Review: 2014 Chevrolet Malibu 2LT

Monday December 9th, 2013 at 1:1212 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Stellar Rear Seat, Huge Trunk, Build Quality Abounds
Gripes: Driver’s Seatbelt Requires Gorilla Pull, Tapshift Button Too Petite

After introducing a completely new Malibu for 2013, Chevrolet has made understandably few changes for model year 2014. Visually, the most noticeable alteration eliminates the large upper grill opening in favor of a small slot across the nose of the hood. Thus, the already streamlined shape of the Malibu looks just a little cleaner than before. Rear seat legroom has been enhanced for 2014 thanks to indentations in the front seat backs to better accommodate gangly knees. In fact, the rear seat of this sedan is a particularly happy place to sit because there’s lots of side glass for spectating, a drop down armrest with indentations for two beverages as well as a shallow lidded compartment, and intelligent door pockets designed to store slightly inclined water bottles.

With indentations scooped for passengers’ backs and buns, the rear seats offer better side support than the fronts, which are too flat and hard to stabilize you during hard cornering. For an extra $1,000, Chevy will heat the front seats and finish them in leather, with seams stitched in contrasting thread color. The effect looks expensive. In fact the entire interior belies the bargain price of the Malibu (base: $25,215). The stalks sprouting from the steering column feel so solid you’d swear you were driving a Mercedes. Chevy uses a striated plastic insert on the center console and door panels that mimics the look of drift wood. Slightly off putting are the five ridge horizontal ridges that sweep across the entire dash face. These extrusions incorporate air vents, but present lots of surface area to accumulate dirt. Think of the ribs as brave new worlds to conquer when you prepare your 2LT for concourse events.

The Malibu is the only car in this price range that offers standard Auto Stop technology. When you’ve selected the “D” range on the 6-speed automatic gearbox, the car shuts itself off automatically when stopped for more than a few seconds, then re-fires as soon as you remove your foot from the brake. The transition from run to stop to run is seamless, and much more successfully handled than current BMW products. If you slot the gearbox into its “M” or manual mode, the Auto Stop feature is eliminated. In M mode, you can manually up shift and down shift through the entire gear range, but you must use a tiny button atop the shift knob to accomplish the task. Chevy calls this feature “Tapshift.” With the exception of one clunker of a down shift this arrangement worked well. But it’s hard to locate the button atop the knob, and even more difficult to figure out which half to depress when you need to snag the right gear. Paddles would be much appreciated next to the steering wheel spokes.

Chevy has selected a very tall differential ratio of 2.89:1 to enable the Malibu to record 29 MPG in overall driving. But this tall rear gear lets the 2.5 liter Ecotec engine fall flat on its face if you just trundle along in “D” range without manually selecting the appropriate gear for each situation. The Ecotec motor is plenty powerful, but it makes its horsepower so high in the rev range (196hp@6,300rpm) that you really need to supervise its behavior closely using the Tapshift routine. Once out on the open highway, the Malibu is a silent, comfortable runner, with excellent cruise control apparatus, clear speed readouts on the central information screen, and a plush ride quality that will keep your passengers enthralled. On twisty sections, the fat, top line Goodyear LS2 Eagles (235/50R18) show their mettle with excellent, squeal-free adhesion.

The optional 9 speaker Pioneer audio system costs an extra $1,175, and justifies its expense by providing 250 scintillating Watts of output. New for 2014 is an Advanced Safety Package ($795 extra) which includes Forward Collision Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Unless you’re planning to text while driving (!), I wouldn’t recommend springing for this pricey and annoying option group.

All in all, the Malibu 2LT is a sweet, engaging design that caters more to comfort than performance. Its exceptional level of fit and finish proves conclusively that home-grown products like this Malibu (built in Kansas City, KS) are every bit the equal of cars coming from Japan, Korea and even Germany.

2014 Chevrolet Malibu 2LT

  • Engine: 2.5 liter DOHC Inline 4
  • Horsepower: 196hp@6300rpm
  • Torque: 186lb.-ft.@4400rpm
  • Fuel Consumption: 25 MPG City/36 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $30,125
  • Star Rating: 8 out of 10 Stars

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2013 Chevrolet Malibu Revealed at New York International Auto Show

Tuesday April 19th, 2011 at 12:44 PM
Posted by: ponycargirl

2013 Chevrolet Malibu New York Int'l A/S ©Megan Green

Chevrolet has revamped their mid-sized Malibu sedan while keeping handling, comfort and fuel economy in mind. Taking exterior design cues from the Camaro and efficient aerodynamics from the Volt, the 2.5L four-cylinder engine six-speed automatic powers it along for a quieter, smoother ride. Beefier than previous versions, this Malibu sports a tightly designed exterior that competes with the sharpness of the Hyundai Sonata. The most impressive aspect of the Malibu, especially in light of current escalating gas prices, is the fuel efficiency; the design is not just about aesthetics as it significantly reduces wind drag – nearly 60 points – compared to the previous model.
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Best Mid-size Sedans of 2010 That Cost Less Than $30,000

Monday November 22nd, 2010 at 8:1111 AM
Posted by: AKramer

best_sedans_2010For a little while, it seemed like the mid-size family sedan was going to go the way of the dodo bird. Starting in the late 90s, folks across America began snapping up SUVs like hotcakes, and those still sticking with four doors and a trunk often migrated upmarket to luxury nameplates.

Take one great recession, add some higher gas prices, and viola, the times have sure changed again. Buyers are downsizing away from expensive, gas-guzzling SUVs, and the market for mid-sized sedans is as competitive as it has ever been. Sure, smaller crossovers are popular and wagons are making a small comeback, but for basic transportation that is also practical and affordable, nothing beats a well made four door sedan.

Selecting just 5 excellent mid-size sedans was tough, as almost every manufacturer offers a competitive product these days. Our top 5 needed to really excel in all areas, including build, performance, design and functionality, and of course value. With this in mind, we feel our finalists are all truly well balanced cars, with no major flaws and a lot to admire.

HONDA ACCORD FORD FUSION CHEVROLET MALIBU MAZDA MAZDA6 HYUNDAI SONATA

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CarReview's 2009-2010 Hybrid Buyer's Guide

Monday October 26th, 2009 at 7:1010 AM
Posted by: ggaillard

Honda CR-Z

By Greg Gaillard

Hybrids Come of Age

Just 10 years ago Honda released the Insight as the first US mass market hybrid combustion/electric car.  Its two seat aerodynamic teardrop shape, light weight and focused engineering delivered spectacular fuel economy that generated quite a bit of media attention.  In the real world however, the Insight represented significant compromises in terms of utility, performance and perceived safety.  Launched at the height of the SUV boom alongside inexpensive gasoline, sales weren’t significant and to many people the Insight was another Honda engineering experiment; a car that Honda’s Asimo robot might drive, but not something American families would put in their garage.

What a difference a decade makes.  Last week the EPA released its annual Fuel Economy Guide for 2010 and hybrids swept the podium with 9 out of the top 10 MPG scores.  At least in terms of EPA ratings, hybrids are the drivetrain technology of the moment.  Perhaps more important than MPG is how the technology has evolved into a variety of solutions that can be used across a range of body styles without many of the original Insight’s compromises.

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2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Review – Chevy's New Hybrid Sedan

Friday July 11th, 2008 at 6:77 AM
Posted by: hollyrrr

Chevy Malibu Hybrid Overview Chevy Malibu Hybrid Specs
Chevy Malibu Hybrid Consumer Reviews Chevy Malibu Hybrid Photo Gallery

By Holly R.

2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

Pros:

  • Decent mileage
  • Acceleration is reasonable at speed
  • Pretty stylish looking
  • Looks roomy
  • XM® Satellite Radio
  • OnStar (Standard for ONE YEAR)

Cons:

  • Not a lot of storage in the main cabin
  • Battery takes up too much room when the seats are folded down for trunk over-spill
  • Little noise reduction (despite what’s advertised)
  • The switch from gas engine to battery mode and back again is not seamless
  • The mileage was decent, but not what I’d expect from a hybrid (some non-hybrid cars get better mileage)

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2008 Chevy Malibu LTZ Review – Could this be a turning point for GM?

Thursday February 14th, 2008 at 8:22 AM
Posted by: Kurt Gensheimer

Overview Chevy Malibu Specs
Consumer Reviews of Malibu LTZ Chevy Malibu Photo Gallery

By Kurt Gensheimer

Blings:

  • More soundproof than Abbey Road Studios
  • Tire-scorching 252 HP V-6
  • Hectares of interior space
  • Attractive interior and exterior

Dings:

  • Steering wheel controls aren’t the most ergonomic
  • Artificially heavy steering feel
  • Thick A-pillars and steep windshield make for poor front visibility

Ruling: If the Malibu a sign of things to come, GM will put the good ol’ US of A back in the auto industry driver’s seat.

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GM unveils Malibu ad campaign strategy

Thursday October 11th, 2007 at 7:1010 PM
Posted by: Derek

2008 Chevy Malibu

October 11, 2007 – 4:33 pm ET

DETROIT - General Motors is out to bust skeptics who believe Detroit can’t build a competitive car.

And it’s using the redone 2008 Chevrolet Malibu as a “catalyst to disrupt” that belief, Mark LaNeve, GM vice president of sales, service and marketing for North America, said today.

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