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2014 Chevrolet Malibu Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 7.3

Test drivers say that the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu is not as fun to drive as competitors like the Ford Fusion and Mazda6. However, they also write that the Malibu offers two strong and refined powertrains and a smooth ride.

  • "We can't say the Malibu was exciting to drive, or inspiring, but it did what a midsize sedan is supposed to do, and it did it well. It was easy to drive and park, and easy to keep true on the road." -- AutoWeek
  • "Still, while Chevy will happily tell you that these upgrades limit body roll and contribute to ‘a more precise, controlled feel - especially while cornering,’ the truth is that, once again, this is one of the least-engaging vehicles in the class. It's not Camry disconnected, but from a driver's perspective, the Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Mazda6 and Nissan Altima all offer more rewarding behind-the-wheel experiences." -- Autoblog

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu comes with a 196-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. An auto start-stop feature is standard, which conserves fuel by automatically turning off the engine when the car comes to a stop under certain conditions. The EPA estimates that the 2014 Chevy Malibu gets 25/36 mpg city/highway, which is good for an affordable midsize car. A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 259 horsepower is also available and it comes with the six-speed automatic.

Reviewers think the Malibu’s base four-cylinder engine provides enough power for passing on the highway and climbing hilly roads, while the turbocharged engine’s ample power gives the Malibu quick off-the-line acceleration. Additionally, auto writers say that the Malibu’s start-stop feature is among the best they’ve seen because of its smooth, shudder-free operation. Test drivers also say the Malibu’s six-speed automatic transmission delivers quick, smooth shifts.

  • "During a drive between Plymouth and Pinckney, Michigan, we spent most of our time piloting 2014 Malibus equipped with the revamped 2.5-liter I-4. The four-cylinder provided decent power for hustling the Malibu over the hilly terrain we encountered. The revised six-speed automatic is certainly a boon, as it is both smoother and quicker to respond to throttle inputs with a downshift than the previous transmission." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The new stop/start function is really slick here in the Malibu, and that's a good thing, since it can't be turned off like on some cars. In our day of driving, we never found it to be intrusive or jarring. Many folks are (understandably) having a tough time warming up to this sort of technology, but we don't see it being all that bothersome to Chevy customers. Frankly, it's one of the better stop/start systems we've tested, handily besting what's offered by BMW, for example." -- Autoblog
  • "Around town, the 2.5-liter engine proves to be more than adequate to motivate the new Malibu with ease, with the new six-speed transmission proving to be a willing and well-matched partner. Acceleration is brisk, and there's more than enough passing power." -- Cars.com
  • "We drove the turbocharged car first, which Chevy says has the most torque in the segment. It was powerful enough off the line to spin the front tires, and with a downshift or two, would provide no trouble in passing situations. But after driving both, the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter seemed completely adequate in almost all situations. We can't see the company selling too many of the forced-induction sedans with a 36-mpg bargain right next to it." -- AutoWeek

Handling and Braking

Test drivers say that the revised suspension in the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu improves the ride and handling of the car, making it smooth on bumpy roads and composed on twisty ones. Some reviewers note that while the 2014 Malibu doesn’t offer exhilarating driving dynamics, it offers handling that’s on par with other family sedans. A few reviewers note that the Malibu has longer stopping distances than they expect, while others write that the steering system is well-weighted, but lacks the fun-to-drive feel they would like.

  • "Speaking of the electric power steering, we previously criticized the system for feeling too light and overboosted. A recalibrated rack doesn’t provide any additional feel or feedback – par for this segment, really – but it does feel more weighted, Like before, the 2014 Malibu feels firm and balanced, and the revised dampers do help curb the float that previously plagued the car." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Brake feel may be improved, but it still isn't all that good, with all three models I drove exhibiting longer than expected travel before brakes engaged. They may be strong, but they don't feel terribly firm." -- Cars.com
  • "The newest Malibu felt extremely composed over the asphalt-patched roads in southeastern Michigan. Railroad tracks made noise but the vibration barely made it to the cabin." -- AutoWeek
  • "Handling is about what you'd expect for a family sedan: confidence-inspiring, but we wouldn't call it fun. The steering is responsive enough and offers an appropriate amount of weighting, but provides little driver engagement in the way it feels." -- Edmunds

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