- A good-looking, comfortable, and competent midsize sedan.
- Low base MSRP.
- Decent tech across all trim levels.
- Advanced safety features come at an additional price.
- Top-tier engine doesn't compete with V6 competition.
- Boring driving characteristics.
Would we buy one? Maybe, but there are more compelling options in the class.
Vehicle Type: 4-door, 5-seat midsize sedan.
Price Range: Pricing for the Chevrolet Malibu base L model begins at $22,965 and stretches to an MSRP of $32,695 when selecting the top-tier Premier trim. Prices include destination charges but no optional equipment.
Powertrain: Three powertrain options are available for the 2019 Malibu model year; the base option is a 160 horsepower, 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, backed up by a new single-speed continuously variable transmission.
An available 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder makes 250 horsepower and is paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission.
A hybrid powertrain with a combined output of 182 horsepower attached to a CVT is available.
All models are FWD, with no optional AWD available.
Competitors: Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, and Hyundai Sonata.
Overall Score: 6.9/10
Safety Features: 6/10
Standard safety equipment on the Malibu does not reach most competitors' levels within the segment, and on the base model, most safety tech is unavailable. All of the expected safety features are available as optional equipment at higher trim levels. Available Teen Driver Technology offers neat features that require seatbelt use, limit radio volume, and set speed warnings and limits.
Three separate packages are needed to obtain all of the available safety tech on the Chevrolet Malibu. A Driver Confidence Package includes parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. A separate, second-tier Driver Confidence Package II adds emergency braking, which works at low speeds, forward collision alert, automatic high-beams, and lane-keeping assist. The top-tier Diver Confidence Package III adds adaptive cruise control, high-speed automatic emergency braking, and an automated parking system.
The IIHS did not award the Chevrolet Malibu a 'Top Safety Pick,' but the NHTSA did give it a 5-star overall crash test rating.
The Chevy Malibu offers reasonable value with its low starting price, even on the more luxurious trims. A few notable features are missing. The lack of standard safety features does drop the value score slightly. Starting at the second-tier Chevrolet Malibu LS, all models get alloy wheels, and most reviewers found the value most compelling in the mid-level LT trim.
The Chevrolet Malibu comes with a 3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, and one complimentary maintenance service.
Tech Features: 7/10
All trim levels of the Chevrolet Malibu get an 8-inch touchscreen to run the infotainment system, which includes Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. That and keyless entry for the base model is really where the tech options end. Reviewers found Chevy's Infotainment 3 to be intuitive and straightforward to operate.
Stepping up to the Malibu LS trim is where the tech starts to pile up, including a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, satellite radio, and remote start. Malibu Premier trim cars also get a premium Bose audio system, LED headlights, and wireless device charging.
The Chevy Malibu is as practical as any competitor in the segment. Seating for all passengers is comfortable and spacious. Four to five adults will comfortably fit with few complaints. There are also plenty of cubbies and cupholders to handle a reasonable amount of smaller stuff.
Trunk cargo space is 15.7 cubic feet, which is enough to stow away all passengers' belongings. However, in hybrid trim, the battery pack eats into the truck space.
LATCH connections in the outer rear seats mean the Malibu will easily fit two car seats.
Styling & Design: 8/10
The Chevy Malibu is an attractive vehicle from the outside. Though it is not an all-new car, the 2019 Malibu features a redesigned front end with a refreshed grille. In the back, a new rear fascia and taillights also stand out. The Malibu RS adds nicer styling, like 18-inch wheels and some dark chrome accent trim.
The interior of the Chevrolet Malibu is also pleasing, with the base L and Malibu LS trims being relatively spartan but good quality. The Chevrolet Malibu LT trim includes heated front seats, a power driver's seat, and dual-zone climate control. Rear-seat passengers also receive adequate legroom across all trim levels, and heated seats in the Premier trim.
Driving Experience: 6/10
The driving dynamics of the 2019 Malibu do not stand out when compared to the competition. The top-end engine doesn't deliver the V6 Toyota Camry's sporty acceleration, and the soft suspension can't compete with the tighter suspension tuning of the Honda Accord. The Chevy Malibu is overall a competent and pleasant vehicle to drive, but it isn't outstanding.
A bright spot in the lineup is the new CVT. The CVT has good characteristics and provides a realistic imitation of conventional shifting, though reviewers still prefer a traditional automatic. It's not perfect, but it is one of the better units on the market, and certainly not a reason to avoid the Chevrolet Malibu altogether. Most drivers won't even notice the difference, which is saying something.
Fuel Efficiency: 7/10
When equipped with the base 1.5-liter turbocharged engine and CVT transmission, the Chevrolet Malibu receives EPA estimated fuel economy of 36 highway mpg, 29 city, and 32 combined.
The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine paired with 9-speed automatic transmission receives an estimated 32 mpg highway, 22 mpg city, and mpg 26 combined.
Malibu hybrid models rate at an estimated 43 highway mpg, 49 city, and 46 combined.