model. It's also important to note that the tester was a rental car. Compare the 2009 to the 2008 model here.

 

The Fleet Question
Not to say that fleet sales don't count, but what makes a car a fleet favorite isn't the same as what makes a car a favorite for consumers. There are also some downsides: When a model has large fleet sales, especially to rental companies, its residual value is hurt because those cars typically enter the used-car market quickly, and with lots of miles on them.

Models well-known to be rental cars tend to get less respect in the market, too. The entry-level 2009 
Chevrolet Impala LS (front-wheel with a four-speed auto transmission) is predicted to retain just 35 percent of its value after three years, according to ALG. A competing 2009 Toyota Avalon XL holds 45 percent of its value — the best in its class — while the cars with the best residual value overall retain more than 60 percent of their value after three years.


Something fleets and consumers may have in common, however, is appreciation for the Impala's heaps of cargo and passenger room and its impressive gas mileage ratings in lower trims — all for a relatively low price in the full-size segment; it starts at $23,790.

Inside
The Impala's interior is extremely basic in design and execution. There aren't any "wow" features on the inside — or outside, for that matter — but everything is executed with the utmost simplicity, like radio and climate controls that are extremely easy to use.

The materials inside aren't uniformly impressive, but the interior was free of squeaks and rattles. The top half of the dash has a soft material that's pleasing to the eye and touch. The lower half of the dash on the model I tested used molded plastic below simulated wood trim that reeked of cheapness with its ill-fitting panels. The Taurus offers better interior execution, but the 
Chevrolet Impala's quality is on par with that of the Charger and 300.


A trick up the Impala's sleeve is that it seats six, which (surprisingly) is a feature we're asked about. For $195, the center console can be replaced with a column shifter, and a front bench seat can be added — with a third seat belt. Not many new cars offer this combination.

On the Road
With its cushy yet supportive cloth seats and equally soft suspension, riding in the LT on the highway is as comfortable as sitting on your family room couch watching NASCAR's version of the Impala SS make laps on a Sunday afternoon. This is great if you spend all day on the highway and like to float at 65 mph. Otherwise, the ride didn't inspire confidence while cornering. Even entering a highway on-ramp at normal speeds led to body roll; any faster, and the front tires started sliding under the strain. The LTZ and SS, with their stiffer suspension and lower-profile tires, may make a better fun-to-drive case.

The solid feel at highway speeds was impressive, as was the almost Lexus-quiet cabin. Not so Lexus-quiet, however, was the suspension, which emitted thumps and whacks into the interior over bumpy roads.

The LT's 211-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 easily achieved its 29 mpg highway rating over a 350-mile round trip. EPA ratings are 19/29 mpg city/highway for the 3.5-liter that comes in LS and 1LT trims. The more powerful 233-hp, 3.9-liter V-6 in 2LT and LTZ trims is rated 17/27 mpg, and the 303-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 in the SS model gets 16/24 mpg.

Features & Pricing
The Chevrolet Impala doesn't offer much beyond the core features, including power windows and locks, air conditioning and a multi-disc CD player. Technology geeks should look elsewhere, such as Ford's voice-activated Sync system in the Taurus, Chrysler's MyGig in-dash hard drive in the Charger and 300, or Toyota's voice-activated navigation system in the Avalon. An MP3 jack is standard on the Impala, but the USB input that even some GM cars offer —- which allows you to control your MP3 player or flash drive using stereo controls — is missing.


Also missing are in-dash navigation and all-wheel drive. The competition offers these higher-end features. The only way to get factory-installed navigation in the Impala is through OnStar's Turn-by-Turn option, which is part of the Luxury Edition that costs $2,465. The navigation feature is free for one year, but after that you'll have to pay monthly or annual fees. With a traditional in-dash or portable system, there are no fees.

While in-dash navigation systems depreciate quickly and can decrease a car's overall resale value — plus, some systems are hard to use — all-wheel drive is very useful if you're in a climate that needs it. All Impalas are front-wheel drive, like the Avalon, while the Taurus is front- or all-wheel drive and the Charger and 300 are rear- or all-wheel drive. Rear-drive cars are generally better balanced and drive more sportingly, while large front-wheel-drive cars like the Impala, Taurus and Avalon aren't best-suited for performance driving.

Starting with the LS trim at $23,790, the Impala undercuts its nearest competitor, the Charger, by $1,045. The 1LT I drove includes remote start, a driver information center with mileage readouts, and upgraded 16-inch alloys for $24,645. Higher-end models include a more powerful V-6 and V-8 in the SS, as well as sportier suspensions and wheel combinations.

Be sure to check for incentives on the Impala; at the time of publishing there were hefty offers available, including up to $1,500 cash back plus $1,000 loyalty cash if you already own a GM vehicle, or zero-percent financing for 60 months on 2009 models. If you take the current incentives on the Impala into consideration, you could likely get into one for the same price as a much smaller car.

Safety
An electronic stability system is included as standard equipment on many cars, but the Chevrolet Impala doesn't offer stability control — even as an option — until the more expensive 2LT, LTZ and SS trims, where it's standard, along with four-wheel disc brakes. The Taurus and Avalon include a stability system standard, and the Chrysler and Dodge make it optional on less-expensive trim levels. You can find a list of the Chevrolet Impala's standard safety features here.


The 2009 Taurus and Avalon earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick designation, which means they scored Good in front, side-impact and rear crash tests. The Impala, meanwhile, scored Good in the side impact test but just Acceptable in the front test and Marginal in the rear. The Charger and 300 rate Good in the front test but Poor in the side impact (without optional side airbags) and Marginal for rear impacts.

Impala in the Market
The Chevrolet Impala is a workhorse that doesn't offer much excitement but does offer practicality and value, thanks to its low entry-level price and its large size. While it can get by with this simplicity now — given there isn't much in the segment to get excited about — once the redesigned 2010 Ford Taurus, with its attractive exterior and high-quality interior, becomes available this summer, the Impala and others in this segment will have a lot of catching up to do.

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Latest 2009 Impala Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.0)
Performance
(4.1)
Interior Design
(3.9)
Comfort
(4.1)
Reliability
(4.1)
Value For The Money
(4.3)

What Drivers Are Saying

(3.0)

Chevy Impala

by Chris from Des Moines IA on September 17, 2018

It's a good car. It's reliable. I like the body shape and it's good on gas milage. I would recommend to a freind. I need the prize for my time to answer these questions thanks. Read full review

(4.0)

Is a comfortable and smooth ride

by NIckG from Indiana on August 18, 2018

This is my second car and it fits all of the needs that I have for it, for the price it?s an amazing car for me Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2009 Chevrolet Impala currently has 6 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2009 Chevrolet Impala has not been tested.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 100,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Chevrolet

Program Benefits

Two Factory-Backed Warranties, CPO Scheduled Maintenance Program, Vehicle Inspection & Reconditioning, 3-Day/150-Mile Vehicle Exchange Program, 24/7 Roadside Assistance and Courtesy Transportation, OnStar & SiriusXM Satellite Radio Trial Offers, and a Carfax Vehicle History Report

  • Limited Warranty

    Two Factory-Backed Warranties

    6-Year/100,000-Mile, Powertrain Limited Warranty and a 12- Month/12,000-Miles, Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty, both with $0 deductible
  • Eligibility

    Under 5 years / 75,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 172-Point Inspection & Reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Impala received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker