It’s becoming a recent trend of sorts. Automakers launch an all-new or heavily refreshed model only to have it fall short of expectations and, as a result, another launch is needed to save face. Fiat can attest to this with the 500, which was later saved by the Abarth, and now Chevrolet is looking to do the same with the Malibu. The eight-generation Chevrolet Malibu began production back in 2011 but 18 months later, the Golden Bowtie is refreshing its midsize sedan. For the 2014 model year, Chevy is relaunching the Malibu with a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and styling tweaks to both the exterior and interior.
Next to the addition of the all-new Ecotec 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with Intake Variable Valve Lift Control (iVLC), perhaps the biggest change to the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu comes in the form of a bigger and more comfortable back seat. When we drove the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu in a midsize sedan comparison test earlier this year, it was widely accepted amongst our staff that the Malibu had, far and away, the most uncomfortable and cramped back seat. Chevy addressed these issues for the 2014 model year by redesigning the seats to be more spacious and comfortable. The seat cushions have been reshaped and now consist of a “revised” material to allow passengers to sit further back in the rear seats.
The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu’s all-new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, rated at 196 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, is the standard form of motivation. This engine’s variable intake valve actuation with direct injection lowers emissions and enhances low-end torque. What that all means is that you’ll feel more power at lower speeds. Chevy also added a start/stop feature which helped to increase fuel efficiency to 23 mpg in the city (a five percent increase over its predecessor). The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is also available for the 2014 model year and still produces 259 hp but sees a 14 percent bump in torque. New torque figures for the turbo engine, as certified by the SAE, sit at 295 lb-ft.
With a new engine comes chassis and suspension tweaks and that’s exactly what the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu received. Chevy shot for a more refined drive feel with the 2014 Malibu and is looking to rebound springs that are internal to the struts. The dampers were also recalibrated in hopes of smoothing out the Malibu’s ride. Electric power steering is now standard and Chevy says it will help save fuel and make the 2014 Malibu easier to control at low speeds. The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu also had its brake system revised for a more confident feel.
Finally, probably the most noticeable change to the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu is the revised front-end that shares styling cues with that of the new Impala. A new, more conspicuous lower grille, along with the hood, hangs over the leading edge of the narrow upper grille. The grille openings are now black, wider, and accented with chrome. Inside, besides the revised seats, Chevy has also redesigned the center console with a longer armrest capable of carrying two cupholders and now features dedicated space for cell phones. A new side blind zone alert and rear cross traffic alert system have also been added to the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu as optional features.
Chevrolet says that the 2014 Malibu will hit showroom floors later this fall.