2022 Chevrolet Malibu

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz Senior Editor
July 6, 2021

Buying tip

A few interior tweaks make the Malibu LT the one to have for most shoppers, but plan to pay up for safety tech.

features & specs

4-Door Sedan LS w/1LS
4-Door Sedan LT
4-Door Sedan Premier
29 city / 36 hwy
29 city / 36 hwy
22 city / 33 hwy

The 2022 Chevrolet Malibu is an acceptable choice, but it’s a shame that this may be how Detroit closes its long chapter on mid-size sedans.

What kind of vehicle is the 2022 Chevrolet Malibu? What does it compare to?

The 2022 Malibu is a mid-size sedan that can be cross-shopped against the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Mazda 6. 

Is the 2022 Chevrolet Malibu a good car/SUV?

Review continues below

As the last front-wheel-drive mid-size sedan from Detroit, the Malibu is a reminder of the way things were for a few decades. It’s a good sedan, if not a great one, and it’s best appreciated with optional safety tech that’s standard on just about every other new car. 

Overall, we score the 2022 Malibu at a so-so 5.7 out of 10.(Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2022 Chevrolet Malibu?

The 2022 Malibu adds two new gray hues to its paint palette for the new year.

The Malibu comes only as a conventional four-door sedan with relatively sleek bodywork and a conservative attitude. The 160-hp turbo-4 standard on all but the range-topping Premier provides adequate power and works innocuously with the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The jump to 250 hp for the high-zoot Malibu is notable, but it doesn’t turn this into a sports sedan even though Chevy swaps in a slick 9-speed automatic gearbox. Instead, the Malibu is a sedate, comfortable cruiser with a good ride and long legs for highway treks.

Fuel economy is a sore spot, though. Base cars are rated at a decent 32 mpg combined, with the bigger turbo engine slides to a disappointing 26 mpg.

The cabin is spacious enough for four adults, and most trims other than the base L and LS are decked out nicely. The standard 8.0-inch touchscreen isn’t loaded with whiz-bang graphics, but it’s feature-laden and a cinch to use. It’s a real strong point. 

Crash-test results are generally good, but the lack of standard automatic emergency braking is inexcusable at this point. The 2022 Malibu is one of very few new cars to force buyers to pay extra for crash-avoidance tech. 

How much does the 2022 Chevrolet Malibu cost?

Chevrolet hasn’t released pricing yet for the 2022 Malibu, but don’t look for much of a bump over last year’s sub-$23,500 starting point. At around $29,000 for a Malibu LT with the Driver Confidence II package that adds safety tech we consider essential, this four-door is an OK buy. But don’t take one home without checking out rebates and dealer discounts first. 

Where is the 2022 Chevrolet Malibu made?

Kansas City, Kansas.


2022 Chevrolet Malibu


The 2022 Chevrolet Malibu is attractive, if not attention-grabbing.

Is the 2022 Chevrolet Malibu a good-looking car?

The latest Malibu doesn’t leave a strong impression, but its conservative lines should age well. We rate it at 6 out of 10 with a point above average for its exterior.

The Malibu has something of the four-door coupe look that originated in high-end European cars more than a decade ago. With an American spin on things—that big bowtie up front—it’s a classy-looking sedan.

Inside, the Malibu doesn’t thrill, but its interior is functional thanks to its 8.0-inch touchscreen mounted way up on the dash and cleanly-marked controls scattered about otherwise. Base L and more common LS versions look a little too Hertz or Avis for us, but LTs add in softer trim and more interior hues that match their price tags.

Review continues below

2022 Chevrolet Malibu


The 2022 Chevy Malibu offers good acceleration and a composed ride.

Is the Chevrolet Malibu 4WD?

No, you’ll need to look to Subaru or Nissan for a snowhound with four doors. 

How fast is the Chevrolet Malibu?

The Malibu accelerates well enough, but you’ll need to spend up for the expensive Premier to win any impromptu drag races. The base 1.5-liter turbo-4 on all but that model delivers 160 hp to the front wheels via a CVT that simulates real gear shifts in a mildly convincing manner. Fuel economy is reasonable and the engine is fairly refined. 

The big engine doesn’t deliver NASCAR-grade acceleration, but the 9-speed automatic is a refined operator. 

No matter what’s underhood, don’t look for slick handling or a stiff ride. If you’re good with a boulevardier that won’t make you queasy, the Malibu is well-tuned and does a good job isolating the world outside.

Review continues below

2022 Chevrolet Malibu

Comfort & Quality

The Chevy Malibu is solidly mainstream inside, but it’s spacious enough.

The 2022 Malibu doesn’t encroach on Cadillac territory, but there’s something to be said about the luxury of space. Its interior is roomy enough for four adults and its trunk is decent for its class. It’s a 6 on our scale thanks to good rear-seat room. 

Trim and materials are better on RS, LT, and Premier versions than on fleet-oriented L and LS models. The optional leather is surprisingly nice, too, and most versions have a power driver’s seat. But if you want a mid-sizer that feels special, look to Honda or Mazda for a cosseting feel and close attention to detail.

Review continues below

2022 Chevrolet Malibu


The 2022 Chevrolet Malibu is one of just a few cars to force buyers to pay up for crash-avoidance tech.

How safe is the Chevrolet Malibu?

It’s not that the 2022 Malibu is unsafe, it’s that Chevy is decidedly stingy for making buyers pay extra for anything but the basics. We rate it at 3 out of 10.

You’ll want to take extra-careful note of the Malibu’s crash-test ratings since automatic emergency braking and other collision-avoidance aids cost extra. In short: the Malibu doesn’t avoid accidents well. 

The feds rate it at four stars on account of not-so-good side-impact crash performance for rear-seat passengers. The IIHS issued a concerning “Moderate” score for the small-overlap frontal test but mostly “Good” ratings otherwise. All rivals do better.

And no rival charges extra for automatic emergency braking.

Review continues below

2022 Chevrolet Malibu


The 2022 Chevrolet Malibu can be a decent value, but watch its options list closely.

We score the 2022 Malibu at 5 out of 10, with the extra point for its infotainment offset by the extra cost for crash-avoidance features. 

The Malibu range starts at around $23,500 for the base L trim, but good luck finding that version on dealer lots. It’s only offered in two colors, and it’s the kind of bait-and-switch that we last remember seeing in a newspaper classified section in, oh, 1995. 

Which Chevrolet Malibu should I buy?

Instead, the LS is really the gateway to the lineup but we’d step up to the LT for its dressier interior and added feature set including a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, and a few other bits. But plan to spend extra for the Driver Assistance Package that includes automatic emergency braking and a bunch of other features that, well, live up to the name (and are standard on just about every other new car). 

How much is a fully loaded 2022 Chevrolet Malibu?

A $37,000 Malibu Premier theoretically exists, but that money buys so, so many other cars that deliver so, so much more.

Review continues below

2022 Chevrolet Malibu

Fuel Economy

The 2022 Chevy Malibu offers up acceptable but not stellar fuel economy.

Is the 2022 Chevrolet Malibu good on gas?

It’s alright—and it’s going to use less gas than the Equinoxes parked across the lot.

Most Malibus check in at 29 mpg city, 36 highway, 32 combined. The Premier slips to 26 mpg combined, but we use the 32-mpg engine for our 6 out of 10 rating.

Review continues below
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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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MSRP based on 4-Door Sedan LS w/1LS
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Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 6
Performance 5
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 3
Features 5
Fuel Economy 6
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2022 Chevrolet Malibu Pricing Insights

  • 2022 Malibu arriving; 2021s sold out
  • Lease: From $239/month
  • Rebates: Up to $750 off
  • Finance: From 0% APR
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