Malibu sells from the inside, out

2013-11-24T00:00:00Z Malibu sells from the inside, outJim Jackson Times Autos Correspondent
November 24, 2013 12:00 am  • 

It is no surprise that a vehicle’s exterior styling draws consumers into a new car showroom. But it’s the interior design and comfort that leads them to ownership.

General Motors is helping make shoppers’ purchase decisions easier with the inviting confines of the Chevrolet Malibu.

The midsize 2014 Chevrolet Malibu LT is the brand’s volume leader priced at $25,215, progressively styled with a contemporary cabin that rivals import competitors.

Malibu’s interior is superbly crafted with premium materials and soft-touch surfaces that feature appointments typical of luxury sedans costing twice the price.

Driver and forward passenger in the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu are wrapped by sweeping contours that create individual pods for its front occupants.

Malibu’s dashboard and front door panels are accented with a slim sliver of soft blue light that offers an added touch of class and ambiance to evening driving.

An optional Leather Package ($1000) provides two-tone leather upholstery, heated front seats with passenger-side power cushion adjustments.

Malibu’s front and rear seat headroom is sizable for four adults of six foot statue. A slight forward movement of front seats can increase the riding comfort in the aft quarters. The rear seat comes belted for three riders.

Unoccupied, split-folding rear seat backs fold into the cabin to expand Malibu’s 16.3 cubic feet trunk volume for longer carrying needs.

Cabin acoustics are excellent front to back. Engine and road noise is isolated with use of sound deadening materials and thicker side windows.

Rear visibly suffers however with the design placement of thick rear window frames in the cabin corners. Moving the passenger-side rearview mirror to a more outward position helps eliminate the blind spot.

Need more? Malibu buyers may opt for an $890 Advanced Safety Package that includes forward collision alert technology, lane departure warning, side blind spot and rear cross traffic alerts.

My 2014 Chevrolet Malibu LT test car is equipped with a 2.5-liter four cylinder engine rated at 196 horsepower, paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.

“Today’s Malibu lineup is powered by a four cylinder engine. A six (cylinder) is no longer offered,” says Tom Rightmire, sales consultant for Smith Chevrolet in Lowell. “Key to the buying experience is the test drive. Shoppers are pleasantly surprised over Malibu’s engine performance and fuel economy.”

Malibu’s 2.5L four-cylinder engine yields 25 miles per gallon/city and 36 mpg/hwy.

During my five-day test period, I averaged 28 mpg for combined city and highway travel. A standard automatic start/stop feature helps conserve fuel and eliminate emission when sitting idle at stop lights.

I found the engine power brisk for solo commutes though slightly labored when accompanied by three adult passengers.

Malibu’s ride quality is nicely cushioned with good stability when cornering regardless of passenger content. Electric power steering provides a confident feel and communication with the road.

The midsize car segment is the industry’s largest, accounting for 2,000,000 vehicle sales annually.

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