Striking styling distinguishes the Chevrolet Malibu, complete with sumptuous curves that evoke the luxurious Audi A7. Beyond the style there is true substance, with a comfortable ride, an almost absurdly quiet cabin, and undaunting controls. And, compared to the previous model, the rear seat now has more room. But there are several form and functional setbacks that result from this swoopy look, most notably visibility.
Alerts
There are 3 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit.
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
NA
2004
NA
2005
2006
NA
2007
NA
2008
NA
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
NA
2020
NA
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
NA
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
NA
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS available, standard from 2008. Head protection air bags available from 2004, standard from 2007. Side air bags available from 2005, standard from 2008. ESC available in 2008, standard from 2009.
Road Test

Striking styling distinguishes the Chevrolet Malibu, complete with sumptuous curves that evoke the luxurious Audi A7. Beyond the style there is true substance, with a comfortable ride, an almost absurdly quiet cabin, and undaunting controls. And, compared to the previous model, the rear seat now has more room. But there are several form and functional setbacks that result from this swoopy look, most notably visibility.

Sleeker-looking than many competitors, the Malibu compromises outward visibility compared to the more upright Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, or Subaru Legacy. Getting in and out of this slick cruiser requires more body contortions than we're used to. And the base cloth seats are not very supportive; this is a case where we'd spring for the optional, more comfortable leather seats.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 6-speed Automatic
  • 9-speed Automatic
  • CVT
Engines Available
  • 1.5-liter 4 turbo (160 hp)
  • 1.8-liter 4 hybrid (182 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (250 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2017 Chevrolet Malibu owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Gear selector or linkage

"when the gear selector was put in the park position an indicator light on the dashboard would light up indicating that the transmission was not in the park position"

Tom M., NY (2017 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Rough shifting

"Coming to a stop, the transmission felt like it slipped into neutral. Then when accelerating from the stop, the transmission revved without moving the car, then suddenly slammed into gear and car lurched forward. Cause:The transmission controller, which is embedded inside the transmission, wasn't sealed properly and had become saturated with transmission fluid."

E B., AZ (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Premier 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Slipping transmission

"Transmission would slip while sitting at a traffic light. Shifting into PARK and back into DRIVE would help get the car going. Problem turned out to be a firmware issue that the dealership took care of under warranty."

Carl J., TX (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Premier 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Transmission computer

"Transmission control module had to be replaced. The car would only shift into reverse and would not shift into forward at all."

David C., MI (2017 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Intermittent problems shifting into reverse"

Peter T., PA (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Premier 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Transmission sensor or solenoid

"towed car to dealer, proved out to be a lost vacuum hose to sensor."

David S., NY (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Premier 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"With the gear selector firmly in Park, he car thought it wasn't in Park, so engine would not shut off."

E B., AZ (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Premier 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Transmission wouldn’t shift into reverse. Dealership reprogrammed transmission following a service notice describing a documented issue."

Carl J., TX (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Premier 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

"Rear windshield leaked near the center high-mounted stop lamp and into the headliner on both sides of the rear windshield."

David C., MI (2017 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Water was permitted to enter passenger cabin due to a faulty seal in the high mounted stop light. Fixed by dealer"

Arthur J., TX (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 1.8-L 4 Cyl hybrid)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

"It would rain and then the floor would be soaking wet. This went unnoticed for sometime as it was blamed on the kids. Been to several dealers several times and its better not perfect but dealer service is horrible."

Lonnie Everett E., NY (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Premier 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Squeaks or rattles

"My 2017 CHEVROLET Malibu Hybrid has been riddled with squeaks and rattles (among other fit and finish issues). Below, please find a running list of the issues. 7/25/2017 Days after taking delivery of the vehicle, I noticed the LED accent lighting strip above the glove box on the passenger-side was drooping down and not in place. It took 2 visits to Courtesy Chevrolet to fix the LED light strip; on the second visit (7/25/2017) the dealer dented the driver-side door on the character line; 750 miles were on the ODO (repaired on 8/7/2017). 8/24/2017 The check engine lights comes on while traveling at highway speeds with 3,200 miles on the ODO; the EGR coolant was low. 1/31/2018 After documenting months of rattles, creaks, and a vibration (what I care about most), I entrusted my local dealer, Earnhardt Chevrolet to fix… A rattle heard with every drive in the right-rear speaker area, on the rear window deck. Reproduced and FIXED. ?? A rattle heard on rougher pavement in the left-front A pillar speaker grill. Unable to duplicate; not fixed. The passenger seat (with a passenger in it) creaked with any change in vehicle direction. FIXED. ?? The HVAC controls panel has went out 2 times prior to this visit. The control panel is not illuminated, but the system responds to input (i.e. changing the fan speed and temperature). Please see the video at the link below. I have not been able to duplicate the concern since the video on 12/22/2017. Unable to duplicate; not fixed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mv6osVmOD0s A vibration occurs when the Malibu Hybrid transitions from electric only off-the-line propulsion, and blends in the internal combustion engine to make for hybrid propulsion when accelerating to speed. FIXED 3 repairs later. 3/12/2018 Since the last visit to Earnhardt, the driver seatbelt mechanism noticeably creaks when going over bigger bumps and/or with hard braking. May, 2018 Chapman Chevrolet currently has the vehicle, and is fixing the creaking/clicking driver's seat belt mechanism. Chapman is also addressing a new concern. Whenever I make a right turn, an object in the drive's seat lumbar area is moving left. There is no noise accompanying the object moving, but the driver can physically feel the object move. Chapman identified a stretch cable in the lumbar area that had too much play. I have been in a loaner going on two weeks now due to parts delay/backorder. From day 1 owning the vehicle, Apple CarPlay has sometimes been unreliable, irrespective of the iPhone, new or old. When the iPhone is connected with an Apple USB to lightning cable, CarPlay will often not show up as an app on the infotainment screen...even if I tap the Projection app on the screen. It requires several un-plugins and plugins of an iPhone for it to work properly."

Anonymous, AZ (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 1.8-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

"It developed suspension squeaks over road bumps when above 80 degrees."

Anonymous, IL (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 1.8-L 4 Cyl hybrid)
Wind noise

"To much road noise"

Anonymous, MI (2017 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Driveline vibration

"Vehicle purchased with 2 miles on it. Has a vibration coming from drive train or axles. Vehicle has had 10 new tires to no solving issue. Chevrolet doesn't want to help"

Dennis B., MN (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Premier 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The vibration in question occurs when the Malibu Hybrid transitions from electric only off-the-line propulsion, and blends in the internal combustion engine to make for hybrid propulsion when accelerating to speed. Below, please find three short videos (YouTube unlisted) documenting the vibration, taken today 3/12/2018. Again, the vibration occurs just about every drive in the vehicle, and at a minimum will crop up at least once in the day. Instrument Cluster http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HjWzVGwego Hybrid Infotainment Screen and Power Flow http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuE5garGKJE Nominal Operation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVooBtSU-Mk The vibration occurs when the vehicle is operating on hybrid propulsion typically at around 2,000 to 4,000 “RPM”. It only appears at slower, city speeds, most often around 20 MPH, but I have seen it surface as high as 40 MPH; it is nonexistent at freeway speeds. The vibration emanates from what seems to be behind the firewall, low, in the center of the vehicle. When the vibration does surface, the driver can keep it “going” and happening if you hold the petal position; you have to keep your foot on the gas, but constant and hold it at the “RPM”. The dealer first reposition the evaporative cooling lines…that didn’t work at all. On the second visit they repositioned the engine/motor mounts. The vibration was finally fixed on the 3rd visit to the dealer with assistance for a Field Service Engineer. Technician was able to replicate the rattle noise by tapping on driver’s side HVAC case. Tech found if pressure was applied to the Auxiliary Heater Core Unit’s electrical connector, the noise would stop. Tech removed the wire terminal cover & applied foam tape under the cover, with no change.Technician then removed the Auxiliary Heater Core Unit. There is a dual “step down” design on the back-side of the module that mates into corresponding “steps” within the HVAC Case. Tech applied (4) ½” thick pieces of foam tape onto each of the (4) “stepped” areas & reinstalled the Auxiliary Heater Core Unit. This eliminated the noise concern."

Anonymous, AZ (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 1.8-L 4 Cyl hybrid)
Driveshaft or axle

"Vibration that can't be solved"

Dennis B., MN (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Premier 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Electrical failure

"Battery failure. Dealer stated the factory battery was defective and replaced under warranty. Car had to be towed."

Arthur J., TX (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 1.8-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

"It took about 4 or 5 weeks to figure out what was wrong with the system. All of a sudden I would have not turning signal lights or only have one headlight."

Anonymous, IA (2017 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"had to replace a key fob .had problem with transmission module."

Anonymous, OH (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Premier 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Blower (fan) motor

"This problem occurred about two weeks after I bought the car. Sometimes it would work and sometimes not. Finally, it would not work at all and they put in a new one."

Anonymous, IA (2017 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Refrigerant leaks

"high pressure line failure. cause not explained."

Anonymous, NY (2017 Chevrolet Malibu LS 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Reduced cooling. Refreshed refrigerant and the car in now perfect"

Anonymous, FL (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 1.8-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine computer

"The engine light came on and was fixed under a recall"

Anonymous, MA (2017 Chevrolet Malibu 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Had to return to dealer 5 times before problem was diagnosed properly. Kept losing engine power, could not go over 20 miles per hour."

Rosanne S., NY (2017 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Oil leaks

"Dealer upon oil change, ruined the oil pan drain hole where plug goes in. Had to replace entire oil pan with new drain plug threads..."

John B., CO (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid 1.8-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Other/unsure

"Steering wheel air bag sensor went bad and had to be replaced. The warning beep was to consistent and became annoying while operating the vehicle."

Erlyne H., PA (2017 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Adaptive cruise not working. Dealer has been unable to repair after leaving it in service department for 4 days. Still not working."

Anonymous, MI (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Premier 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"does not function."

Anonymous, MI (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Premier 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Fuel pump

"Sometimes rook several seconds to start"

Herbert S., FL (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Premier 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"valve that controls air flow"

Anonymous, NY (2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Keyless entry

"Car did not recognize key fob. Was unable to unlock car or open trunk"

Julie S., MI (2017 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Remote engine starter

"When I would exit the car with the fob in my pocket, the car would not recognize it and honk three times quickly to warn me that the key fob was still in the car. Also, several times the trunk release would not operate correctly. When I would push the release button, the latch would disengage, but would not completely release...this is a problem, because there is no backup system. No manual override, and no handle to pull inside the car."

Tod B., FL (2017 Chevrolet Malibu LS 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Display screen freezes up

"This problem has occurred twice within the last 2 months. I contacted customer service and they were able to instruct me on how to fix the issue. I had to turn the vehicle off and open and close the drivers side door. Wait 5 minutes and then re-start the vehicle. The display screen recovered and worked properly after that."

Jonathan S., MD (2017 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Phone pairing (e.g., Bluetooth)

"I've had this same problem in my 2013 Chevrolet Malibu. I am not able to voice command phone calls hands free. Everything I do now has to be by touch screen. I had this problem with my IPhone 6, and now with my Samsung Galaxy 7. I haven't taken it in for service because previous occasions with my 2013 Mailbu I would take it in for the exact same issue but they were never able to find the problem nor fix it."

Jonathan S., MD (2017 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Ball joints

"The ball joints were loose and worn after only 40000 miles. Although the vehicle was past the warranty coverage Chevrolet Customer Assistance paid 60 percent of the cost to repair the vehicle."

Wade W., IL (2017 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

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