Shopping for a new Chevrolet Malibu? MSRP: $22,140 - $29,850
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4-Door Sedan LSGas I4, 2.5L
Front Wheel Drive
|$ 21,365||$ 22,140|
4-Door Sedan ECOGas/Electric I4, 2.4L
Front Wheel Drive
|$ 24,681||$ 25,845|
4-Door Sedan LTGas I4, 2.5L
Front Wheel Drive
|$ 22,452||$ 23,510|
4-Door Sedan LTZGas I4, 2.5L
Front Wheel Drive
|$ 26,167||$ 27,690|
The mid-size Chevrolet Malibu sedan was just redesigned last year; yet with the level of change pushed out for 2014, you might wonder why so much, so soon? Simply put, when you factor in tough competition like the Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, and Toyota Camry, there isn't a weak one in the room. Chevy may have rolled out a good, competent sedan for 2013, but with the compact Cruze and new full-size Impala really showcasing what GM can do with sedans, the automaker has already rushed to fix some issues and make the 2014 Chevy Malibu a better effort.
The first thing you'll notice is that the Malibu has been redesigned to fit right in alongside the 2014 Chevrolet Impala. The sharp-suited theme, with a more prominent lower grille and narrower upper grille, helps 'ground' the Malibu's design a bit better, while a few more chrome accents give the Malibu a more distinctive look than before.
Inside, although Chevy has added more usefulness in seating and storage, not much has changed with respect the design; big square-ringed gauges sit behind a thick steering wheel at a lower vantage point, and the center console gets a perimeter of glossy grey plastic. There's a large LCD screen front and center but also big, grabby knobs for major audio and climate functions. A woven-metallic trim material that's metallic and woven in appearance gives a unique, textured accent to some models.
And most importantly, one of the biggest inadequacies and disappointments for last year's model--it's shorter wheelbase (and thus cabin)--has been (mostly) remedied: Thanks to a new, thinner front-seat design, there's 1.25 inches of additional rear knee room. We also noted that rear headroom was tight in last year's model so we're not sure if and how that's been remedied. Otherwise we have to assume that the new front seats are somewhere close to the excellent, supportive ones that last year's model got. Elsewhere inside, there's a redesigned center console with a longer armrest, a pair of cupholders, and storage for two cellphones. The trunk is large on gas-only models; Eco sedans lose a couple of cubic feet to their battery pack.
In the 2014 Malibu there are still three different four-cylinder powertrains. Acceleration is competitive, if not overly quick, with the base 196-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder and six-speed automatic; that replaces last year's 2.4-liter, and these base versions now get engine stop-start--and a boost to an EPA 23 mpg city, 35 highway. With the Eco model, you add a mild-hybrid system that trims consumption and boosts highway mileage from the base car's 34 mpg to 37 mpg--better. That's good, but not at all class-leading compared to the new Nissan Altima's class-leading 38-mpg highway rating, or the likes of the Kia Optima Hybrid, Ford Fusion Hybrid, or Toyota Camry Hybrid. The turbo Malibu spools out 259 horsepower, and torque is up to 295 pound-feet this year, which may push its 0-60 mph time close to an even six seconds. The Malibu goes down a curvy road well, with a ride that's tauter than in the past, albeit with a little more impact harshness than is typical. Electric power steering does well in giving it a precise feel here, although dynamically it falls short of Fusion and Accord.Safety scores have been top-notch, with the Malibu earning the NHTSA's five-star ranking and the IIHS' Top Safety Pick. Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are also now available, as is a rear-view camera system, and ten airbags are standard.. So is Bluetooth.
This is a very competitive segment of the market, and pricing for the 2014 Malibu isn't expected to be up markedly versus 2013. The base Malibu LS comes standard with power windows, locks, and mirrors; air conditioning; an AM/FM/CD player with satellite radio and a USB port; Bluetooth; cruise control; keyless entry; tilt/telescope steering; steering-wheel controls; and 16-inch wheels. Eco, LT, and LTZ models add another set of standard infotainment features that enable better connectivity, and put the Malibu on good footing in the class. All get a 7.0-inch LCD touchscreen and Chevy’s new MyLink connectivity system, which allows drivers to stream Pandora internet radio and catch up with podcasts on Stitcher via Bluetooth streaming. Turbo LT models get 18-inch wheels; a power driver seat; steering-wheel audio controls; and remote start.The revised 2014 Chevrolet Malibu goes on sale this fall; look for driving impressions and more details later this summer.
- Taut, nimble handling
- Improved fuel economy
- MyLink's simple connectivity
- Stylish interior
- Smooth six-speed automatic
- Despite the effort, still a small back seat
- Punishing ride on rough roads
- Is Eco mileage worthy of the badge?
- Exterior styling isn't cohesive