2015 Chevrolet Malibu Expert Review

3.8 Overall Score
Performance 3.8Comfort 3.7Styling 3.6Value 3.7

Editor's Overview

Last year, Chevrolet updated the Malibu midsize sedan with enhancements like a refined suspension, improved rear-seat roominess, and start-stop engine technology. This year, GM adds 4G LTE connectivity to the 2015 Chevy Malibu, along with standard Wi-Fi hotspot technology. The combination – along with an OnStar subscription – turns the Malibu into a mobile Internet hub.

You'll Like The 2015 Chevrolet Malibu If...

If you want solid family transportation with the unfettered entertainment options that only come from the Internet, the 2015 Chevrolet Malibu may be the answer to your midsize sedan prayers.

You May Not Like The 2015 Chevrolet Malibu If...

The 2015 Chevrolet Malibu is at the smaller end of the midsize segment, and still suffers from a lack of rear-seat space. The Toyota Camry and Honda Accord sedans both offer up more room for rear passengers.

What's New

The biggest change to the 2015 Chevy Malibu is the addition of 4G LTE technology to OnStar. This allows the Malibu to act as a Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing computers, smartphones and tablets access to the Internet, as long as there's a 4G connection.

Interior Features

The 2015 Malibu is a comfortable place to while away your time on the road. Despite being on the smaller end of the midsize-sedan market, the Malibu's airy interior offers plenty of room for front passengers, and rear passengers as long as they're "tweens" or younger. The design, plus chrome accents and available leather, feel upscale for the class. At speed, the Malibu is quiet compared to its competition, and the controls and gauges are easy to use and see. Trunk space is adequate, although it's a high lift to the trunk compared to other sedans in the class.

Exterior Features

The 2015 Malibu carries over the new nose and tail it received last year. The design changes bring the Malibu closer to the larger Chevrolet Impala, one of the most handsome cars in its class. However, the distance between the front and rear wheels on the Malibu, known as wheelbase, is shorter than in other midsize sedans, giving it a somewhat awkward profile. Nonetheless, from other angles this is a handsome vehicle. We particularly like the taillights, inspired by performance cars like the Chevrolet Camaro, and the sporty stainless-steel exhaust tips on the top-line LTZ model.

Driving Impressions

The 2015 Chevrolet Malibu is a quiet, composed and competent sedan. Last year's suspension improvements went a long way toward settling the car on the road, and when combined with the quiet ride, the result is a midsize sedan that's well suited to long road trips over mile after mile of Interstate. The Malibu is also confident, if not exactly thrilling, on mountain roads too. The standard 4-cylinder engine offers decent power but only mid-pack fuel economy. The start-stop system added last year, which shuts off the engine at stoplights or in heavy stop-and-go traffic, is one of the best out there. The turbocharged Malibu offers notably more power and low-end torque, easily making the 4-cylinder competitive with the V6 engines available in other cars.

Pricing Notes

Prices for the base 2015 Chevrolet Malibu LS start right at about $23,000. Mid-level LT models start at just below $24,500, and the top-line LTZ sedan rings in at a starting price of about $29,000. The turbocharged engine adds roughly $2,000 to the price of an LT or LTZ, although it's not a direct comparison since the turbo also comes with other equipment. Those prices are right in line with midsize-sedan rivals like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion and Hyundai Sonata. Before buying, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their Chevy Malibu. Resale value is not a strong point for the Malibu. Its long-term value is predicted to drop noticeably quicker than that of segment leaders such as the Honda Accord and Ford Fusion.

Notable Equipment

The basic 2015 Chevrolet Malibu LS sedan comes with a 6-speaker audio with AM/FM/CD/satellite radio, cruise control, remote keyless entry, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and standard Wi-Fi connectivity, although it requires an OnStar subscription. The LT adds 7-inch touch screen with MyLink, a USB port for audio devices, Bluetooth audio streaming and a power driver's seat. Top-line LTZ versions enhance comfort with a power passenger seat, heated front seats and leather upholstery. All 2015 Malibus have 10 airbags and a 6-month trial of GM's OnStar safety and communications system, plus a 3-month 3GB data trial.

Notable Options

Optional on 2015 Malibu LT and LTZ midsize sedans is the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, which adds quite a bit of punch over the standard 4-cylinder. Other available options include navigation, a power sunroof, a backup camera and leather seating. The Advanced Safety Package includes blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning, and a rear cross-traffic alert. Those seeking a premium audio system can opt for a 9-speaker Pioneer setup.

Favorite Features

The Wi-Fi availability in the 2015 Chevrolet Malibu has the potential to be a game-changer in the midsize-sedan segment. The most obvious example is a long road trip, where the kids in back could stream Netflix as you drive down the Interstate.

Chevy's MyLink infotainment system is easy to use, and packed with features. You can use your Pandora and Stitcher accounts, Bluetooth sync is fast and easy, and everything's displayed on a large 7-inch touch screen that opens to reveal a hidden storage compartment.

Under the Hood

The 2015 Chevrolet Malibu offers two different engines to drive its front wheels. The first is the standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, which comes standard with start-stop technology that shuts off the engine when the vehicle isn't moving. The upgrade engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that offers up enough power that you'll never wish for a V6. Both engines come with a 6-speed automatic transmission that includes a manual-shift mode, although the buttons mounted on top of the shift handle aren't the easiest to use. As with most midsize sedans, all versions of the Malibu can run on regular unleaded gasoline, though premium is recommended for the turbo model.

2.5-liter inline-4
196 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
186 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy, estimated: 23/35 mpg

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
259 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 mpg

Editors' Notes

Last year, Chevrolet upgraded the Malibu midsize sedan's suspension for a more comfortable and controlled ride, improved rear-seat room (a little), and reshaped the nose a bit. Now, Chevy's just having fun. The 2015 Chevrolet Malibu gets available 4G LTE with OnStar, the same high-speed wireless connection that's probably on your smartphone. And, just like your phone, the 2015 Malibu can act as a wireless hotspot, allowing broadband Internet connections through tablets, smartphones, computers, or just about any other connected technology. Otherwise, with the exception of a few new colors, the 2015 Chevy Malibu is largely carryover, and that's fine with us. We like the quiet and comfortable ride, and the Malibu remains one of the better looking sedans in its class, inside and out.

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