LT Vs. LTZ Impala Suspensionby Evan Gillespie
The Impala is Chevrolet's sports sedan. Redesigned in 2006, the Impala line was refined further in 2012, reducing the number of powertrain options available and consolidating the line's trim levels to three versions. As in previous model years, the 2012 Impala LTZ is equipped with several upgrades over the LT and LS trims, including a stiffer, sport-tuned suspension system.
The 2012 Chevrolet Impala is offered in three different trim levels. All 2012 Impalas are powered by the same 3.6-liter V-6 engine, a simplification of engine options that supersedes the 3.5- and 3.9-liter V-6 choices available in previous model years. Gone as well is the Impala SS variant, a V-8-powered version of the car that was discontinued in 2010. In 2012, the Impala LS is the base model, and the LT and LTZ trim levels each add a handful of comfort, convenience and cosmetic upgrades.
The Impala LT and LS trim levels are equipped with independent front suspension featuring gas-charged MacPherson struts and a stabilizer bar. The rear suspension is a trailing-arm, trilink design utilizing gas-charged struts, coil springs and a stabilizer bar. These lower two trim levels employ Chevrolet's F1/F2 suspension tuning, which includes constant rate front springs and variable rate rear springs for improved roll, along with stiffer front struts for a smoother ride. The Impala LT rides on 16-inch wheels and the LS is equipped with 17-inch wheels.
The LTZ trim level employs the same suspension design as the LT and LS trims, but the LTZ receives FE3 suspension tuning. This sport-tuning package includes 34 mm front and 18 mm rear stabilizers bars, both of them hollow core, for increased roll control. FE3 suspension also is stiffer overall, providing greater stability at higher speeds than that offered by the FE1/FE2 tuning. The 2012 Impala LTZ features 18-inch wheels. In years when the Impala SS was offered, it was also equipped with the FE3 tuning.
Other LTZ Upgrades
In addition to the sport suspension upgrade, the LTZ includes several feature upgrades over the lower trim levels. The LTZ, like the LT, is equipped with flip-and-fold rear seat with pass-through access to the vehicle's trunk. The LTZ's exterior features fog lamps, 18-inch aluminum wheels and heated mirrors. Interior upgrades include power-adjustable heated seats and a premium Bose sound system.
Evan Gillespie grew up working in his family's hardware and home-improvement business and is an experienced gardener. He has been writing on home, garden and design topics since 1996. His work has appeared in the South Bend Tribune, the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, Arts Everywhere magazine and many other publications.