The Malibu Limited is a carry-over model that bridges the gap between the outgoing Malibu sedan and the all-new generation. As such, many of the old Malibu's options (notably including the turbocharged engine) have been discontinued from this variant.
Outside, the Malibu features evolutionary styling highlighted by a sleek rendition of Chevrolet's dual-port grille and Camaro-inspired quad taillights. A trim rear deck with a well-integrated spoiler provides an elegant counterpoint to the frumpy, BMW-inspired "Bangle bustle" rear-end seen on certain recent vehicles.
The dashboard features a contemporary look with a trick seven-inch touch-screen (on LT and LTZ trims) that folds out to reveal a six-inch-deep storage space. The touch-screen is equipped with Chevy's new infotainment system, MyLink, which provides voice control of certain entertainment functions and includes Bluetooth smartphone connectivity and streaming audio via Pandora radio and Stitcher SmartRadio.
Soft-touch materials abound throughout the cabin, and available Ice Blue ambient lighting adds a unique touch. Relatively little road or engine noise enters into the interior thanks to the liberal use of acoustic glass and other noise-deadening materials, and the car can swallow up to 16.3 cubic feet of cargo.
Under the hood
The only engine offered in the Malibu Limited is a new direct-injected 2.5-liter mill that produces 196 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque, both of which are strong figures for the segment. Fuel economy is rated at 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.
The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the front wheels.
Trim level breakdown
The Malibu Limited is offered in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels, which represents a significant reduction in configurations from prior years.
The LS comes standard with A/C, power windows and locks, cruise control, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD sound system with SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth smartphone connectivity, a driver information center, remote keyless entry, auto on/off headlights and 16-inch alloy wheels.
The LT builds on the features of the LS by adding a seven-inch folding touchscreen display, Chevrolet MyLink, Bluetooth streaming audio, USB and AUX input jacks, ambient lighting and upgraded cloth upholstery.
The LTZ brings leather upholstery, and eight-way power driver's seat, remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated exterior mirrors, heated and power-adjustable seats and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Notable optional features include a navigation system, Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, a rearview camera and a nine-speaker Pioneer premium audio system.
The Malibu Limited comes packed with an impressive ten standard airbags including dual-stage front, pelvic/thorax side-impact and even knee airbags. There are also dual front and rear head airbags that offer rollover protection, and the rear passengers receive their own outboard pelvic/thorax side-impact airbags.
OnStar with Automatic Crash Response is included, and now boasts improved voice recognition technology, as well as a myriad of improvements aimed at ease of use rather than safety concerns. Traction and stability control systems are also standard.
The Malibu is aimed at the heart of the midsize sedan segment, putting it in direct competition with the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata and Ford Fusion.