I am a true American car lover. I love nothing more than an American muscle car. I have been very fortunate to own a few of these american icons, including a 1994 Impala SS and a 2003 Mercury Marauder (I am also the proud owner of a 1990 454 SS and a modified 1992 Ford Mustang Conv.), so I will try to bust some of the rumors between a Marauder and Impala.
I purchased my 1994 Impala new, and was first one in my area to own one. This car is probably the best all around vehicle that G.M. has ever produced. The car had ton's of power (it would drop down into 2nd gear from 4th, even when I was going 75 mph) that I used to embarrass many other unsuspecting driver's (car was a great sleeper) including a couple of early 80's vette owners who were poor shifters. I loved this car because it was exactly what I wanted, a large four door muscle car that not only had the bark, but the bite as well. Unfortunately it was totaled in 97.
I am currently the proud owner of a 2003 Mercury Marauder that I purchased new. This is also a great car that embodies the the American muscle car theme, but goes about it in a different way. The only similarities between these two cars are that they are American made, were offered only in black in the first production year, and have seating for five.
Off the line performance goes hands down to the Impala. Even though this car has less H.P. than the Marauder, the engine size, and thus the torque helps propel this vehicle like a rocket ship. I was once told that if the devil owned a car, it would be a 94-96 Impala SS. The other big difference was the interior size. This car was huge! I would take five full grown men to Las vegas with their luggage, and we were all comfortable. A few times I smoked a Lincoln Mark VIII, even though I was fully loaded and they were solo driver's. The mystique that this car brought was incredible. I had everything trying to catch me, including Ford S.H.O.'s, stock Mustangs, and only a few could (usually two seaters).
All this came with a price. Even though the Impala was everything that embodied performance, it was also plagued. In the three years I owned the Impala, I replaced the brakes THREE times, the transmission overheated and failed, the handling was OK, and I had rattles and squeaks everywhere. You might say it was how I drove the car, but I also drove a Chevy Caprice for work , which was one of many in a fleet of Caprice's at my job (all had the LT1 package). Several of these had the exact same problem and I was told by the head mechanic that the trannies needed to be beefed up with a tranny cooler, and the suspension wasn't that great and the brakes were terrible.
On the other hand even, though stock off line performance is lacking in my Marauder, it is very quick in the mid range and top end. Many a time I've merged or stepped on it, and that high revving engine has kicked into gear and I was impressed. It handles like a dream (for a full size vehicle), the brakes are great and the over all package is awesome. I've only had one rattle in 4 years, haven't had to do the brakes, and have driven it up and around some mighty twisty roads.
Overall I think the Marauder is a great car, and it would cost less to do a few modifications to make it just as fast as an Impala (believe me, cause I'm in the process as we speak) than it would to make an Impala brake, handle and less squeaky like a Marauder.
Oh, and by the way, the Marauder has a good OOOhhh factor as well (people ask me what I'm driving or give me thumbs up time to time). So the choice is yours. If you want a God awful fast American muscle car that that's great in a straight line, then go for the impala. If you want a fast american muscle car that comes with fit and finish, handling and braking, go with the Marauder.