Road Test / Chevrolet Impala SS by Tom
Incantalupo (Newsday 5/6/94)
FOR MANY OF US who grew up in the '60s, the initials "SS" on a
Chevy conjure memories of cars that were to die for: Camaros,
Chevelles, Impalas and, much later, Monte Carlos - coupes and
convertibles, often in red.
For 1994, Chevy has been trying to trade on that goodwill,
bringing back the Impala name, unused since 1985, and the SS
designation, which means "super sport" and hasn't appeared on a
Chevy since 1969.
Even though the names are on a four-door sedan, the largest
division of General Motors hopes to lure some of the now-middle
aged who drooled over those hot Chevys in high school or college
but couldn't afford them. And, of course, anyone younger who'd
care to participate.
Based, obviously, on the Caprice, the Impala has a variation
of the Corvette's engine and a beefed-up suspension similar to
that in Caprices sold for police use. There also are
17-inch-diameter, 8.5-inch-wide wheels with P-255 tires.
The result is a big five-passenger sedan quite without equal
in its combination of room, trunk space, reasonable price, sporty
looks, terrific handling and raw power. The ride might be a
little jiggly for some tastes and our tester's BF Goodrich Comp
T/As weren't nearly as impressive in the wet as they were on dry
pavement. And you pay a price in fuel mileage for all that power.
But if you thought you could never love a Caprice, you'll
probably be in for a surprise the first time you get an Impala
out on a twisty road or floor the accelerator when the light
Built in Arlington, Texas, the SS comes only in a
black-on-black color scheme. Aside from that, the Impala is
distinguished from other Caprices only by the rear deck spoiler
and styled wheels. The look drew more thumbs-ups, waves and
mouthed compliments through closed windows than most Caprice
owners will likely receive in seven years.
A few gripes: The front bucket seats are shy on lateral
support, a flaw made worse by the slippery leather upholstery and
the lack of a dead pedal or other comfortable place on which to
brace your left foot.
The digital speedometer, the only one available, is similarly
not in keeping with the sporty personality. And there is no
A limited-slip rear axle is standard. But traction control is,
unfortunately, not available in the Impala or Caprice.
The base price includes air conditioning, power windows and
locks, cruise control, tilt wheel and much more, but you'll have
to add $ 205 for a rear defogger, or buy it in an $ 860 package
with power passenger seat, remote keyless entry and other
At a Glance
Engine: 5.7-liter V-8, 260 horsepower
Transmission: Four-speed automatic, rear wheel drive
Safety: Dual air bags, four-wheel antilock disc brakes
Weight: 4,218 pounds
Trunk Capacity: 20.4 cubic feet
Base Price: $ 22,495, incl. destination charge
EPA Mileage: 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway