The number of natural gas-powered cars in America is about to double with the launch of the bi-fuel 2015 Chevy Impala, capable of running both gasoline and CNG. This pricey full-sized sedan starts at $38,210 (including destination fee), and it finally gives the Honda Civic Natural Gas some company in the CNG car market.
The CNG option is available on both the base-model LS and upper-tier LT models, and the package effectively adds more than $10,000 to the standard Impala’s $27,670 MSRP. However, all CNG models come with the 305 horsepower 3.6 liter V6, which would cost conventional buyers just shy of $30,000. So more like $8,000, which is still cheaper than the CNG option offered on GM’s trucks.
So what do you get for all that cheddar? Well, less trunk space for one, as cargo room drops from 18 cubic-feet to just 10 to make room for the 7.8 gallon-equivalent CNG tank. When full, the 2015 Impala can travel about 150 miles on CNG alone, just shy of 20 MPG, not exactly the kind of numbers to boast about. With a full tank of gas, you can add another 350 miles of driving, meaning a fully-fueled 2015 Impala bi-fuel can travel as far as 500 miles between refueling stations. But even with CNG being markedly cheaper than gasoline, you’re unlikely to ever recapture the extra expense laid out for this bi-fuel system.
The 2015 Impala bi-fuel is the answer to a question nobody asked, and I’m struggling to find a reason why anybody would buy this vehicle. At least with the Honda Civic Natural Gas, you’re making an all-out commitment to CNG which includes a home fueling station. But with the Impala, you’re sort of patting yourself on the back without making any real sacrifice, save the extra expense.
The 2015 Chevy Impala bi-fuel is the automotive equivalent of attending a charity ball to raise money to “solve” the homeless problem in your city…by moving it to some other city.