It's as if The Nation admitted Alger Hiss's guilt, The New Republic discovered the virtues of evangelical Christianity, or National Review concluded that Barack Obama has been an outstanding president. Yesterday, Consumer Reports gave the top ranking of any sedan to the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, the first American sedan the magazine has rated best in 20 years. The disdain of Consumer Reports for American cars is longstanding, and it persisted even after other parts of the automotive press began to allow that maybe American cars weren't so bad after all. Which is why so many papers picked up yesterday's story about the magazine's rating of the new Impala and why, if my computer is to believed, so many people are searching for information about the car. This change of heart won't be enough to reverse Detroit's recent municipal bankrupty, an event that was the result of many causes but that would have been inconceivable if Americans still bought GM, Ford, and Chrysler cars in the same numbers we used to. But it is a small bit of unexpected good news, especially for those of us living in areas that benefited from the American auto industry during its long prosperity and that are tied to that industry still.
Thomas Piatak is a contributing editor to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He writes from Cleveland, Ohio.