2014 Chevrolet Malibu LS LKW-2.5L inline 4-cylinder from North America
An excellent value and an excellent car
The climate controls didn't work until I cycled the ignition. This only happened once.
The flip-key broke, sending the key blade flying. A $21 aftermarket key solved that problem.
I bought this Malibu to use as a daily commuter car to save fuel and keep the mileage off my pickup truck. I drive nearly 120 miles round-trip everyday.
My expectations weren't high when I bought this car. I was mostly impressed by the incredible price of $11k for a 3-year old car with just over 20k miles (thank you, depreciation!) But after owning it for over a year and putting on almost 35,000 miles, I must say that this car has actually really grown on me.
My commute is mix of highway and bumpy backroads. The suspension easily soaks up harsh bumps without being too soft. The handling isn't mind-blowing, but the steering is responsive enough and the body feels reassuringly solid. There are no interior noises or rattles to speak of.
The 2.5L LKW 4-cylinder provides ample passing power on the highway and good torque for steep hills and city driving. The variable-valve lift kicks in around 4k RPM and actually produces a noticeable snarl. I've averaged approximately 34 MPG for the past ~35,000 miles, which is impressive considering the amount of traffic I sit in and the 70-75MPH highway speeds I tend to travel at when I'm not stuck in traffic. It is equipped with an auto stop-start feature that aids quite a bit in this respect. I've seen many complaints online about this feature being "jerky." I don't find this to be the case. I've even learned the amount of brake pedal pressure needed to activate it. If I know I'm going to be moving again soon, I just keep pedal pressure light. When the engine does shut down, the only way I've gotten it to "jerk" or shudder has been to quickly mash the gas during start-up. Giving it less than half-second to get going prevents this "jerkiness" entirely.
The 6-speed automatic is probably the smoothest shifting transaxle I've owned. Catching it off guard by suddenly accelerating during an upshift can occasionally confuse it, but it sorts itself out rather quickly. It is a little too excited about getting into the highest gear possible though, and will occasionally lug the engine in doing so. Luckily, gears can be selected manually, albeit rather awkwardly with a "+" and "-" button on top of the shifter. It does however respond to shift selections with surprisingly little lag.
I'm seriously impressed by how tough this thing is. Only a few months after purchase and with only 26,000 miles I was rear-ended while sitting at a stop sign. The other driver (in a Toyota Camry) was going about 20-25MPH at the time of impact and never applied his brakes (how could he? He had a text to answer after all.) The force of the impact pushed me several feet forward and when I finally stopped it was so sudden my head actually hit the steering wheel. The Camry suffered a crumpled front bumper, badly damaged grille and headlights and the hood even crumpled up several inches. My Malibu? The lower valence on the rear bumper was badly scratched and my license plate was bent. I figured it must have collapsed the internal bumper support and the trunk pan judging by the force of the impact. However, the body shop begged to differ. A $300 bumper cover and lower valence was all that was needed. Heck, the rear parking sensors weren't even damaged. The body structure and internal bumper support sustained NO damage whatsoever. I'm still shocked by this. I'm at a little over 55,000 now and have had no issues since.
Hopefully my commute will shorten with the next few years (trying to move closer), but until then I'll be driving this car until the wheels fall off! Chevy has made a repeat customer out of me.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 21st November, 2018
25th Nov 2018, 04:07
Nice review - good detail.
11th Jan 2019, 23:51
Original reviewer with an update.
Had my first real issue that I noticed at 57,000 miles. While cleaning my interior I noticed my driver's side front carpet was soaking wet.
I had a windshield replaced a few months back and suspected it had been improperly sealed. Unfortunately, that was not the case. I removed the front seats and carpet myself and water tested the windshield. I found water was trickling in ever so slowly from a body seam on the firewall. It must have had this issue since new and for whatever reason I just never noticed. At my former residence I parked facing up on a hill, but I recently moved and now my driveway has a slight tilt to the left. The water probably just never flowed as much toward the seam in my usual parking position until now.
I repaired the seam with body sealant and left the carpet removed for several days. I was fortunate enough to actually get several severe rainstorms in those days to test my repair and each time it was bone dry. Issue fixed.
I let the carpet dry out and had to liberally apply some Febreze but no smells remain.
I'll admit, I have access to a full auto repair shop and I'm an ASE-certified tech. This repair was an annoyance for me but this could have been a real nightmare for the average owner trying to get this resolved at the dealer.
With that said, with the carpet removed I figured "What the heck" and laid down Dynamat throughout the floorpan. I'd never used it before and I have to say, wow, what a difference. Noise was never an issue before but this thing is DEAD QUIET now.
Other than this, car has been fine. 59,000 miles and just got back from an 800-mile highway trip to NY. Returned 36 MPG going 70 MPH and it was 19 degrees out. Not bad.
31st Mar 2019, 02:21
Original Reviewer with another update.
The car now has 65,000 miles. Since my previous update, a marker bulb burnt out and the engine air filter was FINALLY dirty enough to warrant replacement. I also changed the transmission fluid for good measure.
I've installed a trailer hitch to hook up my bike rack. It works quite nicely for this purpose, however the hitch is a 2-piece design and the front section hangs down fairly low. This car is already pretty low and tends to scrape if you aren't careful. Just an observation for anyone considering a hitch for one of these. I wouldn't recommend towing anything significant. I could probably tow my kayak trailer in a pinch, but any more than 500 lbs behind a car like this is asking a lot. Chevy rates it at 1,000 lbs towing. Don't think I'd attempt that.
15th Sep 2020, 12:48
Nice review! Rented one of these years ago and recall having been quite surprised and impressed by it. I actually think it was a better car than the Camry of the same period.
15th Sep 2020, 23:53
That water leak via body seam on the firewall was probably caused by the accident. You'll be surprised at the hidden damage rear end accidents cause. The entire car body gets shocked and energy ripples throughout the entire car.