2014 Chevrolet Malibu Review

A year late, the 2013 Malibu finally arrives

2014 Chevrolet Malibu Review

When the 2013 Malibu arrived last year, it received a lukewarm reception. Chevrolet dealers didn’t like how much it looked like the old model, and found it hard to promote on their lots against the old car. Critics pointed out several issues with the car including the eAssist engine, rear seat comfort, material quality and exterior styling. This led to consumers not buying the new Malibu in the quantities Chevrolet would have liked; it is currently tied for fifth in mid-size sedan sales.


1. A 2.5L 4-cylinder makes 196 hp and 186 lb-ft while an optional 2.0T makes 259 hp and 295 lb-ft.

2. Only transmission is a six-speed automatic.

3. The 2.5L is rated at 25 MPG city, 36 MPG highway. The 2.0T is rated at 21/30 MPG.

4. Pricing starts at $22,965 including delivery.

So Chevrolet went back to the proverbial drawing board to revise the Malibu for the 2014 model year and address some of these shortcomings. First up was the exterior. The front-end is massaged to better resemble the 2014 Impala, which features Chevrolet’s new corporate look. The bar that dissects the grill is slimmed down and less pronounced. As well, the larger lower grill makes the car not only look more modern, but also more aggressive. Sadly, the rear end was not touched and those bizarre quad square tail lamps are still there in all their shameful glory.


But under the hood, the news gets better. An updated version of GM’s 2.5-liter direct injection four-cylinder engine with new variable valve lift control (iVLC) is now the base engine. It is officially rated at 196 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque, which is down one hp and five lb-ft compared to last year.


The reason for this tuning is to achieve greater efficiency and paired with the standard start/stop technology, it can now reach fuel economy ratings of 25 MPG city and 36 MPG highway; three mpg better in the city and two better on highway than last year’s 2.5-liter engine and far more competitive for this class. The new 2.5-liter is as efficient as the 2.4-liter eAssist engine, so Chevrolet thankfully decided to euthanize that unloved engine. Now if Buick would just get the memo…

See Also: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Review


Being less than bullish on start/stop technology, I didn’t have high hopes for it in the Malibu, especially since there isn’t a way to turn it off. However, Chevrolet worked on this technology through the eAssist program and appears to have mastered it. The transition between start-stop-start is seamless; smoother than the systems found in BMWs or Mercedes-Benzes even. To ensure the car has enough juice to keep auxiliary items running when the engine is off, the 2.5-liter Malibu comes with two batteries in the car; one in the front and one in the rear and to even further maximize efficiency, there is an “Eco” mode for the air conditioning unit.


Chevrolet figures roughly 80-90 percent of Malibu buyers will go for the 2.5-liter engine. After a brief drive around Michigan in the new car, the engine feels plenty powerful enough for this car and probably is the better choice for money and fuel savings. But if it’s more power you are after, you’re in luck. Chevy decided to tweak the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine as well.

Although it still makes the same 259 hp, there’s quite a bit more torque. Now with an extra 35 lb-ft on tap, this Malibu has a massive 295 lb-ft of torque total. That is more than any other engine offered in a comparable mid-size sedan and enough to propel this car from 0-60 mph in under six seconds. Fuel economy is decent at 25 MPG city, 36 MPG highway, but still trails the 2014 Mazda6, which offers up to 28 MPG in the city and 40 on the highway.


The six-speed automatic found with either engine is reworked this year, as is the chassis. The 2013 Malibu already had one of the creamiest rides in the mid-size sedan market, but Chevrolet made a few enhancements derived from the 2014 Impala program to further refine the suspension. The car doesn’t only feel more isolated from road imperfections, but also handles better and feels more composed on the road; especially with the 2.0T.


A gripe we had with the 2013 Malibu was the artificial steering feeling. For 2014, it is stiffer and feels far more connected to the road, but it still isn’t perfect. With these enhancements, even the 3,660 lbs. top-of-the-line Malibu feels a bit playful and hides its weight well.


As much as Chevrolet wanted to fix all of the Malibu’s short comings, it would be hard to address rear seat space completely without redesigning the car’s body. Still, Chevrolet did whatever was physically possible to improve rear seat space and succeeded to a degree.

The front seat backs are thinner and have indents built into them that add 1.25 inches of knee room. The rear seats feature a revised cushion material, allowing passengers to sit deeper. Even though the Malibu is still rated with the same 36.8 inches of rear seat legroom as the 2013 model, the extra space in the back seats is instantly apparent. That said, headroom is still a bit tight. Although Chevrolet claims the ingress and egress have improved, the C pillar still intrudes into the rear seat area and blocks most outward vision for rear seat passengers.

See Also: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ Review


Another interior issue had to do with the center console that, of course, is redesigned this year. A longer, but non-sliding armrest offers good support for elbows without hiding one of the cup holders like in the 2013 model. Chevrolet’s easy-to-use MyLink system dominates the center stack along with several useful, albeit cheap looking buttons.

In fact, most interior materials are similar to last year’s model like the unpleasant steering wheel and dash coverings; however some new ‘wood’ accents have been added this year.

Despite the rear seat space shuffling, the car’s trunk remains the same size at 16.3 cubic feet.


New available safety technology like side blind zone alert and rear cross traffic alert have been added this year to appeal to Chevrolet’s target market of young families and young non-corporate family men. Starting at $22,965 after destination charges, the fact the Malibu will also come with Chevrolet’s 24-month free maintenance program should only entice this demographic further.

Truth be told, that’s necessary bait if Chevrolet hopes to sell very many. Much improved, the 2014 Malibu is now a contender in the mid-size sedan segment; or at least it would be if this were last year.

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked