Chevrolet Malibu

#1 in Midsize Cars Overall Score: 8.9 / 10
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2017 Chevrolet Malibu Overview

The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu ranks 1 out of 19 Midsize Cars.

The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu may have a short list of standard features and lackluster performance, but it has a lower price than other classmates. It also has a spacious interior and a long list of available features. Combine those positives with impressive safety scores and a strong record of reliability, and the Malibu is a worthy contender in a competitive class. 

SEATING


5

MPG


22-27

  CITY


33-36

  HWY

DRIVETRAIN


FWD

HP


160-250
See full 2017 Chevrolet Malibu specs ยป

Pros & Cons

  • Intuitive infotainment features
  • Excellent cargo space
  • Comfortable ride quality
  • Limited standard features

Notable for 2017

  • Nine-speed automatic transmission replaces eight-speed automatic in Premier models

Chevrolet Malibu Rankings and Research

The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu ranking is based on its score within the Midsize Cars category. Currently the Chevrolet Malibu has a score of 8.9 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 23 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

Scorecard

Overall: 8.9
Critics' Rating: 9.0
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 8.0
Safety: 9.7
Reliability: 4_5

Rankings

2017 Chevrolet Malibu Pictures

2017 Chevrolet Malibu Review

By Alexa Lardieri June 30, 2017

The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu may have a short list of standard features and lackluster performance, but it has a lower price than other classmates. It also has a spacious interior and a long list of available features. Combine those positives with impressive safety scores and a strong record of reliability, and the Malibu is a worthy contender in a competitive class. 

Is the Chevrolet Malibu a Good Car?

Yes, the 2017 Chevy Malibu is a good car. It delivers a comfortable ride and a lot of cargo space. It wins our Best Midsize Cars for Families award because it has the best combination of space, available family-friendly features and positive reviews from professional automotive writers in its class. 

However, some cars, such as the Hyundai Sonata, offer similar standard features for less money and are worth a look as well. Although the base Chevy Malibu doesn't come with a ton of standard features, an upgrade to the second-level trim, the LS, costs $1,495 and adds popular advanced features such as Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a rearview camera. There are also many packages and a la carte items available. Additionally, the Malibu has some of the best fuel economy estimates in the class. Its high safety scores and available safety features – like rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring – will keep your mind at ease.

Should I Buy the Chevrolet Malibu?

You should definitely consider the Chevy Malibu if you're looking for a safe, reliable, and relatively inexpensive midsize car. You won't get blood-pumping performance out of the Malibu, but it's a fine daily driver. Innovative features such as the Teen Driver system, which allows you to place speed and volume limits on other drivers of your car, will help you feel confident handing the keys over to a new driver. Although the Malibu comes chock-full of positive attributes, don't leave rivals such as the Hyundai Sonata and Ford Fusion off your list. The Sonata comes with more standard features, and the Fusion boasts a stronger performance.

Compare the Malibu, Sonata, and Fusion »

We Did the Research for You: 23 Pieces of Data Analyzed

To help you decide if the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu is right for you, we analyzed 23 different pieces of research. That research includes data points like crash test and reliability ratings from independent agencies and reviews of the Malibu written by professional automotive journalists. In short, we’ve done all your research for you and used it to inform our expert analysis so you can make a smart buying decision.

Why You Can Trust Us

With 75 years of combined experience and nearly a decade’s worth of automotive rankings under our belts, our team is uniquely equipped to provide the kind of know-how and decision-making help that car buyers want and need. You can count on us to provide objective analysis of the vehicles we cover because we have no horse in this race; our editors do not accept gifts or trips paid for by automakers, and any advertising you see on our site is handled by a third party.

How Much Does the Chevrolet Malibu Cost?

The 2017 Chevy Malibu starts at $21,680, which is about average for the class. However, it comes with fewer standard features than some other cars at this price point. For about $1,500 you can upgrade to the LS trim to get popular smartphone integration features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You'll have to dish out about $1,000 more for features like that from competitors such as the Ford Fusion. The Malibu 1LT trim also gives you the option to pick and choose features with available packages and a la carte items. This allows you to make sure you get the features you want while making sure you stay within budget.

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 Hyundai Sonata?

The Hyundai Sonata and Chevy Malibu are similar in a lot of ways. Both cars have intuitive infotainment systems, good fuel economy, comfortable and spacious cabins, and mediocre performance. What sets them apart is what you get for your money in each car. They have about the same starting price ($21,680 for the Malibu and $21,950 for the Sonata), but their base models differ when it comes to standard features. The Malibu only comes with limited standard offerings like a proximity key and push-button start. The Sonata comes standard with a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a rearview camera. In order to get features like that in the Malibu, you need to upgrade to the LS trim, which starts at $23,225. Additionally, the Sonata's Limited trim comes standard with leather upholstery and starts at $27,150. You won't get leather upholstery in the Malibu until you pay $30,975 for the top-of-the-line Premier trim. Since the Sonata and Malibu are so similar, going with the Sonata is a better deal because it gives you more features at better prices.

Which Is Better: Chevrolet Malibu or Chevrolet Impala?

If you’re looking for a bit of an upgrade but want to stay in the Chevy family, the Chevy Impala gives you more space, more standard features, and better performance than the Chevy Malibu. However, as you'd expect when bumping up to the large car class, it comes with a higher price tag. The Impala starts at $27,300 and comes standard with a six-speaker audio system, a USB port, satellite radio, a 4.2-inch display, Bluetooth, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. It also has 18.8 cubic feet of cargo space compared to the Malibu’s 15.8 cubic feet. The Impala’s interior, even in lower trims, is full of high-quality materials, whereas the Malibu's lower trims are outfitted with some low-rent materials. For more money you can upgrade to the Malibu Premier trim (starting at $30,975) and get a nicer interior. However, for around the same price ($30,440), you can get the equally nice interior of the Impala, along with more space and superior performance. The Impala provides strong performance compared to the Malibu, especially from its more powerful available engine. The Malibu has a bit of turbo lag and doesn’t match the Impala's acceleration. If you’re willing to spend more money, you’ll get a larger car with a nicer interior, more standard features, and more power with the Impala. However, if you’d rather have the ability to pick and choose your features, and you don't mind the lower trims' mediocre interiors and performance, then the Malibu isn't a bad choice.

Which Is Better: Chevrolet Malibu or Ford Fusion?

The Ford Fusion's base trim looks a lot like the Malibu's base trim. It comes with limited standard features and has a starting price that's $440 more than the Malibu's. Like the Malibu, you'll have to move beyond the base trim to get the most out of the Fusion, though in order to get something similar to the Malibu's popular LS trim, which comes with advanced smartphone integration capabilities, you'll have to upgrade to the Fusion's SE trim and add the $1,095 technology package. This package adds the SYNC 3 infotainment system – among other things – which includes advanced smartphone capabilities. However, this makes the Fusion's SE trim almost $1,000 more than the Malibu's LS trim. The Fusion beats the Malibu, however, in performance. While the Malibu has some turbo lag and lacks strong acceleration, the Fusion has strong turbocharged engine options that deliver satisfying acceleration. A twin-turbocharged engine delivers 325 horsepower, and the Fusion has sharp, agile handling with available all-wheel drive. However, in order to get this engine, you'll have to spend $33,475 for the Fusion Sport. Although it adds features such as heated front sport seats, a 12-speaker Sony sound system, and leather upholstery, you can get equivalent features in the Malibu for $30,975. Additionally, the Fusion Sport still doesn't get you Ford's SYNC 3 system standard. So you have to ask yourself, is better performance worth the extra money?

Compare the Malibu, Sonata, and Impala »

Malibu Interior

How Many People Does the Malibu Seat?

The Chevy Malibu seats five on standard cloth upholstery. Leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel are optional. If you want the Malibu's comfort features, you'll have to spend quite a bit more than the base price. To get leather and heated front seats, for example, you have to spring for the 1LT trim, which starts at $25,125, and then add a few thousand dollars in option packages. You'll spend about the same to get similar features in the Hyundai Sonata.

The front seats are comfortable and supportive with plenty of legroom to keep you from getting muscle fatigue on long drives. You'll have an excellent view of the road ahead, though the sloping roof makes it harder to see vehicles in your blind spots. You may want to consider the optional blind spot monitoring system to help with this issue.

The rear seats are also spacious, with generous legroom. Two adults should have no problem getting comfortable.

Malibu and Car Seats

The Chevy Malibu has two LATCH car-seat systems in the rear outboard seats. The LATCH connectors are easy to access and clip to. Since the rear seats offer a generous amount of space, there is plenty of room for forward- and rear-facing child seats. Booster seats are a little more difficult to install. The seat belt buckle is recessed into the lower seat cushion and sits close to the booster seat, making it hard for kids to buckle themselves in.

Malibu Interior Quality

While higher 2017 Malibu models have high-end materials and stylish designs, lower trims will give you hard plastics and noisy styling with lots of different textures. Models with cloth upholstery have gray or black interiors, while leather is offered in gray, black, or brown. Also consider the Nissan Altima or Ford Fusion if elegant styling and top-notch materials are important to you.

Malibu Cargo Space

With 15.8 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk, the Malibu has a typical amount of trunk space for the class. There is plenty of room for weekend luggage and grocery bags. The Chrysler 200 and Hyundai Sonata have bigger trunks but not by much. If you want even more space, but don't want to buy an SUV, stepping up to a large car like the Chevy Impala or Ford Taurus will get you a few more cubic feet of cargo room.

The 2017 Malibu’s trunk has a wide opening to fit large objects, but the cargo floor is high so you'll have to lift your stuff up and over to load it. Additionally, the lid's hinges limit the amount of usable space. All models come with 60/40 split-folding rear seats that let you haul long objects. Unfortunately, the seatbacks don't fold flush with the floor, so cargo doesn't lay flat. On the plus side, there are release handles in the trunk that make it easy to fold down the seats.

Malibu Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

A push-button start, a proximity key, and a six-speaker audio system come standard in the 2017 Chevy Malibu. Optional features include a 7- or 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, navigation, satellite radio, a nine-speaker Bose audio system, Bluetooth, a front USB port, two USB charging ports for rear-seat passengers, wireless smartphone charging, a Wi-Fi hot spot, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a sunroof.

Compared to similarly priced rivals, the base Malibu is poorly equipped. The Subaru Legacy and Hyundai Sonata both cost under $22,000, like the Malibu, but they both come standard with touch-screen infotainment systems. You'll have to spend around $1,500 more to get an infotainment system in the Malibu. Both the Malibu's 7- and 8-inch touch screens have logical menus and large, easy-to-see buttons. The 8-inch system has especially sharp graphics, while the 7-inch screen's visuals are less stellar.

Controls that you'll use frequently, like those for climate and audio settings, are straightforward too. There are even some easy-to-reach physical buttons and knobs, so you won't have to use the touch screen for everything. The optional navigation system is also simple to master. You can save yourself some money, however, by skipping the navigation option and instead using your smartphone's maps app through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Both of these smartphone integration systems let you use some apps directly on the touch-screen interface.

An optional Wi-Fi hot spot is another standout feature for the Malibu. Few competitors can be equipped with Wi-Fi, but you can get it in the Malibu's corporate cousin, the Buick Regal.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Malibu Performance

Malibu Engine: Powerful Turbocharged Option

The base 2017 Chevy Malibu is equipped with a 160-horsepower, turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. That power is a bit low compared to the base engines in rivals like the Mazda6 and Ford Fusion, but it should be enough for most drivers. For more power, the Malibu's top-of-the-line Premier model has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 250 horsepower. It’s mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The base engine delivers enough power for the typical commute, though you may wish it delivered quicker acceleration on the highway. The larger optional engine is likely a better choice for those who spend a lot of time on the freeway. Its extra muscle will let you feel at ease when merging or passing.

Both engines have a bit of turbo lag if you really floor the gas pedal while pulling away from a stop. (Turbo lag is when there is a delay in power after you've stepped on the gas, which is caused by the turbochargers getting up to speed.) Both automatic transmissions deliver well-timed shifts, finding the right gear when you need it.

Malibu Gas Mileage: Excellent Fuel Economy

The base Malibu is one of the most fuel-efficient sedans in the class, getting up to 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The Hyundai Sonata comes close to this with 25/36 mpg city/highway. However, upgrade to the Malibu Premier trim with the bigger engine and fuel economy drops to 22/33 mpg city/highway. So, not only will you pay almost $9,300 more upfront for the upgraded engine, but you’ll also pay about $450 more a year in fuel. You'll have to decide if more horsepower is worth that added cost.

Chevy also offers the Malibu as a hybrid. The Malibu Hybrid gets 49 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway. This is better than almost every other midsize hybrid car, except the Honda Accord Hybrid. The Accord Hybrid gets 49 mpg in the city and 47 mpg on the highway. The Malibu Hybrid starts at $27,875 and will cost you about $700 a year in fuel costs. (The gasoline-only Malibu will cost you around $1,550 a year with the upgraded engine.) However, it will take you about seven years to make up the difference in cost between the hybrid and the gas-only Malibu.

Malibu Ride and Handling: Comfortable and Composed, Not Especially Fun

Most drivers will appreciate the Malibu's balanced handling. You'll be comfortable when you're cruising along, with broken roads smoothed out by the suspension. Even if you opt for the larger 19-inch wheels, you'll have a comfortable ride. On curvier stretches of roads, the Malibu remains stable and is composed in corners. Still, if you want a midsize sedan that's truly thrilling to drive, the athletic and engaging Mazda6 is a better choice.

The Malibu is easy to steer, requiring only light turns of the steering wheel. This is helpful when driving in confined spaces, like parking lots. It makes it easy to get into and out of parking spaces, too. The brakes bring the car to a stop evenly and smoothly.

Read more about performance »

Malibu Reliability

Is the Chevrolet Malibu Reliable?

The Malibu earns one of the highest predicted reliability ratings among midsize cars from J.D. Power – 4.5 out of five. Rivals like the Mazda6 and Ford Fusion scored a 2.5 and 3.5 out of five, respectively.

Chevrolet Malibu Warranty

The 2017 Chevy Malibu is covered by a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Rivals like the Mazda6 and Ford Fusion have the same warranties. However, the Hyundai Sonata’s five-year/60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty beats them all.

Read more about reliability »

Malibu Safety

Malibu Crash Test Results

The 2017 Chevy Malibu receives an overall safety rating of five stars out of five from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It also receives five stars in frontal and side crash tests and four stars in rollover tests. The Hyundai Sonata receives the same safety scores from the NHTSA. The Chevy Malibu receives the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s highest score of Good in all crashworthiness categories. It receives a Superior score for frontal crash protection. It’s also an IIHS 2017 Top Safety Pick.

Malibu Safety Features

The Chevy Malibu doesn’t come with many standard safety features. Among those included is Malibu’s Rear Seat Reminder. This suggests you check the rear seat for children or pets before exiting the car. Many class rivals, such as the Ford Fusion and Hyundai Sonata, don’t come with many standard safety features either.

Available safety features include a rearview camera, forward collision alert, front and rear park assist, front automatic braking, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, pedestrian detection, and blind spot monitoring. If you have older kids you'll appreciate the Malibu's available Teen Driver system. This lets you set limits on car speed and radio volume to help keep your young driver safe when you hand over the keys.

What safety features do you need? Read What Is an Automatic Braking System? and Backup Cameras, Automatic Braking, Parking Assist: Is Car Tech Really Worth the Money?

Read more about safety »

Which Chevrolet Malibu Model Is Right for Me?

The Malibu was completely redesigned for the 2016 model year and sees few changes for 2017. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2016 and 2017 model years.

The Chevy Malibu gives you four different models (known as trims) to choose from. However, some are better than others. The Malibu has one of the lowest starting prices in its class, but with its low price tag comes a short list of standard features. Class rivals, such as the Hyundai Sonata, have similar starting prices, but offer more standard features. To get popular features, such as a touch screen, smartphone integration, and a rearview camera, you’ll have to upgrade to the Malibu LS trim. This costs about $1,500 more than the base Malibu. The Sonata comes standard with a touch screen and smartphone integration and only costs a few hundred dollars more than the base Malibu. The Malibu 1LT is a good option if you want to pick and choose your features. It can be loaded with tech, safety, and comfort features with its available packages and a la carte items. These include an upgraded infotainment system, a nine-speaker Bose audio system, leather upholstery, and heated front seats. Safety features such as blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert are also available as part of a package.

Chevrolet Malibu L

The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu starts at $21,680 with the base L trim. It comes standard with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Also standard is a proximity key, a push-button start, a six-speaker audio system, cloth upholstery, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, and Chevy’s Rear Seat Reminder. This feature suggests you check the rear seat for children or pets before exiting the car.

Chevrolet Malibu LS

Moving up to the $23,225 LS trim gets you more features, including a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, a USB port, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a rearview camera, and a Teen Driver system, which lets you set speed and volume limits on the car to keep your teenage drivers safe and attentive while they have the keys.

Chevrolet Malibu 1LT

Priced at $25,125, the Malibu 1LT adds an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, satellite radio, and heated side mirrors. It's available with numerous option packages. The Convenience and Technology package, which costs $895, gets you remote start, an upgraded 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system, wireless smartphone charging, and two rear-seat USB charging ports. You can get the upgraded 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system as a standalone option for $495. The $2,140 Leather package comes with leather upholstery, a six-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, heated front seats, and a nine-speaker Bose audio system.

With the Driver Confidence package, which is priced at $1,195, you get forward collision warning, low-speed automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, active lane keep assist, and rear cross traffic alert. The Sun and Wheels package adds a sunroof and upgraded wheels for $1,500. The sunroof is also available as a standalone option for $1,150.

Chevrolet Malibu Premier

The top-of-the-line Premier trim, which starts at $30,975, adds a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission, leather upholstery, a six-way power-adjustable front-passenger seat, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, an upgraded 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system, navigation, two rear-seat USB charging ports, a nine-speaker Bose audio system, and wireless smartphone charging.

Option packages available with the Premier trim include the Driver Confidence package, which costs $1,195. It comes with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, active lane keep assist, and rear cross traffic alert. For $995, the Premier can also be equipped with the Driver Confidence II package. This adds adaptive cruise control, high-speed automatic emergency braking, and active park assist. The Premier Sun and Wheel package, priced at $2,270, gets you a sunroof, premium floor mats, and upgraded wheels.

Where is the Chevy Malibu Made?

The Chevy Malibu is built in Kansas City, Kansas at General Motors' Fairfax Assembly Plant.

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 2017 Chevy Malibu specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Chevy Malibu has an average starting price for the midsize car class, impressive safety scores, and a high reliability rating. Though its base trim has a short list of standard features, you can upgrade to the next trim level and get many of the advanced, popular features you want for $23,225. This is reasonable for the class. The Malibu can also be equipped with available packages and a la carte items, making sure you get everything you want and nothing that you don't. Additionally, its safety features and scores, along with its strong track record of reliability, will make you feel confident driving the Malibu for years to come.

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

  • "… we think it's a solid and stylish sedan that most midsize sedan shoppers should put on their consideration list." -- Edmunds
  • "Good as the new Malibu is, it's up against stiff competition that is likewise both good and up to date. What Chevy's sedan brings to the party are some interesting high-tech features others lack, though it's disappointing that many aren't available until you spring for the next-to-top trim level, and even then they're optional." -- Consumer Guide (2016)
  • "We've just driven the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, and it is simply excellent, the strongest contender GM has had in this segment in many, many years." -- Automobile Magazine (2016)
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