2021 Chevrolet Malibu

MSRP $22,970 - $27,495

Ranked #18 in Midsize Sedan

6.8

Overall Rating

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: August 3, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


Chevrolet Malibu has been a long-running model as a family sedan from the brand. The current model was released in 2016 and has been showing some signs of age. What is also quite astonishing is that it is the last sedan that is being offered by the brand. Hence, the end of the production run for the Chevrolet Malibu also signifies the end of a whole era. 

See detailed review »

Pros

Spacious interiors

Excellent infotainment features

Good optional engine

Cons

Base engine is not exciting

Outward visibility is limited

Safety features do not come as standard

What's New?

Carryover from previous year

Addition of wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

Car gets a Sport Edition package


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$22970

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

top speed

145 mph

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

displacement

91 cu.in.

horsepower

160 hp @ 5700 rpm

torque

184 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm

transmission

1 speed CVT

chassis

brake rotors (f/r)

11.8/11.3 in.

dimensions

wheelbase

111.4 in.

length

194.2 in.

width

73 in.

height

57.6 in.

curb weight

3126 lbs.

ground clearance

6.5 in.

capacity

passenger volume

102.9 cu ft.

cargo volume

15.7 cu ft.

towing capacity

1000 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

7.8 sec.

zero to 100 mph

22.3 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

16 sec.

braking (70-0 mph)

167 ft.

warranty

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

corrosion warranty

6 yr./ 100000 mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

L$22,970 onwards

LS Fleet$24,095 onwards

LS$24,095 onwards

LT$27,495 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 Chevrolet Malibu in Black Berry color
Black Berry

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Pricing and Features

6.0

Engine and Performance

6.9

Fuel Economy

6.0

Interior

7.7

Exterior

6.0

Safety

6.0

Competition

8.5

6.8

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

6.8

Overall Rating


The 2021 Chevrolet Malibu is offered in five trim levels and two engines - a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and a 2-liter in the Premier trim. For this year, the Chevrolet Malibu price starts at MSRP $23,065, and it competes against the Honda Accord, Kia K5, and Toyota Camry. Let us see how it performs against its competitors in all departments.

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan Front Angle View
2021 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan Rear Angle View

6.9/10
Engine and Performance

6.0/10
Fuel Economy

7.7/10
Interior

6.0/10
Exterior

6.0/10
Safety

8.5/10
Competition


2021 Chevrolet Malibu Features

There are five trim levels offered with the only surviving sedan from Chevrolet, and those are L, LS, RS, LT, and Premier. The RS trim of the sedan will be reviewed separately. Price starts at MSRP $23,065 and goes all the way up until $34,295, which is a quite significant price increase.

But considering that the highest trim level offers a lot more like a different engine, LED headlights, a dual-pane sunroof, upgraded infotainment touchscreen with navigation, driver-seat memory settings, wireless device charging, and so on, we feel it does make a lot of sense.

Model

L

LS

LT

Premier

MSRP

$23,065

$24,195

$27,595

$34,295

Key Features

Halogen projector-beam lamps

16-inch Aluminum wheels

LED tail lights

9-speed Automatic transmission With overdrive

 

StabiliTrak electronic

Visor vanity Mirrors for Driver and Front passenger

LED daytime Running lights

18-Inch Aluminum wheels

 

teen driver technology

Compass and outside temperature display

Outside heated Body-color mirrors

Wireless charging

 

Stability Control system

Acoustic-Laminated windshield

17-inch Aluminum wheels

9-Speaker Bose sound system

 

Tire pressure monitoring

 

Remote start

8-inch diagonal color touchscreen

 

Rear vision camera

 

Dual-zone Automatic Climate control

Heated and Ventilated Driver and Front passenger seats

Which trim should you buy?

Coming in five very different trims, there is quite a lot to choose from when you’re in the market trying to buy a Chevrolet Malibu. We find the base trim level a bit too bare-bones to justify picking it up over much more modern competitors. Of the two highest trims that are not separated by quite a lot in terms of price, the LT trim level is a much better pick unless you don't want to miss out on the more powerful engine. However, the LT trim equipped with the Driver Confidence One and Two packages adds most of the features missing between this and the highest trim level for a fraction of the cost. 

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Engine and Performance

6.9/10

Powering the Chevrolet Malibu is a 1.5 L in-line turbocharged four-cylinder engine that is a bit lackluster, to begin with. This engine is good for 163 hp and 184 lb.-ft. of torque which are not good numbers considering the company that the Malibu is in. This engine is mated to a CVT automatic transmission while front-wheel-drive is the powertrain option as standard. The top-of-the-line Premier trim is offered with a 2 L four-cylinder engine that makes 250 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. There are no other transmission or powertrain options available.

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan In Acceleration Mode

When it comes to acceleration figures, the Malibu has a sluggish 7.8 second 0 to 60 mph time as well as a 16-second quarter-mile time. However, one advantage is that the pull is very even, and the power delivery is extremely smooth. Although this falls a bit short of the expected acceleration, its powerful 2.0L engine does a better job with the 6.1-second in 0 to 60 mph time.

Models

2021 Chevrolet Malibu

2021 Honda Accord

2021 Kia K5

2021 Toyota Camry

MSRP

$23,065

$24,770

$23,590

$24,295

Engine

1.5 liter turbocharged Inline-4

1.5 liter turbocharged Inline-4

2.4 liter Inline-4

2.5L Inline-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

CVT

CVT

6-Speed Shiftable Automatic

8-Speed Automatic

Power

163hp @ 5700 rpm

192hp @ 5500 rpm

180hp @ 5,500 rpm

203hp @ 6600 rpm

Torque

184lb-ft @ 2500 rpm

192lb-ft @ 1600 rpm

195lb-ft @ 1500 rpm

186lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

0-60 MPH

7.8 sec

7.2 sec

8 sec

7.6 sec

Quarter-Mile

16 sec

15.3 sec

16.3 sec

15.7 sec

Top Speed

145 mph

115 mph

137 mph

135 mph

The Chevrolet Malibu undercuts all the cars in its category in terms of price to stay competitive. And it has to do so because it is not nearly as modern, nor does it perform well enough to overcome its deficiencies. Honda Accord is a very compelling buy, even though it is the most expensive one, as it also delivers excellent performance and nearly the best features. Kia K5 proves to be a bit slower in terms of acceleration than the Chevrolet Malibu.

How well does the 2021 Chevrolet Malibu handle?

The Chevrolet Malibu is not a car that you would buy for its handling, however, it manages to provide a good and comfortable ride inside. If you equip the car with 19-inch wheels, the ride quality is a bit bad, but otherwise, it is quite plush as well as engaging. One of the disappointments is that it does not have steering that is particularly communicative, and hence the car is not built for spirited driving. For all these reasons, we still feel that the Malibu performs just as we expect from a sedan of its class and segment.

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Braking Performance

Chevrolet Malibu is equipped with 11.8-inch brake rotors in the front and 11.3-inch brake rotors in the rear. Being on the light side of this category at 3,126 pounds, braking performance can definitely be expected to be good in the Malibu. The pedal is a bit firm but does inspire confidence. The brake rotors are big enough to bring the car to a halt from 60 mph in 113 feet, which is very much impressive.

Models

2021 Chevrolet Malibu

2021 Honda Accord

2021 Kia K5

2021 Toyota Camry

Brake Front (in)

11.8

12.3

12.0

12.0

Brake Rear (in)

11.3

11.1

11.2

11.1

60-0 MPH (ft.)

113

123

124

122

Curb Weight (lbs)

3126

3131

3298

3241

As we can see from the table, the Malibu has much better braking performance than any of the rivals in its category. Both Honda and Toyota have 60 to 0 stopping distances around 123 feet, and the Kia trails right behind at 124 feet. We can see that the Kia is a much worse performer in nearly all aspects and that the Malibu remains competitive.

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Fuel Economy

6.0/10

Despite everything that can be said about the Chevrolet Malibu, fuel economy is an area where it performs according to the class benchmark.

The 1.5L engine returns 29 MPG in the city, 36 MPG on the highway, and 32 MPG in the combined cycle, which is acceptable although not too impressive. The fuel tank capacity of the sedan is 15.8 gallons, which is small but enough to have a range of up to 569 miles on the highway and 458 miles inside the city.

Model

2021 Chevrolet Malibu

2021 Honda Accord

2021 Kia K5

2021 Toyota Camry

MPG (City)

29

30

29

28

MPG (Highway)

36

38

38

39

MPG (Combined)

32

33

32

32

Fuel Capacity

15.8 gallons

14.8 gallons

14.8 gallons

15.8 gallons

Range (City/Hwy/Combined)

458/569/505 miles

444/562/488 miles

429/562/474 miles

442/616/505 miles

Despite the Malibu’s impressive figures, some of its rivals managed to outperform it in most aspects while also delivering much better performance. When it comes to fuel efficiency, we can see that the Honda Accord is the most impressive because it delivers excellent efficiency at 33 MPG combined. The highest range is from the Malibu as it has the largest fuel tank capacity at 15.8 gallons.

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Interior

7.7/10

The interior of the Chevrolet Malibu does not exactly reveal its age. Although some plastics inside the cabin can definitely be improved as they remain of inferior quality when compared to its rivals. In terms of switchgear as well, the layout is simple and the ergonomics work really well. It performs badly in terms of cargo capacity with just 15.7 ft.³ of storage.

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan Dashboard

In terms of interior space, however, the car feels very roomy, and that is definitely a plus point. The weakest part of the Chevrolet Malibu’s cabin is that it does not have the outward visibility that most of its rivals offer. However, if you want a trouble-free experience in terms of its interiors, the Malibu is still a good pick.

Model

2021 Chevrolet Malibu

2021 Honda Accord

2021 Kia K5

2021 Toyota Camry

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

40.1/58.5/45.3

39.5/58.3/42.3

40.2/58.0/46.1

38.3/57.7/42.1

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

37.5/57.1//38.1

37.3/56.5/40.4

37.8/56.1/35.2

38/55.7/38

Cargo Capacity (cu.-ft.)

15.7

16.7

16.0

15.1

Interior space of the cars in this category is a very important aspect because they are somewhat of the starting class of luxury cars. Even though none of them has a specific advantage in terms of space, Kia suffers a bit in terms of rear-seat legroom. Honda Accord has excellent cargo space as well as interior space, and that sets the benchmark in this category. The quality of switchgear, leather, and plastics is also much higher in the Honda Accord. Some standard interior features include:

  • Keyless ignition and entry
  • Cruise control
  • Leather-wrapped shift knob and seats
  • Climate control air conditioning
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Power adjustable driver’s seat
  • Ventilated front seats

What’s there to keep you entertained?

One of the most modern aspects of the Chevrolet Malibu is its infotainment system. Even though all trims come with a small 8-inch touchscreen system, it looks nice and packs all the necessary features for a modern infotainment system. The interface is also very simple to use even while driving.

​  2021 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan Infotainment Display

The system also allows wireless integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is a feature missing in many cars even today. Other features include built-in navigation, wireless charging, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and so on. There is a six-speaker audio system available as standard. Other available options include a nine-speaker audio system and a wireless smartphone charging pad. Some features of the infotainment system include: 

  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • HD Radio
  • SiriusXM satellite radio
  • 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Standard 6-speaker audio system
  • Upgraded 9-speaker audio system
  • Wireless device charging

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Exterior

6.0/10

In terms of looks, the Malibu was a good-looking sedan back when it was launched in 2016. It has not carried a lot of changes over the years, but it still looks more modern and sharp but not as much as it did back then.

​  2021 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan Side View

Even next to much more sophisticated rivals from Honda, Kia, and Toyota, the Chevrolet does not feel out of place. It also feels bigger than all these rivals, weighing 3,126 lbs and standing 6.5 inches above the ground.

Model

2021 Chevrolet Malibu

2021 Honda Accord

2021 Kia K5

2021 Toyota Camry

Curb Weight

3126 lbs

3131 lbs

3298 lbs

3241 lbs

Length

194.2”

192.2”

191.1”

192.1”

Width

73”

73.3”

73.2”

72.4”

Height

57.6”

57.1”

57.7”

56.9”

Ground Clearance

6.5”

5.5”

5.3”

5.7”

Wheelbase

111.4”

111.4”

110.4”

111.2”

We can see from the table that the Malibu is much bigger than its rivals in terms of all dimensions. It also offers the best ground clearance in its category, which is definitely a big plus point. Despite the larger overall dimensions, the car still manages to come as one of the lighter models in its class, which is again one of its strengths. Some standout exterior features include:

  • 16" Wheels
  • LED headlamps
  • Heated outside mirrors
  • Black/chrome exterior trim
  • Dual exhausts
  • Rear spoiler (RS variant only)
  • Body-colored ORVM
  • Dual-pane sunroof

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Safety

6.0/10

The 2021 Chevrolet Malibu was named as the Top Safety Pick from the IIHS, which is the second-highest honor from the agency. It has also scored an excellent four stars overall safety rating from the NHTSA, which is also very impressive. It does not just pack passive safety features but also has several active safety features like the forward collision warning, automated emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control. However, most of these features are missing in lower trim levels. Some of the standout safety features include:

  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Buckle to Drive
  • Automatic Park Assist
  • StabiliTrak electronic stability control system with traction control
  • Teen Driver
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Following Distance Indicator
  • Forward Collision Alert

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Competition

8.5/10

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Vs. 2021 Honda Accord

Honda Accord has remained the trusted pick in this category for a long while, and it also has the best sales numbers. Once we compare any car to the Honda Accord, it is not hard to understand why.

2021 Honda Accord

The Accord is a better-performing car and a more modern car, and it is also laid out with more features. It also has better sales and service support than the Chevrolet counterpart. When comparing the performance, Honda has better numbers. Of the two, Honda is the better choice.

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Vs. 2021 Kia K5

Even though the Kia K5 is a more modern rival to the Chevrolet Malibu, the American does manage to outperform the Kia in every single aspect.

2021 Kia K5

Kia is a bit more expensive and packs somewhat more features, but it’s an inferior car in terms of performance, interior space, and so on. Since these parameters are important in this category, we would pick the Chevrolet Malibu.

2021 Chevrolet Malibu vs. 2021 Toyota Camry

Toyota Camry has a very specific audience. It has impressed a lot of people with its stellar reliability, excellent service support as well as high fuel efficiency.

2021 Toyota Camry

Nowadays, however, its fuel efficiency is not the best in the category, but it still has a lot of its strengths. It is also built to higher standards than the Chevrolet Malibu.

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Final Verdict

The 2021 Chevrolet Malibu is an aging product from the American automotive giant. It could also very well be the last sedan from the brand if any of the trends are to be believed. However, in its very competitive category, this sympathy is not enough to make it sell as the rivals offer much better value propositions. For these reasons, we feel it is better to go with something like the Honda Accord instead of the Chevrolet Malibu.

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