Following the release of its big brother, the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, as well as a torrent of criticism that has followed the current generation Malibu since its launch back in 2012. Chevrolet has pulled the veil off of the refreshed 2014 Malibu sedan which aims to silence its critics with its new styling and to bring the model in line with the brand’s new design language that debuted on the Impala. Malibu sales have trailed those of key rivals since the launch of the current generation.
The key change that many observers will notice right away is the new front fascia, which ditches the old car’s rather bland nose in favor of a bolder, sportier unit that gets its inspiration from the larger Impala. It is highlighted by a narrower front grille which works together with the larger lower grille to enhance the look even further. The rest of the styling is largely carried over from the current car, and it includes the bold rear styling that originally made its debut on the previous generation Malibu.
The interior of the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu has also been lightly reworked to make it much more competitive against rivals such as the Ford Fusion and the Toyota Camry. The seats of the 2014 Malibu have been redesigned and now offer more support and comfort than the old model. The rear seat (a favorite target of critics) now boasts 1.25 inches of extra knee room, which was achieved by trimming about a half inch of material from the front cushions and reshaping the front seatbacks while also revising the cushioning and material of the rear seat itself to have passengers sit farther back – and lower – than before. Most rear seat passengers do not care for low cushions that force them to sit in a ‘jackknife’ position, so it will be interesting to see how buyers react to the change. In addition to this noticeable modification, Chevy engineers also equipped the center console with a longer armrest to improve occupant comfort while a pair of cup holders and two storage spaces for cellphones and other small mobile devices increase the car’s versatility. The car also gains Side Blind Zone Alert, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert which greatly increases occupant and vehicle safety.
In addition to the exterior and interior refinements, the Malibu’s performance hardware has also been changed for 2014 to provide more torque and fuel economy. Base Malibu models now feature a revised 2.5 liter four cylinder engine which now makes 196 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque ( a slight decrease versus last year. However, it makes up for the slight loss in performance by offering a slight increase in fuel economy which now measures in at 23 mpg city and 35 mpg highway ( a 1 mpg improvement in both ratings) thanks to standard auto stop/start technology. Meanwhile, the Malibu’s optional 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder has also receives some tweaks for 2014. Horsepower remains unchanged at 259, but torque has jumped to 295 lb-ft ( a 14 percent increase over the 260 lb-ft wielded by last years model). Handling has also been sharpened thanks to a revised suspension system that sharpens the Malibu Turbo’s handling while still delivering a smooth and controlled ride.
Look for the 2014 Malibu to begin arriving at a Chevrolet dealership near you this fall.