Consumer Reports' recent car rating of sedans hit on some important economic cylinders. It gave the American-made 2014 Chevrolet Impala a top rated designation for the first time in two decades.
The news is good for Detroit automaker General Motors and it's a sign many recession watchers were waiting on to begin thinking: Happy days are here again.
If your memory of the Impala is the bat-winged 1959 model like the one in the movie "Tin Men," then you probably wouldn't know the 2014 Impala if it pulled up next to you at a stoplight.
The bat wings are gone but the Impala can still fly: zero to 60mph in less than seven seconds. The 2014 four-door sedan is now at the top of the heap for its category as rated by Consumer Reports.
"This is the first time in 20 years that an American sedan won top honors with Consumer Reports," said Steve Hutton of Hutton Chevy. "Quieter and rides softer than the Lexus ES Series. It out handles the Volkswagen GTI."
The 2014 Impala gets 22 miles per gallon overall, has a 3.6-liter, V6 engine, and six-speed automatic transmission. The car's customer dashboard computer experience is iPod-, iPad-, Android-like.
Consumer Reports has been comparing cars like the Impala for more than 75 years, and for the last 20 years Japanese and European models ruled the best of lists.
In spite of what Consumer Reports called "poor rear visibility and not the best fuel efficiency," the 2014 Impala's still rose to the top.
The news has the third-generation Hutton smiling like his grandfather once did.
"Yes, GM is back in a big way," he said. "Bringing out a vehicle that everybody knows that when they get in it, it's a winner, winner chicken dinner."
Only two vehicles got higher test scores: the Tesla Model S Hatchback and the BMW 135i Coupe.
At a starting price of $27,000, the 2014 Impala is about $20,000 less than some of the other luxury cars it beat out.
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