Shopping for the Family Truckster: Full Sized American Cars

Shopping for the Family Truckster: Full Sized American Cars

So over the next few months I am in the process of researching, shopping and testing a replacement for our 2005 GMC Envoy Denali.

Today I started with two SUV alternatives the 2014 Chevrolet Impala LTZ 2LZ and the 2014 Chrysler 300s.

For me the Impala was a very familiar drive, I have 20 years experience of owning four GM vehicles. The Impala is still an impressive car in its 10th generation, the 3.6 liter V6 is strong (305 horsepower), and the 19 inch tires ride smooth and even not a harsh ride at all. It comes to a clean stop and the driving is comfortable, steering is what you’d expect for a full sized American car, its predictable and handles well for its size.

The tech on the car is clear and easy to use (the screen is bright and friendly), and the Bose 11 speaker stereo system is really balanced and sounds great.

But the most impressive thing on this car is the trunk with 18.8 cubic feet of storage space, it handled my toddler son’s jogging stroller with room to spare for groceries (only the Ford Taurus has more trunk space), so this car can handle the road, you and your stuff with ease.

Its a good driving car, the top of the line LTZ has lane departure warning, and also stops when it thinks you may hit something, its a technological marvel in a very attractive package, the car just looks good sitting still.

Its such an improvement over the previous generation (though the engine stayed the same), and I liked the older Impalas but they could be squirrely with that powerful V6), solely to the front wheels, this car is more balanced and handles that power with precision and more straight take offs even when you gun it. Now this is not a sports car by any means, though it looks the part.

Now the 2014 Chrysler 300S is more traditional American full sized luxury, though its styling goes back to 2005, there have been enough updates to keep it current and the Chrysler UConnnect system for the tech is still class leading, yet the Beats audio system left something to be desired. It just didn’t have the kick I expected, it was clear but not a “rich” sound, it was similar to the Bose system. I just happen to expect more when you say Beats by Dre, and the sound just didn’t live up to the name.

But the drive exceeded my expectations.

From the moment you sit in the seat you are engulfed in solid style and luxury. Its subtle, substantial and impresses. The steering wheel is thick and the analog clock in the dash is so stylish.

And when you shift in gear (one of eight gears), and take off its a strong and straight start that makes you think this is a V8 but its the Pentastar V8 which pushes almost 300 horsepower and the ride is the prefect mix of more than plush but not hard. Its just right.

I can’t stay enough about the drive of this car, I felt like I could drive it down south right now.

As the driver of a 12 year old SUV, the ride gets tiring from the size and age of that vehicle and part of the reason I’m looking at full sized cars is for a more pleasant driving experience and a cost savings too. I’m guessing I can still get decent cargo room and not have to pay extra for size I don’t use half of the time and then the expensive repairs as well.

These two cars are excellent examples of American full sized sedan luxury and practicality.

Filed under: Cars

Tags: Chrysler 300S

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