$14,627 - $21,751

2017 Chevrolet Malibu Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu was new.

Scorecard

Interior: 8.0

Depending on trim level, you’ll either get a 2017 Chevrolet Malibu with an upscale interior or one fitted with low-rent materials. Base models have cheap plastics and too many varying surface textures. Spending more for an upper trim will get you nicer materials and better styling.

The seats in front and back are comfortable and spacious. On the technology front, the base Malibu isn't as well-equipped as some rivals, though the controls and available infotainment system are easy to use. Trunk room is typical for the class.

  • "While the Malibu doesn't have a groundbreaking, high-tech cabin, the organic design of the dashboard and sleek gauges are more visually interesting than those of the previous car." -- Edmunds
  • "Inside, I'm not fully sold on this base-level interior. Higher-spec Malibus have quite nice interiors, but our Malibu 1LT leaves much to be desired from a materials standpoint. My main complaint is with the cloth trim on the dash that wraps around the center stack. Other Malibus are finished with nice leather trim here. Our Malibu 1LT's cloth trim, though, screams 1995 Lumina." -- Motor Trend (2016)
  • "Up front, the dash is a complicated sculpture built up from a multitude of pieces with different textures and colors, including a kind of futuristic faux wood with pinstriping. The cabin isn't ugly or cheap, but it is busy, with panel part-lines everywhere." -- Car and Driver (2016)

Seating

You get seats for five on standard cloth upholstery in the 2017 Malibu. 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.

The rear seats are also spacious, with generous legroom. Two adults will have no problem getting comfortable. If you have small children, you'll appreciate that Chevrolet made the LATCH connectors easy to reach. No need to dig deep in the seat cushion to keep your kids safe.

  • "Seat comfort is a strong point in the Malibu. The power driver seat (we haven't tested the manual version) slides back farther than the Accord's, making this Chevy a good pick for tall shoppers, and all front-row riders will likely find support and cushioning to be satisfactory." -- Edmunds
  • "Two adults will be comfy in back, and the Malibu easily accommodates two child-safety seats. Ample space and easy-to-access lower Latch anchors add a measure of family-friendliness to the sedan." -- Cars.com (2016)
  • "The seats were supportive and comfortable, getting in and out was easy (tall drivers noted they no longer risked bumping their heads on the way in), and the rear seat was fine for full-size adults." -- Automobile Magazine (2016)

Interior Features

Push-button start, Chevy’s Rear Seat Reminder, 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 power sunroof.

Numerous safety features are also available, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, active lane keep assist, active park assist, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and a teen driver system.

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. Fortunately, both the 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. Even the optional navigation system is simple to master. You can save yourself some money, however, by skipping the navigation and instead using your smartphone's maps app through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Both 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 Buick Regal and the Ford Fusion Hybrid. In addition to a long list of driver assistance features, the Malibu has a few unique safety features. All models come with Rear Seat Reminder, which will prompt you to check the back seat for children or pets before getting out,so you don't leave them behind in a hot or cold car. There's also an optional Teen Driver system that lets you set speed and volume limits to keep your teenage drivers safe and attentive while they have the keys.

See 2017 Chevrolet Malibu specs »

  • "The lower-end unit has a 7-inch diagonal with merely adequate graphics, while the available 8-inch screen (standard on Premier, optional on LT and Hybrid) offers tablet-like colors and clarity. We like the intuitive menu structure, quick response times, and notable cool features such as mobile 4G Wi-Fi and full smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It's unfortunate, however, that the screen can become unreadable due to reflections and fingerprints." -- Edmunds
  • "There's no learning curve to using the audio and nav functions, and large Home and Back buttons add menu clarity when using the system. Gratefully, climate functionality hasn't been integrated; separate controls live below the screen." -- Cars.com (2016)
  • "While the audio system includes a volume knob, almost everything else is controlled through the touchscreen, mostly with large, easy-to-use virtual buttons that fall readily to hand. Climate controls - which are likewise easy to reach - consist of rotary temperature and fan-speed knobs along with individual mode buttons." -- Consumer Guide (2016)

Cargo

With 15.8 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk, the Malibu has a typical amount of trunk room for the class. The Ford Fusion, Chrysler 200, and Hyundai Sonata have bigger trunks, but the largest among them only offers an extra half cubic foot of room than the Malibu. If you want even more space and 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 feet of cargo room.

The trunk has a wide opening to fit large objects, but the bottom edge is rather high above the ground so you'll have to lift your stuff up and over to load it. The shape of the lid's support hinges limit the amount of usable space. All models come with split-folding rear seats to let you haul long objects. Unfortunately, the seatbacks don't fold flush with the load floor, so you can't just slide your cargo in, you'll have to lift it up over the edge of the seatback. On the plus side, there are release handles in the trunk that make it easy to fold down the seats.

  • "Small item cabin storage is unremarkable for a midsize sedan, but the 15.8-cubic-foot trunk is large, if admittedly average for the segment." -- Edmunds
  • "The trunk is wide at the rear, but sickle-type lid hinges dip a bit into the load area. Upper-line vehicles forfeit a spare tire to a sealing kit and pump, and that leaves a fair amount of 'unofficial' storage space beneath the floor. Folding the rear seat backs leaves a 2-stage 4-inch step up from the cargo floor, which means sliding long items forward poses a challenge." -- Consumer Guide (2016)
  • "Other practical conveniences include trunk releases for the rear folding seats, but thanks to the sexy, hiked-up styling, the Malibu's bumper is a high hurdle to clear when loading the trunk itself." -- Car and Driver (2016)

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