When an automaker releases a facelift for a model that has only been on the market for less than a year, it means it’s not happy with the way the public and the press alike received said car. This is the case with General Motors and the 8th generation Chevrolet Malibu that was introduced in the States in the second half of 2012.
General Motors rushed to update the Malibu for the 2014 model year with some light styling changes, while also improving interior space, and tweaking its powertrains and chassis.
Of course, GM won’t admit in a press release that some things weren’t right with the Malibu, but instead it says that it did what it did with the facelift because it isn’t resting on its laurels:
“The 2014 Chevrolet Malibu builds on the strengths established by the all-new 2013 Malibu to make it a stronger choice for customers,” said Mark Reuss, president, General Motors North America. “The midsize sedan segment is the most contested in the industry and we’re not sitting still with the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu.”
So, what does the 2014 model year bring to the Malibu? Well, on the outside, Chevrolet designers re-did the sedan’s two-piece front grille that is now influenced by the Impala featuring a more prominent lower grille and a revised top part that connects with the hood. In addition, the rear light clusters gain a different design.
Moving on inside, the greatest change concerns the redesigned front seatbacks and the new cushion sculpturing and materials used on the rear seat bench, which help increase rear knee room by 1.25 inches (31.7 mm). The center console was also revised and now sports a longer armrest along with a pair of cup holders and dedicated storage for two cell phones.
Under the hood, the base 2.5-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine gains a standard start/stop technology contributing to an estimated 5-percent increase in city fuel economy, while the automatic transmission was also revised. The inline four delivers 196hp and 186 lb-ft (253 Nm) of torque, and returns 23 mpg city and 35 highway.
The 2014 Malibu’s available 2.0-liter turbocharged delivers nearly 14 percent more torque than its predecessor at 295 lb-ft (400 Nm), and an output of 259hp. According to GM, “the result is a stronger feeling of acceleration from a stop and a greater feeling of power on demand in almost all driving conditions.”
In addition to the engine updates, GM took a look at the chassis and made changes to the suspension with recalibrated dampers and rebound springs, as well as to the electric power rack-and-pinion variable-effort power steering, and the braking system.
Rounding out the improvements for the 2014MY are the new Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert safety features. Pricing for the revised Malibu will be announced at a later date.
So, what do you think; is Chevrolet on the right or wrong path with these updates? Tell us in the comments below.