The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu Review: Long before the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry, the Chevrolet Malibu was a major midsize pioneer. It debuted a half century ago as the top level of the midsize Chevrolet Chevelle. Now in its 8th generation, the Malibu is striving for market share in its hotly contested and popular market segment.
I recently spent a week with a Jet Black midrange 2LT model. Midsize sedans are great for people who don’t have the special carrying needs that SUVs were meant for. My tester carried full-grown people front and rear; the back seat, despite an additional 1.25 inches of knee room for ’14, isn’t as spacious as some other midsizers, most notably the Volkswagen Passat.
The first few generations of Malibu’s had road presence and were really good-looking. The nameplate disappeared from 1983 to 1996, but it was revived when folks at GM decided to get some traction from an historic and beloved nameplate. It wasn’t until 2008, though, that Generation 7 put the Malibu back in the running, and the new model is even better.
The ’14 models get a new grille design, to help it match the new face of Chevy exemplified by the all-new Impala. It’s still tall, but the lower section is emphasized, and the lines are more elaborately drawn.
For 2014, a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder base engine boosts fuel economy significantly. With 196 horsepower and 186 lb.-ft. of torque on tap, it moves the 3,532-lb. Malibu easily, earning mpg figures from the EPA of 25 City, 36 City and 29 combined. I got 23.2 mpg during my test week.
The Malibu is the first midsize car to provide an engine start/stop feature standard. Simply put, it turns off the engine when you’re sitting at a stoplight or otherwise not moving. The minute you remove your foot from the brake pedal, the engine starts right up. This obviously saves some gasoline.
The other available engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four with 259 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. Its fuel economy figures are 4 to 6 mpg lower, but the performance would presumably be a whole lot more energetic. For normal driving the, 2.5-liter four should be plenty. Both engines come only with a six-speed automatic transmission, but the gear ratios vary.
The Green Vehicle scores for the 2.5-liter Malibu are 6 for Smog and 7 for Greenhouse Gas, beating the average ratings.
It’s interesting to note that the Malibu no longer offers a V6 option. Some of its ancestors were muscle cars in the 1960’s and early 1970s. Choosing a 2.5 or 2.0-liter four-cylinder is the kind of option you’d expect from Volkswagen, not Chevrolet, but the times they are a changin’.
American cars like the Malibu have come a long way, and today, the seats are supportive without being squishy, the dash panels are beautiful and carefully assembled, and the controls are well-weighted and attractive. The Malibu has the dual-cockpit styling made famous by the Corvette. It’s all rendered in silver, chrome, matte black and Agathis wood trim (in the upper models).
The Malibu also gets a six-inch-deep storage bin behind the full-function touch screen in the center dash, what we jokingly referred to as the “stash box.”
As a 2014 car, the Malibu is loaded with high tech features, too many to list, but I did notice when the optional Rear Cross Traffic Alert warned me that a car was approaching behind me from the side.
The forward collision alert flashes in your face when you approach a car in the front quickly, without hitting the brakes. This sometimes goes off annoyingly when you drive around a curve, when the system picks up a parked car, but it’s a great option to have working for your overall driving safety.
There is also a Lane Departure Warning and a side Blind Zone Alert, so you are pretty well guarded. For crash safety, there are 10 airbags and all the usual structural necessities.
You can’t get manual shifters in most cars any longer, but you can make sequential shifts with the Malibu if you pull the selector into the Manual setting and shift up and down with a little panel on top of the shifter itself.
You can buy an entry-level Malibu LS, choose an LT in three levels, or go for the top-level LTZ in two levels. Pricing ranges from $23,990 for an LS model to the top LTZ model at $31,600, destination charges included.
My midrange 2LT had the leather package for $1,000, the Pioneer Premium 9-speaker Audio package for $1,175, the Advanced Safety Package for $890 and the Navigation system for $795. They also charged an extra $225 for the Black Granite Metallic paint. At any price it’s a great mid sized Chevy!
By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
The Bottom Line: The 2014 Chevrolet mid-size Malibu sits neatly between the compact Chevy Cruze and the full size Chevy Impala, and the Malibu plays an important role in Chevy’s lineup. Built in Kansas City, Kansas, with the engines and transmissions built in the U.S., it’s a true descendant of the original 1960’s Malibu. Good gas mileage, start and stop engines and all the technology packages you could ask for, are blended into one solid, good looking, mid sized car. And maybe, just for those reasons alone, you should “Drive one, and Buy one, Today ©”
Bottom Line Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu Bottom Line Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net - “Tony the Car Guy” is an automotive writer, editor and publisher in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you have a question or comment for Tony send it to TonyLeo@pacbell.net or visit AutoWire.Net at www.autowire.net - And remember: “ You Are What You Drive © ”
Column Name: Malibu is striving for market share
Topic: The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu
Word Count: 1017
Photo Caption: The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu
Photo Credits: Chevrolet Malibu Internet Media
Series #: 2014 - 01
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