2019 Mazda 6 vs. 2019 Chevrolet Impala

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Mazda 6 has standard Whiplash Reducing Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Reducing Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Impala doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Mazda 6 Signature has a standard 360-degree View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Impala only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

Both the Mazda 6 and the Impala have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Mazda 6 is safer than the Chevrolet Impala:

 

Mazda 6

Impala

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

130

229

Neck Injury Risk

23%

23.3%

Neck Compression

24 lbs.

30 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

43/70 lbs.

270/69 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Mazda 6 is safer than the Impala:

 

6

Impala

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

ACCEPTABLE

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

1 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

ACCEPTABLE

GOOD

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Mazda 6 is safer than the Chevrolet Impala:

 

Mazda 6

Impala

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.3 inches

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

380 lbs.

855 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

271

315

Spine Acceleration

36 G’s

38 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Mazda 6 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 62 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Impala was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

The Mazda 6’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Impala’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Chevrolet is ranked 23rd.

Engine

The Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 46 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 264) than the Impala’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Mazda 6 (base engine) is faster than the Chevrolet Impala 4 cyl.:

 

Mazda6

Impala

Zero to 60 MPH

7 sec

8.7 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

20 sec

24.5 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.2 sec

9 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

16.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90 MPH

85 MPH

Top Speed

135 MPH

132 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Mazda6 gets better fuel mileage than the Impala:

 

 

 

MPG

Mazda6

 

 

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

 

 

2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/31 hwy

Impala

 

 

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

 

 

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/28 hwy

 

 

Flex-Fuel 3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/28 hwy

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Mazda 6 (except Turbo)’s fuel efficiency. The Impala doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Brakes and Stopping

The Mazda 6 stops shorter than the Impala:

 

Mazda 6

Impala

 

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

Suspension and Handling

The Mazda 6 Touring handles at .87 G’s, while the Impala LT pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Mazda 6’s turning circle is 2.1 feet tighter than the Impala’s (36.7 feet vs. 38.8 feet).

Chassis

The Mazda 6 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 500 pounds less than the Chevrolet Impala.

The Mazda 6 is 8.6 inches shorter than the Impala, making the Mazda 6 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Mazda 6 Touring is quieter than the Impala LT (76 vs. 77 dB).

Ergonomics

The Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve and Signature have a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Impala doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Mazda 6’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Impala’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.

The Mazda 6 has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Impala doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Mazda 6’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Impala’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Mazda 6’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Impala’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Mazda 6 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Impala doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Impala doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Both the Mazda 6 and the Impala offer available heated front seats. The Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Impala.

The Mazda 6 has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Impala LT/Premier.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Mazda 6 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Mazda 6 with a number “1” insurance rate while the Impala is rated higher at a number “3” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Mazda 6 is less expensive to operate than the Impala because it costs $452 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Mazda 6 than the Impala, including $268 less for a water pump, $262 less for a muffler, $62 less for front brake pads, $136 less for a starter, $212 less for a timing belt/chain and $4 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The Mazda 6 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 6 years. The Impala has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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