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 5 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.
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.
Fuel Economy & Emissions
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.
Greenhouse Gas Greenhouse Gas The Greenhouse Gas Rating represents the amount of carbon dioxide the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
Smog Rating Smog Rating The Smog Rating represents the amount of health-damaging and smog-forming airborne pollutants the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).

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
Transmission Minor Transmission Minor Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.
NA
Drive System Drive System Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.
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 standard from 2008. Head protection air bags standard from 2007. Side air bags standard from 2008. ESC 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
Coverage varies among versions of this vehicle

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 2018 Chevrolet Malibu owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

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

Body control module

"Intermittent acceleration"

Anonymous, IL (2018 Chevrolet Malibu LS 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"The reverse lights stopped working. The dealer performed warranty work in that area by replacing the appropriate fuse (which also controlled the interior map reading lights) on two separate occasions, but the problem returned shortly thereafter. Eventually, on the third trip for warranty work on this problem, there was a wiring problem that was discovered and repaired, and there have been no problems since then."

Daniel L., ON (2018 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Gauges

"oil pressure gauge read incorrectly"

Anonymous, PA (2018 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Warning lights

"reduce power by itself"

Anonymous, ON (2018 Chevrolet Malibu Premier 2.0-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

Electrical failure

"Gear shift had trouble getting in and out of park. Think it was electrical interlock related, but not sure."

Anonymous, CA (2018 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"While driving, engine spontaneously goes into "reduced power mode" and engine light turns on. I have needed to pull over and off the road, turn off the car, wait a full minute and restart. The car goes back to normal driving, but the engine light remains on for several hours."

Anonymous, GA (2018 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Couldn't shift car into drive, could not get it out of park mode"

Craig M., NJ (2018 Chevrolet Malibu LS 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

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

What Owners Say

Battery (not hybrid or electric)

"Dead battery twice, finally replaced by dealer"

Jeffrey C., GA (2018 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Spark plugs or wires failure

"Fouled up and not firing #2 spark plug at 5500 miles. Check engine light and low traction warning lights came on. Dealer replaced all 4 plugs under warranty and problem solved for now!"

Anonymous, WI (2018 Chevrolet Malibu LT 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

Phone pairing (e.g., Bluetooth)

"The system suddenly will not pair with my cell phone and has to be reset up"

Anonymous, GA (2018 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Radio

"Rear window built-in AM antenna had a break in the connection. Window was replaced."

Anonymous, CA (2018 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Engine Minor

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

What Owners Say

Engine computer

"When the car was about a year old, we took a 1500 mile trip and when we were about a 100 miles from home it would go over about 55 mph. When we got home I called the dealer and he said to bring it in as it sounded like the engine computer needed to be reset. That fixed the problem. Then shortly after that I got a recall notice on the same issue. They then did another reset and I could tell no difference. Everything has been fine since. I will probably buy this car at the end of the lease."

Anonymous, (2018 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"It had to do with 2 warranty covered recalls. One to immediately correct and one that supposedly covered by letting the dealer know I received the second recall notice but until something goes wrong GM won't cover it but promised that Gm would if it occurs during ownership."

Anonymous, NE (2018 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-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

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"Check Engine light came on. Dealer replaced some valve that was covered with an extended warranty"

Anonymous, (2018 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Fuel gauge/sender

"did not register properly"

Dale G., OH (2018 Chevrolet Malibu)

Paint/Trim

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

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"Driver door handle/key molding fell off"

Anonymous, VA (2018 Chevrolet Malibu LT 1.5-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Transmission Minor

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

What Owners Say

Rough shifting

"Driving at highway speed, when flooring it to go around another vehicle and then having to suddenly let off, there was significant hesitation in the engine & transmission and the cruise controls stopped working. Code thrown for cylinder miss. Once shut off and restarted the issues have not recurred."

Anonymous, IA (2018 Chevrolet Malibu Premier 2.0-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

Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"ratcheting noise when turning."

Anonymous, FL (2018 Chevrolet Malibu LS 1.8-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

Engine Major

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

Climate System

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

Exhaust

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

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.

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.

Body Integrity

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

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