The current generation of the Chevrolet Malibu has been on sale for approximately three years now and for the 2019 model year, it has undergone an expected mid-cycle refresh.
The changes included in the refresh are limited to just minor exterior and transmission tweaks.
The 1.5-liter standard four-cylinder is now mated to a new CVT instead of the previous six-speed automatic transmission. Also, the front grille is now a little larger with revised headlights. Out back, updated taillights and a revised bumper design follow and a new RS trim has been introduced. The hybrid remains unchanged.
ALSO SEE: Chevrolet Malibu Review
“Sophisticated, refined and efficient, the Malibu is a minor interior upgrade away from being a potentially overwhelming threat to the stalwarts of the family sedan world. As it stands now, they better still watch their backs – the Malibu is coming,” said AutoGuide.com in a full review of the sedan back when this generation was first introduced.
Make sure to check out our full review of the sedan, but here’s a quick overview of the Malibu’s pros and cons.
2019 Chevrolet Malibu Pros and Cons
It Looks Sharp: In a segment where every competitor is now trying to stand out stylistically, the Malibu takes the cool and confident approach. A muscular front end is paired with a tastefully curvy body and a slightly sloping rear roofline.
A generous choice of 16-, 17-, 18-inch wheel designs also help to complete that sophisticated look that is akin to that one suit in your wardrobe that is not too bold but just perfect enough to get positively noticed.
Family-Friendly Features: Standard on the base L model is a backup camera and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Chevrolet’s new Infotainment 3 software. But even more ingenious is a Teen Driver feature that both provides programmable speed warnings set by parents and in-vehicle reports for parents to review how many collision alerts were activated as well as other warnings. Parents of teenagers should be pleased by this.
Available Hybrid Version: Having a hybrid version is a significant advantage in this segment and the Malibu does not disappoint in that area. The hybrid version pairs a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine good for 122 horsepower and 130 pound-feet of torque with two electric motors. Combined power rating totals 182 horsepower and the best thing about this hybrid is how close it mimics the gasoline version in terms of refinement.
ALSO SEE: 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Review
Generous Standard Equipment: Cruise control, automatic headlamps, a backup camera and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come standard on the base L model.
Stands Well Against the Competition: Despite very strong competition from segment stalwarts such as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, the Malibu offers a very capable alternative that doesn’t make you feel like you are settling for less. The three engine options give you a lot of flexibility. If the 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbo with 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque is not enough for you, the gutsier 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo making 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque should provide more than enough momentum.
Finally, the previously mentioned hybrid powerplant should prove sufficient for those environmentally conscious buyers.
Limited Outward Visibility: The Malibu has a higher than average deck lid that can limit rear visibility a little bit. Also, the significant C-pillars can cause some blind spots when making lane changes.
Boring Interior Trimmings: The interior design of the Malibu is made of high-quality plastics and soft-touch materials. On some trim levels, you can order two-tone color options that really stand out. But, the overall theme stays away from taking any styling risks and can be seen as tame compared to competitors with more adventurous interior trimmings.
Average Fuel Economy: The base turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder officially has a fuel economy rating of 27 mpg in the city and 36 on the highway. Combined mileage stands at 30 mpg and that puts the Malibu behind several of its competitors.
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