The Chevrolet Impala is one of the best family sedans you can get. Boasting a comfortable interior, low fuel consumption and excellent styling, the Impala delivers in every manner imaginable.
How does the Impala drive in snow and other winter conditions? Find out in this article.
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Here is the short answer to whether the Chevrolet Impala is good for snow and winter driving:
The Chevrolet Impala is suitable for snow because of its low ride height and driver assistance features. It comes with Stability Control, Traction, Control, ABS, and Electronic Brake Force Distribution. These features, plus a comfortable cabin make the Impala ideal for winter weather.
Is a Chevrolet Impala Good in the Snow?
Although a small car, the Chevrolet Impala is stable when navigating roads with snow. A likely reason for this is its reduced size reduces the difficulty of trying to control a vehicle in slippery conditions, e.g., snow.
The Impala’s low ride height also makes driving in snow easier. Unlike SUVs and trucks, this sedan sits close to the ground, which increases its stability on roads.
This is important because many vehicles lose their balance due to the slippery nature of snowy roads. Some may even flip and land on their side in such conditions.
The Impala, as a sedan, cannot match the snow driving ability of bigger vehicles. A truck or crossover has more clearance than your Impala and is less likely to get stuck in snow.
Based on this, only buy an Impala if you have to deal with light snowfall. If your state gets very heavy snowfall every winter, you would be better off with a pickup or SUV.
What Features Will Improve Winter Driving?
The Chevrolet Impala isn’t a high-riding vehicle, so it may not get you through a heavy snowstorm. However, the Impala can handle the average winter road, including those covered in light snow and ice.
Here are some Impala features you will benefit from when it’s time to tackle roads in wintertime:
The Chevrolet Impala comes pre-installed with a Traction Control System that stops wheels from slipping.
As winter roads are notoriously slippery, your wheels may slip while you drive. This will cause a loss of traction, which could affect your vehicle’s stability negatively—your car could even crash in such a situation.
Thanks to Traction Control, you don’t have to worry about your wheels slipping or your car crashing. The Traction Control System, through its sensors, will constantly monitor your wheels so it can sense when they start to slip.
In the event of wheel slip, Traction Control will exert brake pressure on the wheels. Also, it forces a reduction in engine power supplied to the wheels. Combined, these actions force the wheels to rotate slowly, which prevents them from slipping.
StabiliTrak Stability Control
StabiliTrak Stability Control is a common feature on Chevrolet vehicles, including the Impala. It prevents loss of traction and keeps the vehicle balanced while driving.
Driving without Stability Control in winter’s slick conditions is like entering a burning building without fireproof clothing—you will endanger yourself.
The Stability Control system comprises various components, part of which is a collection of on-board computers. These on-board computers measure the following things to judge your Impala’s stability:
- Vehicle lateral and longitudinal acceleration
- Steering angle
- Rotational speed of wheels
From its continuous analysis of the aforementioned pieces of data, Stability Control determines if your sedan is stable or not.
In the event where the car loses (or may lose) balance, Stability Control will start an anti-stability-loss procedure. This comprises the following actions:
- Administer brake pressure to the wheels: This cut down on wheel slip and, by extension, traction loss, which can affect vehicle balance.
- Bring down engine RPM: If your car loses balance, and is heading off the road, you may find yourself in a crash. Reducing the engine’s speed slows your car and restores its balance.
Electronic Brake Force Distribution
Wheel lockup happens when your wheels “seize” or stop rotating because you applied excess brake pressure. On winter roads, the slick conditions often force drivers to halt their vehicles—increasing the chances of wheel lockup.
Fortunately, the Impala has a feature aimed at curtailing wheel lockup: Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD).
The reasoning behind the EBD’s operation is that your wheels don’t require the same amount of brake pressure. So, when you brake (excessively or not), the EBD will circulate brake pressure proportionally.
How does this prevent wheel lockup? By exerting varying levels of braking pressure on wheels, EBD counteracts the application of excess brake pressure.
Equal application of brake pressure, especially in hard braking situations, will lock up your wheels.
Antilock Brake System
The Antilock Brake System is the older cousin to Electronic Brake Force Distribution. If you guessed that the Antilock Brake System reduces the chances of wheel lockup, then you guessed right.
Nevertheless, the ABS has a different modus operandi, as you will find out soon.
The ABS system uses wheel speed sensors to monitor wheel rotation. Under hard braking, ABS can sense when a wheel stops rotating because of the excess brake pressure. It will then force a reduction in brake pressure so the wheel can rotate again.
The importance of ABS is such that US law mandates every manufacturer to put it in their cars. In the absence of ABS, chances of wheel lockup are more than double—translating into higher chances of skidding/crashing.
Heated Seats & Heated Steering Wheel
Like most cars in its class, the Impala offers heated front seats and heated steering wheels. These two features won’t make your winter trips safer, but they will make them more comfortable.
We all know how cold winter weather can be; heated seating and heated steering will increase warmth and mitigate the cold.
Please also check our article on how long Chevrolet Impalas last.
Does an Impala Have Snow Mode?
Nowadays, automakers advertising the Snow Mode feature on their cars is a common sight. Essentially, the Snow Mode feature helps improve stability in snowy terrain by minimizing wheel slip.
The Impala has no Snow Mode system, but it has several features that offer similar benefits.
For instance, it has the Traction Control feature that reduces wheel spin and curtails wheel slippage. The StabiliTrak feature also helps prevent wheel slip and keep your vehicle stable in snow.
Can You Install Additional Snow Gear on Impala?
Snow gear such as snow chains and snow socks boost traction in snow by increasing your tire’s road grip. You can install snow gear on your Chevrolet Impala if you face more than average levels of snow in winter.
However, remember to check your region’s laws regarding use of snow gear on vehicles. States and other local regions have different guidelines for using snow gear.
Some states, for instance, may not allow the use of snow socks on their roads. Know the law to avoid receiving a fine or some other punishment for using illegal snow gear.
In addition, only buy snow gear based on your tire size.
How Much Snow Can an Impala Handle?
As we explained before, the Impala is no truck or SUV; thus, its ability in snow is somewhat restricted. The average Impala has 7.1 inches of ground clearance.
The low ground clearance leaves it at risk of being rendered immobile in deep snow.
By comparison, if you only have to handle light snowfall in winter season, the Impala will serve you well. Particularly the Impala does well on surfaces covered in light snow, thanks to Stability Control and Traction Control.
Also read our article on driving the Chevrolet Malibu in snow and winter.
How Do Impala Handle Low Winter Temperatures?
As it is a fuel-injected model, the Chevrolet Impala performs optimally in all types of weather. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if it’s blazing hot or frighteningly cold, an Impala will run all the same.
When your Impala performs erratically in low winter temperatures, we advise you to inspect the following components:
- Electrical system
- Air and fuel filters and
- Spark plugs
Can a Chevrolet Impala Drive on Ice?
The Chevrolet Impala is a car that you can drive on ice without fearing a crash or collision. It has Traction Control and Stability Control, which prevent loss of traction and balance in ice, making it safer to drive in such conditions.
Additionally, advanced braking technologies on the Impala (electronic brake force distribution and anti-lock brakes) reduce risks of driving in icy conditions.
Does the Impala Have 4WD?
The Impala comes standard in a front-engine, front-wheel drive configuration. For some, the lack of 4WD or AWD means poor handling in winter.
However, as we have explained before, the Impala has other features that improve its winter driving ability. Moreover, if you put some winter tires on your Impala, you should have no problems in winter, even without 4WD.
What About Older Impala Models and Winter Driving?
Our research shows that the older Impalas are fairly decent in snow. At least, starting from the 2000s, the Impala came standard with Traction Control, ABS, and Electronic Brake force Distribution. This makes them safe to drive in winter.
Do Impalas Need Snow Tires?
Snow tires are necessary for anyone who plans to tackle winter roads in an Impala. Unlike all-season tires, snow tires provide better grip and control in winter weather.
They also guarantee increased stability and safer driving in those situations.
Please read this article to learn how winter tires affect gas mileage.
Can You Mount A Snow Plow on An Impala?
You cannot mount a snowplow on an Impala. If you do, you’ll likely damage its frame and other components; you could even void your warranty.