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2018 Chevrolet Malibu

Get Your Fair Purchase Price See actual transaction prices, explore total cost to own, projected resale value and more. See what you should pay

2018 Chevrolet Malibu Expert Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 8.2

Chevy’s midsize 2018 Malibu sedan has every advantage it needs to take on rivals like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Ford Fusion. A class-leading option roster that includes such must-haves as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automatic parking assist and adaptive cruise control, matches the Malibu’s first-class styling. The 2018 Chevrolet Malibu sedan’s interior is also a thing of beauty, with a brightly colored infotainment display and a back seat built to accommodate two adult-sized occupants. Under its sleek hood, the Malibu offers three engines, including a choice of 1.5- or 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinders or a Volt-derived hybrid setup. Best of all, even with all these features, the 2018 Malibu’s price remains highly competitive.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you’re looking for a roomy, efficient and sporty family sedan that is also a stunning head-turner, the 2018 Chevrolet Malibu tops a very short list of choices. Pick the hybrid model, and you’ll save a bundle on gas.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you’re strong on brand loyalty, prefer the power of a V6 engine or need a sedan that is more conservatively styled, you might be better off in something like a Honda Accord or Nissan Altima. The slightly larger Dodge Charger even offers a V8.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 8.2
  • 8.4
  • 8.1
  • 8.6
  • 7.6
  • N/A
How It Ranks
What's New for 2018

Chevrolet’s Malibu midsize family sedan for 2018 sees only minor changes, most notably the addition of a Redline Edition package and a slightly larger fuel tank on the L, LS and LT trims.

Driving the Malibu
Driving Impressions

Our 2018 Chevrolet Malibu Premium came equipped with the 2.0-liter turbo paired to a 9-speed automatic transmission, and the combination worked quite well. The Malibu moves quickly off the line,...

... aided by a gearshift selector-mounted rocker switch that allows for manual gearshifts. Although the setup works, we’d prefer a nice pair of steering-wheel paddle shifters. The Malibu’s steering is nicely weighted and direct, delivering good feedback. Our Malibu’s big 19-inch wheel/tire setup should have made for a jarring ride, but happily this was not the case. We credit the well-sorted suspension that absorbs bumps and road distortions as easily as it tackles tight corners and rapid lane changes. While the Malibu’s driving dynamics are not quite up to the standards set by the Mazda6, it certainly feels livelier than the Nissan Altima, Honda Accord or Hyundai Sonata.

APPLE CARPLAY AND ANDROID AUTO
Complementing the marvelous MyLink touch-screen infotainment system in the 2018 Chevrolet Malibu is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Both programs allow a mirror image of the user’s smartphone to be operated via the audio system, which makes life on the road infinitely more enjoyable.

TEEN DRIVER
Worried your kids will drive like you did when you first got your license? Fear not. The Malibu’s Teen Driver can help you keep tabs on them by monitoring their speed and where the car has traveled. You can even mute the audio until everyone onboard buckles up.

2018 Chevrolet Malibu Details
2018 Chevrolet Malibu photo Interior

Even if you don't use CarPlay or Android Auto, you'll appreciate the Chevy MyLink infotainment system's combination of big icons and physical knobs and buttons. It's all part of an interior design that isn't just functional, but is among the best in class from a purely esthetic point, too. The gauges are big and clear, the dash curves and swoops attractively, and it's even easy to see out. The comfortable front seats adjust to virtually any body size, and the rear seats boast enough legroom to seat tall adults, although they might find headroom a little tight.

Exterior
2018 Chevrolet Malibu photo

Chevrolet has managed a difficult task with its family of sedans, somehow imparting a family resemblance on the 2018 Malibu that's immediately shared with the larger Impala and smaller Cruze, but without making small, medium and large versions of the same car. There are subtly sculpted, elegant-looking coves in the front and rear doors, and at the rear the taillights -- LEDs in Premier models -- tie it all together. Higher-end models also get LED daytime running lights, and super-bright HID headlights are available. Wheel sizes range from 16 inches all the way up to the 19-inchers on our test car.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

While the base Malibu L model offers the basics -- air conditioning, cruise control and an AM/FM radio -- it's a rental-fleet special you should skip. Instead, the 2018 Chevy Malibu lineup really starts at the LS model, which adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with USB ports and Bluetooth with its 7-inch MyLink infotainment system. There are also a standard rearview camera and a 6-way-adjustable manual driver's seat. The very good 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder includes stop/start and hill-start assist. On the safety front, there are 10 airbags, plus stability control and OnStar, which automatically dials for help in an accident.

Optional Equipment

There are powertrain choices in the form of the Malibu Hybrid and the 2.0-liter turbo in Premier models. Beyond that, the Malibu offers ever-increasing levels of technology, including available adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, forward-collision alert, and rear cross-traffic alert. There's a 4G LTE-powered Wi-Fi hotspot to help you find your dinner spot, the available on-board navigation system can help you get there, and the Automatic Parking Assist can even help you park when you arrive. And of course there's available leather upholstery, with Premier models offering automatic climate control.

Under the Hood

Standard on 2018 Malibu models from L through LT1 is the 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 6-speed automatic. This frugal drivetrain has little problem moving the Malibu, and returns up to 36 mpg on the highway. Premier models get the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which gets the new Malibu moving without hesitation. With the 9-speed automatic transmission, it gets 33 mpg on the highway, easily competitive for the segment. The hybrid combines two electric motors and a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder for a combined 182 horsepower and up to 49 mpg in the city. All the engines run on regular gasoline; premium is recommended for the 2.0-liter but not required.

1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4
160 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
184 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/36 mpg

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
250 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/33 mpg

1.8-liter inline-4
122 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
129 lb-ft of torque @ 4,750 rpm
Motor A: 55 kW
Motor B: 76 kW
136 horsepower (electric motors combined)
277 lb-ft of torque (electric motors combined)
182 net horsepower
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 49/43 mpg

Prices for the base-level 2018 Chevrolet Malibu L start with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $22,500, which puts it in the lower end of the midsize-sedan segment. But since you'll probably skip that model, the real-world base model is the 2018 Malibu LS, starting at about $24,100. The Premier, with its 2.0-liter engine and 9-speed automatic, starts just below $32,000, while the Malibu Hybrid starts at about $28,750. Those prices are competitive with, and often slightly less than, comparably equipped midsize sedans like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price calculator to see what others in your area are paying. Unfortunately, while the new car looks great and offers a lot, historically resale value hasn't been one of the Malibu's strengths.

To find out what consumers are really paying for this vehicle, first select a style to see the Fair Purchase Price| Calculate payments for this vehicle

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