Chevrolet Malibu, all-new for 2013, has been further revised for 2014. The 2014 Malibu brings a revised engine, revised suspension, and revisions to rear-seat interior space. The changes are intended to further improve fuel economy, improve ride quality and handling, and increase rear-seat roominess. That's all in addition to the substantial changes brought by the all-new 2013 Malibu.
The 2013 Malibu arrived on a shorter wheelbase with less rear legroom than the previous-generation model. Chevrolet says the 2014 Malibu adds rear-seat legroom and knee room for a noticeable improvement in back-seat comfort over the 2013 model.
Also, the 2013 Malibu launched with a fuel-efficient but pricey eAssist mild hybrid system, but Chevrolet has dropped E-assist for 2014. In its place is a Stop/Start feature intended to reduce fuel economy, or at least gain credits from the Environmental Protection Agency. The Stop/Start feature, which comes standard, shuts down the engine when the car is stopped then smoothly restarts it when the brake is released.
Beyond those changes are a new, sportier face for the 2014 Malibu, with black-out mesh grille texture in wider twin-port openings. That's in addition to the all-new design ushered in by the 2013 model. An ECO badge indicates an Ecotec engine with Stop/Start is under the hood of the 2014 Malibu.
The 2014 Malibu comes standard with the 196-horsepower 2.5-liter Ecotec engine, with double overhead cams, variable valve lift control and Stop/Start. The 2014 Malibu delivers an EPA-estimated 25/36 miles per gallon City/Highway, a significant improvement over the 2013 model. Revised transmission shift points and quicker shifts are intended to enhance both refinement and sportiness of the 2014 Malibu.
The 2014 Malibu is also available with a much more powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine rated at 259 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, making for a midsize sedan that's fun to drive.
Redesigned front seats with more deeply sculpted seatbacks contribute to the improved rear-seat room and comfort for 2014, and a slightly shorter rear cushion with more seatback sculpturing and a new material allow rear passengers to sit more deeply in their seats. The new center console on 2014 models has a longer armrest, twin cup holders and dedicated storage for two cell phones. Otherwise, the 2013 Malibu's interior carries over for 2014, a good thing because we loved the lavish, business-class feeling of the top models.
The 2014 Malibu suspension updates were inspired by the all-new Chevrolet Impala, including rebound springs integrated inside the struts, which contribute to the Malibu's smoother ride while reducing weight transfer and body roll during acceleration and cornering. Standard energy-efficient, variable-effort electric power rack-and-pinion steering enables near-effortless low-speed driving along with improved steering feel at higher speeds, and the new Malibu's brake system is also improved for a more solid, confident feel.
We found the all-new 2013 Malibu a rewarding car to drive, with handling and ride comparable to that of the superb new 2013 Honda Accord. We enjoyed its handling at high speeds, but thought it could feel more lively. So we look forward to a more finely tuned 2014 Malibu.
Malibu comes standard with a full suite of safety features. Among them: four-channel anti-lock brakes, full-function traction control, four-corner electronic stability control, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, corner brake control, hydraulic brake fade assist, drag torque control. Ten airbags are standard, with a rear-view camera system optional.
Gary Witzenburg filed this NewCarTestDrive.com report, along with staff reports.