Update on 2006 Impala Impressions

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Well, mom is up to visit for a while, so I get to have a first hand look at her new 2006 Impala LT. Here's some highlights:
1. We all know about the "passing" function of the turn signal lever, where
you can move the lever a little bit to turn the signal light on for passing. Well in the new Impala you can just move it for a split second and the turn signal will come on for a few seconds by itself. Interesting. However, what's annoying about the turn signals is the volume of the "click click, click click, click click."
2. The power of the new 3.5L VVT engine is nice. Smooth, consistent power all the way up to the 6000rpm red line. It's very responsive while driving, but I find there is a slight lag when leaving from a stop. For now I'm blaming that on the new "drive by wire." It feels like you push the throttle and it takes a second for the vehicle to respond. The engine has a weird low frequency rumble at idle that some people may find annoying.
3. When driving up a slight grade at around 55km/h in OD, there is what feels like a slight "bucking." It's when the trans should actually be in 3rd, but it's in 4th, know what I mean. This is very noticeable in my '95 Monte and I thought they would have gotten rid of it by now.
4. The stupid airbag lights! Why they thought this was a good idea is beyond me. There are amber lights above the stereo to let you know if the passenger side airbag is active or not. It's ALWAYS on, this is stupid. I'm going to look at the manual to see if this 'feature' can be disabled.
5. The rear window is smaller than the rear-view mirror. Mom says she likes it better than the previous Impala, but I find it harder to see out the back.
6. The leather wrapped steering wheel is nice and all the buttons on the wheel and the dash have a nice quality feel to them. The radio is nice, the presets have the station frequency displayed above the button.
7. I think someone asked if she got the "flip and fold seat." The answer is yes, but it's not what you think it is. The flip and fold seat is the middle seat in the front that "flips" to reveal two poorly placed cup holders and "folds" down to reveal a nice arm rest + storage area. She didn't get the rear folding seats.
8. The glove box sucks. In 1993 she bought a brand new '92 Lumina, since day one we all hated the little tiny, under the dash glove box. In '95 the Lumina/Monte Carlo got the nice big one. In 2000 the Impala still had a nice, functional glove box. For 2006, they are back the God awful, useless, tiny box under the dash, WHY?!?!
9. Not a big fan of the headlights, they protrude like bug eyes. However I like the fascia grill look. The overall look of the car is clean and modern, nothing over the top. It blends in nicely with the rest of the cars on the road. This model reminded me a lot of the Accord in the way that it's kind of boring, but nice to drive.
10. There appears to be a lot more room under the hood for working on the engine. This may be in part because they made it possible to stuff a V8 in there, so there is a lot of extra room when you only have the V6.
11. If I was to get one, I'd opt for the SS and no bench seat. The suspension in the LT is a little too soft and the bench seat is not very supportive. I test drove it on a usual route of mine and didn't feel as comfortable as I do when I take my Z34 through it.
12. I haven't confirmed this, but Dad says there is an incessant 'clicking' coming from the dash when the vehicle is cold. It annoys him.
Overall, I enjoyed it. It's funny how whatever 'quirks' of the W-Body GMs that were there 10 years ago are still there though. Like the 'bucking' feeling and the odd 'clunk' noise that comes from the body when you pull into a drive way at an angle.
Brakes are still good!
Steve
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Steve Mackie wrote:

<snip>
what I *really* want to know is, does it still have that annoying program that has the transmission upshift into top gear as soon as you let off the gas, making you constantly ride the brakes if there's other vehicles in front of you, or has that been rectified for this iteration? Coming from a long string of manually-shifted vehicles to an '05 Impala has made me re-evaluate my driving smoothness... It seems like some manufacturers resort to messing with the engine controls to get good EPA numbers, and GM just gave up and put in the most economy-oriented shift program possible, driving smoothness and brake longevity be damned. So to *not* use the brakes almost constantly, you have to be verrrrrrry gentle indeed with the throttle (and the 3.4 isn't exactly a beast, either...)
nate
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Ya, I had the same conserns when I went from driving manual to my '95 w-body. Haven't driven this one enough to see if it changed, but I doubt it did.
Steve
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wife has been complaining about this with our 01'base. much more annoying in winter now on snowy roads.

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Why not manually place the tranny in L3 or L2?
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James C. Reeves wrote:

That's what I have been doing, when in traffic. Seems to defeat the purpose of an "automatic" transmixer, however. Just give me a box with some gears and a lever to stir them with and I'll be happy. :)
I have to say that driving my friend's LHS is much less annoying, although I realize that that's a more "upmarket" car than the Impala. This is why I find Vlad the Impala so frustrating sometimes - I know that a modern automatic can be done much more smoothly and sensibly (even though I know Chrysler has been having reliability issues...)
I especially like the way the LHS downshifts for long downgrades when on cruise; when driving Vlad I either manually downshift or (more likely) tap the brakes on reflex, causing the cruise to disengage completely...
nate
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N8N wrote:

would finally figure out how to smoothly shift on the highway once were off the highway and in the mountains. Then it would stretch the shifts out too much and wait too long and lug the engine to the point I had to manually shift it. Then by the time it learned how to shift for the mountains we would be back on the highway for the trip home and it would shift hard until just about the time we got home it would start shifting smooth again just in time for the stop and go traffic. Going down the mountain in WV it was downright dangerous, even if you downshifted to save your brakes it would eventually ignore the selector and upshift to OD again. By the time we got down the mountain and into town I had to stand both feet on the brake to stop and by the time we got home I had to buy new pads and rotors.
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Eugene Nine wrote:

Oddly enough, it was while driving I-68 through West Virginia that I was most impressed with the way the LHS' trans worked. Maybe yours was an earlier iteration that didn't have all the bugs worked out yet? Not sure what year my friend's car is. actually it is not a straight up LHS, it is a Concorde that some crazy body shop guy blew up the motor in; he bought a wrecked LHS for the drivetrain. Apparently a motor swap ended up being one of those "because I can" insane projects... The car ended up with the LHS' drivetrain, complete interior, nose, and a Viper Red paint job. Yeah, it's a weird car.
nate
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My experience with Chrysler trannys on I-68 is the same as yours. Worked flawlessly, automatically downshifting (when the cruise was engaged) when going downhill to keep "run-away" speed in check. I'd never experienced what Eugene has on any of them (and I've driven a few).
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My '95 Concord with the 3.3L engine on cruise control downshifts beautifully automatically to avoid overspeed on downhill. A '05 Impalla I rented last Sep. didn't. >:)
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I'm the guy that asked about the fold down rear seat. : - )
The turnsignal lever passing feature sounds interesting. I guess you just tap it and it blinks 3-5 times. Its Probably for safety reasons so you can keep both hands on the wheel longer.
You said the rear window is smaller than the rear view mirror. Does that mean you can see the inside of the rear sail panels and the entire rear window width when you look in the mirror?
How did the AC Heater vent controla work? Is it the manual or automatic?
The airbag light that is on all the time is it just lighted dot or does it light up Air Bag Off / On? Can you disable the passenger AB when no passenger is present?
These new features on the Buick are starting to sink in. LAst night I drove the Bonnevile and the dome light went out when I closed the door and I swore out loud - What the %$# is that light going out for?
I also had to turn the headlights on manually when I got half way down the block. LOL..
How soon we forget.
Check to see if the Impala hood is aluminum, my Buick hood is.
Thanks for the Impala report.
Harryface 05 Park Avenue, 32,672 91 Bonneville LE 304,656
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On Thu, 1 Dec 2005 21:45:43 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Harry Face) wrote:

This sounds like a cool feature.

I think my GP has the same problem. I also have to contend with my front dome lights at the top of the mirror.

If it's like my GP is it's a panel that says "Passenger airbag" on it. There are 3 possible lights, ON, OFF and a seatbelt indicator. No passenger, the OFF light is on and the airbag is off. Passenger not wearing a seatbelt, ON light with the seatbelt indicator. Passenger wearing seatbelt, just the ON light is on.

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Exactly.
Yes
Not sure what you mean. There are no cables or levers operating the vents.

It's a big amber light that is ALWAYS on. One for the airbag off and one for the airbag on. You can't manually disable the airbag, it's auto sensing.
Steve
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I rented one recently - I own a 2001 Impala. The 2006 has much less room for the driver's right leg - finally had to slide the seat much farther back to compensate, which was an unsatisfying solution. (I'm 6'3"). Love Chevys, but I will *not* be interested in this model.
On Fri, 02 Dec 2005 02:58:16 GMT, "Steve Mackie"

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Doesn't sound much better than the '05 model I rented in Sep.
Although that '05 got very good highway mileage I found it less driveable than my '95 Concord. Stayed in top gear too long on up hills, no cruise control downshift going down hills.
I'll pass again.
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Steve Mackie wrote:

GM uses every trick in the book to maximize EPA fuel economy test results both for CAFE purposes and for marketing purposes. The transmission programming is thus very much in an economy mode.
John
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John Horner wrote:

rented a 04 Impala with the 3.4 and I noticed that it shifts down during low inclines on the highway. Does the 06 with the 3.5 or 3.9 shift like the 04 impala.
Also has anyone drove the LTZ with the 3.9 V6. How does it handle in comparison to the 3.8 v6 or 3.4/3.5 V6.
Thank You
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Sounds like a neat toy. I hear ya about the 'click click click' though.

You know, I never quite realized what that was in my '96 Bonnie until you posted this. At least I know its supposed to do that.

I don't know if I could stand that. I love dash lights, preferably with a nice color (like the 'Pontiac Glow'), but they have to be useful. The dash of my car must look like a jet fighter, not a school bus on the fritz. Did you manage to get the light disabled?

What buttons are on the wheel for the radio? I know in my Bonnie it has the full range of seek, volume, mute and what not, while on my sister's '97 Cutlass Supreme, it only has volume and seek UP. No seek down, which is a pain in the butt when playing a CD.

LOL Very true. I think the little 'pouch' in my old '82 Trans Am held more then most gloveboxes these days do.

Room is good. I was working on a friends '89 Caviler last week, and man there is nadda in that thing for room. Then again, there's not much room for people either. lol

Sounds like she is happy with her purchase, and I think it sounds like a good car as well. Might have to take a look at one when I decide to upgrade someday. Thanks for the report!!!!
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On the wheel is seek up/down, mute, volume, cruise control, and more but can't remember.
Haven't looked into the airbag light yet, thanks for the reminder.
Steve
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Sounds good to me. I didn't mind the Olds wheel controls, though I did miss the Mute and Seek Down buttons. Then again, I can usually find something to bitch about in any car I drive ;-)

No problamo. Let us know if you manage to turn it off.
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