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- Attractive looks
- Refined demeanor
- Good fuel efficiency
- Great infotainment
- Basic Malibu L
- Big engine relegated to high-spec model
- Active-safety tech is pricey
- No standard rearview camera (yet)
A solid effort, the Chevrolet Malibu offers plenty of compelling reasons to lure customers into showrooms.
The 2018 Chevrolet Malibu is a solid contender in the crowded mid-size sedan class.
It stands out for its attractive styling, refined demeanor, and efficient hybrid powertrain, but we wish that its high-tech safety equipment didn’t require ponying up quite so much cash for a loaded model. Overall, we’ve assigned it a 7.0 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
For 2018, Chevy has only mildly tweaked the Malibu for this generation’s third model year. A new paint color and a Redline special appearance package are the big news, although Malibu L, LS, and LT models have a slightly larger fuel tank as well.
With the Malibu, Chevy offers tidy sheet metal with some lovely curves that cloak a large passenger cabin. Inside, it's roomy and clearly laid out. The cabin pairs a high-resolution 7-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on most models. Those features aren't found on the fleet-oriented Malibu L, a bargain model marketed to rental car firms and corporate users, not retail buyers.
Under most Malibu hoods sits a choice of 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter turbo-4 engines, both mated to automatic transmissions. Unlike a couple of rivals, the Malibu is front-wheel drive-only. At around 3,100 pounds, it’s among the lightest mid-size sedans, which helps it feel more nimble and sporty—although the Malibu is more about relaxed cruising than it is tearing up a race track.
The ace up the Malibu’s tailored sleeve is its optional hybrid powertrain. It pairs a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder to a 1.5-kwh lithium-ion battery pack that lets it run up to 55 mph on electricity alone and earns it an impressive 48 mpg combined.
A wide range of Malibus are on offer: L, LS, LT, and Premium variants that run the gamut from spartan to encroaching-on-Cadillac territory. All models perform well in crash testing and two versions of automatic emergency braking are available on LT and Premium models.