2021 Chevrolet Malibu

Rating7.8

Ranked #10 in Midsize Sedan

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Starting MSRP 

$23,265 - $34,495

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Key Spec of 2021 Chevrolet Malibu
fuel economy

29/32/36

fuel type

Regular Unleaded

horsepower

160 hp @ 5700 rpm

basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.

ProsConsWhat's New

Spacious interior

Base engine is not exciting

Addition of wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

Excellent infotainment features

Outward visibility is limited

New Sport Edition Package for LT trim

Powerful optional engine

Safety features do not come as standard

Buckle-to-Drive feature is now standard

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: July 30, 2022

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor

The 2021 Chevrolet Malibu competes in a fading midsize sedan segment and offers just a few updates for the current year. Starting at an MSRP of $22,270, the Malibu 2021 now offers wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard. A Sport Edition Package is available with the LT trim, accentuating exterior styling on the LT trim. The list of safety features is quite lean but the “Buckle-to-Drive” feature is now standard across all the trims. The 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter turbo engines with 160 hp and 250 hp are offered. Overall, the 2021 Malibu aims to lead with practicality, good specifications, generous dimensions and affordability. 

2021 Chevrolet Malibu For Sale 

The 2021 Chevrolet Malibu is not a modern and up-to-date sedan. The “Kansas-Made” sedan is known for its affordable price, good trim configurations, interior space, and practical nature. The Malibu does miss out on advanced driver-assistance features that are offered as standard on some rivals. Some good finance and lease options ($359/month, 42 months, $2,999 D.P, 10,000 miles) are available as per buyers profile. Going for a used 2021 Malibu sedan can be a clever decision and you might find one in good condition for sale at a much lower cost.

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Buying Advice 

The 2021 Chevrolet Malibu is a no-nonsense family sedan and it's not shy of its outdated styling. Despite tough competition from multiple automakers, the Malibu is the only surviving American sedan in this segment. Chevrolet’s midsize sedan can be considered as a good car, considering the fact that it has had two recalls and four complaints registered with the NHTSA. Compared to previous model years, the Malibu 2021 has improved in terms of better reliability and lesser problems. We would recommend going for the 2021 or 2022 model years only. 

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Latest Updates

  • May' 18, 2022 : The Cheapest Chevrolet Cars To Look Out For In 2022 Read More »
  • Apr' 12, 2022 : Most Fuel Efficient Midsize Cars On Sale In The US Read More »
  • Feb' 9, 2022 : Chevrolet Stops Taking New Order For 2022 Malibu Read More »
2021 Chevrolet Malibu

The 2021 Chevrolet Malibu is offered in L, LS, RS, LT and Premier trim configurations. The L, LS, RS and LT trims are powered by a 1.5-liter turbo engine with 160 horsepower. The top-tier Premier trim is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo engine producing 250 horsepower. All the trims are priced well and offer decent interior features, comfort, trunk space and practicality. Chevrolet’s only sedan competes with the likes of Honda Accord, Kia K5 and Toyota Camry.


Trim wise pricing breakdown


NameInvoice PriceMSRPNumber of Listings
LS Fleet 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl Turbo CVT)$22432$23270104 Listings
L 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl Turbo CVT)$22118$232650 Listings
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Over All Rating

7.8

Out of 10

8.00
9.00
7.50
7.50
8.00
8.00
8.00
7.00
8.00
8.00
Notable Rankings

#10 in Midsize Sedan

#14 in Sedan


Pictures & Videos



Trims

L$23,265 onwards
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  • 2 - 1st row LCD monitor
  • A-Spec Sport Seats
  • Keyfob (all doors) Remote keyless entry
  • Manual front air conditioning
  • Premium cloth Seat trim

LS$23,270 onwards

  • Engine immobilizer
  • Front & Rear Cupholders
  • Remote anti-theft alarm system

LT$27,795 onwards
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  • Heated Front Seats
  • Heated mirrors
  • SiriusXM AM/FM/Satellite, Radio

Premier$34,495 onwards
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  • 1st and 2nd row Sliding and tilting glass Sunroof
  • Driver and passenger Lumbar support
  • Leather Seat trim
  • Navigation system


Colors and Styles

Build Car
Black Berry

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

The 2021 Chevrolet Malibu is an affordable sedan and offers good practicality. The L, LS, RS is for the more budget-conscious, while the LT and Premier trims are targeted towards better creature comforts and performance. As compared to previous model years, the 2021 Malibu scored an overall 80 out of 100 in the J.D. Power Consumer Rating, based on multiple consumer reviews. A high score of 84 out of 100 for quality and reliability points at the issue-free nature of this sedan. 

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Review 

Considering a five year period, the estimated ”Cost-To-Own” is pretty much average for this segment. After five years, Chevrolet’s midsize sedan would depreciate by $13,000. The fuel, insurance and maintenance charges are estimated to be $7,860, $6,979 and $4,963 respectively. The repair charges are estimated to be $968 over a period of five years, which is pretty average. However, the Malibu lacks modern driver-assistance features as standard and are offered with optional Driver Confidence Packages

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

Buying Advice
8.0/10

The 2021 Chevy Malibu is offered in desirable trim configurations and buyers can choose one as per their requirements. However, we would recommend the mid-level RS trim. The RS trim combines sporty appearance with decent fuel economy. It offers blacked-out appearance, 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, power outside mirrors, RS accents, rear spoiler, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. So, for the asking price, the list of exterior and interior features is quite good. However, if budget is not a constraint then LT and Premier trims would offer better creature comforts

Features
7.5/10

The Malibu doesn’t stand out from the crowd of mid-size sedans, all of which are attracting fewer shoppers as SUVs take over as the family vehicle of choice- Cars.com

The 2021 Chevrolet Malibu is offered in L, LS, RS, LT and Premier trim configurations. The range starts at an MSRP of $22,270 for the base L trim and goes up to $33,500 for the top-tier Premier trim. The practical midsize sedan from Chevrolet ticks many right boxes but lacks modern interior design and advanced driver-assistance features as standard. With growing competition, the Malibu finds it tough to exist and stand out in the crowded segment. The base L trim is pretty basic and must be avoided in our opinion. 

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Features 

Climbing up the trim ladder and moving to the LS trim adds features like teen driver technology, active noise cancellation, digital compass, and outside temperature display. The rest of the features remain the same as the L trim. The RS trim adds blacked-out appearance with black grille inserts and black bowtie emblems. The rear spoiler, dual exhaust outlets and RS badging accentuate the exterior styling. The LT trim adds dual-zone climate control, remote vehicle starter system, power-adjustable seats with power lumbar control, rear console vents and LED taillamps.

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

The top-tier Premier trim adds LED headlamps, premium audio system, heated and power adjustable outside rear view mirrors, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seating positions, power-adjustable front seats and memory settings for driver’s seat and even wireless charging. Chevrolet also offers Driver Confidence Packages for enhanced safety and a new Sport Edition (blacked-out appearance) is introduced for the LT trim besides Leather Package, Redline Edition, and Midnight Edition. The optional packages enhanced the exterior appearance of the LT trim. 

Engine and Performance
7.5/10

Like many mid-size family sedans, the Malibu offers several powertrains- Car and Driver

The 2021 Chevrolet Malibu is powered by two different engine options: a 1.5-liter inline-four turbocharged engine with 160 hp / 184 lb-ft of torque and 2.0-liter inline-four turbo engine with 250 hp / 260 lb-ft of torque. The smaller engine is standard with the L, LS, RS and LT trims. The bigger engine is reserved for the Premier trim. The performance from the base engine is underwhelming on highways but in the city the performance is adequate. 

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Engine 

The trims with 1.5-liter engine can sprint from 0 mph to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds and a quarter-mile run is completed in 16.0 seconds. Similarly, the Premier trim with 2.0-liter engine does a 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds and a quarter-mile run is completed in 14.3 seconds. The L, LS, RS and LT trims get CVT as standard, while the Premier trim gets a 9-speed automatic transmission. All the trims come with front wheel drive and all wheel drive is not available even as an option. 

2021 Chevrolet Malibu 0-60

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 major disappointments is that it lacks 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.  

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

130 mph

115 mph

137 mph

135 mph

The Kia K5 is the slowest in the comparison in terms of 0-60 mph time, followed by Chevrolet Malibu. The Honda Accord is not the most powerful but offers the best 0-60 mph time. The Toyota Camry is the most powerful sedan and it follows Honda Accord with second best 0-60 mph time. However, the difference is very small among these family sedans. Owing to a lower curb weight and well-designed rotors, the Malibu offers shorter stopping distance from 60 mph to 0 mph, followed by Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Kia K5. 

Fuel Economy
8.0/10

In terms of EPA fuel-mileage estimates, the Malibu's smallest engine underperforms the equivalent base powertrains in the Accord and the Toyota Camry- Car and Driver 

The 2021 Chevrolet Malibu offers decent gas mileage but is not the best in the segment. With a 1.5-liter engine, one can expect an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 29/36/32 mpg in city/highway/combined driving conditions. Similarly, the Premier trim with a 2.0-liter engine is EPA-estimated to deliver 22/33/26 mpg in the city/highway/combined driving conditions. With a fuel tank capacity of 15.8 gallons, the Malibu offers a combined driving range of 506 miles and 411 miles with the smaller and bigger engines respectively. 

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

The Honda Accord is the most impressive sedan in the comparison, offering best combined fuel economy. The remaining sedans offer same gas mileage in combined conditions. The Chevrolet Malibu and Toyota Camry offers the maximum driving range in combined driving conditions, followed by Honda Accord and Kia K5. A larger fuel tank of 15.8 gallons allows the Malibu to offer a long driving range, despite lower efficiency. 

Interior
8.0/10

While the Malibu's interior is not the fanciest or the quietest, it is very comfortable and ergonomically friendly- Car and Driver

The interior of the 2021 Chevrolet Malibu is well-designed and commodious. However, with competition heating up in the segment, the cabin feels dated. Just like many other sedans, the Malibu can accommodate five passengers with decent comfort. The dashboard sports symmetric look, with the infotainment display separating both the dash and the glovebox. The infotainment touchscreen is placed in the middle of the dash, integrated within the center console and flanked by two large air vents. We hope that the plasticky bits reduce in the future iterations for a more upmarket feel. 

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan Dashboard

The outside visibility is good but not the best in the segment. The front seats offer decent support but the images don’t do justice to the seating space. The rear seats are spacious too and offer adequate legroom for passengers. The L trim gets Medium Ash Gray Premium Cloth upholstery. The LS trim gets an additional choice for Jet Black Premium Cloth upholstery. The RS trim gets only the Jet Black Premium Cloth upholstery. The LT trim gets the same interior color options as the LS trim, adding Light Wheat and Jet Black Leather upholstery. The Premier trim gets only Light Wheat and Jet Black Perforated Leather upholstery.

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Seating

A 15.7 cubic feet of trunk space and some convenience features like keyless open and start, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, steering mounted controls and power windows are standard. Other features like power-adjustable front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seating positions, dual-zone climate control system, and sunroof are offered on the LT and Premier trims. The RS and above trims come with rear armrest with cup holders. The LT and Premier trims get access to rear console vents. All the trims get access to cargo anchors in the trunk. Even the door trim pads, front center console and map pockets offer storage space.  

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

Every sedan iin the comparison can accomodate up to five passengers. The Chevrolet Malibu offers decent trunk space but it's not the best in the segment. The Honda Accord offers the maximum cargo capacity, followed by Kia K5, Chevy Malibu and Toyota Camry. The Honda Accord offers the best rear seat legroom, followed by Chevy Malibu, Toyota Camry and Kia K5. The good thing is that, the best front passenger legroom is offered by Kia K5 and Chevy Malibu, which is more important for drivers. 

​  2021 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan Infotainment System

For the 2021 model year, an 8.0-inch touchscreen display, running on Chevrolet Infotainment 3 System, with support for wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is standard. The top-tier Premier trim supports the Plus version of the interface and navigation system as well. A six-speaker audio system, one Type-A and one Type-C USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity is standard too. A 9-speaker Bose premium audio system is offered on Premier trim only. The SiriusXM satellite radio with 3-month complimentary subscription, is offered with the LT and Premier trims. 

Some of the key interior features of the 2021 Chevrolet Malibu are:  

  • Leather-wrapped shift knob and seats
  • Dual--zone climate control system
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Power adjustable driver’s seat
  • Ventilated front seats
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • SiriusXM satellite radio
  •  9-speaker Bose audio system
Exterior
8.0/10

The Chevrolet Malibu was introduced in 2016 and was redesigned for the 2019 model year. However, the original body profile has remained the same. The 2021 Chevy Malibu gets the same sleek headlamps and appealing front chrome grille with a horizontal bow-tie emblem on it. The fog lamps in the front bumper are attractive and unique. The front bumper blends well with the front fascia design. The sleek front fascia without much drama lends it an appealing and executive sedan appearance..

​  2021 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan Side View

The side profile gets two character lines on the doors that tend to merge with each other. Depending on the trim configuration, the wheel sizes vary from 16-inch to 19-inch. The length is just about adequate, while the curb weight is on the lower side. The rear profile looks good as well with two well-designed minimalistic tail lamps and available two trapezoidal exhaust tips. Different exterior colors like Summit White, Ice Metallic, Dark Ash, Mineral Gray, Cherry Red Tintcoat, Black Cherry Metallic, Northsky Blue Metallic and Mosaic Black Metallic.are offered. 

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

5.5”

5.5”

5.3”

5.7”

Wheelbase

111.4”

111.4”

110.4”

111.2”

The Chevrolet Malibu is the lightest sedan in the comparison with a lower curb weight. It is also the longest sedan, followed by Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Kia K5. A longer wheelbase of 111.4 inches offers better stability on highways and aids with good rear seat legroom as well. The ground clearance of all the sedans is quite similar. Overall, the Chevrolet Malibu offers balanced exterior dimensions, resulting in better interior space. 

Some of the key exterior features of the 2021 Chevrolet Malibu are: 

  • LED headlamps
  • Heated outside mirrors
  • Black/chrome exterior trim
  • Dual exhausts
  • Rear spoiler (RS variant only)
  • Body-colored ORVM
  • Dual-pane sunroof
Safety
7.0/10

The 2021 Chevrolet Malibu performed well in crashworthiness tests but failed to earn the Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS, which is the second-highest honor from the agency. It received only ‘Marginal’ ratings in the small overlap front passenger-side test and the LATCH tests. However, it has also scored an excellent four-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, which is also very impressive.

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Crash Test

It packs multiple passive safety features like airbags, teen driver technology, rear vision camera, buckle-to-drive and LATCH system, while offering several active safety features like the forward collision warning, automated emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control. However, most of these features are not offered as standard and are a part of Driver Confidence I and II Package.

Some of the key safety features of the 2021 Chevrolet Malibu 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
Competition
8.0/10

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 Accord 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. The Malibu offers better rear seat legroom and driving range as compared to the Kia K5. 

2021 Kia K5

The Kia K5 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

The 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. It also offers the same combined driving range as the Malibu. 

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. The Camry offers better performance and even cargo capacity is slightly better. We would suggest the Toyota Camry. 

Final Verdict
8.0/10

The 2021 Chevrolet Malibu is an aging midsize sedan and Chevrolet has not paid enough attention on it. Chevrolet will discontinue the Malibu after the 2023 model year and replace it with an EV or a more modern car. However, in its very competitive category, this sympathy is not enough to make it sell as the rivals offer much better value propositions in terms of performance, handling, trunk space, gas mileage and even comfort. For these reasons, we feel it is better to go with something like the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry instead of the Chevrolet Malibu. 

Features

vehicle bio
base price

$23265

body style

4dr Sedan

engine type
displacement

91 cu in

horse power

160 hp @ 5700 rpm

torque

184 lb.-ft. @ 2500 rpm

transmission

1-Speed CVT

dimensions
length

194.2 in

wheelbase

111.4 in

width

73 in

curb weight

3126 lbs

Height

57.6 in

Ground Clearance

6.5 lbs

capacity
passenger volume

102.9 cu ft

cargo volume

15.7 cu ft

passenger capacity

5 Seats

fuel economy
city/combined/highway

29/32/36 mpg

highway range

568.80 mi

warranty
basic warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.


Chevrolet Malibu 5 year Cost To Own


Cash Price(MSRP)
$24,721
5 Year Cost To Own
$41,062
Total 5 year Cost To Own -  $41,062
Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5total
Depreciation$8,640$1,062$1,035$1,200$1,071$13,008
Insurance$1,336$1,323$1,363$1,455$1,502$6,979
Fuel$1,489$1,531$1,623$1,589$1,634$7,866
Maintenance$442$864$671$1,296$1,690$4,963
Repairs$-37$20$180$322$483$968
Financing Interest$1,531$1,265$900$618$242$4,556
Taxes and Fees$2,120$148$180$120$154$2,722
Total Cost-To-Own$15,521$6,213$5,952$6,600$6,776$41,062
Read more about Cost-To-Own »

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