A comeback for Chevy’s Impala

The redesigned Impala received a rare “excellent” rating from Consumer Reports.

Chevrolet via Associated Press

The redesigned Impala received a rare “excellent” rating from Consumer Reports.

DETROIT — The Chevrolet Impala, long the standard-bearer for mediocre cars from Detroit, has made an amazing turnaround.

Consumer Reports has ranked the completely reworked 2014 version of the full-size car as its top US sedan. It’s the first time in at least 20 years that a domestic brand has beaten out cars from Germany and Japan.


The new version, which began arriving in showrooms in April, scored 95 out of 100 points in the magazine’s testing to get an ‘‘excellent’’ rating.

Only two cars earned higher scores: the electric Tesla Model S, which starts at $62,400, and the BMW 135i coupe, with a base price of $39,300.

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The performance of the 2014 Impala, which starts at just under $27,000, is another sign of the three Detroit automakers’ renaissance, said Jake Fisher, the magazine’s chief auto tester. All three companies nearly collapsed in financial ruin four years ago, partly because of their reputations for shoddiness.

‘‘We’ve seen a number of redesigned American models — including the Chrysler 300, Ford Escape and Fusion, and Jeep Grand Cherokee — deliver world-class performance in our tests,’’ Fisher said.

The Impala, made by General Motors, surprised the magazine’s testers with its ride, agility, braking, high-quality materials, and quiet, roomy cabin, Fisher said.


Its score was 32 points higher than for the previous model, a noisy sedan with uncertain handling that became a staple in rental car lots.

‘‘It really doesn’t fall down in any area, and it does a lot of things really well,’’ Fisher said of the 2014 version. ‘‘The car rides better than a Lexus ES. It’s quieter than many luxury cars. It accelerates and brakes better than, say, a Volkswagen GTI. It’s extremely roomy.’’

Associated Press

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