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2014 Chevrolet Malibu

We called the redesigned 2013 Chevrolet Malibu "a consistent disappointment" during 2013 Car of the Year testing. Jonny Lieberman went so far as to call the midsize sedan "not so much a car as it is a collection of things I hate about rentals." We've heard GM was fast-tracking a refresh to address the sub-par 2013 Malibu, and now we have the first official details on the restyled and more efficient 2014 Chevrolet Malibu.

2014 Chevrolet Malibu
2014 Chevrolet Malibu

One aspect of the 2013 Malibu we didn't mind was its exterior styling, but it's hard to argue with Chevrolet's decision to make the 2014 Malibu appear like a smaller Impala. While no one will confuse the 2014 Malibu's interior with that of the 2014 Impala, the midsizer now has 1.25 inches more rear-seat knee room thanks to reshaped front seatbacks, and Chevrolet claims the rear seat -- one we called "rock hard" on the 2013 Malibu at COTY testing -- is more comfortable. The rear seat cushion is about half an inch slimmer to let passengers sit deeper in the seats. The 2014 Malibu's center console is now longer, and we hope the Malibu's neat hidden storage compartment behind the dash's touch screen has been retained.

2014 Chevrolet Malibu
2014 Chevrolet Malibu

2014 Chevrolet Malibu
2014 Chevrolet Malibu

2014 Chevrolet Malibu
2014 Chevrolet Malibu


Engine stop-start technology is now included on every 2014 Chevrolet Malibu, which should give dealers (and advertisers) something to brag about. Of course, electric accessories including the climate control, power windows, and sound system are powered by an auxiliary battery when the engine has stopped. Fuel economy on the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu with a 2.5-liter I-4 has improved to an estimated 23/35 mpg city/highway, up from the 2013 model's 22/34 mpg. For comparison, the 2013 Toyota Camry is rated 25/35 mpg, while the 2013 Ford Fusion with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost I-4 and a six-speed automatic is good for 23/36 mpg, or 24/37 mpg with engine stop-start technology. The automatic-transmission 2014 Fusion will make use of a new 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine, meaning its fuel economy numbers might improve. The class leaders are still higher, with the 2013 Nissan Altima at 27/38 mpg and the automatic-transmission 2014 Mazda6 at 26/38 mpg.