July 25, 2013 at 11:17 AM ET
Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai and the Germans can eat my dust... Chevy rules!
For the first time in more than 20 years, the auto editors at Consumer Reports have rated a U.S. model as the best sedan in the market.
The car is the new 2014 Chevrolet Impala.
Consumer Reports rated the Impala at 95 out of 100, calling it "excellent" -- an about-turn from last year, when the magazine dubbed the 2013 Chevy model "woefully uncompetitive" and not worthy of driving even as a free upgrade at a rental company.
The completely reworked version of the full-size car took the top spot for all sedans, deposing German and Japanese cars which have dominated for at least 20 years.
"The Impala's performance is one more indicator of an emerging domestic renaissance," said Jake Fisher, director of Consumer Reports automotive testing.
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A score of 95 makes the new Impala among the highest-rated vehicles CR has ever reviewed. The Hyundai Genesis came second on the list with a 92 rating and the Toyota Avalon was third at 85.
Last year, Consumer Reports rated the previous version of the Impala a mediocre 63 out of 100. It was so forgettable the auto team would not recommend the car and described it as an "outdated model" that was to be avoided "even as a free upgrade at the rental-car company."
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So what changed? Almost everything.
Based on the same platform as the Cadillac XTS, the new Impala is praised for the way it rides and handles. Meanwhile CR noted the interior of the Impala sets the new standard for fit and finish in Chevy cars with high-quality materials and trim.
In a summary seldom heard about Chevy cars, Consumer Reports said, "The Impala is competitive with cars that cost $20,000 more." The 2014 Impala starts at just under $27,000.
The Impala is one of 20 new or re-designed models General Motors is rolling into showrooms this year. So far, only a third of those models have hit showrooms, making the second half of this year a critical period for the automaker.
With so many new models arriving at a time when auto sales are growing in the U.S., General Motors is expecting to pick-up market share.
Year-to-date, GM sales are up 8 percent. That is slightly higher than overall auto sales in the U.S. which have grown 7.7 percent this year.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
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