2011 Chevrolet Impala LT 3.5 from North America
A time bomb, no matter how much you pacify and baby it
The right front speaker @ 50,000 miles.
Air blend actuator @ 74,000 miles.
Automatic transmission @ 136,000 miles.
You have heard people say that all cars are the same, and that as long as you take care of your vehicle, it will take care of you. This statement is an uninformed misapplication of common sense.
I made sure to change my fluids at the recommended intervals and ensure that the vehicle was checked routinely for preventative maintenance, and yet I had to retreat and purchase a 99 Taurus due to my 2011 Chevrolet Impala letting me down.
The 2011 Chevy Impala was a car that I wanted for some time; when the body style was redesigned for the 2006 model year, it seriously caught my eye. Although I was intrigued with the SS model, I purchased an LT model due to necessity after my 2004 Malibu quit on me after 186,000 reliable miles (even though it was purchased used, I was able to get about 60,000 miles out of it for $3,000). An SS model was beyond my budget price-wise and also due to the need to purchase premium gas (no thanks, I'll pass). The other models struck me as adequate alternatives; the specs stated over 200 horse power and close to 31 MPG for a larger car. How could I refuse, but because this purchase was due to an immediate necessity, I may have passed on other research to be done, and went with the apple I had my eye on.
I drove the vehicle for 100,000 miles seemingly trouble free, commuting roughly 110 miles round trip daily, and I haven't even had to replace the brakes. Just changed oil and fluids as recommended.
Features that I liked were the size of the vehicle; I am 6'3" and the commute was rather comfortable to be in the car for an hour at a time. Also the remote start for convenience and the overall look of the vehicle, as I received many compliments on how the vehicle looked new all of the time (a wash once a week and touch up with wax on the weekend definitely helped keep the vehicle looking new however).
This was not a particularly exceptional vehicle by any measure. I am 6'3" and it was comfortable on trips of less than 150 miles at a time; after that certain uncomfortable qualities became apparent; I would assume this of any car really.
The Impala does not excel in the areas of power and torque (I found this to be lackluster in the 3.5 V6), whereas I have driven other vehicles that were rated at lower horse power, but performed as if there was something more sinister under the hood (4 cylinder 2012 Chevy Equinox, 2015 4 cylinder Hyundai Elantra, 4 cylinder 2006 Kia Optima).
Fuel economy was sub par, gaining me no more than 24 MPG overall, regardless of how how delicately or meticulously driven, and the features were downright basic (but then again, it's a car not a Swiss army knife), although each of the other vehicles had a certain wow factor to be had about them, whether it was sport shift, or modes to enable you to gain better power or fuel economy; even connecting the Bluetooth to a phone was easier on the 2012 Equinox.
The right front speaker I could deal with going out, as I planned to get the stereo system upgraded after I got the car paid off over half way.
What I did not expect was the air blend actuator to malfunction, producing an annoying clicking noise that came and went at will, with or without the vehicle being started/running (if you have not experienced this or don't know what I am talking about, please check out the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttIZ_iCLFGo). Mine would make the sound regardless of whether the temp was set to hot or cold, and regardless of vent setting.
The major heartbreaking annoyance/failure in this vehicle was the failure of the transmission. Earlier this year (February 2015), against the advice of my mother, I ventured out without a jacket, relying on the heating system to keep me warm. This was a mistake on my part as the weather was cold. My car stopped at a stop sign a few miles away from my home, just outside of the city limits. I walked back in this cold and cutting windy weather. Why was I walking home you ask when I had a 2011 Chevrolet Impala at my disposal; well the answer is simple really; my car refused to engage and move while in any gear that was not in neutral. What would have been nice is a warning light - transmission potential/imminent fail warning... ("hey, as your transmission I think I'm quitting; here's my 2 week notice) or even a check engine light, which manufacturers seem to use as their catch all for every little code, but on this car, nothing. No forewarning, just a behavior that has stricken other Impala owners.
Another really annoying occurrence is that the manual's maintenance was followed and this unannounced failure still took place. After working with the dealership, I can safely say that although GM products look good, I have no intention of ever willingly purchasing one or driving one that is not a rental.
Oh yeah, this was my third GM product, and the first, which is still running at 180,000 miles, yet not good on gas at all, is the 1999 Oldsmobile Intrigue.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 8th December, 2015