With the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu, General Motors is attempting to press the re-set button and to re-launch its midsize family sedan just one year after a completely redesigned version debuted for 2013. The reasons for this vary depending on whom you talk to, but my opinion is that Chevy tried to fix what wasn’t broken, and then fumbled the car’s launch by revealing the redesign too early and getting the most popular engine choices into showrooms too late.
It sure didn’t help that the new Malibu went on sale at about the same time as the beautifully styled 2013 Ford Fusion, the impeccably engineered 2013 Honda Accord, and the dramatically improved 2013 Nissan Altima, all closely followed by the fantastic new 2014 Mazda 6. Indeed, the midsize sedan segment is populated by seriously capable machinery, and this quartet, accompanied by the car that everyone things they should buy, the Toyota Camry, and the aging but still impressive Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima, made the new Chevrolet Malibu an also-ran in its freshman year.
This year Chevy has made numerous changes designed to address this situation. From styling to dynamic tuning to interior comfort, the 2014 Malibu is substantially improved over last year’s model. But do the changes go far enough in terms of making the Malibu worthy of consideration? I borrowed a 2014 Malibu 2LT to find out.