Andrew Baker had driven a 1998 Volvo throughout his teenage years, and he fell in love with the vehicle. Eventually, the car called it quits, and Baker needed to pursue a replacement. He’ll never forget when his parents “surprised him” with his “new” ride.
“They were pumping me up, saying they got me a car,” he said. “Then my dad tells me that I’m getting my aunt’s car. Needless to say, I wasn’t particularly happy.”
The car in question? A used 2007 Chevy Impala. Baker didn’t know a whole lot about the nameplate, besides the obvious fact that a member of his family had driven it for five years. He was obviously excited to upgrade from a 1998 model to a 2007 model, but he couldn’t help but feel a bit pessimistic about the entire ordeal.
“I think that was my main apprehension, the fact that my 50-year-old aunt had driven it,” he laughed. “Nothing against her, but I was thinking ‘how much could the Impala appeal to me if she bought it.’ It ended up being a blessing in disguise, though. It fell right into my lap.”
The Impala’s exterior style was the first thing to catch Andrew’s eyes. He immediately recognized the stylish curves of the vehicle, as well as the comfortable interior.
“Yeah, it was definitely sleek,” he said. “That’s what I’m essentially looking for. It was clean, it was silver… it just looked nice. It wasn’t super flashy, but it was a pleasant looking car. Plus, my cloth interiors were really soft. Those were probably my first two reactions to the vehicle.”
Andrew ended up appreciating the vehicle’s various amenities and capabilities. One of his initial main gripes was the increase in size. His Volvo was a smaller sedan, while the Impala was a bit bigger. Andrew soon learned to embrace this change.
“It was a little bit boxier than I was used to,” he explained. “It was a little bit more like a boat I’d say. It was just heavier, so I had to adapt a bit. I had to adjust to the heavier steering wheel, the heavier turning mechanisms. You get used to it eventually, obviously, and I’d now say I’m a fan of these bulkier sedans.”
Considering the increase in size, Andrew also found an improvement in interior dimensions and cargo room. The vehicle provided Baker with 39.4-inches of front head room, 56.4-inches of front hip room, and 42.3-inches of front leg room. For a bigger guy like Andrew, this increase was much appreciated.
“You know, I’m a bigger guy,” he said. “5’11, 250-plus-pounds. It fit me comfortably, and that means it also fit everyone else comfortably. I was able to cram six passengers into the Impala, and no one complained about not having enough personal space.”
Andrew was also a fan of the vehicle’s trunk space. The vast rear area provides enough space for just about any size cargo, and you can sneak your longer equipment into the cabin. 18.6-cubic-feet of space might not sound like a lot, but when you consider the vehicle’s standing as a mid-size car, it’s actually quite impressive.
“Yeah, there was plenty of room in the trunk for anything I need,” he said. “I never really ran out of room, whether it be in the glove compartments, the middle compartment or the storage area out back. Plus, the trunk is huge. I can fit a full golf bag in there with a full suitcase… I’ve had to do it before.”
Andrew had also used the abundance of cargo space to store his and his buddies’ luggage whenever they went on a road trip. Andrew has driven to New York and Baltimore, and he’s never had any issues. That could be partly attributed to the reliable 3.5-liter V6 engine, which pumps out 211 horsepower and 214 pounds-feet of torque, making it possible for him to keep up with any other cars as they’re cruising on the highway. Meanwhile, the 18 city/28 highway mile per gallon fuel efficiency limits frequent stops at the gas station.
The powerful and efficient engine also improved Andrew’s daily commute. Having to travel at least 30 minutes to his job, Andrew found that his engine provided enough power to get to his destination in no time. Plus, the economy meant he was rarely dishing out money for gas.
“It was actually a whole lot better [than the Volvo] for my commute,” he said. “I have to drive up a bunch of hills, and my old car usually struggled. I didn’t have any issues with the Impala.”
While Andrew was able to enjoy all of the capabilities of his Chevy Impala, it wasn’t his choice to pursue the vehicle. Instead, his parents had inquired about the mid-size car, and they ultimately got their way when Andrew’s aunt pursued a new car. So what was it about the Impala that his parents appreciated? The driving ability, especially in the snow. Winters in New England can be tough, and drivers may put themselves in danger by operating an insufficient vehicle. The Impala’s heavy body means the vehicle will continue to cruise on its intended path, regardless of the weather.
“It’s a heavier car, so during the winter, it drove more than fine,” Andrew said. “I got stuck all the time in my Volvo, but I don’t think I had one issue with my Impala.”
The one drawback? The cloth interior held in smells more than his previous leather upholstery. As someone who previously liked to smoke in their vehicle, Andrew found that he couldn’t shake the odor. Eventually, in order to maintain the condition of his Impala, Andrew decided to give up smoking altogether.
“I guess you could say the Impala played a role in me quitting [smoking],” he said. “For all the positives, that negative was pretty minimal. Plus, that negative ended up improving my health. It all worked out.”
Andrew eventually gave the vehicle up in order to pursue a new ride (the 2007 model ended up going to his neighbor). What did he end up opting for? A 2015 Chevy Impala. When it came down to it, Baker found that he couldn’t give up the car’s heavy stance or spacious interior.
“I didn’t want an SUV or pickup, so a sedan seemed like the only option,” he said. “The Impala offered everything I wanted and it was cheap. It actually wasn’t a hard decision.”