Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Rentable

I'm driving a 2009 Chevy Impala today.

One of the few nits I've picked with my used TrailBlazer is its windshield, which is covered with what looks like a layer of hard-water spots. Unlike mineral deposits, however, they refuse to yield to chemicals or mild abrasives. After much wrangling, my dealer and I convinced GM to cover the damaged glass under warranty, considering that it should've been caught during the 117-point GM "Certified" Used Vehicle inspection.

The replacement windshield, which has to be a genuine OEM part in order to be covered, finally came in yesterday. My dealer will do the work today and keep my truck overnight in a heated garage. I'll pick it up tomorrow.

Thus the Impala, my loaner for one snowy day.

I find nothing immediately appealing about the Impala, never mind endearing -- the car just screams, "I'm ordinary." It's not quite as blasé as the late-model Ford Five Hundred or Mercury Montego, which the Los Angeles Times called a "lamentable rentable," and about which the reviewer wondered aloud, "Where is the nurse call button?"

No, the Impala isn't that boring. It's damned close, though.

I think I'm especially miffed that GM slapped "Impala" on such a forgettable car. Time was when the name was synonymous with big, fast sedans and convertibles, the kind of car you'd bug your dad to buy just so you could borrow it when you were old enough to drive. An Impala used to have soul.

Not anymore. Regrettably, the current Impala is pretty typical Detroit fare. And yes, it's occurred to me that the same could be said of my plain-vanilla TrailBlazer. Fair enough.

Ok, so the Impala doesn't turn me on -- but is it capable?

I doubt I'll get the chance to find out. It's in the teens here today and we're expecting five inches of snow, so as long as it's got good grip and the heater works, it's capable enough.

So far, so good. I just can't wait to turn it in.

* * *
Update, 3pm: My dealer just called -- GM, for the second time, shipped the wrong windshield. The correct glass reportedly is coming overnight from another dealer two states away, and the plan is to put me back into my truck by the end of the day tomorrow.

I'm not holding my breath. I'm not going to bad-mouth the Impala any more, either, since our blind date has been extended.