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Platform is still stuck on RWD, but exhibits gains from eAssist, DI

The Chevy Impala is a name with a lot of history attached.  One of General Motors (GM) oldest models, it first debuted in 1958 and for a time was the best-selling automobile in the country.  Chevy today announced its plans for the new 2014 Impala, which was previewed at the New York Auto Show.

The new model will be based around three different engines:
  • 2.4 L LUK Ecotec 182 hp (136 kW) I4 w/ eAssist
  • 2.5 L Ecotec 197 hp (147 kW) I4
  • 3.6 L LFX 303 hp (226 kW) V6
All of the engines will come with six-speed transmissions -- increasingly an industry standard, given that more gears helps automakers better balance power and fuel efficiency.

Chevy Impala
The 2014 Chevy Impala [Image Source: GM]

The eAssist model uses GM's second generation belt-driven battery/motor system.  While less powerful than power-split architectures where the generator is directly driven by the drive shaft, the second gen system does offer more hybrid energy recapture, with a 15 kW (20 hp) motor-generator that delivers 79 lb·ft (107 N·m) of torque.  Further, it's inexpensive and simple, making cost of ownership and repairs less intense than with traditional power-split hybrids like Toyota Motor Comp.'s (TYO:7203) best-selling Prius.

The Ecotec engines also bring direct injection to the Impala for the first time.  Cumulatively these allow the 2.4L LUK Ecotect/eAssist Impala to get an estimated 35 MPG.

The vehicle will feature Chevy's nascent MyLink infotainment/services platform, paired with a 4.2-inch LCD screen.  It will also come with LED daytime running lights and a stacked technology options package, which includes, "full-speed-range adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, rear camera and rear-park assist".

Chevy Impala
The interior is complemented by a MyFord Touch-like infotainment system.
[Image Source: GM]

The Chevy Impala platform continues to be front-wheel driven (FWD).  The sales downturn and subsequent bankruptcy shelved plans for a RWD transitition.

The key for GM will be the pricing of this mild hybrid.

Source: GM



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RWD/FWD Confusion
By mrwassman on 4/4/2012 11:13:29 PM , Rating: 2
You are saying it is FWD, correct? I can't imagine the impala line going back to RWD. (Well I can, but they can't)




RE: RWD/FWD Confusion
By Samus on 4/5/2012 1:26:12 AM , Rating: 2
Somehow Chrysler manages to keep RWD platforms at reasonable prices. Sure, they're notoriously unreliable, but that's an engineering problem, not a supply, component or manufacturing problem, as RWD is typically very reliable. Just greese those U-joints and change that diff fluid every 60k ($50 procedure) and unless you ding your driveshaft and need a rebalance, these components will outlast everything else in the vehicle.


RE: RWD/FWD Confusion
By Dr of crap on 4/5/12, Rating: 0
RE: RWD/FWD Confusion
By Motoman on 4/5/2012 11:01:54 AM , Rating: 2
Because it's more fun to drive.


RE: RWD/FWD Confusion
By Spuke on 4/5/12, Rating: 0
RE: RWD/FWD Confusion
By IcePickFreak on 4/5/2012 12:15:39 PM , Rating: 2
Nope, no thanks. I'm in the "frozen tundra" and still much prefer RWD. You know they have this thing called traction control now right?


RE: RWD/FWD Confusion
By FITCamaro on 4/5/2012 12:30:39 PM , Rating: 2
Here in the 21st century with traction control and stability control systems in cars, its not an issue if you drive properly.


RE: RWD/FWD Confusion
By ebakke on 4/5/2012 2:02:07 PM , Rating: 2
Sadly, that's a big "if" for most people.


RE: RWD/FWD Confusion
By Boingo Twang on 4/6/2012 11:39:34 AM , Rating: 2
I live in a snowy land too and like RWD drive better as long as I have good traction control and real winter tires. The people that say that FWD is better in snow are probably wearing all season tires on their cars, not the advanced cold weather rubber/tread patterns/siping of modern winter tires. No argument there, if you don't want to purchase real winter tires then FWD is better in snow.


RE: RWD/FWD Confusion
By apinkel on 4/5/2012 9:06:19 AM , Rating: 2
While I prefer a RWD vehicle as far as driving feel goes, for me living in the midwest, it's just not practical.

I'd guess for manufacturers it's more cost effective for them to build a FWD platform since it's a good fit in all climates.

It works for a luxury car maker like BMW since they stake their name on driving dynamics and can afford to do so at the cost of all-weather capabilities.


RE: RWD/FWD Confusion
By amanojaku on 4/5/2012 9:37:33 AM , Rating: 3
Cost, weight and simplicity. No axle and stuff means a lighter car, and better fuel economy for FF or RR. Problem is FF handling suffers: the transaxle design means less room for the wheels to turn, so FF cars make wider turns. No big deal for the typical car, but I like to be able to make tight turns. And acceleration is crappy, since most of the weight is in the front. When the car speeds up, the weight shifts back off of the driving axle, reducing grip and slowing the rate of acceleration. I guess I'm just biased having learned to drive using an FR. They feel more responsive to me. FF's feel like golf carts.


RE: RWD/FWD Confusion
By Dr of crap on 4/5/2012 9:46:03 AM , Rating: 1
Really?
I learned with RWD as well and I can't say there any difference. And since the switch to FWD happened many years ago I don't have a comparison now.
Not many RWD to pick from or want.


RE: RWD/FWD Confusion
By amanojaku on 4/5/2012 10:04:55 AM , Rating: 2
Learned on an Oldsmobile 88. :-)

There's a lot of FR's that a I want (not need). M5, Camaro, Corvette, Viper, Mustang, RX-8, 370z. FR is pretty much for sporty cars, now, and FF for family cars.


RE: RWD/FWD Confusion
By CU on 4/5/2012 10:38:00 AM , Rating: 2
Don't forget about trucks. I don't think anyone even makes a FWD truck.


RE: RWD/FWD Confusion
By Dorkyman on 4/5/2012 10:17:34 AM , Rating: 2
If you want a car with lots of power and snappy acceleration, you want RWD because traction is better as weight shifts during acceleration and also because you'll feel the effects of high power in the steering with FWD.

For traction in snow it helps to have most of the car's weight over the driving wheels. In virtually all cars the majority of the weight is in front, so FWD cars are better here. We once had a little Mazda GLC hatchback that was a terrific car but couldn't get up a snowy driveway because 60% of the weight was up front and it was RWD. We resorted to putting boulders in the trunk for the winter.

If your car is low in power I don't think you'll feel any difference between FWD and RWD under normal conditions.


RE: RWD/FWD Confusion
By Reclaimer77 on 4/5/2012 5:06:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you want a car with lots of power and snappy acceleration, you want AWD


Fixed :)


RE: RWD/FWD Confusion
By Keeir on 4/5/2012 5:43:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If your car is low in power I don't think you'll feel any difference between FWD and RWD under normal conditions.


No. Simply No.

In a FWD drive car the steering wheels are also the powered wheels. This gives the car a very different feel. As a primary car I've had RWD, FWD, and AWD. I've driven tens of cars for weeks at a time. There is definately a difference in ALL conditions. I prefer AWD for a variety of reasons, and would likely never own a RWD again, but for what its worth there is -definately- a difference.


RE: RWD/FWD Confusion
By Dan Banana on 4/7/2012 9:35:08 PM , Rating: 2
What do FF and RR mean?


RE: RWD/FWD Confusion
By erple2 on 4/9/2012 6:18:01 PM , Rating: 2
Front Engine, Front wheel drive or Rear Engine, Rear Wheel Drive. Most econobox cars are "FF" type (most cars today, now that I think about it). RR is quite a bit rarer. The non-AWD Porsche 911's are all "RR" cars. The engine tends to sit on or behind the rear wheels, and drives the rear wheels.

As opposed to "FR" which is Front Engine, Rear Wheel Drive. Or "MR" Mid Engine, Rear Wheel drive. Though I can't think of a car that was "MF" (Mid Engine, Front Wheel Drive).


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