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2021 Chevrolet Malibu

Research, photos, specs, and expertise
6 photos

Chevrolet Malibu highlights

Customer rating

Pros

  • Spacious interior with ample front-seat headroom
  • Hybrid trim offers high fuel efficiency and brisk acceleration
  • Easy-to-use touchscreen interface

Cons

  • Lackluster acceleration from base 1.5-liter engine
  • Limited outward visibility
  • Interior looks dated compared to rivals

Mileage (EPA estimate)

22 city, 32 highway, 26 combined

Pricing for current inventory

(no current inventory)

6 photos
Price
Year
Mileage

2021 Chevrolet Malibu remains an appealing SUV alternative

With its roomy and quiet cabin, comfortable ride and surprisingly good handling, the 2021 Chevrolet Malibu is a likable enough midsize sedan. But today, “likable enough” isn’t a sustainable strategy for competing against offerings from Honda, Toyota, Hyundai and Kia. Those brands continue to innovate with features, technology and quality, while Chevrolet continues tweaking at the margins of its lone sedan. The Chevy Malibu is still an appealing choice if you like the idea of a roomy, American alternative to an SUV. Otherwise, the Malibu’s rivals have increasingly left it behind in terms of standard and available features.

For 2021, wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ come standard, and a new safety feature called Buckle to Drive prevents the car from being driven until the driver’s seat belt is fastened. A new Sport Edition includes blacked-out exterior trim. The 2021 Malibu doesn’t offer standard driver assistance features, such as blind-spot monitoring or lane departure warning, which are now common features that most competitors offer in some standard bundles. It’s an unfortunate oversight for a modern family sedan.

All Chevrolet Malibu years

2021 Chevrolet Malibu trims

Curious how Chevrolet Malibu trims differ? Use our side-by-side vehicle comparison to see the differences and similarities

L:

LS:

  • Includes all features available on the L
  • No significant upgrades found on the LS

LT:

RS:

Premier:

  • Includes all features available on the RS
  • 250-hp, 260-lb-ft of torque 2.0L
  • Panoramic Sunroof
  • Memory Seats
  • Rear Seat Heaters
  • Leather Seats
  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • A/C Seats
  • Sunroofs
  • BOSE Sound System
  • View our Chevrolet Malibu Premier inventory

Chevrolet Malibu photos

5 reasons to buy the 2021 Chevrolet Malibu

What We Like

Driving: We hesitate to recommend the Malibu’s most expensive trim level, the Premier, but it’s the only way to get the 250-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This engine helps the Malibu zip from 0-60 mph in 6.4 seconds and it’s a perfect foil for the Malibu’s surprisingly athletic ability. It also returns an EPA-estimated 26 mpg combined.

The base 1.5-liter engine does the job, but this engine’s far more fun.

Interior: The 2021 Malibu’s interior design shows its age alongside fresher competitors, but it’s still a comfortable cabin with classy touches and materials. The symmetrical dash and wide center console enhance the cabin's spacious feel, while buttons and controls are arranged in logical and ergonomic fashion.

Comfort: The Malibu uses ample sound insulation to reduce outside noise and keep it from filling the cabin with a dull roar. Anyone will appreciate the effect during a hectic commute or long journey over varying road surfaces. It’s a subtle quality that, when combined with the Malibu’s wide and supportive front seats and roomy backseat, makes for a pleasant drive anytime.

What Needs Improvement

Transmissions: The Malibu’s two different transmissions are disappointing. The uninspired continuously variable transmission (CVT) that pairs with the 1.5-liter base engine lacks refinement, and while it’s good for extra mpg, it’s prone to the unnatural and noisy feel common with inferior CVTs. And while we still like the 2.0-liter turbo engine, its nine-speed transmission is also awkward, hampered by software programming aimed at maximum fuel economy.

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Ratings & reliability

Customer ratings

4.5 out of 5

2 customer reviews
4
Excellent

RepairPal gave the Chevrolet Malibu an overall reliability rating of 4 out of 5 stars, which RepairPal describes as Excellent. This rating ranks Chevrolet Malibu 10th out of 28 among Midsize Cars.

View RepairPal's full rating of the Chevrolet Malibu

Chevrolet Malibu features and specs

Premier 2WD 4D Sedan

Standard Features

  • A/C Seat(s)
  • ABS Brakes
  • Air Conditioning
  • Alloy Wheels
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • Android Auto
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • BOSE Sound System
  • Cruise Control
  • Front Seat Heaters
  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • Leather Seats
  • Memory Seat(s)
  • Navigation System
  • Overhead Airbags
  • Panoramic Sunroof
  • Power Locks
  • Power Mirrors
  • Power Seat(s)
  • Power Windows
  • Rear Defroster
  • Rear Seat Heaters
  • Rear View Camera
  • Remote Start
  • Satellite Radio Ready
  • Side Airbags
  • Smart Key
  • Traction Control
  • Turbo Charged Engine
  • Automated Cruise Control
  • Automated Parking
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Parking Sensors

Drive Wheels

Front Wheel Drive (2WD)

Engine size

2.0L

Horsepower

250

Torque (ft-lbs)

260

Engine type

Turbo Gas

Fuel capacity

15.8

Wheelbase

111.4"

Overall length

194.2"

Width

73"

Height

57.9"

Leg room

F 41.5"/R 38.1"

Head room

F 39.1"/R 37.5"

Front tires

245/40R19

Rear tires

245/40R19

Seating capacity

5

Transmission

Automatic

2021 Chevrolet Malibu FAQ

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