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2016 Chevrolet Malibu Review

The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu has a spacious cabin and a comfortable ride, as well as great safety and reliability ratings. These attributes help it rank near the top of its class.

Pros & Cons

  • Comfortable ride
  • Peppy turbocharged engines
  • Good fuel economy
  • Spacious cabin
  • Cheap materials in base model

Rankings & Awards

The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu's #3 ranking is based on its score within the 2016 Affordable Midsize Cars category. It was the winner of our 2016 Best Midsize Car for Families award and a finalist for our 2016 Best Midsize Car for the Money award. Currently the Chevrolet Malibu has a score of 8.6 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 20 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.9
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 7.8
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.0
Safety: 9.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Overview

Is the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu a Good Used Car?

The Malibu is a great option if you’re shopping for a used midsize car. The Malibu rates well for projected reliability and is available with a long list of advanced safety features. It also impresses with its roomy interior, smooth ride, and refined engine performance. There are surely sportier options in this class – as well as more luxurious alternatives – but for most families, the Malibu checks every box. In fact, we named it our 2016 Best Midsize Car for Families. The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is reviewed separately.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 20 Chevrolet Malibu reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Is the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu?

You can expect to pay between $12,700 and $20,000 for a used 2016 Malibu. These figures are based on more than 3,900 listings for the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu on our site. The average price is $15,700. Prices will vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Cost to Own?

The Malibu’s ownership costs are slightly above average for the midsize car class. Over five years, you can expect to pay around $22,800 on gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance. That works out to about $4,500 per year. By comparison, the ownership costs of the 2016 Malibu Hybrid are about $19,600 over five years. Much of those savings come from the hybrid’s better fuel economy.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Malibu?

The 2018 Malibu starts at $21,680. That’s very inexpensive for a new midsize car, but it’s still about $6,000 more than the average 2016 Malibu. Since there are few differences between these models, you may want to consider buying a used 2016 Malibu to save money. Before buying used, you should be aware that a new vehicle will have longer warranty coverage. You also won’t have to worry about questionable maintenance history. In addition, new cars have lower interest rates, so the price difference between a new and used model will narrow.

Read about the new Chevrolet Malibu »

Alternatively, you might want to consider the smaller 2018 Chevy Cruze. You can buy a new Cruze sedan for around the same price as the average used 2016 Malibu. The Cruze sacrifices a bit of rear headroom and legroom compared to the Malibu, but it offers comparable infotainment and safety features – plus better fuel economy.

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu?

The Chevy Malibu has great reliability, earning a rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Malibu reliability »

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Recalls

There are currently six safety recalls for the 2016 Malibu. One recall covers an issue with the driver’s main airbag, which may not inflate properly in a high-speed collision. Another two recalls address concerns with the side airbags. There are also recalls addressing faults with the seatbelt reminder chime, the anti-lock braking system (ABS), and the electronic park lock lever. Before buying a used Chevrolet Malibu, make sure these recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Chevrolet Malibu safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Chevrolet Malibu Is Best?

The Chevy Malibu was fully redesigned for the 2016 model year, and it’s the best option if you’re shopping for a used model. It shares nearly all of its features with the 2017 Malibu, but typically costs a few thousand dollars less.

Compare the 2016 and 2017 Malibu »

Which Used Chevrolet Malibu Model Is Right for Me?

The 2016 Chevy Malibu comes in five trims: L, LS, 1LT, 2LT, and Premier. You’ll likely want to avoid the Malibu L trim, since it’s very sparsely equipped. Instead, the Malibu LS offers the best value in this lineup. It comes standard with a rearview camera, a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a USB input.

The 1LT trim adds satellite radio and a Wi-Fi hot spot. The 2LT trim adds a more powerful but less fuel-efficient engine, an 8-inch touch screen, and a remote car starter. The Premier trim adds navigation, leather upholstery, and heated and ventilated front seats. Notably, the Premier trim is also the only model available with all of the Malibu’s active safety features.

See 2016 Chevrolet Malibu trims and specs »

What Does Chevrolet's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Chevrolet offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Chevy extends the original new-car powertrain warranty to six years or 100,000 miles. These vehicles also get a one-year/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty after the three-year/36,000-mile new-car warranty expires. Chevrolet CPO vehicles must pass a 172-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and 24-hour roadside assistance may be available, so read Chevy’s warranty page carefully.

Chevrolet has one of the better CPO programs among affordable carmakers. Hyundai, Buick, and Kia are better, according to our analysis.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Malibu?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Chevy Malibu a 2016 Top Safety Pick+. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Malibu a perfect five-star rating for overall, front, and side impact safety, as well as four stars for rollover safety.

Chevrolet equips all 2016 models – except for the Malibu L – with a rearview camera as standard. All other advanced safety features are available through optional packages. The Driver Confidence package (1LT, 2LT, and Premier trims) includes forward collision warning with low-speed brake assist and pedestrian detection, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and lane keep assist. The Driver Confidence II package (Premier trims only) adds adaptive cruise control, full-speed brake assist, and parallel park assist.

See Malibu safety scores »

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Chevrolet Malibu or 2016 Toyota Camry?

You can’t go wrong with the 2016 Toyota Camry or the Malibu. Both of these family sedans reward with a comfortable ride, generous seating space, and easy-to-use infotainment systems. Both also have great safety ratings and many advanced safety features. The Malibu feels slightly more athletic to drive, and it’s available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which the Camry lacks. On the other hand, the Camry tops the class in reliability, making it a very safe buy. Both are fine used car options.

Which Is Better: 2016 Chevrolet Malibu or 2016 Hyundai Sonata?

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata is another great choice. In fact, it’s one of the best values in this class. The Sonata matches the Malibu with similar fuel economy but has higher-quality materials than the Chevrolet, far better standard features, lower average asking prices, and lower ownership costs. The Chevy's high ranking is a result of its good reliability rating. The Sonata is average in that regard.

Which Is Better: 2016 Chevrolet Malibu or 2016 Ford Fusion?

If you’re looking for a midsize car with a bit more excitement, consider the Ford Fusion. The Fusion has sporty handling and lively available turbocharged engines. It’s also available with all-wheel drive, unlike the Malibu. That said, the Fusion’s infotainment system isn’t as user-friendly, and its reliability rating is lower than the Malibu’s score. Stick with the Chevy.

Compare the Malibu, Camry, and Sonata »

2016 Malibu Performance

How Does the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Drive?

The 2016 Malibu has two engine options. Malibu L, LS, and 1LT models have a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder with 163 horsepower. The Malibu 2LT and Premier have a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 250 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard; 2LT and Premier models have an eight-speed automatic.

The 1.5-liter engine hustles the Malibu around town confidently and provides adequate power for passing and merging on the highway. It’s rather quiet as well, and its fuel-saving stop-start system functions seamlessly. The 2.0-liter engine gives the Malibu even more pep, but at the cost of lower fuel economy. Both transmissions deliver smooth, prompt gear changes. The Malibu’s suspension provides a soft and cushioned ride, even over rough pavement. Its steering is accurate and the brakes slow the sedan nicely.

Does the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Malibu’s 1.5-liter engine returns 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, which exceeds the class average. The 2.0-liter engine gets 22/32 mpg, which is on par with class competitors.

Read more about Malibu performance »

2016 Malibu Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Malibu Seat?

The Chevrolet Malibu has five seats. The interior feels light and airy, and it offers generous room for adults to sit comfortably in both rows. Cloth seats are standard. Leather upholstery is available, as are heated and ventilated seats. The Malibu’s cabin materials look great in higher trims; they include soft-touch plastics, metallic accents, and dashboard padding. However, the lower trims have cheap materials.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu?

The Malibu has two full sets of LATCH child-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Malibu’s LATCH system a Marginal rating for ease of use, due to its deeply buried lower anchors.

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Features

All models come standard with Bluetooth, keyless entry, push-button start, and an AM/FM radio. Available features include Chevrolet’s 7- and 8-inch MyLink touch screens, a navigation system, a rearview camera, satellite radio, USB inputs, wireless phone charging, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. The MyLink infotainment screens look and operate much like a tablet. They’re easy to use and fairly responsive. Both also support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which allow drivers to integrate their smartphones with the system. You don’t have to use the touch screen for everything, either. There are redundant buttons and knobs under the screen, which make it easy to adjust the audio and climate controls on the go.

See 2016 Chevrolet Malibu specs »

Read more about Malibu interior »

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Dimensions

Chevrolet Malibu Cargo Space

The Malibu has 15.8 cubic feet of trunk space, which is on par with its midsize competitors.

Where Was the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Built?

The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu was built in Fairfax, Kansas, at General Motors’ Fairfax Assembly and Stamping Plant.

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