In the battle for the family vehicle, the 4-door sedan is a strong contender that just continues to be a viable option even with the rise of the crossover SUV and the popularity of passenger vans. These sedans offer a relatively cost-effective option that still gets good gas mileage; though not as good as compact or sub-compact cars.
The Chevrolet Impala and the Toyota Camry are two of the long-standing offerings in this class and while you may think of the Impala as strictly a police car, this versatile vehicle has been a consumer car for many years and continues to have a life in that role. The Camry is the most conservative-looking sedan but offers the ongoing value and comfort that many families state are the most important things when car shopping. The Impala offers a little bit stronger and smoother powertrain, although the interior and exterior are both notably bland.
Interior and Exterior Design
While redesigned for the 2012 model year, the Camry still lacks excitement, and probably the best thing you can say for the overall design is that it's straightforward and elegant. There are no nods to style but the comfort area is well-covered by the Camry. The Impala goes even further beyond boring, to nearly-anonymous interior which appears almost dowdy. The dated exterior design lacks excitement but there is a great deal of interior space made possible by a simplified interior layout.
The Camry, while boring on the outside, does offer a very exciting statistic in its fuel economy of 35 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg in the city. The Impala is technically considered a large car while the Camry is a mid-size, but the difference in size shouldn't cause the huge drop in gas mileage: the Impala only gets 18 mpg in the city and 30 mpg for highway miles. Both vehicles have a 17.0 gallon fuel tank capacity, which is more than generous for vehicles of this class.
Where the Impala really suffers is in the safety ratings. The side barrier rating for the driver, in particular, is dismal with only 2 stars of 5 for this critical safety point. The combined side rating for the front seat is also quite poor, with only 3 stars versus the Camry's solid 5/5 star rating.
If you are looking for a more solid, dependable and economical ride, you'll likely want to consider the Camry. If sheer space is what makes a difference, check out the Impala.