2014 Chevrolet Malibu First Look

2014 Chevrolet Malibu Front Three Quarter 04

Detroit -- We now have all the details on the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu. Less than two years removed from a full redesign, the midsize sedan is receiving a significant refresh. Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, explains: "We're not going to stand around and be complacent, especially in the competitive midsize segment."

The 2013 Malibu looked like an old car because it was -- the design dates back to around 2009 but was delayed due to GM’s bankruptcy. For the 2014 Malibu, Chevy designers attempt to rectify this with a new front clip that looks a lot like the one on the handsome 2014 Impala. We're not sure the new look goes far enough. Chevrolet did not change the hard points -- the hood and headlamps -- so the look isn't nearly as cohesive as on the Impala.

The Malibu’s late arrival hurt more than its styling. The midsize segment evolves so quickly with every new introduction that the Chevy, though by no means an awful car, already trailed competitors in critical areas like fuel economy and four-cylinder power. For 2014, Chevrolet has tweaked the bread-and-butter 2.5-liter four, adding variable valve timing to the intake side and incorporating stop-start technology. These changes improve fuel economy slightly to 23/35 mpg city/highway. Those numbers still trail class leaders like the Mazda 6, which gets 38 mpg on the highway. They also put the underwhelming Malibu Eco in an awkward position. The mild hybrid receives no powertrain changes and promises a meager 2-mpg advantage in the city and highway compared to the cheaper, more powerful 2.5-liter model. At the other end of the spectrum, the 2.0-liter turbo is now the same hi-output version that’s found under the hood of the Buick Regal GS. That amounts to a 35 lb-ft increase in torque, good for an impressive 295 lb-ft overall.

The 2013 Malibu’s other significant issue was rear-seat room. GM opted to put the car on the short-wheelbase version of its Epsilon platform to create separation with the long-wheelbase Impala. But that decision left the Malibu with a rear bench that isn’t much better than a compact car like the Chevy Cruze, let alone a spacious midsize car like the Honda Accord. Chevrolet obviously couldn’t do anything to increase the wheelbase in so little time, so it resorts to smaller yet effect measures to carve out some rear seat space. A half-inch was scooped from the back of the front seats, and the rear bench itself sits a bit lower.

We didn’t have any complaints about the way the 2013 Malibu drove, even if it’s not quite as engaging as an Accord or 6. Chevrolet says it’s improved both ride and handling by retrofitting the twin-tube dampers from the Impala. It has also retuned the electric power steering with the aim of improving steering feel. Finally, the Malibu now offers two important safety features -- blind spot warning and cross traffic alert.

We’ll need a turn behind the wheel to determine whether all these tweaks bring the Malibu up to speed with the best in this tough segment. We're already encouraged, though, that GM has acted so decisively to fix shortcomings in one of its most important cars.

Bammit
As much as a HATED the current front fascia I actually really like this one.  However the rear is still disjointed with those grafted taillights that do not blend, and at the top of that centre stack, those vents there make me mad.  Typical goofy GM shapes from yesteryear when sleek sophisticated vents should've been used instead.
opensky108@gmail.com
The tweaks that have been made to the car...mostly underhood will do wonders for the dynamics of the car.  It was a ho hum drive for me before and I think the listed improvements will right the ship.  We'll see...
TeamWidetrack
I have no complaint about this car's look but the car itself is hardly anything to be proud of. No V6 option, indifferent fuel economy, unsatisfying to drive(at no more so than most would expect from a four-door appliance)are big issues with this car that can't be fixed with a mere makeover. And quite possibly the most unsatisfying to use manumatic in the industry make this car a huge disappointment from a company that cannot afford any more of them.
ed124c
For some reason the hood is very tall.  I like that, but if the top slit was not there the front end would look like some kind of truck.  For me it is a man's car, with all that means.  Fords have mostly drooping hoods, which make it difficult (for shorter people like me) to see the hood during parking.  In a car where I can't see the hood, I feel like I don't really know where the car is going.After mulling over the so-called improvements to the 2014 Malibu, I have decided that I don't want stop-start and I don't appreciate the drop in power of the 2.5 just to get ONE more mpg for city and highway.  Second thoughts aren't always the best.
Vinnie82
WTF is their problem? You got a front end with three different grills and different sizes as if they don't belong together. They should not have added that small tiny one just below the engine bay where the hood opens. I would have thought they would get rid of the cheap looking tail lights design. I don't know who is in charge of Chevrolet design and final product, but this refresh is really pushing it.
ed124c
I think the front is better looking than all the midsize sedan models.  Unless, of course, you are a minimalist and prefer the Fusion.  The press release (AutoBlog) talks about all kinds of improvements to the suspension, etc.  But I am kinda drooling about the turbo's 295 ft lb of torque.  I like the Fusion, but I really, really like the "lanewatch" feature in the Accord.  (I am 71 years old and certainly can usse this feature.)  There are now so many new midsizers that it is difficult to pick one-- they each have their bad points (thinking about you Honda with the non-split-folding rear seat in the Accord and a black-only interior in manual transmission Accords, and you Mazda for not having a sunroof available with a stick, and you Ford for putting a stick shift only in the lame 1.6 turbo on the Fusion.) 
Tubbs92
Hi Bammit, Good point, the center part of the console is awful, vents way to high, metallic trim distracting all has to go! In summary
-rear end needs to be redesigned-where are the fold in side virew mirrors, what a bone headed mistake GM!!-center part of the dashboard needs a serious re-design-the 2.5 liter is clicking sounding.. needs something

The 3LT is the only way to go if you can afford it, what a difference the 2.0 liter turbo makes! Oh and btw GM stop wasting your money on the SS .. make a Malibu SS and let the public know you're a serious car company in the midsize segment.. you do care about making money??
Tubbs92
hi ed124c.. don't even waste your time with the 2.5L..start/stop.. but get the 3LT with upgrades.. the 2.0 turbo is unbelievable.. a great engine from GM!
Tubbs92
@ed124c, just get the 2LTZ with the Turbo, awesome engine/car with the lane warning goodies you want!
BigBlock45
@ed124c ... sounds like you really want a new Impala LTZ which has all the goodies you mentioned, plus a V6 -- which if gently driven will get good mileage.  Yes, its bigger than a Malibu/Accord/Fusion/Mazda6... so what?  Its not THAT much bigger and you get a more comfortale interior and a huge trunk.  What's not to like?  (Yes, I'm a Ford guy who's not all that thrilled for 2013-14.)

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