What's New for 2014:
- Standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine
- Standard automatic start/stop system
- Improved fuel economy
- More powerful optional turbocharged engine
- Refined suspension tuning
- Revised styling, new interior trim, more rear-seat room
- Available Siri Eyes Free technology with hands-free texting
- Enhanced safety technologies
The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu is a midsize family sedan competing in the largest segment in the new-car market. Primary competitors include the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, and Volkswagen Passat.
Models and Features
The 2014 Malibu is sold in LS, LT, and LTZ trim levels. Choosing the Malibu LT adds premium cloth seat fabric, ambient cabin lighting, floor mats, and a Chevrolet MyLink radio with a 7-inch color touch screen, satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming, USB port, and voice-recognition technology. The Malibu LT also has projector-beam headlights and body-color heated side mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators.
Buyers can upgrade the LT with a 2LT or a 3LT equipment group. The Malibu 2LT includes dual-zone automatic climate control, a power driver's seat with lumbar adjustment, leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote engine starting system, fog lights, 18-inch aluminum wheels, and a spare tire. The Malibu 3LT is essentially the same car, but with the more powerful, turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and larger brakes.
The Malibu LTZ builds upon Malibu 2LT trim with leather seats, a power front passenger's seat, heated front seats, express-up operation for the driver's window, auto-dimming rearview mirror, cargo net, dual exhaust outlets, and 18-inch machined-face aluminum wheels. A 2LTZ upgrade group includes the turbocharged engine, larger brakes, and a power sunroof.
Options and Packages
Apart from rear park-assist sensors and a Protection package that adds floor mats, a cargo net, and body side moldings, the Malibu LS is offered primarily with dealer-installed options.
Choosing the Malibu LT grants access to a long menu of extras, including additional interior and exterior colors, upgraded wheels, and features such as a reversing camera, universal garage door opener, remote engine starting, and a power sunroof. Additionally, the Malibu 2LT and 3LT offer available leather seats, heated front seats, a premium audio system, navigation system, 120-volt power outlet, and an Advanced Safety package containing forward-collision alert, side blind-zone alert, lane-departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert technologies.
The Malibu LTZ is exclusively available with HID headlights, keyless passive entry with push-button starting, and memory for the driver's preferred settings. Additional upgrades include the Advanced Safety package, a reversing camera, 120-volt power outlet, universal garage door opener, premium audio system, navigation system, and a power sunroof. The Malibu 2LTZ is the only version that can be fitted with 19-inch aluminum wheels.
Under the Hood
The 2014 Malibu is equipped with a new direct-injection, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 196 horsepower. Equipped with automatic start/stop technology, which shuts the engine off while idling in traffic or at intersections, the new engine is more fuel-efficient than the one it replaces.
Buyers can upgrade to a turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine by selecting the Malibu 3LT or 2LTZ trim levels. This power plant generates 259 horsepower, and for 2014, torque is increased, now measuring 295 lb.-ft. between 3,000 rpm and 4,000 rpm. Chevrolet says premium fuel is recommended for this engine, but is not required.
Both engines are paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission that drives the Malibu's front wheels. As this overview is written, Chevrolet has not announced whether the previous eAssist powertrain will continue for 2014, or if it has been shelved.
According to the EPA, the 2014 Malibu with the standard engine is rated to get 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Choose the turbocharged engine and the Malibu is expected to return 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.
Safety Ratings and Technology
As this overview is written, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rates the 2014 Malibu with 5 stars (out of 5 stars) for frontal-impact and 4 stars for rollover. The NHTSA has not rated side-impact protection, and has not given the car an overall rating. Similarly, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not assigned ratings to the 2014 Malibu as this article is written.
For 2014, the Malibu is available with side blind-zone alert and rear cross-traffic alert systems, which are added to the optional Advanced Safety package for Malibu 2LT, 3LT, LTZ, and 2LTZ trim levels. They join a forward-collision warning system and a lane-departure warning system. The Malibu can also be fitted with a reversing camera and rear park-assist sensors.
OnStar telematics is standard for all Malibus, and includes a free 6-month subscription to services including Automatic Crash Response, which activates if the car's air bags deploy and can send emergency rescuers directly to the scene of the accident even if nobody inside of the Malibu is responsive. Additionally, OnStar offers an opt-in FamilyLink location-sharing feature that allows parents to keep tabs on where young drivers might be taking the Malibu.