I recently spent a week with the new Chevrolet Malibu mid-size sedan, and was pleasantly surprised.
The 2015 model is a carry-over from the major reworking in 2013, and adds some new technology and colour choices.
The new look of the Malibu is welcome change to the bland exteriors of past versions. The large grille and sweeping headlight design lend a modern sense of urgency that is enhanced by a stiffer suspension setup.
The design of the suspension is based around that of the latest Impala and offers up comfort while eliminating the floaty and rolly feel often found in large sedans. While the Malibu absorbed bumps and ruts, I was aware of the impact but never felt more than a little ripple. In fact the only time the car felt out-of-sorts was on washboard road surfaces.
The electric power steering is variable and remains light even during parking maneuvers. There could be a bit more road feel however.
The 2.5L Ecotec 4 cylinder in my test car produced 196 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. This was adequate for the daily driving and was quiet and smooth on the highway.
The one thing I did notice about the car was its lack of zeal for acceleration. From a standstill other traffic seemed to be moving while I sat waiting for the start/stop system and engine to react to my request. In reality it was merely a second or so but it felt much longer. This may also have been enhanced by the 6-speed automatic transmissions laid-back approach to operating.
Fuel economy estimates are: 25/36 mpg city/highway or 9.4/6.5 L/100 km city/highway. Truthfully that is very close to what I saw during my time with the car as long as I drove in a relaxed and calm manner.
For the consumer who needs a put more power, the Chevrolet Malibu can be had with a turbo-charged 2.0L 4 cylinder that creates a healthy 259 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. This will undoubtedly liven up the feel of this comfortable family sedan and make overtaking a less concerning decision.
The interior offers a fantastic layout and very comfortable seating. The easy to use buttons and dials for the heating, A/C and radio should be the standard for all. The optional 8” touch screen was clear and intuitive.
Within a day I was confidently scrolling through the various screens and functions of the Chevy MyLink system.
The one criticism I have is with the XM satellite radios constant notifications. Even when I was listening to the FM radio these alerts would pop up requiring me to look away from the road and cancel them if I wanted to change the channel.
The interior is full of soft touch materials and looks nicer than I expected for the price. The rear seats are comfortable but have less legroom than expected considering the size of the car.
The large trunk has 16.3 cu.ft (462 L), and a wide opening and comfortable lift over height.
Now with an Onstar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot for a 3 month/3 gigabyte trial, the 2015 Malibu checks a lot of boxes. The refined interior, new look and comfortable ride will no doubt win over some new customers.
Pricing starts at $23,290.00, but with the current cash back deal, the price starts at $21,290.00 (US).
In Canada Chevrolet is offering up to $6,695.00 in rebates off the starting price of $25,040.00.