The standard powertrain for most of the Malibu lineup in 2015 is a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed automatic transmission. The engine has direct injection and overhead cams, with stop/start technology. It makes 196 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque on regular-grade gas. The premium engine is a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder which makes 259 horsepower and 295 pound-feet. It is also mated to a 6-speed automatic. Both engines return relatively good fuel economy, with the 2.5L achieving up to 36 mpg on the highway.
The 2015 Malibu comes in a full range of trims, including basic LS, mid-range LT and top-of-the-line LTZ. Remote keyless entry, cruise control and tilt/telescopic steering adjustment are among many standard features at the base LS level, while LT models include upgraded wheels, Bluetooth, projector headlamps plus optional step-up packages that include heated seats and remote start. The LTZ includes more luxurious dress-ups, heated side mirrors, power leather seats and automatic climate control. LT and LTZ trims include MyLink, a touch-screen-based system that serves as a hub for hands-free connectivity with smartphones, or media players connected by USB cable. It has integrated applications for Pandora and Stitcher internet radio services. Available on all Malibu trims via OnStar is 4G LTE WiFi, which turns the car in to a hotspot.
Across the model line, the Malibu gets a swoopy dual-cockpit interior design, with quality materials; its exterior design also fits in with other Chevy models like the Camaro and Cruze. One of the design highlights of the interior is a radio face that swivels outward, then up and in, to reveal a large storage space behind.
There are eight standard airbags on all 2015 Malibu models, and separate rear thorax bags will also be optional. A safety package is available, featuring a blind spot warning system, rear cross traffic detection and forward collision alert. A rear view camera is also available.
Following a redesign in 2013 and several updates last year, the Chevrolet Malibu sees only minor changes for 2015. Among them, the battery-assisted Malibu Eco trim is discontinued, while OnStar now features 4G LTE connectivity, allowing the Malibu to serve as a WiFi hotspot.