2018 Chevrolet Malibu

Interior


$21,680 MSRP
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2018 Chevrolet Malibu Interior Review

Scorecard

Interior: 8.1

The 2018 Chevrolet Malibu is comfortable and quiet, and its rear seat is roomy enough for two adults. Descriptions on styling range from "clean and modern" to "overly busy and cheap," leaving the final vote up to the eye of the beholder. The quality of the materials are typical for this class, as is the trunk size. The technology gets a gold star; a user-friendly, feature-rich infotainment system comes in all but the base model, and lots of active safety technology is available.

  • 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)
  • Interior materials are about par for the class, with the overall look being reserved yet modern. … While the dashtop is covered in what's known as 'soft paint' (not padded, but not just plain hard plastic, either), the dash face, door tops, and armrests are all padded. Bright trim surrounds many elements, and two-tone color combinations are available to brighten what is otherwise a somewhat subdued look." -- Consumer Guide(2016)
  • "My test topline Premium model wore plenty of cushy, padded plastic along with upscale leather seats and surfaces; stitching and perforation on the dash as well as satin-finish chrome trim add pops of class. Fake wood trim, however, looked like just that and cheapened the ambiance. Unfortunately, the LT model goes further down that road. Much like the carpeting on the walls of a Holiday Inn banquet room, the swatches of patterned upholstery lining the dash will likely look dated before the car leaves the dealership." -- Cars.com (2016)

Seating

The 2018 Malibu seats five people on cloth upholstery. Seating upgrades include leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel. The front seats are comfortable and offer good visibility, and the available power-adjustable driver's seat makes it particularly easy to find your ideal driving position. The back seat garners lots of praise for its spaciousness, with an above-average 38.1 inches of legroom and adult-friendly outboard seats.

For child safety seats, there are two full sets of LATCH anchors located on the outboard seats and a third tether anchor for the middle seating position. The hardware is mostly easy to find and use, though some caregivers may have difficulty using the deeply buried lower anchors.

  • "The comfortable front seats adjust to virtually any body size, and the rear seats boast enough legroom to seat tall adults, although they might find headroom a little tight." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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. In back, the elongated wheelbase opens up enough legroom to challenge rivals including the Ford Fusion, though in our experience, the Accord and Sonata offer even more. Still, the Malibu is competitive in terms of backseat space, and that addresses a major complaint about the previous-generation car." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "Where the cabin really shines is in the backseat. … It now has almost as much rear legroom as the Accord and Camry and more than the Hyundai Sonata. 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)

Interior Features

Standard features in the 2018 Malibu include a six-speaker audio system, keyless entry, push-button start, and Chevy’s Rear Seat Reminder (which prompts you to double check the back seat for tykes and belongings). While this list is a little shorter than some, all other trim levels come with the upgraded Chevrolet MyLink infotainment interface, a 7- or 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, a USB port, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and a rearview camera.

MyLink is one of the easier interfaces to use, featuring an uncomplicated menu layout. Additional buttons for climate and audio settings reside in the middle of the center stack, making quick adjustments a breeze.

Optional features include a 360-degree surround-view camera, navigation, satellite radio, a nine-speaker Bose audio system, Teen Driver (to set limits on speed and audio settings for young drivers), and wireless smartphone charging. For LT and Premier trim levels, a Driver Confidence package is available, adding forward collision warning, front pedestrian braking, low-speed front automatic braking, automatic high beams, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, following distance indicator, and rear cross traffic alert.

See 2018 Chevrolet Malibu specs »

  • "Even if you don't use CarPlay or Android Auto, you'll appreciate the Chevy MyLink infotainment system's combination of big icons and physical knobs and buttons. It's all part of an interior design that isn't just functional, but is among the best in class from a purely esthetic point, too. The gauges are big and clear, the dash curves and swoops attractively, and it's even easy to see out." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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. Furthermore, the base L trim comes standard with neither of these infotainment systems." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "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

The Malibu has a 15.8-cubic-foot trunk, which is a typical size for this class. The trunk feels pretty deep and spacious, and you can fold the rear seat (which is split 60/40) to haul extra-large items. A couple of design quirks lessen the overall convenience, though. These include a high bumper to clear when loading the trunk, a shallow cargo floor, and hinges that dip into the space when the trunk lid is closed.

  • 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 (2017)
  • 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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