|2014 Malibu. Click to enlarge.|
Chevrolet unveiled the 2014 Malibu, featuring updated styling (and more rear seat room) and a new 2.5L base engine with variable valve lift control (Intake Valve Lift Control, iVLC earlier post) and start/stop technology as standard. Estimated fuel economy with the base engine is 23 mpg US city / 35 mpg highway (10.2 and 6.7 l/100km, respectively)—5% and 3% improvement, respectively. The new 2014 Malibu goes on sale this fall.
Chevrolet will continue to offer the Malibu ECO with eAssist (earlier post), as well as the 2.0L turbo; the latter, which features a 14% boost in torque (295 lb-ft/400 N·m), does not come with start-stop technology.
The all-new Ecotec 2.5L iVLC DOHC four-cylinder engine with direct injection is the 2014 Malibu’s standard engine. Its variable intake valve actuation enhances efficiency and helps lower emissions, while also enhancing low-rpm torque, for a greater feeling of power at lower speeds.
When the iVLC system operates in low-lift mode, the engine pumps only the air it needs to meet the driver’s demand. The system switches to high-lift mode at higher speeds or under heavy loads, providing the full output capability of the engine.
New start/stop technology shuts down the 2.5L engine to save fuel when the Malibu stops momentarily, such as at stoplights, contributing to the estimated 5% increase in city fuel economy. The engine automatically starts again when the driver takes his or her foot off the brake. An auxiliary battery powers electric accessories such as the climate system, power windows and radio during engine restarts.
The Malibu stop-start system uses a smaller (12v) auxiliary battery than its counterpart in the eAssist system. The start-stop system only aides in starting or cranking the engine, not for propulsion boost as eAssist technology additionally does.
The new 2.5L is SAE-certified at 196 hp (145 kW) and 186 lb-ft of torque (253 N·m). Revised transmission shift points and quicker shifts also enhance the feeling of performance, while delivering greater refinement.
The 2014 Malibu’s available 2.0L turbo engine delivers nearly 14% more torque than its predecessor. It is SAE-certified at 295 lb-ft (400 nm). New engine calibration and tuning account for the improvement, making the Malibu 2.0L turbo’s torque the best in the segment, even among competing six-cylinder-engines, GM said. The 2.0L turbo also produces an SAE-certified 259 horsepower (193 kW).
Chassis and suspension updates inspired by the 2014 Impala also contribute to the 2014 Malibu’s more refined driving experience, including rebound springs that are internal to the struts. They enable more refined calibration of the dampers for a smoother overall ride, while also improving body roll control and weight transfer during acceleration or turning.
Electric power rack-and-pinion variable-effort power steering is standard. Revised, higher-effort calibrations for 2014 were engineered to improve the overall steering feel.