After 50 years and 8 generations, the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu lives on. Bringing comfort, style, and power to the road, the 4-door sedan is still achieving what it set out for back in 1964.
Weighing in at 523 lbs heavier than the original Malibu (2014: 3,393 lbs; 1964: 2,870 lbs), it’s impressive that the modern mid-sized family car churns out 65 percent more horsepower than its 1964 counterpart, and still retains 35 mpg on the highway. The original Chevy Malibu came with a standard, pushrod 3.2L six-cylinder that made 120hp; these days, the 2014 Chevy Malibu comes with a DOHC (dual over-head cam, with variable valve timing) 2.5L four-cylinder that cranks 196hp. The current Malibu is harnessed by a 6-speed automatic transmission, while the original 1964 version came with the standard 3-speed manual or an optional 2-speed automatic.
These days, it’s less about one factor, and rather the sum of all parts. Most consider fuel economy, safety, and reliability to be the most important decision makers when buying a car; others look to raw power, style, and comfort. With the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Malibu all 6 factors can be weighed. With the added StabiliTrak stability control and 10 standard airbags, safety is clearly not an issue. The available 2.0L turbo engine with 259 horsepower offers those looking for power a quick solution to their desires. Every 2014 Malibu comes with 16-inch wheels with disc brakes at each corner; lending style and performance. Last, but not least, the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system gives drivers, and passengers, a variety of comfort options while cruising the open road.
All-in-all, 50 years has flown by for Chevrolet and the Malibu, yet it’s kept up with the times. Adding better fuel economy, more safety, and better handling performance, the 8th generation of the 4-door sedan is certainly living-up to its legacy.
A breakdown of the generations
Generation 1 – 1964-1967 and Generation 2 – 1968-1972
Few cars of the mid-60s to early ‘70s live-up to the reputation of the Chevelle Malibu. Starting with the 1965 Chevelle Malibu SS396, the name said it all. A big-block 396ci between the fenders gave owners loads of power in a lightweight ride that could easily drag race. That trend continued into the second generation with the 1970 Chevelle Malibu SS454, a rare and sought after ride even today. With lots of aftermarket parts readily available for the engine, drivetrain and suspension, these muscle cars make for great projects.
Generation 3 – 1973-1977 and Generation 4 – 1978-1983
The Malibu isn’t well-known for its 3rd and 4th generations, federal crash standards and the gas crisis of the ‘70s made these platforms less desirable. The demand for better fuel economy, coupled with the government crack-down on emissions drastically cut power even from the largest of engines. This eventually ended the muscle car era and the Chevelle name was dropped. However, the Malibu lived on.
Generation 5 – 1997-2003 and Generation 6 – 2004-2007
Named Motor Trend Car of the Year for 1997, the 5th generation of the Malibu proved that front-wheel drive cars were beginning to take center stage in America. With revolutionary technology in EFI, DOHC, and ABS, a car like the Malibu was being revitalized for a modern, fuel efficient conscious society. The 2004 Chevrolet Malibu SS gave customers a 240-horsepower 3.9L V-6, making respectable power from only six-cylinders.
Generation 7 – 2008-2012 and Generation 8 – 2013-2014
The 7th generation stepped-up the safety features adding a standard head curtain side airbags that won it the 2008 North American Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Finally, the all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu brings greater efficiency, new connectivity features, comfort enhancements and a new front-end appearance to the table. Available with a 2.0L turbo engine with 259hp, its clear Chevrolet is focused on preserving the 50 year performance legacy of the name Malibu.