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Expert's Rating

4.25Excellent | Details

MPG

26 City / 35 Highway
Contributing Editor -

Positioned between two popular sibling sedans, the compact Cruze and the full-size Impala, the midsize Malibu is a bit like the proverbial middle child. Both the bigger and smaller models often seem to command more attention. Yet all along, Chevrolet has been making gradual updates to keep the modern-day Malibu a compelling choice, even in the ultra-competitive family sedan market. For the 2016 model year, Chevrolet totally redesigned and enlarged the long-lived model, moving it to a longer wheelbase while shaving off almost 300 pounds.

What's New for 2017

In Premier models with the turbo engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission replaces the previous eight-speed unit. A newly optional Sport Package for the LT trim adds 18-inch aluminum wheels and leather trim for the steering wheel and shift knob. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard on most models, as is a Teen Driver feature that lets parents establish limits for young drivers.

Chevrolet Malibu

Choosing Your Chevrolet Malibu

The most important decision a Malibu buyer makes is the trim level. In addition to determining which features are included, the trim level dictates which of two turbocharged four-cylinder engines will provide power.

The sole engine for L, LS, and LT trim levels is a turbocharged Ecotec 1.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, and includes start/stop technology for enhanced efficiency. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, it's estimated at an impressive 36 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in city driving (30 mpg combined). This engine is installed in most Malibu trim levels.

Standard in Premier trim is a turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder that generates 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. With its new nine-speed automatic transmission, fuel economy is estimated at a decidedly less-frugal 22-mpg city/33-mpg highway (26 mpg combined).

For $1,195, the LT and Premier can get the optional Driver Confidence Package, which includes forward collision alert, lane departure warning, side blind-zone alert, lane keep assist, pedestrian detection, city-speed forward automatic braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and front/rear parking assist. An alternative Driver Confidence Package for the Premier trim adds full-speed adaptive cruise control, front automatic braking, semi-automatic parking assist, and an electronic parking brake.

Malibu sedans come in four trim levels:

L

Priced at $22,555 (including destination charge), the entry-level model comes with air conditioning, remote keyless entry, keyless start, power mirrors, power locks, cruise control, six-speaker audio, steering-wheel controls, tilt/telescopic steering column, and 16-inch steel wheels.

LS

One step up from L trim, the LS costs $1,545 more and adds features such as Chevrolet MyLink radio with a 7-inch touchscreen, OnStar 4G LTE with wi-fi hotspot, a rearview camera, automatic headlights, Bluetooth audio, a compass, and 16-inch aluminum wheels. The Teen Driver feature is new for 2017, as is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility.

LT

For an even $26,000, the LT adds amenities such as LED daytime running lights, SiriusXM satellite radio, a power driver seat, lighted vanity mirrors, power windows with express up/down, heated mirrors, and 17-inch aluminum wheels. Wireless phone charging, a sunroof, and navigation are available as options.

Premier

Standard equipment in the ultimate Malibu ($31,850) includes the 250-horsepower turbo engine and nine-speed automatic, as well as LED taillights, navigation with an 8-inch touchscreen, wireless phone charging, dual rear-seat USB ports, a 110-volt outlet, heated/ventilated front seats, a power front passenger seat, leather-appointed seating surfaces, driver memory, Bose nine-speaker audio, a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, and 18-inch wheels.

CarsDirect Tip

We almost always recommend against Chevrolets in base-level trim, and the Malibu is no exception. The midlevel LT model represents the best value. Coming close is the more costly Premier edition, because it adds quite a hefty selection of notable features. You might want to consider the Premier as an alternative to sedans from more expensive near-luxury brands.

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Best Chevy Deals & Lease Offers: July 2018

Special offers from Chevy have nosedived after the 4th of July. Gone are many of the early-month deals worth up to 20% off MSRP that were good through July 9. There are some... View All Chevrolet Lease Deals »

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