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Chevrolet Impala 50th Anniversary Edition: Does 50 Years Deserve a Bigger Party?

Mild Trim Package Celebrates 50 Years of Impala
Though the nameplate has certainly seen its share of ups and downs, there’s no denying that the Impala has been a core staple of the Chevrolet lineup. And behold – now there’s a 50th anniversary special edition commemorating its place in mainstream America’s driveways. Actually, if you wanted to be really picky it should be the 41st Anniversary Impala, given that the nameplate went into retirement from 1985-1994, but we’ll let Chevy have this one.
There’s really not that much to it, to be honest. It’s more of a trim package than anything else, not even incorporating the available 5.3L V8 that transforms the innocuous rental darling into the hilariously tire-smoking front-drive SS. Based on the LT trim level, you get goodies like two-tone leather seats, accent threading on the floor mats, a rear spoiler, and lots of “50th Anniversary” emblems sprinkled in and out. Okay, there actually is a bit of substance – an FE3 sport suspension and 18-inch wheels should you be among the increasingly elite group of individuals who desires a traditional large(-ish) family sedan with fairly sporty handling.

Malibu Better Represents the “Revolution”

If you’re wondering why such a venerable nameplate doesn’t get a little more love from Chevrolet’s planners for its birthday given its long history (and given GM’s recent history of home runs), it might have something to do declining consumer interest in traditional larger sedans. The market for these traditional sedans has been declining even with some recent compelling entries from the Asian makes. Even mighty Toyota’s latest Avalon has seen its volumes decline 23% since its introduction for 2005MY, while very well-priced and engineered cars like Hyundai’s Azera struggle to sell more than 25K per year.
Chevrolet has instead directed its efforts into the far more contemporary Malibu (another venerable nameplate), which has received plenty of well-deserved accolades to date. With its great proportions and contemporary features, it makes a far better case for an American Revolution than its staid big brother.
A new Impala is expected for 2011MY, hopefully retiring the model’s ancient and relatively package-inefficient platform that can be traced all the way back to GM’s 1988 GM10 coupes. Given GM’s recent triumphs, we wouldn’t be surprised if GM gave it a new lease on life. Will it be another traditional big sedan? Or will it address some new emerging white space? Only time will tell.

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