July 25 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co.’s redesigned Chevrolet Impala has received the highest rating from Consumer Reports among all sedans, the first time in at least 20 years that a U.S. automaker has outscored a Japanese or European competitor in that segment.
The new Impala from Detroit-based GM scored 95 after the previous version rated at the bottom of its class with a 63, the influential, non-profit magazine said today in an e-mailed statement. Only two vehicles have scored better than the 2014 Impala: the Tesla Model S hatchback and BMW 135i coupe.
“U.S. automakers are clearly in the midst of a bona fide renaissance,” the magazine wrote in an article scheduled to be posted online today. “The most dramatic turnaround yet is the phoenix-like rise of the revamped Chevrolet Impala.”
The Impala is one of the 18 new or refreshed GM vehicles arriving in the U.S. this year, among the largest waves of new products in the company’s history, that will transform GM’s lineup into one of the newest in the industry from one of the oldest.
The Audi A6 Premium Plus and Infiniti M37 previously tied as the highest ranking sedans, Matt Fields, a Consumer Reports spokesman, said. The magazine isn’t recommending the Impala yet as there isn’t enough reliability data so far to do so.
In its review, the publication noted: “One of our testers, not known for effusive praise, said, ‘There’s little the Impala doesn’t do well.’”
Consumer Reports, which began testing vehicles more than 75 years ago, only started calculating numerical scores and compiling comparative charts in 1992. In that time, a Japanese model has held the top-scoring sedan spot 12 times and a European model has had it on nine occasions, according to the statement.
Since 2000, the Impala has sold well to car-rental fleets and police departments, with U.S. sales peaking at 311,128 in 2007 before sliding to 169,351 last year. The new one will be sold mostly to retail customers, so its volumes may not be as high. The 2014 Impala rides like a luxury sedan while driving with agile handling, the magazine said.
“Inside, the spacious cabin sets a new standard for Chevrolet fit and finish, with generally high-quality materials and trim. The backseat is roomy and comfortable, the trunk is huge, and controls are refreshingly intuitive and easy to use.”
The magazine “found the Impala is competitive with cars that cost $20,000 more, including the Audi A6 and Lexus LS460L, as well as the recently reviewed Acura RLX and Jaguar XF,” Consumer Reports said in the statement.
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