06 Chevy Impala LTZ (Good Car???)

buckyDecember 1, 2006

Thinking of getting my wife an LTZ for Christmas. It has the V6 engine that cuts back to 3 cylinders and back to 6 as power requirements demand. I think this is a newly designed engine and as we know new engines usually have a few "tweeks" in them. Pretty good warranty coverage though. (see my prior post on GM new extended warranty). I'd appreciate any insight, info and comments from the mechanical wizards who contribute considerably and make this one of the best forums on the www.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The things that are important from my perspective. Cars break, and need serviced. It does not matter who built it, it's going to need serviced at one time or another. The question comes down to where can you get it done? The GM platform is one that will be supported just about everywhere you go for years. That means that service for this Impala will remain competetive in the marketplace. That is not true for many other vehicles while it is true for certain other makes.

The 3.9l pushrod V-6 is the first engine of it's kind to have variable cam timing, on a pushrod engine. The only other way a V-6 can have variable cam timing is with multiple camshafts (overhead), driven by multiple timing chains, or belts, or as in some cars a combination of chains and belts.

If I was in the market for another car, I'd seriously look at this Impala.

Here is a link that might be useful: About Cars, Impala review

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 10:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For whats its worth.....I have been a GM guy all my life. I bought an 05 Trailblazer last year. I can tell you that its my last American car I will ever buy. Its been in the shop 4 times for major repairs...mostly leaks. Since then I have bought a Nissan Altima. From now on Its gonna be foriegn. I love how the Tralblazer drives...but I hate the reliabilty issues. Not sure this helps you with your Impala purchase. Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2006 at 7:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would not be afraid to go with the Impala.Im not a mechanical wizard however.Just do not let the ''Do not Buy American'' ''Only Buy Import brands they never break and are better''crowd get to you.If they start to make you believe.Take a trip to your local import dealer service center shop.See if the mechanics are sitting around playing checkers.Ask if you could get a import in for service with out an appointment.See how many are setting around being repaired and outside waiting for repair.Chances are you will be surprised at the high number of these so called perfect better then American made cars are sitting around and just how busy that shop is.

I can think of two Chevrolet Buick dealers in my area that will get you in at latest the next day.One even advertises on local radio.No silly appointments needed because we know your to busy for that.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 11:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's more to do with how domestics are made.
They, particularly GM and dodge uses a lot of chintsy plastics and the cars do not have a solid feel to them.
Most "foreign" cars are in fact not foreign, they are made in America in places like Kentucky and Alabama only better parts are used and better training and supervision, I'm sure. The imported makes have absolutely nothing going for them except their reputation for reliability and low cost of ownership. It is not a myth.

You probably won't get real accurate reviews on an 06 vehicle however if you search edmunds.com for customer reviews on impalas that are about 3 or 4 years old you will get a better glimpse of what the problems are. If this is something you're going to keep for 2 or 3 years then trade it in, then domestics typically are bigger, have more powerful engines and lots of neat options. If it's rock solid reliability, none of this check engine light nonsense and breakdowns that leave you stranded shortly after the warranty runs out, then consider something else.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 3:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

They, particularly GM and dodge uses a lot of chintsy plastics and the cars do not have a solid feel to them.

So much of this is relative. I happen to think Toyota doors just feel flimsy -- too light, no satisfying "chunk" sound when you close the door. But the (positive) experience of millions of people tells me that the doors are not poorly-made no matter how cheap they feel to me. Plastic interior parts with visible flash and a hard feel may not seem high-quality, but the proof is in its longevity and, if it lasts, it's of good quality.

Most "foreign" cars are in fact not foreign, they are made in America in places like Kentucky and Alabama only better parts are used and better training and supervision, I'm sure. The imported makes have absolutely nothing going for them except their reputation for reliability and low cost of ownership. It is not a myth.

To be fair about it, the "foreign" car companies building in the Midwest and South use many of the same parts suppliers as the Big However-Many-Are-Left. In fact, Toyota's Camry (built in Kentucky) has a very high level of domestic content -- approaching 90% last time I saw the number.

What makes their parts "better" are their incoming-quality standards (tigher tolerances, etc.); the way they audit that incoming quality (with better statistical methods and more inspectors, including people on the assembly line); and a much-less-adversary relationship with those suppliers (they involve vendors in the design process and they don't subject suppliers to constant nickel-squeezing).

As for "better" training and supervision, I'm not so sure that's true. The "foreign" car companies were not stupid in locating plants outside of Detroit and the coasts. They often are the biggest employer in town (a motivation for workers to succeed); pay decently (another motivation; n.b., they pay half of what UAW workers earn for similar tasks); and don't treat their employees as only non-depreciable assets. Like it or not, DCX, Ford, and GM are still living through the effects of many years of "us-versus-them" management-labor relations.

To their credit, Detroit is catching on to this. Slowly. There is a great deal of baggage and infrastructure that needs to be eliminated on both management's and labor's sides. Detroit needs to learn how to respond to shifting markets more quickly, and to do it without sending serious problems out with Job 1. Toyota and Honda are proving, daily, that it's not a matter of different parts or even different workers; it's management that makes the difference. There's nothing they do that could not be done by the Big Whoever. They just have to want to badly enough.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 10:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I can't believe you brought up the doors. I always thought everyone used that as an example to show how the imports look, feel and SOUND more solidly built because it's a nice quiet tight seal and not a loud clunk.

All I care about is the damn thing working and not breaking down constantly. I come from a family of loyal import drivers. When I was a kid if we had a rental car my father would always point out to me all the things wrong with the car and how it was a p.o.s. domestic. So I when I got into my driving years, not surprisingly I didn't susbribe to this line of thinking. I wanted a domestic because they looked nicer and were more powerful and more spacious. It didn't take long... well actually it took way too long to figure out after sampling Dodge and Fords that Dad was right. Domestics are not made as well and they aren't built to last a long time. The shorter the lifespan of the car, the quicker someone will need to buy another, isn't that the thinking?

My mechanic who I trusted and was well respected in the community had seen more than enough of my cars. This is the kind of guy where you'd say to him you'll call a tow truck when it's fixed to bring it home and he'd say don't be rediculous, I'll drive it home for you then you give me a ride back to the shop. I asked him what he drove and what he would recommend I buy if I never want to see him again. He said Toyota.... maybe honda.
How about nissan, I asked. "You're not listening" he replied. Toyota or maybe Honda! Then he lifted up a car and showed me all the O2 sensors and stuff that was failing on the newer cars. "They just keep adding more and more of these" he said.
"So I'll get a Toyota And I'll never see you again?" I asked. "Nope." he said.

That was the last conversation I had with the man.

By then I had already purchased a used toyota p/u and it was high mileage but never gave me the problems that my considerably lower milage domestics gave me. So I decided I'd go with toyota again because I don't like going to the mechanic.

I have some elderly family members that owned a buick for about 10 years. They didn't drive much or do any hot-rodding and maintained the car per the manual. They racked up 98k miles on it. The last time I saw that car they had buttons and stuff held into place with scotch tape and a lot of stuff didn't work right. Buttons don't fall off old toyotas.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 1:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm sure you'll draw some flak for that one, but unfortunately it's true - the nickel & diming that the big three have insisted on perpetuating when it comes to implementation, and their refusal to acknowledge any design or quality issue (unless mandated by recall) that is of their own making, is precisely why they keep losing market share. When the warranty's out, you get to pay for it all, and the depreciated value of the vehicle at that time doesn't help you either. The Toyota dealers know this of course and don't cut you any slack, but at the end of the same timeframe, vehicle for vehicle, the Toyota is generally worth a lot more at trade time.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 2:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If it's anything like the '93 Lumina LTZ my friend used to have, stay away! Had the 3.4 engine whose timing belt broke on the freeway, would have cost $2300 to fix. It got towed to the junkyard with 87,000 miles.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 5:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

quirky, my folks bought American cars for years. After horrible experience with an AMC product in the mid-70s, however, they went Japanese -- and never went back. When I met my now-ex-wife, she had a mid-80's Chrysler that pretty obviously was a "Friday car"; that piece of junk barely outlasted the payment book. Unless you count the Rabbit GTI that was built in Westmoreland, PA (not a great example of German craftsmanship), I've never owned an American car.

But I see that changing. My ex has been driving a Ford station wagon for the last ten years that somehow survives despite the abuse. My sister has a Saturn that is nowhere near state-of-the-art, but is screwed together decently.

American cars are getting better. What needs to improve is American-car-manufacturer management.

Lear and Delphi and Collins & Aikman can build quality products. But when they're not partner to the design decisions and they're continually asked to tighten their belts on existing contracts, management is the problem.

When GM cries that worker benefits cost them some $1,500 per car, management (who gave away those benefits in better days and apparently could not envision that the gravy train would stop one day) is the problem. (Special mention goes to UAW management, too, which also failed to believe that the gravy train could stop.)

When Ford paints a dark picture of their future because customers are no longer buying Extinctions and don't want to buy outdated Foci, management (who green-lighted the priority for huge SUVs and chose not to sell the world-class European Focus) is the problem.

American workers are capable of building cars as good as Japanese can make them. American parts, as used in hundreds of thousands of Camrys and Accords and Sentras, are as good as anyone else's. The difference is management and how little they seem to care beyond making this quarter's numbers.

BTW, my perception issue with Toyota doors is that they're just too light. They close fine, the handles don't feel junky. But when I open that door and see that little hinge and feel the door fly away from my hand :-) I just don't feel really confident that the door is in it for the long haul. Obviously, it is. It's just a perception issue for me.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 10:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think the last domestic car my folks had was an AMC hornet with levi's denim upholstery!

Seems like they lost focus as their 3 most recent cars have been an Audi (nothing but problems), and two M.Benzs which were purchased new in germany and shipped in to the US. They have had to be serviced a number of times for mostly minor stuff such as the gas cap thing which from what I read is a problem on a lot of cars and also a rear window rolling down but not back up again. Lots of annoying service messages. I don't think either are under warranty now so a repair need could be very costly. Of course they always seem to get loaners with those.

It's fun to take a domestic in for service while under warranty and ask them where you should be waiting for your loaner. That's always fun to do. "We aint got loaners but the courtesy shuttle guy should be back from lunch in an hour"

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 1:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's fun to take a domestic in for service while under warranty and ask them where you should be waiting for your loaner. That's always fun to do. "We aint got loaners but the courtesy shuttle guy should be back from lunch in an hour"

I get that from the VW dealer! I really think that the reason people generally are happier with Audis and Lexi and Mercedes-Benzes and the like is that the dealers treat them better, so even though all three brands use many of the same parts as their lower-rent VW, Toyota, and Chrysler cousins (which should have the same problems in the same proportion), it's less of an imposition on the owner. That certainly is not a domestic-versus-imported issue.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 10:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lumina with a 3.4 that has a timing belt?

    Bookmark   December 12, 2006 at 11:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The DOHC 3.4l, (dual overhead cam) had both a timing belt,and a timing chain. I have to say though, off hand I don't recall if it was an interfeerence engine. It seems to me that sometimes when the belt failed they would bend a few valves, and sometimes they did not.

Of course, if people simply maintained them, and followed their techs advice. They replaced the belt before it failed as a maintainence item, and the cars kept right on working just fine.......

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 12:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I looked at the Impala and it's a nice car!

Pay no attention to the people that want you to buy what THEY want. If you like Toyotas, fine. I looked at a Tacoma and the tailgate was very cheap. But I want to see the new Tundra. It's a full size truck with a 5.4 liter engine that'll tow 10,000 pounds.

I have a neighbor that likes to work on his own cars. And he is getting very frustrated with his Camry. When he goes into an auto parts store for parts for his Chevy, it's "here you go", but when he needs something for his Camry, it's "Sorry, that's a dealer item only". And it's always VERY expensive from the Toyota dealer parts counter.

But at least Ford finally got it's act together with the Fusion. I read where every time a warranty complaint comes into a dealer, the complaint is sent to the factory. And a team investigates it on the line. "How do we make sure this doesn't happen again?" As a result of the running changes, some ratings companies have actually given the Fusion higher marks for initial quality than the Camry and Accord!

And it's in the same class as the Impala.

But you buy what YOU want. If you like the Impala, buy it! Don't let anybody tell you the VEEBLEFETZER 500 is the BEST car in recorded history! And since I own one, you should too!

Get what YOU want!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 8:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't recall telling anyone to get a specific type of car. I try to be objective as possible and emphasize doing your homework before buying. I find domestics to lure me in for a number of reasons, their good looks, engine size, spacious interior. They do drive nice for a while.
I don't know if the new generation of toyotas has quality issues. I have a new gen tundra and and a t-100 made in japan. 150k miles on the t-100 and it has never needed an expensive part until just last week and this was partially because I didn't pay attention to the dry rotted belts. Driving with no belt (broken) caused the pullies to need to be replaced and they were expensive all right. P&L came to $700 which would have been the equivalent of about 5 months of repairs with the mustang I used to have with a third as many miles.
The tundra has noticeably more plastic than old gen toyos but nothing has fallen apart yet and it's an 03. Everything feels and sounds very solid. I expect this truck will last another 10 years at least.

Still a considerably lower cost of ownership and the truck even with this many miles drives like it's new. But it does have its drawbacks. Not for everybody. do your homework and figure out if long term reliability is something that's important to you. That's all I'm saying.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 1:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Many thanks to all who have contributed their opinions and suggestions in response to my question. I appreciate the time you've taken to do so. The issue of "domestic" v. the so called "imports" always raises interesting debate. My question was not intended to do this however, I was just interested in hearing from those who owned or had experience with the newer generation Impala. I actually prefer the Honda Accord, but my wife does not like it. (go figure hey) She says the seats are uncomfortable (to hard) and tilt steering wheel set-up (steering shaft pivot rather than just the wheel) is not to her likeing. She drove an 87 Caprice Esate Wagon till last year and is used to driving a "boat". Anyway it looks like Santa won't be getting her an LTZ this year as we've decided to take a Caribbean vacation instead.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 1:28PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
dump my buick rendezvous?
Do you know the Buick Rendezvous? Mine has been outstanding...
Failing transmission questions
I have a 2001 Honda Odyssey, 167,000 miles. I've always...
Consumer reports
I can't find a Consumer Reports Used car buying guide....
99' Blazer won't start when it's cold!
I would love to talk to John_G. I read some responses...
Cost to replace a 99 Buick head Gasket
My grandson 99 Buick blew a head gasket after the thermostat...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™