After receiving a facelift in 2014 using styling cues from the larger Impala and a repackaged rear-seat area that gave rear passengers a boost in legroom, the 2015 Chevrolet Malibu carries over largely unchanged. One huge update, however, is the introduction of OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity as standard equipment on all 2015 Malibu models, which effectively makes the midsize 4-door sedan a rolling Wi-Fi hotspot for multiple devices. Other electronics include a Siri Eyes Free mode and text-to-voice features in the MyLink infotainment system. Under the hood, a fuel-saving stop/start system is standard on the base 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, and a turbo 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is the upgrade engine. The 2015 Malibu is fitted with a standard 10 airbags and other available safety gear includes lane-departure, forward-collision and rear cross-traffic warning systems, as well as blind spot monitoring. As it did in 2014, the 2015 Malibu garnered a 5-star crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and took home Top Safety Pick honors from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). See the 2015 Chevrolet Malibu models for sale near you
What We Like
OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity; Impala-like front styling; quiet cabin; 2.0-liter turbo performance; comfortable front seats; well-balanced ride and handling; MyLink infotainment
What We Don’t
Busy interior layout; uneven transmission shifting; heavy for its size; slow voice command response
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
Standard on all models is a 2.5-liter dual-overhead-camshaft (DOHC) 4-cylinder with four valves per cylinder and direct injection. It uses a stop/start system that shuts off the engine at stoplights for improved fuel economy. The 2.5-liter produces an SAE-certified 196 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque on regular unleaded gas and has an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating of 25 miles per gallon in the city and 36 mpg on the highway with the standard 6-speed automatic transmission.
Available on LT and LTZ models is a turbocharged 2.0-liter DOHC turbo 4-cylinder, which produces a V6-like 259 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Premium fuel is recommended, and it is EPA-rated at 21 mpg city/30 mpg hwy with the 6-speed automatic.
Standard Features & Options
The 2015 Chevrolet Malibu is available in LS, LT and LTZ trims.
Typical LS equipment includes air conditioning, a power driver’s seat, cruise control, cloth seat trim, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, remote keyless entry, Bluetooth, OnStar communication system with 4G LTE connectivity and in-car Wi-Fi hotspot, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with an MP3 decoder and steering wheel audio controls, automatic head lamps, 16-inch alloy wheels, stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission and power door locks, windows and mirrors.
Moving up to the 1LT adds a backup camera, a 7-in touchscreen audio system with MyLink and voice recognition, SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth streaming, a USB port, premium cloth seats, carpeted floor mats and Pandora, Stitcher and Gracenote capability. Upgrading to the 2LT adds a leather-wrapped shifter and steering wheel with remote audio controls, 18-in alloy wheels, driver’s seat power lumbar, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, fog lamps, heated mirrors and remote engine starting. The 3LT features the 2.0-liter turbo engine.
The range-topping LTZ comes standard with heated leather front seats, a leather-and-wood-trimmed steering wheel, a power passenger seat, keyless access, push-button start, a 120-volt outlet, LED tail lamps, a chrome-tipped exhaust, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote engine starting and a trunk cargo net. It’s also available with a power moonroof, a pioneer 9-speaker audio system, the 2.0-liter turbo engine, a navigation system and 19-in alloy wheels.
The Malibu is Chevrolet’s second-best-selling sedan, and with many buyers switching to midsize crossovers and a significant number of Malibu lease returns coming back into the used-car market, there should be a good supply of pre-owned examples to choose from.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced the following recalls for the 2015 Malibu:
The front seat side airbag inflators may rupture and the side airbags may not inflate properly in a crash. The metal fragments from the inflators can cause injury or death to interior occupants and the failure of the airbags to inflate properly during a crash increases the risk of injury.
The ignition key may be removed without the transmission shifter in the Park position, increasing the possibility of an unattended vehicle rolling away.
The switch for the motorized sunroof panel may be inadvertently pressed, causing the panel to close unexpectedly and create a pinch hazard.
Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
NHTSA gave the 2015 Chevrolet Malibu a 5-star overall rating and five stars for frontal and side impacts as well as rollover resistance.
The IIHS gave the 2015 Malibu a Good rating for protection in all impacts. It was a 2015 IIHS Top Safety Pick.
General Motors covered the 2015 Malibu with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty with roadside assistance and a 6-year/100,000-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.
Chevrolet certified pre-owned (CPO) cars cannot have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be 5 years old or fewer. Every CPO Malibu undergoes a 172-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, plus whatever remains on the transferable, original 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage. Also included is a 2-year/30,000-mile maintenance plan with roadside assistance.
Other Cars to Consider
2015 Honda Accord — The 2015 Honda Accord is available as a roomy sedan or a stylish coupe, both fun to drive. The 278-hp 3.5-liter V6 adds zippy performance, but the base 2.4-liter 4-cylinder’s 185 hp provides ample acceleration and is EPA-rated at 27 mpg city/35 mpg hwy with a continuously variable automatic transmission. A hybrid version of the sedan is EPA-rated at 49 mpg city/45 mpg hwy.
2015 Nissan Altima – Nissan’s midsize 4-door sedan was also its best-seller in 2015. Powertrain choices include a 182-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and a 270-hp 3.5-liter V6, both teamed with a continuously variable automatic transmission. No hybrid version is offered.
The 2015 Malibu continues with the crisper styling and increased rear seat legroom first offered in 2014. It offers impressive ride and handling, a quiet cabin, the latest in Chevrolet infotainment systems including OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity and top-rated safety. We would suggest a nicely equipped LT or LTZ with the base 2.5-liter or optional 2.0-liter turbo engine. Look for a Chevrolet certified pre-owned car, when available, and check with the dealer to make sure that the 2015 Malibu you’re considering has had any safety recall items resolved.