2014 Chevrolet Malibu Earns IIHS' Top Safety Pick Plus Rating

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety today announced that the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu earned the agency's highest designation, Top Safety Pick Plus. The sedan gets the rating when paired with a forward collision warning system. The Malibu earned a score of good — the highest rating — in the moderate- and small-overlap front, side, roof-strength, and head restraints and seats assessments.

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As of 2014, to earn the Plus designation, vehicles must score a good rating in four of the five crash tests and no less than acceptable in the small-overlap test, as well as at least a basic rating — the lowest level below advanced and superior — in forward collision prevention. The Malibu received a basic score in the assessment for frontal-crash prevention when outfitted with the optional Advanced Safety Package available on the 2LT trim and higher. "The system uses camera and radar systems to monitor the distance to the car in front of the Malibu, and will sound an alert if it senses a possible collision," Chevrolet said in a statement.

The Malibu has been a Top Safety Pick for the past four years, and it's earning its first Top Safety Pick Plus award for 2014. The midsize sedan was redesigned for model-year 2013 and updated again for model-year 2014. It is the second Chevrolet car to receive the honor after the Spark mini car.

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By Matt Schmitz | March 31, 2014 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 355 GM Sedans, Crossovers

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Vehicles Affected: About 355 Buick Regal, LaCrosse and Verano sedans and Enclave crossovers; Chevrolet Malibu and Cruze sedans and Traverse crossovers; and GMC Acadia crossovers — all 2014 models equipped with automatic transmissions.

The Problem: The transmission shift cable adjuster may disengage from the transmission shift lever, which could prevent the driver from shifting gear positions, and the indicated shift position may not represent the actual gear position. If disengagement occurs while the vehicle is in motion, when the driver goes to stop and park the vehicle, the driver may be able to shift the lever to the "Park" position, but the vehicle transmission may not be in the correct gear position; if this occurs, the vehicle could roll away, increasing the risk of injury to occupants and bystanders.

The Fix: GM will notify owners starting late this month, and dealers will inspect and replace any affected transmission shift cable adjusters for free.

What Owners Should Do: Chevrolet owners can call 800-222-1020, Buick owners 800-521-7300 and GMC owners 800-462-8782, or owners can call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.

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By Matt Schmitz | March 21, 2014 | Comments (1)

2014 Chevrolet Malibu Joins NHTSA Five-Star Safety Club

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Like its 2013 predecessor, the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu has joined the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's five-star safety club, earning identical scores. The latest version of the midsize, front-wheel-drive sedan, which went on sale late last year, earned perfect scores in frontal- and side-crash tests, and four stars in rollover tests, good for an overall score of five stars.

2013 Chevrolet Malibu Earns Five Stars From NHTSA

Safety features the NHTSA recommended on the new Malibu include forward collision warning and lane departure warning, both of which are optional. That's in addition to 10 standard airbags, including knee airbags for the driver and front passenger, as well as available blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a backup camera.

By Matt Schmitz | January 21, 2014 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2013-2014 Chevrolet Malibu

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Vehicles Affected: In two separate actions, GM is recalling 57,605 model-year 2013 and 2014 Chevrolet Malibu sedans. The vehicles recalled include 42,696 model-year 2014 vehicles manufactured between June 12, 2013, and Nov. 5, 2013, and 14,909 model-year 2013 vehicles manufactured between Oct. 25, 2011, and June 12, 2012. In the latter recall, the affected sedans are equipped with an eight-way power adjustable front seat.

The Problem: In the larger recall, the heating, ventilation and air conditioning control may intermittently become inoperable when the vehicle is started, preventing the windshield defroster from working; this could decrease the driver's visibility and cause a crash. GM said it is unaware of any accidents, injuries or complaints resulting from the problem. In the smaller recall, the wiring harness for the power adjustable front seat may contact the seat frame, which may chafe the harness; this could expose wires, resulting in unintended movement of the seat, inoperability, sparking under the seat, flickering lights, melted wiring, smoke or a fire. GM said it is aware of two unattended fires that extinguished on their own resulting from the problem, but no crashes or injuries have been reported.

By Matt Schmitz | November 26, 2013 | Comments (13)

GM Offers Siri Eyes Free Integration on Six More Vehicles

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Look for Siri Eyes Free Integration on a host of 2014 GM vehicles. Previously offered on the Chevrolet Sonic and Spark, Apple's voice-activated "intelligent assistant" — requiring neither the driver's hands nor eyes for use — will now be available on the Chevrolet Camaro, Cruze, Equinox, Malibu, SS and Volt, the automaker announced Monday.

Through the vehicles' available Chevrolet MyLink multimedia system, users with a compatible iPhone running the iOS 6 or iOS 7 operating systems can direct Siri to perform a number of tasks while they keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. To use the feature, motorists connect their iPhone with the MyLink radio via Bluetooth, pair with the system and use the steering-wheel voice-activation button to begin and end sessions. In addition to the feature's no-look use, it prevents the iPhone's screen from lighting up, further mitigating distraction.

By Matt Schmitz | October 15, 2013 | Comments (1)

2014 Chevrolet Malibu: First Drive

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Chevrolet's midsized Malibu has had a problem during the past year. Sales of the latest model, updated for the 2013 model year, have not been as good as the company had expected. In a string of post-bankruptcy hits like the Cruze compact and Equinox crossover, the redesigned Malibu has stood out as a miss, due to some competitiveness issues in fuel economy and interior room. But this is the new General Motors, where agility and speed are prized as much as profitability, and with a push from upper management we now have a mildly revised Malibu for 2014.

For 2014, Chevrolet's made some updates to styling, simplified powertrain options, improved fuel economy, bumped up usable rear-seat volume a tad and added some interesting features.

By Aaron Bragman | October 11, 2013 | Comments (13)

Recall Alert: 38,197 Chevrolet, Buick Hybrids

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GM is recalling 38,197 model-year 2012-13 Chevrolet and Buick eAssist light hybrid cars due to a problem with circuit boards in the trunk that could cause a fire, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Affected vehicles include Chevrolet Malibu Eco, Buick LaCrosse and Buick Regal sedans. Circuit boards in the trunk could overheat, causing the cars' 12-volt battery to drain and one of several indicator lights to turn on. If owners ignore the warning lights, the engine could stall and a fire could occur in the trunk, the newspaper reported. The issue is not related to the lithium-ion battery that is part of the eAssist hybrid system.

Owners will be notified "soon," according to the newspaper, though no specific time frame was given. Owners of Malibu Ecos, Buick LaCrosses and Buick Regals who notice any kind of warning light are encouraged to take their car to a dealer immediately. For more info, owners can call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov.

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GM recalls more than 38,000 Chevy, Buick hybrids due to fire risk (Los Angeles Times)
Read About Other Recalls
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By Matt Schmitz | May 6, 2013 | Comments (0)

GM Aims for 500,000 Vehicles With Electrification by 2017

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Call it a power play in the electric-car market: GM projects that by 2017 it will have as many as half a million vehicles on the road with some form of electrification. Its next plug-in vehicle will be the Chevrolet Spark EV.

The focus will be on plug-in technology; GM's introduction of the extended-range Chevrolet Volt has energized the automaker to focus on the electric-vehicle market.

"What started out as a technology proof point … has turned into a real-world starting point to push EV technology further and faster than we thought possible five years ago," Mary Barra, GM's senior vice president of Global Product Development, said in a statement. "The unique propulsion technology pioneered in the Volt … will be a core piece of our electrification strategy going forward."

Not all of that experience has been positive, though. A report released by Reuters in September alleged that GM loses tens of thousands of dollars on every Volt due to development costs. Although the automaker disputed that figure, it acknowledged that Volt profits would not be immediate, but insisted that startup costs would be spread over future models.

By Matt Schmitz | November 16, 2012 | Comments (9)

Chevrolet Spark EV to Debut at L.A. Auto Show

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Chevrolet is hoping to spark some interest in its new minicar when an electric version of the Spark makes its debut later this month at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.

So far, Chevy's smallest car has been a sales success. "Building on that success, the plug-in electric version of the Spark EV will offer consumers the same package that has made the gasoline-powered model so popular while delivering the technology and performance of pure electric power," the automaker said in a statement.

In addition to the Spark EV, other Chevrolet vehicles expected to be on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which runs Nov. 30 through Dec. 9 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, include the new Impala, Malibu Turbo midsize sedan, Sonic RS compact car, Traverse crossover and Camaro Hot Wheels Edition.

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Cars.com Reviews the 2013 Chevrolet Spark
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2013 Chevrolet Spark, Spark Electric at the 2011 L.A. Auto Show

By Matt Schmitz | November 13, 2012 | Comments (0)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: May 2012

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Toyota dominated the sales landscape last month, with May sales up nearly 90%. That's versus a weak May 2011, when Japan's earthquake and tsunami had shoppers thinking Toyota, Lexus and Scion showrooms would have few cars in stock. It actually wasn't the case, noted Toyota spokeswoman Carly Shaffner; Automotive News data show Toyota maintained higher inventory in May 2011 then it did this past May, but the perception dried up demand and the automaker lost a third of its sales. Last month, it more than made them back: Camry and RAV4 sales more than doubled, Corolla/Matrix sales jumped 87.5% and Prius sales tripled. Even sales for the Lexus RX, which topped last month's Buzz Index, gained 82.1%.

Toyota wasn't the only mover.

By Kelsey Mays | June 1, 2012 | Comments (11)

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