2016 Chevrolet Malibu

Overall Score: 8.8 / 10
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$21,625 - $30,920

* 2017 pricing; 2016 pricing not available

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Overview

After receiving a full redesign, the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu ranks higher than many midsize cars. Its available tech features are impressive and its interior is spacious, especially in the back. Based on the professional automotive reviews that drive our rankings, it also delivers great power and fuel economy from its turbocharged engines, and its predicted reliability rating is very good.

SEATING


5

MPG


22-27

  CITY


33-37

  HWY

DRIVETRAIN


FWD

HP


160-250
See full 2016 Chevrolet Malibu specs ยป

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious rear seat
  • Intuitive infotainment system
  • Excellent predicted reliability
  • Fuel-efficient turbocharged engines
  • Large blind spots
  • Sub-par cabin materials in lower trims
  • Fewer standard features than some rivals

Notable for 2016

  • Completely redesigned

Chevrolet Malibu Research and Awards

The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu has a score of 8.8 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 20 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

Scorecard

Overall: 8.8
Critics' Rating: 8.9
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 7.8
Safety: 9.7
Reliability: 4_5

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Pictures

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Review

By Carter MacLeod May 5, 2017

After receiving a full redesign, the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu ranks higher than many midsize cars. Its available tech features are impressive and its interior is spacious, especially in the back. Based on the professional automotive reviews that drive our rankings, it also delivers great power and fuel economy from its turbocharged engines, and its predicted reliability rating is very good.

The Malibu isn't particularly fun to drive (you'll want a Mazda6 for that), and there are similarly priced competitors with nicer cabins and better standard features lists, like the Hyundai Sonata and Ford Fusion. However, if you're looking for a great sedan that checks all the boxes most families care about, the new Malibu won't disappoint, particularly if you skip the base model and order a nicer trim. Be aware that the Malibu’s base model is bare-bones, and the price can escalate quickly. 

The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu has the best combination of interior space, safety and reliability ratings, and available family-friendly features in its class, making it our 2016 Best Midsize Car for Families.

Malibu Interior

Roomy Cabin

Thanks to the 2016 redesign, there is plenty of room in the Malibu. Chevy made the rear seats more spacious and it now has more legroom in the back than the Hyundai Sonata does. In the Malibu, there's plenty of space for two full-grown adults or a pair of baby seats.

The front seats are comfortable and offer ample support. One downside to the new exterior of the Malibu is that the sleek roofline creates large blind spots behind you when you're driving. Blind spot monitoring helps, but you have to pile about $5,500 worth of options into a base Malibu to get it. On the other hand, forward visibility is excellent, so you'll have a great view of the road in front.

Tempting Tech

The Malibu's tech is both easier to use and more comprehensive than what many of its competitors offer, as long as you spring for one of the higher-end models. The base Malibu lacks the touch screen that's standard in higher trims and all of the cool tech that goes with it, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which can display compatible apps from your smartphone on your Malibu's touch screen. There's also a rearview camera and a system that displays navigation directions from your phone on the Malibu's touch screen. The LS trim with the available touch screen costs about $1,500 more than the base model.

The touch screen is easy to use if you've used a smartphone before. The onscreen icons are large and the screen is mounted high, so you can check it at a glance while driving. Major controls, like audio volume and temperature, are kept separate from the touch screen. This keeps you from diving through touch screen menus to perform simple adjustments. The infotainment system also has large Home and Back buttons, so you can always get back to a familiar menu. The one downside to the touch screen is that it is sometimes slow to respond to inputs.

Lower-Quality Interior

The 2016 Malibu's interior materials aren't as nice as those in rival midsize sedans. The cloth upholstery on the seats and the dashboard looks dated. Color selection is limited to black or gray. You have to upgrade to one of the upper trims with leather to get nicer materials in the cabin, and that costs more than $5,500 over the base price. Even with the optional leather (available in black, gray, or dark brown), you may find the Malibu's cabin design cluttered with an array of shapes and textures.

Options, Trims, and Pricing

The base 2016 Chevrolet Malibu L has limited standard features for its class. They include push-button start, a six-speaker audio system, and steel wheels with plastic covers. The Hyundai Sonata has a similar starting price but comes standard with alloy wheels, a touch screen, a USB port, Bluetooth audio streaming, Android Auto, a rearview camera, and satellite radio. Most rivals also have more standard features and are close to the Malibu L's $21,600 starting price.

Upgrade to the $23,100 Malibu LS, and the additional $1,500 gets you 16-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, a touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth audio streaming, and a USB port.

Moving up from the LS to the 1LT costs another $1,900 (for a total of $25,000) and gets you heated side mirrors, satellite radio, a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot (subscription required), and a power driver's seat. You also have access to packages that aren't available with the LS, like the Convenience and Technology Package ($900), which includes a remote vehicle starter, an auto-dimming mirror, a 120-volt power outlet, a larger touch screen, wireless smartphone charging, and another USB port. Once you get the Convenience and Technology Package, other packages become available, including the Leather Package ($2,100), which includes leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power passenger's seat, and a Bose nine-speaker audio system; and the Driver Confidence Package ($1,200), which includes advanced safety features like low-speed automatic pre-collision braking, automatic pedestrian braking, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, following distance indicator, forward collision alert, and rear cross traffic alert. A sunroof ($1,100) and navigation ($500) are optional.

Moving from the 1LT to the 2LT brings the total to $28,600 and gives you the larger 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

The top-of-the-line Premier trim costs $30,900 and comes with all of the standard features from the lower trims and many of the options, plus extra features like heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and dual-zone automatic climate control. You'll still need to pay extra for a sunroof ($1,100) and the advanced safety features in the Driver Confidence Packages I and II ($2,500 for both packages). A fully loaded Malibu Premier costs more than $34,700. That's similar to the price of most fully loaded affordable midsize sedans. For that price, you could also get a number of entry-level luxury cars, including the Cadillac ATS, the BMW 320i, and the Acura TLX.

The Malibu lineup includes two models that you can find more information about in our other reviews. The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is reviewed separately. The 2016 Malibu Limited is a renamed 2015 Malibu that Chevrolet is continuing to sell alongside the redesigned 2016 Malibu.

You might be able to make the Malibu more affordable by checking out this month’s Chevy deals for current discounts and incentives. Our Best Price Program can also help you build and price the right Malibu for you.

Read more about interior »

Malibu Safety and Reliability

The Malibu's crash test scores are decent for the class. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety only tested it in two of its five crash test categories, but awarded the Malibu its highest scores in each. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Malibu its Five-Star Overall Rating – the highest it awards.

The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu is available with a full suite of advanced safety features, including automatic pedestrian braking, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, following distance indicator, forward collision alert, rear cross traffic alert, and automatic pre-collision braking.

However, just to get the first tier of advanced safety features, you have to spend $27,100 on a Malibu 1LT with the Convenience and Technology Package and the Driver Confidence Package, and that only comes with a low-speed version of the automatic pre-collision braking system. For the full-speed version, you need to get the Driver Confidence Package II, which requires you to buy the fully loaded Premier trim with most of the options (for $33,600). That means that full-speed pre-collision braking will cost you about $12,000 over the price of a base Malibu. By contrast, a 2016 Honda Accord with full-speed automatic braking costs just $1,800 more than a base Accord.

The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu has one of the highest predicted reliability scores of any midsize sedan, according to J.D. Power.

Read more about safety »

Malibu Performance

New Turbo Engine: Adequate Power, Impressive Fuel Economy

The 2016 Malibu's 160-horsepower turbocharged 1.5-liter engine has decent power for passing or merging on the highway. However, you may notice a very small delay in the power delivery when you press down on the accelerator, something you’ll feel with most turbocharged engines when you take off, because the turbocharger needs time to generate power.

The 1.5-liter model has the added bonus of being one of the more fuel-efficient vehicles in the class. It gets 27 mpg in the city and 37 on the highway, equal to the 2016 Honda Accord and good enough to beat the Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion. Only hybrid models and the Mazda6, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata, and Nissan Altima can top it.

More Power Available

For a bit more power, consider upgrading to the Malibu's optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. You get 90 more horsepower, which translates to a lot more get-up-and-go on the highway. It doesn't come cheap (it's a $7,000 premium over the base Malibu), and it doesn't feel quite as powerful as the larger six-cylinder engines in the Honda Accord V6 and Toyota Camry V6, but it provides noticeable punch nonetheless. It also gets good gas mileage. The 2016 Malibu with the 2.0-liter turbo gets 22 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway, matching the fuel economy of the top-of-the-line turbocharged Ford Fusion and beating the fuel economy of the Accord V6 and Camry V6.

Practical, Not Playful

The Chevrolet Malibu has the smooth ride that most buyers look for in a family sedan, even over rough pavement, but it isn't particularly fun to drive. For that, you'll want to look at the Honda Accord or Mazda6. However, its steering is accurate, its brakes are strong, and it doesn't lean excessively in corners, all of which means you'll feel confident on a twisty road.

Read more about performance »

Other Cars to Consider

The Ford Fusion's sleek styling, inside and out, make it a compelling alternative to the Malibu, as does its sporty handling. In fact, the Fusion is one of the sportier midsize sedans available under $30,000. Opt for one of the optional turbocharged engines, and the Fusion delivers lively straight-line performance as well, in addition to good fuel economy. Practicality is also present. The Fusion has a spacious trunk and one of the roomiest back seats in the segment. It's also one of the only cars in its class that's available with all-wheel drive. Its dashboard controls can be a bit cumbersome (its sleek-looking infotainment system is a victim of form over function), and it can't match the reliability of the Malibu, but if you're searching for sophistication and sportiness, it's well worth a look.

The Hyundai Sonata has almost the same starting price as the Malibu, and it offers a lot more standard features, including Bluetooth audio streaming, satellite radio, and a rearview camera. The Sonata also has nicer interior materials than the Malibu. Like the Malibu, the Sonata's dashboard controls are an intuitive mix of buttons and knobs, so figuring out the stereo doesn't take a degree in electrical engineering. A spacious back seat and class-leading trunk space further the Sonata's appeal. The Sonata isn't the car for you if you like sporty driving (nor is the Malibu), but if comfort and quality are your top concerns, it's an excellent pick.

Compare the Malibu, Fusion, and Sonata in more detail »

Details: 2016 Chevrolet Malibu

The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu is a five-seat midsize sedan. It has been completely redesigned for the 2016 model year. Five trims are available: L, LS, 1LT, 2LT, and Premier. The Malibu comes standard with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive, and a six-speed automatic transmission. The 2LT and Premier trims come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic.

Standard interior features include cloth upholstery, push-button start, and a six-speaker audio system.

Available interior features include leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a power sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a nine-speaker Bose audio system, dual USB ports, satellite radio, wireless smartphone charging, a rearview camera, front pedestrian alert, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, automatic park assist, blind zone monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, voice recognition, Bluetooth audio streaming, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. OnStar with 4G LTE and a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot is also available.

The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is reviewed separately. The 2016 Malibu Limited is a renamed 2015 Malibu that Chevrolet is continuing to sell alongside the redesigned 2016 Malibu.

See 2016 Chevrolet Malibu specs and trims »

  • "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
  • "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
  • "Fully redesigned, the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu makes its presence felt with standard turbocharged power, an optional hybrid version and much sleeker styling inside and out. The family sedan segment is so competitive that it's hard to pick a winner, but the new Malibu is now in the conversation." -- Edmunds
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