When I got a press invite to round up some friends for a read trip in the 2006 Chevrolet Impala LTZ, we had an inspiration. Why not take Chevy's African-named beast back to the jungle? Hours later we were at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park, mingling with white rhino, giraffe, eland, okapi, and, of course, impala. It was a great way to discover the pleasures of the newest version of GM's classic midsize ride. The 2006 Impala boasts many improvements. "Quiet Steel" structure quiets the car over the road. The interior is comfortable and well-finished. To help you keep it that way, an innovative rear seat folds forward to reveal a protective hardened plastic base to carry larger or messy items. Three new engines bring the power: The LS and LT models offer 3,5-liter, 211-horsepower V-6; the LTZ bumps it up to 3.9 liter, 242-horse V-6; and the studly SS delivers 303 horses from a 5.3-liter V-8. GM says the L engines are the first to use variable-valve timing in an overhead-valve design for better mileage and fewer emissions. Active Fuel Management shuts down four of the SS's eight cylinders until needed, and the 3.5-liter engine can run on E85 (ethanol). Take up with this Impala and you'll be a leader among the wildlife in the asphalt jungle.