Consumer Reports Says 2014 Chevrolet Impala Is Best Sedan In America, Giving GM Some Much-Needed Accolades For Its Passenger Cars

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[UPDATE 2:20 p.m. EDT] Here's a snapshot of 2013 and 2014 Chevrolet Impala sales from Kelley Blue Book:

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"The current Cruze, Silverado and Sonic represent big improvements in quality and execution, but the Impala's redesign is probably the best example yet of GM transforming previously lackluster nameplates into industry-leading automobiles," said Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book. 

Original story begines here: 

The Chevrolet Impala, first introduced by General Motors Company in 1958, has come a long way recently, following a steady decline since the 1980s to becoming the epitome of the boring American sedan and staple of car-rental agencies.

But the tenth-generation Impala that rolled into the marketplace in April has won accolades that would have been unimaginable in 2000, when the venerable Chevy model was revived after a four-year hiatus.

Consumer Reports announced Thursday that the 2014 Impala has become the first Detroit Three sedan in 20 years to beat a Japanese or German rival as the top-scoring sedan for the year.

GM (NYSE:GM), Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) and Chrysler Group LLC have been weak players in sedans for decades, relying largely on sales of pickup trucks and SUVs, which have much higher profit margins than regular passenger cars. But in recent years Ford and GM have strengthened their product mix in this category.

The news should give a boost to Impala sales, helping GM, which has not done as well as Ford in the sedan segment. Sales of the 2014 Impala were down in June compared to the previous model in the same month last year, but the latest praise should help see sales rise.

“With GM we know they’re having some challenges with sedans. Ford has outstripped GM in their efforts to become competitive in a segment that has been traditionally dominated by the Japanese,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst for automotive pricing company Kelley Blue Book, in an interview earlier this week regarding Ford and GM earnings. “Ford has been receiving a lot of glowing reviews for its Fusion, Escape and Focus.”

Starting at $26,725, the Impala beat out comparable rivals like the latest Ford Taurus, Dodge Charger and Toyota Avalon.

“Consumer Reports’ engineers found the Impala rides like a luxury sedan, with a cushy and controlled demeanor, while delivering surprisingly agile handling, capable acceleration and excellent braking,” said the consumer-products testing magazine.

Consumer Reports gave the vehicle an overall rating of 95, the highest for a sedan. It earned high marks for solid handling, spacious interior cabin design and intuitive controls. Only the Model S hatchback from Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) and the 1-Series coupe from Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (FRA:BMW) have earned higher ratings.

“The 2014 Impala is like a scarred and once-proud prizefighter who has been down on his luck but now re-enters the ring eyeing a big comeback, and it’s Chevy’s newest attraction,” said a recent review in Car & Driver magazine.

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