$6,033 - $7,279

2011 Chevrolet Malibu Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2011 Chevrolet Malibu was new.


Interior: 8.4

The Chevrolet Malibu's cabin is built around a two-cockpit design theme that coddles the driver and front passenger. Some writers say it isn't as kind to its rear passengers -- there is plenty of space, but the rear seats don't win the same praise as the front seats do. Heavy sound insulation lends a substantial feel to the interior, and many like the Malibu's layout of controls. Still, some reviews say the Malibu's interior materials don't live up to what the competition is offering at a lower price.

  • "A total knock-out inside." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The interior is one of the best-looking, most comfortable, most ergonomically sensible in the business." -- The Washington Post
  • "A dual-cowl dash design somewhat reminiscent of a 1960s Corvette highlights the cabin, while much-improved materials and build quality put this Malibu light-years ahead of prior models." -- Edmunds
  • "The interior is quite nice, though opinions were split on the two-tone treatment." -- AutoWeek
  • "The interior design is...well executed -- a flowing instrument panel features gauges and controls that are easy to decipher and use. Most interior plastics have a rich graining and are soft to the touch." -- Car and Driver
  • "The Malibu's interior is not as gratifying as the Accord nor as grating as the Mazda6. Somewhere, how to say, in the middle." -- Los Angeles Times


Most reviewers find the 2011 Chevrolet Malibu has front seats that are comfortable and well-supported.  Though the rear offers class-competitive space, the rear seats don't win the same praise for comfort.

  • "Seats are comfortable and the driver's includes standard height and lumbar adjustment. Aiding positioning is a standard tilt and telescopic steering wheel, though it may not rise high enough for some." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Although leather is optional, the base fabric seats feel expensive and look durable." -- Car and Driver
  • "The front bucket seats are somewhere between sumptuous and luscious in the way they look and the way they sit, very comfortable and supportive." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Contrasting piping on the seats, once the hallmark of ultra-luxury cars, is seen on LTZ models." -- Edmunds

Interior Features

The Chevrolet Malibu wins points for its attractive dashboard design. Most reviewers find its controls simple to use and its feature list competitive. But some reviewers note cheap plastics and thin cushioning in places. The Malibu's interior is considered a vast improvement over past Malibus, but it's still not among the best interiors in the class. If you want a better interior, check out the Ford Fusion. Not only does its interior feature nicer materials, as well as more options, the Fusion also starts at about $2,000 less than the Malibu.

One thing to note is that the Malibu does not have a navigation system, even as an option -- though Chevy says its OnStar turn-by-turn directions offer the same functionality.

  • "A lot of the touch surfaces still feel plastic-y -- the GM-issue window switches and wands -- but that's the price you pay for the price you pay." -- Los Angeles Times
  • "The paddle shifter took some getting used to, however. It's not nearly as intuitive as it is for other cars (a small thumb button for upshifts, large behind-the-wheel flanges for downshifts), but it works, even if the radio occasionally gets muted when you reach for a higher gear (the upshift button is located too near the steering-wheel-mounted radio controls)." -- AutoWeek
  • "Big knobs and buttons and an elegant design make operating audio and climate functions easy. In fact, we found it easier and less confusing to make adjustments in the Malibu than in a comparably equipped (non-navi) Honda Accord...the Chevrolet has the audio controls at the top, better because people tend to fiddle with their stereos more than their temperature controls." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "All trims also feature an impressively quiet ride, thanks to extensive sound insulation and acoustic-laminated front windows." -- Edmunds


The Malibu's trunk is large and easy to access, besting many of its imported peers. There's 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space. That's less than the 16.5 cubic foot space offered in the Ford Fusion but just slightly more than the 15 cubic feet of space in the Toyota Camry.

  • "Malibu shines here vs. top competitors. The trunklid opens to a large portal and is supported by strut-type hinges that don't dip into the cargo area. Also, the pass-through revealed by the standard split folding rear seat is much larger than in many rivals, and though the seatbacks don't fold flat, they have mar-resistant hard-rubber backs." -- Consumer Guide

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