Midsize car; Built in Canada
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $2,200 – $15,200*


2006 Chevrolet Impala


2006 Chevrolet Impala


2006 Chevrolet Impala

Pros:
  • Acceleration (SS)
  • Ride
  • Seat comfort
  • Steering/handling (SS)
Cons:
  • Fuel economy (SS)
  • Rear-seat room and comfort
  • Ride (w/16-inch tires)

Chevrolet’s top-selling sedan is affordable, relatively roomy, and has competent road manners.

Overview

Chevrolet updated its largest sedan (and equivalent Monte Carlo coupe) for 2006 with new engines, reworked suspensions, and revised exterior styling. Front-drive competitors included the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, and Toyota Camry.

Both the midsize Impala sedan and the Monte Carlo coupe were offered in LS, LT 3.5, LT 3.9, LTZ, and sporty SS trim. LS and LT 3.5 models came with a 211-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 (up 30 hp from 2005’s base engine) that could run on E85 ethanol-blended fuel. LT 3.9 and LTZ sedans held a 242-horsepower, 3.9-liter V6. Chevrolet’s SS models got a 303-horsepower 5.3-liter V8 with GM’s Displacement on Demand, which deactivated four cylinders under light throttle conditions to save fuel. Supercharged models were no longer offered.

All came with a four-speed automatic transmission. SS models had a sport suspension and 18-inch tires; others rode on 16- or 17-inch rubber, depending on the model. Available for all Impala models except the SS was a front bench seat for six-passenger capacity. The SS came only with front buckets.

Head-protecting curtain side airbags were standard in Impalas, but not available for Monte Carlo coupes. Front torso side airbags were optional. Antilock braking, traction control, and a tire-pressure monitor were available. GM’s OnStar Assistance was standard. Additional options included a remote starter that turned the engine on via the keyfob, leather upholstery, and satellite radio.

Note that for 2014, a new Impala (see separate report) was introduced while the old generation continued as Impala Limited and was only available for the fleet market.

Yearly Updates

2007 Impala
New for the 3.9-liter V6 and carried over for the V8 was GM’s Active Fuel Management, which deactivated half of the engine’s cylinders while cruising, to save fuel. A tire-pressure monitor became standard, and SS Impalas gained leather-appointed seats.
2008 Impala
The 2008 Chevrolet Impala was largely unchanged, though the available 3.9-liter V6 joined its 3.5-liter sibling in being able to run on E85 ethanol-blended fuel. The similar 2-door Monte Carlo coupe was discontinued.
2009 Impala
The 2009 Chevrolet Impala was largely unchanged. A wireless cell-phone link was newly standard on the LT 3.9, LTZ, and SS.
2010 Impala
The V8-powered SS was dropped, but there were few other changes for 2010.
2011 Impala
The 2011 Chevrolet Impala is largely unchanged.
2012 Impala
For 2012, the Impala’s previous 3.5- and 3.9-liter V6 engines were replaced by a 300-horsepower 3.6-liter V6, and the four-speed automatic was replaced by a six-speed. The new V6 could be run on E85 ethanol-blended fuel.
2013 Impala
After receiving an engine upgrade in 2012, Impala saw no major changes for 2013.
2014 Impala
A revamped Impala based on the large Buick LaCrosse debuted in calendar 2013 as a 2014 model (see separate report). However, the old Impala soldiered on another year as the Impala Limited and was only sold to fleets.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

In the early years of this generation, two V6 engines and a V8 have been available under Impala hoods, each driving a four-speed automatic transmission. LS and LT 3.5 models used a 211-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6. The LT 3.9 and LTZ contained a 242-horsepower 3.9-liter V6 (later rated to 233 hp). SS models unleashed a 303-horsepower 5.3-liter V8 with GM’s Displacement on Demand, which deactivated four cylinders under light throttle conditions to save fuel. For 2007, the fuel-saving system also was installed on the 3.9-liter V6. SS models were dropped for 2010. For 2012, a 300-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 became the only engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. It could be run on regular-grade fuel or E85 ethanol-blended fuel.

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/213
Engine HP 211
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 214
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic 21/31 24.2
ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.9/237
Engine HP 233-242
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 240-242
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic 20/29
dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.6/217
Engine HP 300
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 262
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic 18/30
ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.3/325
Engine HP 303
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 323
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic 18/27

Road Test

Impalas are peppy from a stop. Chevrolet’s 3.5- and 3.9-liter V6 engines are comparable in around-town driving, but the 3.9 has better midrange passing response in the 35-55 mph range. The V8 furnishes ample power at any speed. Ethanol-blended E85 fuel can be used in the 3.5-liter V6, and it shows no difference in acceleration compared to all-gasoline. We have had no opportunity to drive a 2012 model with the new 3.6-liter V6, but that engine has proved to be quite satisfactory in other GM cars.

A test Impala SS averaged 20.3 mpg in mostly highway driving, but a 3.5-liter V6 managed 24.2 mpg. Using E85 fuel, an Impala with the 3.5-liter V6 averaged 16.9 mpg overall and 22.9 mpg in mostly highway driving. E85 provides lower mileage figures than gasoline. Chevrolet recommends regular-grade gasoline for V6s, but premium for V8s.

Expect a soft ride, but some float and wallow with 16-inch tires. Available 17-inch tires temper much of the unwanted motion. Little comfort penalty is evident with the SS, despite its sport suspension and 18-inch wheels.

Stable handling is the rule, with well-balanced steering. The SS sedan has the sportiest moves, but no Impala feels agile. Stopping power is good, but Chevrolet should have made ABS standard on all Impalas.

Wind rush and tire roar both intrude slightly. In rapid acceleration, V6 engines emit a prominent growl. The V8s are subdued at cruise, but deliver a “muscle car” rumble under throttle. Assorted squeaks were noted in one test Impala.

Gauges are clearly marked and easy to read. Large radio/climate controls have easy-grip rubberized surfaces, and operate smoothly. Cabin materials are serviceable, but hard plastic dominates. Impala trails most like-priced imports for quality look and feel.

Comfortable front seats produce adequate head and leg room. With standard six-passenger seating, the bench-seat bottom is too short for long-distance comfort. Entry/exit is easy, but the narrow cabin limits three-abreast seating to short trips and smaller passengers. Decent visibility is compromised slightly by thick rear pillars, sharply angled back window, and smallish outside rearview mirrors. Rear leg room is adequate, but head room tight for taller adults. Narrow door bottoms slightly impede rear entry/exit.

Usefully roomy, the trunk has a flat floor. The trunklid uses non-intrusive strut-type hinges, but odd-shaped opening hampers loading bulky objects. Rear-seat cushions flip forward to reveal handy storage wells and grocery-bag hooks. Cabin storage is adequate.

Ratings

Model Tested: Impala LTZ

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 7
70%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 6
60%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
50%
Cargo Room - 6
60%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 60

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
110.5 200.4 72.9 58.7 3553
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
18.6 17.5 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.4 37.8 42.3 37.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2006 Impala 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 4
80%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: A wire for the transmission’s torque converter clutch may rub on its clip and short out causing harsh shifting. (2006)
Automatic transmission
Description: A shudder or lack of power in second gear could be caused by a malfunctioning piston in the model 4T65E automatic transmission. (2006)
Brakes
Description: A campaign was conducted to reprogram the electronic brake control module on cars with ABS and fitted with 17 in. or 18 in. wheels. (2006)
Coolant leak
Description: Coolant may leak from the area of the cylinder heads due to bad head gaskets or from the coolant crossover pipe gasket at the right (rear) cylinder head. (2006-08)
Crankshaft
Description: Squealing or vibration from the engine at startup likely due to a slipping vibration damper on the front of the crankshaft. (2007-08)
Horn
Description: The horn fails from water getting inside and the replacement horn should have a splash shield. (2006)
Keyless entry
Description: The remote keyless entry system may not work or may work poorly and/or the tire pressure warning may come on due to a malfunction of the receiver and antenna. (2006-07)
Oil leak
Description: An oil leak at the oil pressure sensor on the V8 engine may cause the low oil light to come on and oil level to become low. (2006-07)
Oil pump
Description: Sticking oil-pressure relief valve could cause low or no oil pressure. (2007)
Oil pump
Description: Low or no oil pressure because of a sticking oil-pressure relief valve. (2007-08)
Steering noise
Description: There may be a clunk in the steering that can be felt and heard during slow speed turns due to a problem with the steering intermediate shaft which must be replaced. (2002-08)
Transmission leak
Description: The transmission (model 4T80-E) may leak and/or slip in gear due to a worn bushing on the clutch housing that allows fluid to build up and leak at the axle seal. (2006-08)
Windows
Description: Power windows may be misaligned and move slowly or not at all. (2008-14)
Electrical problem
Description: When using a portable music player (e.g. iPod) there may be noise in the car’s speakers whenever the vehicle’s power adapter is used and a ground loop isolator (from Radio Shack) is required between the device and the power outlet to prevent the noise. (2006-07)

Recall History

2006 w/manual passenger seat adjustor
Description: Left floor mounting bracket may be dislocated; in a severe crash, adjuster may separate from bracket.
2006-14 Impala
Description: Weight of the key ring may cause the ignition switch to move out of run position and turn off the engine. This would also turn off the airbags, as well as steering and braking power assistance.
2006-14 Impala fitted with Dorman aftermarket steering knuckles
Description: The steering knuckle could break resulting in loss of steering control.
2007 Impala
Description: The fuel tank is missing the adhesive layer that bonds the barrier layer to the outer shell of the fuel tank. With this condition, fuel and/or fuel vapors could seep out between the layers, increasing the risk of a fire. Dealers will inspect the serial number on the fuel tank and replace the fuel tank if necessary.
2008-12 Impala police vehicles
Description: The front lower control arm could break resulting in loss of control.
2009 Impala
Description: During a passenger-side air bag deployment, pieces of the inflator tube could strike and injure vehicle occupants and the air bag cushion would not inflate fully, reducing the capability of the bag to protect the passenger.
2009-10 Impala
Description: The seat frame may contact and damage the passenger-presence-sensor-module wires. The passenger-side airbag might not deploy in crash.
2009-2010 Impala
Description: The front safety belt webbing may not have been properly secured to the lap belt anchor pretensioner mounted to the side of the seat nearest the door. The safety belt may not restrain the occupant as intended during a crash, which could result in injury to the occupant. Dealers will inspect both front safety belts for proper installation of the anchors to the pretensioners and, if necessary, reinstall the anchors.
2012 Impala
Description: A power steering fluid hose might be too close to the catalytic converter. The hose could leak fluid on the catalytic converter resulting in fire.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.