GO
#15

in Affordable Midsize Cars

MSRP: $22,465 - $30,480
Invoice: $21,679 - $28,804
MPG: 25 City / 36 Hwy
Find the best local price: submit
How the Best Price Program works »

Chevrolet Malibu Performance

Automotive journalists write that the 2015 Chevrolet Malibu has two strong powertrains and a composed ride. However, many note that it isn’t as fun to drive as rivals like the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima.

  • "If you value a playful, sporty character when you're in the saddle, there are better options elsewhere." -- Edmunds
  • "Last year's suspension improvements went a long way toward settling the car on the road, and when combined with the quiet ride, the result is a midsize sedan that's well suited to long road trips over mile after mile of Interstate. The Malibu is also confident, if not exactly thrilling, on mountain roads too." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "We can't say the Malibu was exciting to drive, or inspiring, but it did what a midsize sedan is supposed to do, and it did it well. It was easy to drive and park, and easy to keep true on the road." -- AutoWeek (2014)
  • "Still, while Chevy will happily tell you that these upgrades limit body roll and contribute to ‘a more precise, controlled feel - especially while cornering,’ the truth is that, once again, this is one of the least-engaging vehicles in the class. It's not Camry disconnected, but from a driver's perspective, the Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Mazda6 and Nissan Altima all offer more rewarding behind-the-wheel experiences." -- Autoblog (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Chevrolet Malibu comes standard with a 196-horsepower, 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine. A 259-horsepower, turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine is also available. Every Malibu is equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission. According to the EPA, the 2015 Chevy Malibu gets 25/36 mpg city/highway, which is in line with what many competitors get. Still, competitors like the Honda Accord get better gas mileage. An auto stop-start feature is standard, which can conserve fuel by automatically turning off the engine when the car comes to a stop.

Test drivers say the base 2015 Malibu has no trouble with off-the-line acceleration or highway merging, thanks to its strong four-cylinder engine. They note that the turbocharged engine is an even more powerful option that can keep pace with many six-cylinder rivals. The Malibu’s seamless stop-start system also draws praise, as does its smooth-shifting transmission.

  • "The standard 4-cylinder engine offers decent power but only mid-pack fuel economy. The start-stop system added last year, which shuts off the engine at stoplights or in heavy stop-and-go traffic, is one of the best out there. The turbocharged Malibu offers notably more power and low-end torque, easily making the 4-cylinder competitive with the V6 engines available in other cars." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2.5-liter engine is one of the strongest base offerings in this segment, providing plenty of juice whether you're accelerating from a stop light or merging on the freeway. Still, the 2.0-liter turbo is a significant and desirable upgrade, imbuing the 'Bu with authoritative power at any legal speed." -- Edmunds
  • "Around town, the 2.5-liter engine proves to be more than adequate to motivate the new Malibu with ease, with the new six-speed transmission proving to be a willing and well-matched partner. Acceleration is brisk, and there's more than enough passing power." -- Cars.com (2014)
  • "The new stop/start function is really slick here in the Malibu, and that's a good thing, since it can't be turned off like on some cars. In our day of driving, we never found it to be intrusive or jarring." -- Autoblog (2014)

Handling and Braking

Automotive journalists write that the 2015 Chevrolet Malibu has a very comfortable and composed ride, even on bumpy pavement, but lacks the engaging handling of many rivals. Despite a number of handling improvements in 2014, reviewers still wish it had more communicative steering and a firmer brake pedal.

  • "The suspension is a win as well, expertly soaking up bumps while preserving the driver's sense of control. The one demerit here concerns handling, as the Malibu just isn't that fun to drive compared to some rivals." -- Edmunds
  • "Speaking of the electric power steering, we previously criticized the system for feeling too light and overboosted. A recalibrated rack doesn’t provide any additional feel or feedback – par for this segment, really – but it does feel more weighted, Like before, the 2014 Malibu feels firm and balanced, and the revised dampers do help curb the float that previously plagued the car." -- Automobile Magazine (2014)
  • "Brake feel may be improved, but it still isn't all that good, with all three models I drove exhibiting longer than expected travel before brakes engaged. They may be strong, but they don't feel terribly firm." -- Cars.com (2014)
  • "The newest Malibu felt extremely composed over the asphalt-patched roads in southeastern Michigan. Railroad tracks made noise but the vibration barely made it to the cabin." -- AutoWeek (2014)
Review Last Updated: 8/22/14

Next Steps: Chevrolet Malibu