- Updated styling and powertrain changes for the new model year
- Mild hybrid version, the Malibu Eco
- Added 1.25-inches of rear legroom
The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu arrives with plenty of upgrades and changes for the new model year, after a subpar reaction to the redesigned 2013 model.
They say change is supposed to be for the better, but we don’t blame Chevy if they disagree. The Malibu was redesigned in 2013 to compete better with the new offerings from Toyota, Honda, Ford, and even Mazda, but instead of the redesign leading to more sales, a cool reception and a curious release strategy doomed the midsize sedan. Not to mention curious styling choices and middling fuel economy.
So the Malibu went back to the drawing board and comes back just one year later with new, more aggressive styling, upgrades to both engines, and more rear legroom for backseat passengers. From the outside, the changes are the most apparent from the front where a new split front grille is larger and better integrated with the lower air intake. There is also a new trim piece down the sides of the Malibu that makes it look less blasé in profile. 16-inch alloy wheels are standard, while higher trim packages offer 17-, 18-, or even 19-inch wheels.
Under the hood, the 2014 Malibu’s base engine is still a 196-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder, which adds start-stop technology for added fuel efficiency. Also available is a powerful, 259-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder for added performance. Both engines are mated to a standard six-speed automatic transmission. Models with the base engine return 25/36 mpg city/highway, while turbo-four equipped models get 21/30 mpg.
Chevy also offers an Eco trim of the Malibu that combines a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder gas engine with an electric motor in a system they call “eAssist.” Think of it as a sort of mild hybrid. The Eco trim actually returns identical fuel economy to models equipped with the base engine after its improvements for 2014, so bear that in mind when choosing a trim level.
Inside, new seats in the front and rear contribute to the added rear legroom without changing the cabin dimensions at all, a neat trick. Air conditioning, cruise control, remote keyless entry, and power windows/locks are standard. Also available are USB connectivity, Bluetooth, Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, and heated front seats. Behind the rear seats is 16.3 cubic feet of cargo room.
Blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alerts are newly available for 2014. Standard safety features include 10 airbags, all-disc antilock brakes, electronic stability with traction control, and a six-month subscription to OnStar. The 2014 Malibu got a full five-star overall rating from the NHTSA for its performance in crash testing.