It is rumored that in just a few years, the Chevy Malibu will no longer grace the Chevrolet family lineup. For the most part, that is quite a run. Offering a solid five decades of changes to body styling, features, and engine build, there is only so much that the prolific Chevrolet automaker can do. While we’re sad to see this classic from as far back as the mid-60s fade from the Chevrolet family, we’re excited to check out the current model. Introducing the 2020 Chevy Malibu, a car with a rich past, and unfortunately, not much of a future. The 2020 model rolled off of factory floors and into showrooms without much pomp or circumstance, and while previous models changed up what this relatively powerful sedan had brought to the table, the latest iteration doesn’t offer much freshness. For some drivers, this may hardly be a problem, but as vehicles with longer legacies update their features and powertrain listings, it’s a shame to see such a classic reach its end without much of a spectacular climax.
A Look that Draws the Eyes
If you catch the 2020 Chevy Malibu out on the road, you might find your eyes following the low-profile stylish sedan. As other automakers modernize their classic sedans to the point of alienating some of their long-time fans, the new Chevy Malibu hasn’t changed all that much in the past several years. To be fair, typically failing to update exterior stylings can be a huge drawback, but it seems as though Chevrolet has earned a solid win by only marginally refreshing an already charming design.
Starting at an MSRP of $22,095, the 2020 Chevy Malibu is incredibly affordable, making it a great entry-level mid-sized sedan. Offering five different trim options, the Chevy Malibu offers a considerable amount of configuration. Gracing the last lineup is the L, LS, RS, LT, and Premier. It’s a solid spread that lends for plenty of wiggle room in terms of customization. However, we’ll have to dig a little deeper to get the whole story. Looks can be deceiving, and in some ways, this is the case with the 2020 Chevy Malibu.
Over Fifty Years of Great Performance
There once was a time when the Chevy Malibu was powered by a roaring six-cylinder or even eight-cylinder engine. These are the days of the far off past when the Chevy Malibu could be purchased as a convertible or station wagon. These were the golden years of the Chevy Malibu, and while traces of this initial design still remain true in the current design, some changes have been made over the decades.
What has remained after five-decades of rethinking and redesign is the engine performance. The 2020 Chevy Malibu continues to sport a wide spread of engine builds, and while not as robust as previous models, the various powertrains are designed to cater to a more modern audience. The result is a base 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that supplies 163 horsepower through a continuously variable transmission or CVT. The existence of a CVT in something like the Chevy Malibu was once a shocker in 2018 when Chevy equipped their classic sedan with a six-speed automatic, nowadays, it’s of common occurrence. The base model engine gets the job done, although it leaves much to be desired, and may leave drivers familiar with older models dreaming of the ‘good old days.’
Fortunately, there is an option for the drivers who want a bit more oomph in their Chevy Malibu. For more horsepower upgrade to the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which takes fuel and outputs around 250 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. This is a decent engine layout; however, it is exclusive to the top trim option, which may be disappointing news for drivers who were looking to find such top-level performance for a lower price. Although, it is important to note that the Premier trim option isn’t overwhelmingly expensive, as it starts at $34,195 MSRP.
For modern drivers who want to conserve gas and still enjoy decent engine power, there is now a hybrid drivetrain packed into the Chevy Malibu trim listings. This hybrid build partners a pair of electric motors with a gas-powered 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which churns out 182 horsepower combined. These electric motors can store energy into a 1.5-kWH battery pack, which as the sole source of power, can push the Chevy Malibu up to 55 miles per hour for about five miles. And when it comes to fuel conservation, the 2020 Chevy Malibu hybrid does a decent job clocking in at around 44 mpg.
When it comes to the spread of engine variants, Chevrolet is certainly catering to a more modern audience, which is hardly a problem. While gone are the days of the six or eight-cylinder engine, Chevrolet is closing out its long-running mid-sized sedan as a fuel-sipping commuter car.
New Tech in a Fifty-Five Year Old Classic
Stepping into the 2020 Chevy Malibu is like stepping into a car of the future, especially when you compare it to its initial 1964 release. Installed into the center console is a dazzling display powered by Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A mobile Wi-Fi hotspot is also onboard, giving drivers ease of connectivity to the internet while on the road. Safety tech is another huge deal in the 2020 Chevy Malibu. While base models may not be as advanced as competitor vehicles, the Chevy Malibu can be upgraded to include a slew of active safety technology including adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and automatic emergency braking complete with pedestrian detection. All of this technology is a far departure from the Chevy Malibu of the past, and is a good reason why Chevrolet may want to design another mid-sized sedan that stands far and away from the fifty-five-year-old classic.
Our Verdict on the 2020 Chevy Malibu
There once was a time when the Chevy Malibu was at the top of its game. Charming drivers from across the world, it was a classic, perfect for the occasional cruise through the city or race down the highway. Those days were in many ways left behind in the 1960s and 70s when the Chevy Malibu was powered by top-performance engines that guzzled gas and output horsepower and torque like it was nobody’s business. The classic base engine of the 1964 Chevy Malibu got throttled out at 300 horsepower, almost doubling the horsepower rating of the existing standard model.
These were different times, and today as the Chevy Malibu competes in a market that is more focused on fuel economy and onboard technology than ever before, it’s clear that this fifty-five-year-old classic is ready to be retired. While it is far from the spectacular climax that we may have hoped for, the latest Chevy Malibu is still a great vehicle. From the diverse powertrain options to the slew of available technology, the 2020 Chevy Malibu is a solid pick for anyone who wants a sedan to cruise around town or commute to work in. That said, if you’re expecting a car that puts out incredible performance, and provides a truly thrilling driving experience, you may want to opt for something like the Chevrolet Camaro.