In my search for an Impala, I've driven a few LTs and one LS. Not any LTZs yet, until today.
A saleshomie across the river sent me an email saying they had a 2012 LTZ off a rental fleet. I went over there today and of course the car was tied up in the shop. LR window motor was getting some work done. We went out to the shop to eyeball it, I noticed it was grey which was dx'd following the 2011 MY.
Like a good discarded rental unit, the front tires were well-worn and the rears did not match the fronts. They were some sort of off-brand, perhaps Long Marches courtesy of the ChiCommies, with an aggressive-looking unidirectional tread but probably junk.
Saleshomie (blamed?) claimed his sales manager told him it was a 2012, but in fact it was an '11.
We drove a new '13 LTZ. Seats OK, leather of the typical mediocre-at-best quality. At least it didn't have that awful chemfactory smell that some "leather" has. The seat heat worked OK, but just OK. High was too hot and low was too cool. Where is the Baby Bear setting?
The best part was the suspension, which is noticeably firmer, better-snubbed, and with what feels like a bit more roll control than the LTs. Steering feels a bit quicker, I don't know if that's fact, or if that was just a function of the squatter 18" wheel/tire system.
With the similar-to-cop-car FE3 suspension and 18" "performance" rubber, does the LTZ also share the 9C1's ungoverned engine?
It was shod with RS-A which don't get high marks anywhere I've seen them assessed (including me), except apparently somewhere in the nether decision-making regions of GM where "good enough" is still good enough.
Now, to compare with my two points of reference, my recently-departed 2011 Chrysler 200 Touring 3.6/6A equipped with the excellent Michelin Primacy MXV4 225.55.17 and my current 2013 KIA Soul 1.6, with the stock Nexen junk replaced with Michelin Defenders, size upgraded from 195.65.15 to 215.60.15 which made a HUGE difference in ride and sound quality.
The Impala LTZ feels comparable to the 200 in ride and handling. The 200 may ride a little better. It was a little heavier and a little quicker, too.
Good ride with good control including roll control. I think the Chrysler had a better-feeling power steering unit. I know the Soul does, I have grown to greatly appreciate the electric unit. It operates completely independently of the engine belts and such. In the Impala, I can feel the unit working when the car isn't moving.
Not so in the Soul. The Soul steering unit has no self-centering when coming out of a turn, but that's easily adjusted for.
The Soul has a harder ride and similar roll control. Of course with a 100 vs. 110 inch wheelbase and curb weight of 2800 vs. 3550, the less mass and 40" shorter length greatly contribute to quickness of maneuverability.
My 200 had a somewhat indecisive trans, at least at lower speeds. Irritating. The Soul's 6A is better, but it downshifts as I slow down. Why?
The Impala, perhaps because it's a more ancient soul, leaves well enough alone. I don't see the point in downshifting. I'd have gotten a stick if I wanted to do that.
No moon roof standard on the '13, IIRC it was standard on the '12 LTZs. I can live without, I like to have the sunglass compartment up there which is a great idea.
This is the second 3.6 Impala I've noticed some GDI rattle. Not as bad as the first one I heard it in, but unnecessary IMO. Seems to be a strictly case-by-case basis for this rattle. My Soul's GDI makes no telltale noises.
So...LTZ worth the extra jack?
Not to this Neanderthal. For one thing, the LTZs go over my imposed budget limit. That aside, the leather is unremarkable, the seat heat is unremarkable, the wing does nussink, nussink! for me outside of irritate me about $200 worth, and the cost of replacing crap 18" Badyear RS-As is higher than the cost of replacing crap 17" Badyear LSs.
A set of FE3 struts and, perhaps, bars, should run well under a grand. And that, with aftermarket seat heat and the more user-friendly cost, tilts my opinion toward an LT.
And that's all I know about thayitt. Comments, opinions, and knowledge-upgrades are most welcome