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Car Review- 2014 Chevy Malibu

2014 Chevrolet Malibu

OK, I get it. You have build cars for all types of people- septuagenarians, teenagers, hipsters, accountants, etc. These are the main clientele for the Chevy Malibu. These people need a car. Chevrolet would prefer that it wear a bowtie rather than an H or T badge.

Like most of you, I had seen the commercial referring to the car as the “new mobile device”, which is not a bad marketing plan when automakers are struggling to get millennials interested in cars, but it really needs to be good. And Malibu just plain isn’t. I truly hate having to write a mediocre car review, but I am afraid there just is not enough to be excited about with the Malibu. As the one disclaimer for this review- I drove the base 2.5 liter 4-cylinder, which boasts 196 horsepower. Assuredly the turbo model, with its 254 horsepower, would be significantly more spritely as that represents 25% more power. That does not change some of the other issues I found with this car.

Interior- I hate dead pedals. All they do is waste foot space. There should be plenty of room to position your left foot between the dead pedal and the brake, but in the Malibu, I have to turn my foot sideways to do so. If I put my foot on top of the dead pedal, my leg gets sore on even moderate distances. For the record, I am 6-foot with a size 10 shoe, about average. If I wore 12s or 13s, I would not even be able to drive this car. The seats are covered in a nice leather, they are fully electric, but mediocre in comfort. They would be fine for driving around town. Honestly, the stock seats in my 71 Buick GS are more comfortable.

The cupholders are too small to fit a sports bottle, which in today’s health-conscience society, is a problem. There are “bottle” holders in the doors, but they won’t hold much more than a 20-ounce soda bottle. Not sure what the point of that is.

Hold me closer tiny cupholder.... Not gonna fit Big Gulp in this one.

Hold me closer tiny cupholder…. Not gonna fit Big Gulp in this one.

 

No clue what cup will fit in the door, it certainly isn't anything I have ever seen.

No clue what cup will fit in the door, it certainly isn’t anything I have ever seen.

What is with the driveline hump in the back seat? This is a front-wheel drive vehicle, there is no driveshaft running to the back wheels. This makes the Malibu a 4-person car. The hump is huge, which makes the middle seat quite uncomfortable for families of 5. It got to the point where my 3 kids didn’t even want to ride in the car due to how cramped it was.

Crappy lighting doesn't hide the lack of foot room in the rear of the Malibu.

Crappy lighting doesn’t hide the lack of foot room in the rear of the Malibu.

 

Exterior- The Malibu is very stylish on the outside. During my test drive, I had numerous people ask me about the car and tell me how nice it was. It is a good looking sedan, I even had a friend text me, telling me how much he wanted one. I like the looks of the car, just everything else is blah.

 

Performance- Aside from the fact that I was driving the base engine model, the Malibu is peppy, but not fast or quick. Every time I tried to hit 100, I ran out of road. I am sure it will do 100, but not very quickly. Additionally, there is a 2.5 second lag in the gas pedal. You can count 2 full seconds plus a little between putting the pedal to the floor and when the engine actually responds. This is because the engine is drive by wire. First the computer has to decide what you want it to do, then it downshifts before actually opening the throttle blade. All of this should be seamless, but it literally happens point by point. The pedal hits the floor, there is a hesitation, then the tranny shifts (you can hear and feel it), and then the engine revs up slightly, and then finally it takes off. It is not only frustrating, but downright comical. You can almost hear the hamster under the hood curse your name.

I try to find the bright side of any vehicle I test. For the Malibu, I would have to say that is a great car for mature adults that have 2 or fewer children. It is a nice sedan that looks really good. Is it going to excite a hipster? no. Would it make an accountant’s morning drive enjoyable? Probably. For $30k, I would say buy a Buick Regal Turbo, which is a far superior vehicle in all realms. Even though the two cars are built on the same Epsilon II platform, the Regal and GS models are significantly better cars. If you do choose to go for the Malibu, you better make sure you drive off the lot with the turbo version, otherwise you are just buying a pretty rental car.

The radio face lifts up to reveal a hidden compartment. I like this part, except that is loose and shaky.

The radio face lifts up to reveal a hidden compartment. I like this part, except that is loose and shaky.

When the mid-day sun hits the steering, you will be blinded. Fair warning.

When the mid-day sun hits the steering, you will be blinded. Fair warning.

I like the interior styling, it is very clean and fancy looking.

I like the interior styling, it is very clean and fancy looking.

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