The 2018 Chevy Malibu is an award-winning car model for both dependability and safety. It received the highest overall score, a five-star rating in the 2018 National Highway Traffic Safety Association tests. When the Malibu is equipped with the available driver confidence package, it was awarded an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick in 2017. In 2015, the Malibu was given the honor of Most Dependable Midsize Car. With awards like these, you can tell that Malibu has become a trusted model over the years.
The Malibu is an affordable car, and it saves you money over the lifetime of its use as well. After all, it’s one of the most fuel-efficient midsize vehicles on the market. The hybrid model is the most outstanding of the line when it comes to fuel efficiency, getting an EPA-estimated 49 miles per gallon in the city. The standard trim is not bad on efficiency either, getting 27/36/30 rankings (city/highway/combined). Take that incredible fuel efficiency, and add in outstanding safety ratings and state-of-the-art connectivity to the package, and you are really starting to get an idea of the big picture. This practical efficiency is why the Malibu is so popular—and why it continues to do well in the midsize market despite some fierce competition.
Safety at Its Finest
The 2018 Malibu comes standard with ten airbags. That should show you just how seriously Chevy takes the safety of its drivers. The new Malibu is equipped with automatic forward braking, meaning the car can sense an oncoming collision and automatically apply the brakes by itself at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. That’s safety at it’s finest. While many cars are using aluminum tin-can frames and a plastic outer shell that crumples on contact, Chevy is still building cars made of high-strength steel where it matters most, while supplementing with other strong but lightweight alloys to maximize the vehicle’s ability to protect you and the ones you love, without sacrificing the aerodynamic weight (because doing so would make it too heavy to get good fuel economy).
The Chevy philosophy when it comes to safety is a three-part system: prevent, protect, and respond. The preventive aspect of the Malibu’s safety system includes Electronic Stability Control to give the driver confidence in low-traction environments. Lane Keep Assist gives a warning and a gentle nudge to help the driver stay in his or her lane if they start to veer into another. Rear Cross Traffic Alert keeps an eye on the unpredictable traffic that can approach from any direction when you’re backing out of a parking space or driveway. Forward Safety Awareness includes a collision alert system that warns the driver of vehicles slowing down ahead and vehicles speeding up in the rear, as well as Forward Automatic Braking that goes to work automatically when an accident is about to take place, which helps to either significantly reduce the speed of impact or avoid the collision altogether.
The protection aspect of Chevy’s philosophy is all about the way the car is built: with a safety-first design to put the driver’s mind at ease when they’re carting loved ones around from place to place. The trick to the Malibu’s durability is the safety cages that are in place in critical zones to keep the driver and passengers protected in the case of a collision. The cages actually absorb the impact of a crash and deflect the impact’s energy away from the cabin and the passengers within. State-of-the-art safety belts, restraint systems, ten individual 360-degree airbags and the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Top Tethers) for children combine to greatly reduce any risk that a collision may bring along with it.
Last but not least, the responsive part of Chevy’s three-part safety philosophy involves the constantly available Onstar support technology. Chevy’s Automatic Crash Response system uses built-in sensors to alert an Onstar agent in the event of a crash. If you don’t respond to the agent, he or she can use a GPS system to find out exactly where you are and send help your way exactly when you need it the most.
What People Like About the 2018 Malibu
Affordability, fuel efficiency, safety, and connectivity top the list of what folks like about the Chevy Malibu, and we’ve already touched on all of those assets in this rundown. So what else keeps people coming back to the Malibu when they could be buying foreign or drifting over to other domestic brands, such as Ford or Dodge, instead? Well, the new Malibu is also simply a nice-looking car. It’s not too flashy, not too dull, but just kind of pleasant to look at.
The interior, especially if you opt for one of the higher-range trims, is quite nice as well. It’s not a luxury car. It’s not super sporty. It’s just a cool modern ride. What’s not to like? The infotainment system is user-friendly, and it comes with a big screen, so it’s easy to navigate through the menus without feeling like you’re pecking away at a smartphone.
What People Don’t Like About the Malibu
The biggest gripe about the Malibu is its lackluster engine. The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is a great engine, to be sure, but it’s only available with the most expensive trim package. The standard 1.5-liter engine doesn’t give the driver the power that he or she tends to want (unless they put the pedal to the floorboard), but in this car, they probably don’t really need it. The engine fits the car, to be honest, but it doesn’t go above and beyond.
There is also no V6 option regardless of the trim package a driver selects, so you either settle on the 1.5 or pay up for the 2.0. Another complaint is that there are no all-wheel drive options on the Malibu with any of the different trims. That is a bit of a disappointment for power-minded drivers, especially when it’s coupled with the relatively weak engine options.
The interior is nice, as mentioned before, but it does leave a good bit of room for improvement, especially if you choose a lower-priced trim. The front seat interior area is significantly nicer than the back seat. The new Malibu’s sloping roofline makes backseat passengers feel a bit claustrophobic. And on lower trim options, many parts of the interior feel noticeably cheap, made with hard plastics and cloth.
Overall, the Malibu exceeds expectations, as long as you’re not expecting anything breathtaking. If you are in the market for an economy midsize sedan that puts safety first, has modern technological features, is affordably priced, and gets good gas mileage, you just might find that nothing on the market suits you quite like the new Chevy Malibu.