The Chevy Malibu got a sharp redesign in 2016 that brought in a sportier look than this sedan’s ever had. With this look still fresh and rumors swirling about Chevy scrapping this midsize sedan following the 2024 model year, we expect to see the 2021 Malibu arrive as a carryover model.
The 2016 Malibu redesign brought a sportier feel to this midsize sedan with its more pronounced body lines and almost coupe-like rake to the C-pillar and rear glass. Buyers seeking even more speedy-looking bits can opt for the RS trim, which features darkened badges, upgraded wheels, a dark grille, a rear spoiler, and more. We expect this look to carry into the 2021 Malibu lineup unchanged.
Inside, the current Malibu boasts a traditional cabin for its class, but it adds to its style with light color contrasts, a large touchscreen, a simple HVAC interface, and uniquely shaped air vents. Moving up to the RS trim pushes even more contrast with its Jet Black interior setting off the metallic trim nicely. Buyers seeking more luxury will find this in the Premium trim, which includes leather seating, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and more. We expect this to all remain the same once the 2021 Malibu arrives.
We also expect the 2021 Malibu to carry on with same long list of standard interior amenities, including an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth audio streaming, and more.
Under its hood, we expect the 2021 Malibu to roll in with the same engine options, which will start with a standard 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that delivers 163 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. At the top of the lineup will be a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot with 250 hp. The 1.5-liter engine will pair with a continuously variable transmission, and the 2.0-liter will mate to a nine-speed automatic.
The current Malibu missed being an IIHS Top Safety Pick due to its lack of a headlight test and its “Marginal” rating in the passenger-side small-overlap test. While it boasts a “Superior” rating in one front-crash prevention test, keep in mind that this is with the enhanced automatic emergency braking system, which is an option only on the range-topping Premium trim. The basic automatic emergency braking system only received an “Advanced” rating and is an option on just the LT trim. The L, LS, and RS trims are not available with automatic emergency braking. We expect the safety features and ratings to carry into the 2021 Malibu unchanged.