The Chevrolet Impala is one of America’s best-selling family sedans. After close to 50 years on the U.S. highways and byways, this car continues to improve with every generation. And on all fronts: inside, outside, and under the hood.

For 2008, Chevy has made a solid commitment to the Impala’s flex-fuel capabilities. Unlike other E85 offerings, the Impala is ethanol-compatible at virtually all trim-levels and engine types. This means the LS, LT, and LTZ models are all flex-fuel. Also, this year, the larger 3.9-liter V6 joins the base 3.5-liter V6 as a flex-fuel engine offering. Only the SS model of the Impala strictly runs on straight gasoline. For advocates of E85, the Impala is one of the front-running flagships in the alternative fuel brigade.

The Impala earns big points for its powerful and efficient engines, an available six-passenger seating configuration, and solid crash testing scores. All of these make it a strong contender for family car of the year. The suspension is a little soft, which results in an overall comfortable ride for passengers, but somewhat compromises handling dynamics behind the wheel. The two things that really hurt this vehicle’s appeal are its cheap, low quality cabin materials, and a noticeable shortage of legroom in both rows.