Chevrolet Malibu vs. Chevrolet Impala

By

Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


, Automotive Editor - March 15, 2017

An all-new Chevrolet Malibu debuted last year with dramatically improved efficiency and more interior space. For buyers who want even more stretch-out room, Chevy offers the Impala, a large sedan in the traditional American mold.

Is the spacious Impala worth the extra investment, or does the midsize Malibu deliver everything most buyers need?

See a side-by-side comparison of the Malibu & Impala »

What the Malibu Gets Right

The Malibu is a bit longer and wider than its predecessor, but weighs 300 pounds less. We're impressed by how much passenger space Chevy carved out of the interior. Front head room and rear leg room are particularly good. All but the base model come with laminated front and side glass for extra quietness. Buyers also get a healthy bundle of technology, like a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a Teen Driver feature that allows parents to monitor driving habits.

Most models run with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 160 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. While the 1.5-liter isn't particularly powerful, it returns an EPA-estimated 30 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving. That's outstanding for a non-hybrid family sedan. The top-shelf Premiere model gets a 2.0-liter turbo with 250 horsepower and a nine-speed automatic. This setup isn't as efficient at 26 mpg combined, but it transforms the Malibu into a robust performer.

What the Impala Gets Right

Chevrolet's largest passenger car, the Impala can seat five passengers with room to spare. With just two in the back, the Impala makes for a comfy long-distance cruiser. The bulging rear flanks disguise a 19-cubic-foot trunk that's wide and deep. The split-folding rear seat opens up additional cargo-carrying possibilities.

Unlike other sedans of its size, the Impala comes standard with a four-cylinder engine. The 2.5-liter generates 195 hp and achieves an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in combined driving. Buyers who want snappy acceleration will want to check out the optional 3.6-liter V6, which provides a class-appropriate 305 hp.

The Best of Both

The Malibu shines when it comes to efficiency and features for the money. The Impala makes its mark with uncompromising room and comfort for adult passengers.

Our Verdict: Chevrolet Malibu

Considering everything the Malibu does right, we think buyers will find it big enough.

Take a closer look at the Chevrolet Malibu »

Take a closer look at the Chevrolet Impala »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


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