Last year, an Edmunds.com review noted, “The fully redesigned 2013 Chevrolet Malibu…with its added refinement, feature content and efficiency…[is] a top-tier choice.” The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu builds on that solid foundation, piling on the value and presenting an even stronger choice in the midsize sedan segment.
The standard engine in the four-door, five-passenger 2014 Malibu is a powerful new 2.5-liter Ecotec four-cylinder that produces 196 hp and 186 lb/ft of torque – more than the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima. Advanced engine technologies––including Variable Intake Valve Actuation, Intake Valve Lift Control, direct fuel injection and a new start/stop feature that shuts down the engine during brief stops––team up to deliver an estimated 23 mpg city and 35 mpg highway (up five percent and three percent, respectively, over 2013) and fewer emissions. During engine restarts in situations like stops at traffic lights, an auxiliary battery provides seamless power for electric accessories such as the power windows, climate control and audio systems, etc. Revised six-speed automatic transmission shift points and quicker shifts improve driving dynamics and overall performance, too.
For those who crave more power, the available 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder produces 259 hp and a whopping, best-in-segment 295 lb/ft of torque, 14 percent more torque than last year’s model. The 2.0-liter turbo four’s torque even beats that of competitors’ six-cylinder engines.
The 2014 Malibu, which shares some suspension components with the all-new 2014 Impala, offers a smoother, more refined driving experience. Rebound springs that are internal to the struts enable more precise damper calibration while also improving body roll control and weight transfer during acceleration and cornering. The standard electric rack and pinion variable-effort power steering system has been recalibrated, and revisions to brake system components––which include brake assist, corner brake control, hydraulic brake fade assist, drag torque control and electronic brake force distribution––make for more confident stopping performance.
Outside, you’ll immediately notice the new front fascia. The more prominent lower grille, narrower upper grille and wider grille openings resemble those of the Impala and create more consistency across the brand. Moving inside, the more refined interior features redesigned front seatbacks that increase rear-seat knee room by 1.25 inches. New cushion sculpting and revised seat-cushion material allow rear-seat passengers to find a more comfortable, deeper position, and the center console has a new armrest for improved comfort, plus thoughtful features like storage space for two cell phones.
Chevrolet engineered the 2013 Malibu to meet the safety requirements of customers at home and around the world. Not only was the Malibu the first 2013 midsize car to earn a “5-Star Overall” score from the National Highway Traffic Safety administration and a “Top Safety Pick” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 2013 Malibu earned the highest possible independent crash-test safety ratings in Europe, South Korea, Australia and China, as well. The 2014 Malibu further ups the ante with newly available Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, to help make changing lanes and backing out of parking spots worry free. Those features are in addition to a hefty list of standard safety features that includes 10 airbags, four-channel antilock brakes with the advanced brake technologies mentioned previously, StabiliTrak® electronic stability control, full-function traction control and an available rearview camera.
“We made changes within 18 months, demonstrating an unprecedented commitment to make the Malibu the best car it can be,” said Ken Kelzer, executive chief engineer for global full-size and midsize cars. “The 2014 Malibu has been engineered to deliver more precise ride and handling that is on par with more expensive sport sedans.”