The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu lacks a performance model and even the choice of a V6, but it's a solid entry in the mid-size segment, punctuated by good, efficient powertrains, and a quiet ride.

Pricing and Equipment

Prices for the Chevrolet Malibu start at $22,555 (including $875 in destination charges) for the base L trim, but most buyers will likely choose the mid-level 1LT for its $26,000 starting price and standard features that include:

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Rearview camera
  • Bluetooth audio and phone capability
  • Standard 7-inch or optional 8-inch touchscreen infotainment
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Heated power outside rearview mirrors with integrated turn signals

All models other than the base L trim come with a standard rearview camera. But the Malibu's advanced safety features like automatic emergency braking and Chevrolet's new "Front Pedestrian Alert" system are only available as options on the top two trim levels – the LT and Premier.

The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu is available with three engines. Most of the lineup is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that's paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The Premier trim gets a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder and a nine-speed automatic, while the Hybrid trim returns with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder, a pair of electric motors, and a 1.5-kilowatt-hour battery pack.

Performance Pros

Chevy Malibu
  • Other than on long grades and some highway passing, it's easy to mistake the 1.5-liter turbo for a bigger engine.
  • With plenty of low-end torque, the 2.0-liter turbo easily takes the place of a V6 in the Malibu lineup. For 2017, this engine is paired with a new nine-speed automatic transmission.
  • The Malibu Hybrid weighs just 100 pounds more than the 2LT, so it feels nearly as nimble. The only downside is a little less trunk space.

Performance Cons

  • The suspension isn't particularly performance-tuned and favors comfort over any serious edge.
  • The 1.5-liter runs out of steam at just 5,200 rpm. Rev it any higher and it just makes more noise – not more speed.
  • The gasoline engine in the Hybrid is noisier than in the non-hybrid models.

Interior Pros

  • Spacious for a mid-size sedan with a lower dash that helps open up the cockpit.
  • Most adults will find the Malibu's seats supportive for all-day drives.
  • Thoughtful touches include console padding at the knee and more bolstering and length in the seats.
  • Active noise cancellation and generous sound deadening make for a mostly quiet ride.

Interior Cons

Chevy Malibu
  • Cloth seats aren't terribly nice.
  • A swoopy roofline limits rear headroom for taller passengers.
  • Base models are trimmed in cheap-looking nylon cloth.
  • Non-hybrid models get 15.8 cubic feet of cargo space, while Hybrid Malibu only has 11.6 cubic feet due to the placement of batteries.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

Even the base Malibu L comes with engine stop-start, steering-wheel audio and cruise controls, Bluetooth, keyless ignition, a split-folding rear seat, and power windows with auto-down for all.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

The top Premier model comes with dual zone automatic climate control, but this feature – even single-zone automatic climate control - is not available on any other trim level.

The Bottom Line

Base models are spartan, the big engine is only available in the top level Premier, and the cloth interior feels a little cheap. But an Impala-inspired design, a quiet, comfortable interior, and two turbocharged four-cylinders plus a high-mileage hybrid may convince buyers to trade in their Camrys, Accords, or Fusions.