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2009 Chevrolet Malibu Review

The 2009 Chevrolet Malibu is a great family sedan, thanks to its spacious interior and trunk, as well as competitive fuel economy ratings. However, its safety rating isn't strong enough to compete with the top of the class.

Pros & Cons

  • Balanced ride
  • Supportive, roomy front seats
  • Small back seat
  • Low safety score




Critics' Rating: 9.4
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 8.4
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.4
Safety: 9.4
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2009 Chevrolet Malibu Overview

When it was new, reviewers praised the Malibu’s standout exterior styling and its two-tone, dual-cockpit design with well-thought-out ergonomics. Standard electronic stability control is also a plus. Some test drivers said that the LATCH connectors were easy to locate and installing car seats was a breeze.

On the downside, some reviewers noted that the 2009 Malibu had too many cheap plastics and thin cushioning in places. Another negative is the Malibu’s lack of a navigation system, even as an option, though OnStar turn-by-turn directions offer the same functionality, but require a subscription. The Malibu’s safety ratings are a bit low for the class.

Test drivers said the base four-cylinder engine was underpowered, but the available V6 had more gusto. The Malibu gets up to 22/33 mpg city/highway with the base engine, which is good for the class. The Malibu’s suspension was well-liked for its smooth, comfortable ride. Anti-lock brakes, six airbags, traction control, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack are standard on the 2009 Malibu, while Bluetooth connectivity, heated front seats and leather seats are available on higher trim levels.

See the full 2009 Chevrolet Malibu specs »

Other Cars to Consider

The 2009 Hyundai Sonata is a good used midsize car to check out if you’re considering a used Malibu. It was refreshed for 2009, and reviewers were impressed with its high-quality interior. They also liked that it offered navigation. Test drivers liked the Sonata’s four-cylinder engine, which received more power for 2009, but despite the fuel economy boost, the base 2009 Malibu gets slightly better EPA-estimated fuel economy in highway driving.

The 2009 Ford Fusion is known for its nimble handling. Auto critics suggested the Fusion for shoppers who prioritize performance and want a car that’s more fun to drive. The 2009 Ford Fusion’s spacious interior, available all-wheel drive on V6 models and exceptional safety rating makes it a solid family sedan, though its base engine’s fuel economy trails both the Sonata’s and Malibu’s.

Compare the Malibu to the Sonata and Fusion »  

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