Robinsmith Family Vacation Kaua’i; the Chevy Impala

If you are going to visit the island of Kaua’i be sure to rent a car or have a car available for your use. That is unless you intend to stay in a resort and not leave the resort. Virtually everything is more than walking distance apart.

We knew this before deciding to take part in this adventure so we booked a rental car in advance through National car rental. When we got to the National car rental place I asked for the car with the largest trunk. All I was thinking about was how to fit all of our luggage into the car.

The car rental guy told me that the new Chevy Impala they had on the lot had largest trunk. He opened it up so I could look and I was very pleasantly surprised. You could easily sneak four full grown men into a drive-in theatre via this trunk. Not surprisingly, our luggage fit into the trunk with room to spare.

What else do I like about the Impala? It has very responsive throttle. When I put my foot into the go, this car gets up and moves. It also handles very nicely on the narrow and twisty roads on this island.

However, I also have a couple quibbles about the car. First, there are two cup holders in the car. That is it. Two cup holders in a four door car. No cup holders for the passengers in the back seats. One quibble.

Another quibble is that when you use the electric window controls the windows go up at lightning speed. It is difficult to get the window to be partially open. Just another quibble.

But I do have a couple of complaints about the Impala; first, the rear passenger doors swing shut with a vengeance. A vicious swing.

I was in a parking lot, struggling to hold a bag of groceries in one arm and a child in the other. I unlocked the door and partially opened it so as to not bump the car parked beside me, and when I let go of the door it swung shut with my hand inside. It felt like my hand had been caught in a bear leg hold trap. It was awful. And every time I go to close the doors unless I remember to hold them back they slam shut like that leg-hold trap. Definitely dangerous with little kids in and around the car.

And my final complaint about the Impala is the absolutely awful process it takes to connect the tie-downs for the kids’ car seats. Brutal. The things that you have to hook the car seats into are hidden deep inside and behind the rear seat of the car. I understand that once the seats are in you do not have to worry about trying to find the hook spots again. But the reality is, you do. People take their car seats out to wash them, vacuum the car or even to put them into another car for a day. I was not impressed with the tie-down location in the Impala.

Taken individually, my quibbles and complaints are insignificant. All of them considered together, I would not consider buying this car. Not while I have small kids.

Disclosure; I received no financial or any other incentive for writing this blog post from any of the companies mentioned in this post. As always, I have editorial control over all content.


  1. When I first saw the non-recommendation I was prepared to argue. We rented an Impala (free upgrade) one time and really enjoyed it. However, you make excellent child safety points. We had no children with us, much luggage, and probably never opened the back doors. But that thing cruised the Coquihalla like nobody’s business.

  2. I have never driven a Chevy Impala so can not comment about it BUT we have owned a Chevy Malibu for 8 years now and love it. We have 2 car seats ( for grandchildren ) in the back and no problems getting them in or out .

    Hope your hand didn’t suffer any broken bones .

    • No breaks but terrible scrapes on the back of my hand. Doesn’t help that I was trying to install it in 30 degree heat while wearing clothes better suited for Canada.

  3. Another positive thing about the Chevrolet Impala: It’s built in Canada! If you’re wanting to support the Canadian automobile industry and the jobs of Canadian autoworkers, consider buying the Impala — which, to the best of my understanding is built in Oshawa.

    • That is a significant part of why I choose the Malibu. We are always testing cars because some day soon we will need a new car. I love to support Canadian manufacturers but not if they make an inferior product. The design engineers need to rethink how the end-user will use the car. If they want families to buy the Impala they need to make it more family friendly.

  4. Simple and to the point…. you need and SUV with all the things you will be carting around and the girls grow up and use bigger items in sports and things. Also taking their boyfriends with you guys on vacation. teehee!

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