2.5L I4 VVT
196 HP @ 6300
186 lb-ft @ 4400
11.4 / 7.9
The Chevrolet Malibu is one of the most popular midsized sedans. In fact, it has been for as long as I can remember. The latest generation has been a remarkable step forward in the Malibu’s history and for this year’s update, little have changed. This is not something to be worried about, as the latest generation has plenty of goodies to offer.
Alluring prices to begin with, as prices start at $25,140 for a 1LS while the top of the line LTZ 2LZ with the turbo 4-cylinder is $34,965. Our test vehicle, LTZ 1LZ had a base price of $33,100 but as tested was $34,890 as it came equipped with the MyLink touch navigation and the Iridescent Pearl Tricoat paintjob. Standard features are impressive and include the OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, the MyLink 7” infotainment system, USB port, bluetooth connectivity, 9 speaker Pioneer sound system with SiriusXM, remote starter, 10 airbags, stability control, forward collision alert, rear view camera and rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitors, automatic HID lights, 18” alloys, dual zone climate control, power sunroof, keyless entry, cruise control, TPMS, leather appointed seats, heated 8-way power adjustable front seats, tilt and telescopic steering column and leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.
The Malibu is stylish and modern and for the most part, it is in line with the latest Chevrolet family design framework. The front headlights are dynamic and look angry, while the massive grille and nerves on the hood make for an aggressive front end. The roofline is sloped enough to create a slippery shape but not at the expense of rear headroom. The rear end, with the Camaro inspired tail lights, looks like its packing a big boot, which it does.
All doors open wide making boarding the vehicle pretty easy, even if you belong to the least flexible group of people. The interior is once again very Chevy like, with the ‘Y’ shaped centre dash, blue backlit instrument panel and the MyLink infotainment system with its large LCD touch screen in the top middle. It is pleasing to the eye and at the same time ergonomically sound – minus those controls on the indicator stalk. The cabin feels airy and is roomy, while the soft to the touch materials used for certain parts bump up the quality feel of the interior. Fit and finish is good, keeping rattles and squeaks to minimal. The seats are very comfortable and provide the little side support required for the occasion, while the available adjustments are more than enough to get you in your desired position. The rear seats are also very roomy, headroom and legroom are both good enough for even taller passengers, while the available width helps accommodating a third person if needed. The trunk, also has a wide opening and a good usable shape that helps utilize most of its volume, which at 462 L is pretty good.
Behind the wheel, refinement and quietness are the two main highlights. Ride comfort is very good too, but the zero vibrations felt under normal driving is truly impressive.The Malibu is among the most silky and smooth rides in the class except when you go hard on the accelerator. Rolling quality is fantastic, ride comfort is good and the only thing capable of disrupting the serene environment is the 2.5L 4-Cylinder engine which gets quite loud when most of its 196 HP is being asked to work hard. Thankfully, the 186 lb-ft of torque coupled with the smooth 6-speed auto gearbox mean that you won’t need to push that hard, that often. When you do though, performance is descent, as he sprint from zero to 100km/h is completed in 9.1” and overall the engine never seems to struggle moving the biggish car. That is also noticeable via the good fuel consumption figures, as during our week in the car, we averaged about 10lt/100km.
Being soft and quiet over bumps has had a slight impact on handling dynamics and as such, the Malibu isn’t really a purist’s car, but then again, that was never the intention. As a comfortable family sedan would, the Malibu tackles corners progressively, understeering when its limits are exceeded but it does a good job forgiving driver errors by being tolerant to abrupt inputs mid-turn. It does grip well and most importantly, handling is safe and free from unpleasant surprises. The brakes feel good and work well too, as from 100km/h the car came to a confident stop after 43m.
While it might not be the most exciting mid-sized family sedan to drive, the Malibu has plenty to be proud of as it is spacious, comfortable, well equipped and affordable. Safe too.
Noisy under hard acceleration