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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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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
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
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.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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