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2014 Chevrolet Malibu First Impressions

A new face and improved technology for GM's mid-size sedan. By ,

After such a long and brutally cold winter, the warm sunshine was like a balm for the soul. We couldn't have picked a nicer day for a drive through the countryside in the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu, and while Oshawa isn't generally known for its picturesque qualities, the sun glinting off Lake Ontario behind General Motors headquarters made a fetching backdrop.

What is a 2014 Chevrolet Malibu?
Malibu is one of Chevrolet's oldest nameplates, having been around since the early sixties. Although it had been thoroughly revised in 2013, the last Malibu was still rather nondescript and fell behind the tough competition in this second largest Canadian car segment

Returning for 2014 with a crisper, more charismatic face, the Malibu now boasts a redesigned interior and a long list of impressive new technology – including the segment-exclusive new Stop/Start technology.

2014 Chevrolet Malibu Prices and Specs
Prices start at $24,995 for a base Malibu LS with 2.5L engine and 6-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include Auto Stop/Start, 10 airbags, OnStar with 6 months Direct/Connect, Stabilitrak Traction control, Bluetooth, 6-speaker sound system, cruise control, keyless remote.

Volume-selling (45%)1LT 2.5L models ($26,795) add Premium cloth, Mylink with 7" Touch screen, USB, phone and audio streaming, Sirius XM, dual exhaust, floor mats. The 2.0L turbo engine (which doesn't include stop/start) arrives with the 3LT model ($30,215) and the range-topping Malibu 2LZ throws in everything under the sun including 19" aluminum wheels.
Navigation is available as an option on all models except LS and 1LT.

Driving the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu
Malibu Product Manager Paul Hewitt describes the new Malibu as the "quietest car Chevrolet had ever launched" – well, until the arrival of the new Impala.

It certainly provides a serene ride as we cruised through some of the prettiest countryside in Southern Ontario. Other than a bit of engine noise in the 2.5L models when pushed, the Malibu is a solid and smooth cruiser.

All models now feature the same strut and rebound spring setup introduced on the turbo models last year, and the result is a composed chassis even over the rough pavement we encountered north of Oshawa. Vibrations and harshness are kept to a minimum, and steering feels nicely weighted.

While the 260hp/295 lb ft. turbo engine equipped cars were obviously quicker and with that much torque - quite a lot more responsive, the naturally aspirated 196 horsepower 2.5L is perfectly adequate in a daily driver.

All 2.5L models now feature auto stop/start, saving fuel and reducing emissions. A secondary battery located in the rear of the car helps power all auxiliary functions while the car is shut off – including the recirculation of transmission fluid to keep it at operating temperature for smooth starts. The engine also features variable valve timing and intake valve lift for enhanced torque and reduced emissions.

Models with this engine now claim fuel ratings of 8.0L/100 km city and 5.3 highway.

2014 Chevrolet Malibu, inside and out
Borrowing cues from big brother Impala, the Malibu's more chiselled front fascia gives it a new, sportier look.

The redesigned cabin looks and feels much better executed than the previous car's, with modern lines and tight panel gaps. A handsome, modern design now features soft touch, premium feel materials. The bigger centre console features a padded, extended armrest, and there's ice-blue ambient lighting and a choice of chrome or glossy wood trim.

The large touch screen flips up to reveal a cubbyhole – great for hiding cell phones and wallets. MyLink connectivity now offers Apple Siri compatibility for iPhone users and can now read most smartphone text messages, and answer incoming calls with a pre-recorded message in order to avoid distracting the driver.

Both my driving partner and I commented on the comfortable seats, which feature concave backs to provide more knee room for rear passengers.

Comparing the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu
The improved Malibu is now a worthy contender in a hotly contested segment that includes the long-time leaders Toyota Camry and Honda Accord as well as the Ford Fusion, Mazda6, and Hyundai Sonata.

That's hefty competition.

However, at a price that's about mid-pack for the segment, the Malibu offers a lot of technology and safety upgrades, and is well worth consideration.

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    2014 Chevrolet Malibu 2LT
    chevrolet malibu 2014
    2014 Chevrolet Malibu 2LT
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