When I saw the new 2014 Chevy Malibu I didn't immediately vomit on my keyboard, but, pathetic hack that I am, I still panned the car for not appearing competitive in a strong segment. What if I'm full of shit?
Truth be told, I don't really know how the car is to drive though I critiqued the handling, and I shot down the styling even though the newly chromed front end really isn't awful in black. Voice of reason pauljones checked me as such.
We don't know anything about it how it drives yet. Styling is subjective, though I would agree it's not particularly exciting here. It's not bad, though, for a mid-size sedan. It's certainly better than the Camry or the Altima. LEDs are over-rated and often callously used, so the lack of them here is actually somewhat refreshing. As for the categories of "aspirational" and "a feeling of luxury," it's a goddamn Chevrolet, not a Lexus. Aspirational luxury is not the goal here, and it never has been, so don't judge it on that.
As for technology, fuel economy, and handling, those are things you can't know without driving it. You can make a guess based either on the 2013 Malibu and its inherent shortcomings or based on bullshit emotionalism, but give it the benefit of the doubt until you actually drive it. It may well suck, but then again, it may not. A great deal can be done to improve a car from model year to model year.
Remember when the third-gen WRX first came out in 2007? It sucked balls. Subaru fucked it up, realized it, and fixed it the next year. All on the same generation of car, and all within a model year. It's possible (though how probable it is can be debated) that the same thing may happen here. Stranger things have happened, after all.
And, also, as a fan of vanilla malts, you may stick the vanilla ice cream comparisons in where the sun don't shine. Vanilla ice cream is awesome.
Hey, maybe being acceptably inoffensive really is the secret to market success for GM. Take a look at the depressing sales numbers of the significantly more daring Mazda 6 if you want proof of that. Brststlnd pointed that out to me.
My argument is that you can't really fault it for just being what it is. It's basic, reliable transportation that offers itself as cheaper option to its competitors... Southwest Airlines has built one hell of a business flying people all over the country with their Malibu-of-the-skies philosophy.
Dekone hammered me down point-by-point on my rather childish bullet list.
By no means do I love this car but:
- styling - It's as good as anything else in it's price bracket
- excitement - This is a silly marketig term. Means nothing
- cutting edge technology - uh, you definately worked in marketing prior to Jalopnik
- a sense of drama - This post is drama..."like OMG, did you see the new Malibu? It's like so lame. Epic fail. OMG"
- a feeling of luxury - you expect luxury in a car that will roll off lots for about $18k brand new after rebates?
- an aspirational badge - I guess this means the Corvette sucks too?
- LEDs - The only people who pine over LEDs are middle school boys and asshats who drive S4's
- class-leading fuel economy - this only real legitimate gripe in this list. This is important in this segment. A miss by GM
- handling - For $18k? Really? Do you also expect a valet when you pull up at McDonalds?
- pride of ownership - You have to own one first. This car will be leased and or financed with $0 down over 99 years.....the market for this car doesn't have pride in their cars. Ever.
And why should you even give a flying shit about my opinion? I haven't even been within 600 miles of this car, unlike Dodge, who says he's been much, much closer.
I think you need to get writer who has actually fully experienced the Malibu in each trim level, with driving experience. And maybe has some people to validate what GM is working on. I worked for GM Fairfax II Plant (where Malibu is assembled) while I was finishing up college this last year and got to drive the cars. And also both my folks work there too. Driving wise the cars are awesome, felt that engine and trans matched up great. More fun to drive than is advertised, and feels tight like I think more new cars should.
Trim and backseat could of been matched up better. From what I saw from "ACTUAL" pictures of refresh, which is something you should invest in getting a inside man for; was way roomier backseat and better design cabin trim level. And these were direct photos on parents co-workers phone, NOT some cheesy media shots. I think you will be more surprised than you think. If you remember 5 months ago when everyone said they hated new interior of of Silverado in spy shots, but when public saw it in person everyone loved it.
And just so you know should check Fords specs. Since there normal gas motors only achieve 1-2 miles per gallon better than Malibu's base motor.
FYI I'm a truck guy and I drive Dodge truck. So my opinion isn't one sided completely. I just think you should experience and get more fact before writing a junk article.
And even if this thing isn't perfect, there's a lot to look forward to, says becauseCAR, who met the man leading the team for the next 'Bu.
I actually met the current lead engineer of the Malibu back in November when GM was looking for engineers from UC Berkeley. He had only been back at GM for a few months, and had little influence on the final rollout. I ended up bringing up the Malibu with him and he said it was going through a major redesign, which everyone knew at the time.
The cool thing about him is that he engineered the 2003 Accord, which is one of the best Accords ever made, and worked at Harley-Davidson in a lead R&D role, so I still have hope for the Malibu. The issue is we have to wait another four or five years.
What do you think? Maybe the Malibu isn't a bland, uninspiring, middle-of-the-road turd as my last article implied?