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MSRP: $22,090 - 31,820

Rankings & Research

The 2019 Chevrolet Malibu ranked #15 in Midsize Cars. Currently the Chevrolet Malibu has a score of 7.9 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 31 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.9

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.0
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 7.7
Safety: 9.6
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2019 Chevrolet Malibu Review

The 2019 Chevrolet Malibu finishes in the lower third of our midsize car rankings. This Chevy sedan just doesn’t offer the athleticism or the interior quality found in many cars in the class.

Pros & Cons

  • Supple ride
  • Spacious seats
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
  • Low-rent interior
  • Unsupportive seats

New for 2019

  • New RS trim
  • CVT now comes with base engine
  • New feature availability on some trims

Is the Chevrolet Malibu a Good Car?

The Chevrolet Malibu is a solid vehicle, but it lands near the bottom of the competitive midsize car segment because so many cars in the class are simply better. The Malibu rides smoothly, gets good gas mileage, and provides plenty of interior space. However, many class rivals surpass this Chevrolet’s handling, seat comfort, and interior build quality.

Should I Buy the Chevrolet Malibu?

The Malibu's below-average price may seem enticing, but there are many all-around better cars in this class that provide more value, despite their higher starting prices. Good alternatives to the Malibu include the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

Compare the Malibu, Camry, and Accord »

Should I Buy a New or Used Chevrolet Malibu?

The 2019 Malibu belongs to a generation that began with the 2016 model. For 2019, the Malibu pairs a continuously variable automatic transmission with its base engine, and there's a new trim (the RS) in its lineup. There are a few newly available features as well, such as heated rear seats and the Infotainment 3 system, which replaces Chevy's old MyLink system.

There haven't been many other changes since the 2016 redesign, so Malibu shoppers could potentially save thousands of dollars by shopping for a used model and still get essentially the same car. If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overviews of the 2017 and 2018 Malibu. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles. 

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Malibu »

We Did the Research for You: 22 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability ratings and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current Malibu generation, which runs from 2016 to 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking the best cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years’ worth of auto industry experience combined. To keep our reviews unbiased, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside company manages our advertising.

How Much Does the Chevrolet Malibu Cost?

The 2019 Chevrolet Malibu starts at $22,090, which is one of the lowest base prices in the class. Three trim levels above the base model all feature the same powertrain, and have prices within $26,620. The range-topping Premier trim boasts a more powerful engine and starts at almost $32,000.  

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Chevrolet dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Chevrolet deals page.

Chevrolet Malibu Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Chevrolet Malibu or Toyota Camry?

The Toyota Camry finishes near the top of our class rankings, and it's better than the Malibu in just about every way. It delivers better performance, comes with more standard features (including active safety tech), and has a more upscale interior.

Which Is Better: Chevrolet Malibu or Honda Accord?

The Honda Accord finishes well ahead of the Malibu in our class rankings. It provides plenty of passenger space in its upscale cabin, and it has more features and cargo space than the Malibu. On the road, the Accord delivers a more engaging performance while also getting better fuel economy. There's no comparison here – the Honda is the better car.

Compare the Malibu, Camry, and Accord »

Malibu Interior

How Many People Does the Malibu Seat?

The Malibu seats five people. Both rows of seats, especially the back row, provide plenty of space for adult passengers. Though the seats are comfortable at first, they lack adequate support for long trips.

Malibu and Car Seats

There are two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in the Malibu. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the system a Marginal rating (the second-lowest rating) for its ease of use.

Malibu Interior Quality

The Malibu's interior looks dated compared to its rivals', and it has more cheap plastics than soft-touch materials.

Malibu Cargo Space

With nearly 16 cubic feet of trunk space, the Malibu lets you carry a weekend's worth of luggage for the family without issue. However, the high liftover height may make it tougher to load heavy items.

Malibu Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Malibu comes with Chevrolet's new Infotainment 3 system, which includes an 8-inch touch screen, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

Available features include a sunroof, wireless device charging, an upgraded Infotainment 3 system with an HD touch screen, a nine-speaker Bose audio system, satellite radio, an additional USB port, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and navigation.

For 2019, the Infotainment 3 interface takes over as the default infotainment setup (replacing Chevrolet's MyLink system). It's generally easy to use, and the touch screen responds quickly to inputs.

Read more about interior »

Malibu Performance

Malibu Engine: 2 Choices, 2 Turbos

The Malibu comes standard with a 160-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with a new-for-2019 continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The range-topping Premier trim features a 250-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder that's matched with a nine-speed automatic. The base engine fails to impress but gets the job done. The larger engine delivers much better acceleration and an improved driving experience.

Malibu Gas Mileage: Better Than the Average Midsize Sedan

The 2019 alibu with its base engine and new CVT gets an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 29 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, which is better than many nonhybrid rivals' estimates. The 2019 Malibu with the more powerful turbo-four earns an EPA-estimated 22/32 mpg city/highway.

Malibu Ride and Handling: A Family Hauler

This easy-to-drive Chevy sedan rides comfortably over almost any road surface. Even though it's not as athletic as some rivals, the Malibu still delivers poised handling on winding roads.

Read more about performance »

Malibu Reliability

Is the Chevrolet Malibu Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2019 Malibu a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Chevrolet Malibu Warranty

Chevy backs the Malibu with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Malibu Safety

Malibu Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2019 Malibu five out of five stars in the frontal crash test and four stars in the rollover test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Malibu the highest rating of Good in five crash tests. The car earned the second-lowest rating of Marginal in the passenger-side small overlap front test. The IIHS gave the Malibu the highest-rating of Superior for its front crash prevention technology. 

Malibu Safety Features

The Malibu comes standard with a rearview camera. Available driver assistance features include adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, forward collision warning, low-speed front automatic braking, front pedestrian braking, blind spot monitoring, lane change alert, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, automatic park assist, and Teen Driver, which lets parents set speed and volume limits for younger drivers.

Read more about safety »

Which Chevrolet Malibu Model Is Right for Me?

The Malibu comes in five trims: L, LS, RS, LT, and Premier. There's also a Malibu Hybrid, which we cover in a separate review. If you want the most powerful engine, skip to the top trim – the Malibu Premier. The Premier trim also comes with infotainment and comfort features you can't get in any of the lower trims.

If the base engine suits you just fine, the LS trim makes a great choice. It comes with a few more standard features than the base trim, and it allows you to add plenty of active safety technology to help protect you and your passengers.

Chevrolet Malibu L

The 2019 Malibu L starts at $22,090 and features a 160-horsepower turbo-four engine, a continuously variable automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. Standard features include cloth upholstery, Chevy's Rear Seat Reminder, a rearview camera, and Chevrolet's new Infotainment 3 system with an 8-inch touch screen, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. There are no notable options for this trim.

Chevrolet Malibu LS

In addition to the base trim's features, the $23,220 Malibu LS comes with Teen Driver and a Wi-Fi hot spot. Notable options for this trim include automatic high beams, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, lane change alert, lane keep assist, front pedestrian braking, rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, and a power-adjustable driver's seat.

Chevrolet Malibu RS

On top of the lower trims' features, the new-for-2019 Malibu RS retails for $24,220 and comes standard with a power-adjustable driver's seat. There are no notable options for this trim.

Chevrolet Malibu LT

The Malibu LT starts at $26,620 and adds dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, remote start, and heated front seats. Notable options for this trim include automatic high beams, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, lane change alert, lane keep assist, front pedestrian braking, rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, a heated steering wheel, and a sunroof.

Chevrolet Malibu Premier

The Premier comes with a 250-horsepower turbo-four engine paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. It's the only trim to offer this powertrain, and prices start at $31,820. Standard features in the Malibu Premier include a 120-volt power outlet, wireless device charging, a power-adjustable passenger seat, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and an upgraded Infotainment 3 system with an HD touch screen, a nine-speaker Bose audio system, an additional USB port, and navigation.

Notable options for this trim include a sunroof, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, lane change alert, lane keep assist, front pedestrian braking, low-speed front automatic braking, front and rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, and automatic park assist.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Chevrolet dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Chevrolet deals page.

See 2019 Chevrolet Malibu specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 Chevrolet Malibu does some things well but trails its competitors in a lot of areas (by a substantial margin in some cases). Though the Malibu looks good on paper, buyers should look elsewhere. Other midsize cars simply offer more than this Chevy.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2019 Malibu should start arriving in dealerships this November, and we'll get a chance to see how the public feels about the new transmission. As a replacement for the base engine's old six-speed unit, it certainly has its advantages. Overall, though, the Malibu remains a midpack competitor despite the expected boost in mpg. A more comprehensive overhaul is in order if it's going to go toe to toe with class leaders." -- Edmunds
  • "The Malibu RS doesn't offer enough, with enough pizazz, to offer a serious challenge to similarly-priced and -positioned competitors. Some real talk here: If Chevy wants to keep selling Malibus a few years on, it's going to need more than a revised grille and some exhaust tips – or a shady plot in the graveyard of runner-up sedans, next to the Fusion, awaits." -- Autoblog
  • "There's nothing about the 2019 Chevrolet Malibu that makes it radically different than its predecessor. The midsize sedan's midcycle refresh focuses largely on powertrain and technology improvements, with a few styling tweaks to round out the updated package. The end result is a Malibu that's as spacious and easy to drive as it's always been. But a number of inherent shortcomings will continue to prevent the Malibu from being more than, at best, a midpack pick." -- CNET

Buying

Expert Advice

Last updated: March 14, 2019

Recovering Demand: After a weak 2018, the Malibu has gotten off on the right foot to begin 2019. Sales have increased 21.9 percent relative to the same span last year. The Malibu is set to climb the sales ranks, as midsize car segment leaders like the Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima have experienced sales declines this year.

Research more buying advice »
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