New 2019 Chevrolet Malibu Sedan New 2019
Chevrolet Malibu Sedan

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KBB Editor's Overview

By Editorial Staff

For 2019, Chevrolet has updated its Malibu with new front and rear styling to help it compete with other midsize sedans such as the Ford Fusion, Kia Optima, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Options abound on this latest Malibu, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, automatic parking assist and adaptive cruise control. There’s also a new model for 2019: the RS. It’s a sporty-looking Malibu with several blacked-out styling cues, together with 18-inch wheels and a dual-outlet exhaust. As before, the Malibu is powered by a choice of a 1.5- or 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, or a hybrid setup derived from that in the Chevrolet Volt.


You'll Like This Car If...

If you’re looking for a roomy and efficient family sedan with sporty manners and attractive styling, the 2019 Chevrolet Malibu deserves your attention. If you pick the hybrid model, expect nearly 50 mpg around town.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you prefer the power of a V6, or want something more conservatively styled, the Malibu may not be for you. Some folks also still prefer rear-wheel-drive sedans to front-drive ones such as the Malibu.

What's New for 2019

Besides the styling changes and the debut of the new RS model, the 2019 Chevy Malibu gets a new 8-inch driver information center. More significant: All Malibu models powered by the 1.5-liter engine now get a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT) instead of last year’s 6-speed automatic.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

We drove a Chevrolet Malibu Premium equipped with the 2.0-liter turbo and a 9-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain worked well, propelling the Malibu quickly off the line, aided by a rocker switch on the gearshift selector that allows for manual gearshifts. Although this system works well, we’d rather the Malibu had a nice pair of steering-wheel paddle shifters, preferably made of metal instead of plastic. The Malibu’s electric-assist steering is direct and nicely weighted while delivering good feedback. Although our Malibu’s big 19-inch wheel/tire setup should have made for a jarring ride, such was not the case. The well-sorted suspension, with a multilink rear, absorbs bumps just as easily as it tackles tight corners and rapid lane changes. While the Malibu’s driving dynamics are not up to those of the Mazda6 or Honda Accord, Chevy’s midsize sedan certainly feels livelier than the Nissan Altima and Hyundai Sonata.

Favorite Features

Complementing the Malibu’s marvelous touch-screen infotainment system is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Both programs, now standard on all 2019 Malibu models, allow a mirror image of the user’s smartphone to be operated via the audio system, making life on the road infinitely more enjoyable.

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.

Vehicle Details


Chevrolet designers have done a good of making the Malibu as attractive inside as it is out. Indeed, the 2019 Malibu has a handsome interior, and we like the infotainment system's mix of big icons and physical knobs and buttons. It's a functional and aesthetically pleasing design, among the most attractive in the midsize-sedan class. In addition to the big and clear gauges, we like the curving dash and the excellent outward view. What’s more, the Malibu’s front seats are comfortable, able to accommodate people of any body size. While the rear seats offer plenty of legroom for tall adults, headroom is not especially abundant.


Chevrolet has updated the Malibu for 2019 with an intricately sculpted new grille, as well as integrated headlights and dual-element taillights. While similar updates have been made to the Cruze and Spark for 2019, the shared design DNA thankfully does not result in small, medium and large versions of the same car. Malibu wheel sizes range from 16 inches all the way up to 19.

Notable Standard Equipment

While the base Chevy Malibu L model used to offer just the basics -- air conditioning, cruise control and an AM/FM radio -- it now gets a new rear-vision camera and the 8-inch infotainment screen offering Bluetooth audio streaming along with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, so it’s not quite the rental-fleet special it once was. The very good 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder -- which now mounts exclusively to a CVT -- includes stop/start and hill-start assist. On the safety front, the Malibu has 10 airbags, plus stability control and OnStar, which automatically dials for help in an accident. Also notable, the Hybrid and Premier both receive a high-def rear-vision camera for 2019.

Notable 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 all 2019 Chevy Malibu models from L through LT is the 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which formerly mounted to a 6-speed automatic transmission but now is fitted exclusively to a CVT for improved fuel economy. This frugal drivetrain has little problem moving the Malibu, and it likely will improve upon the 2018 EPA rating of 36 mpg on the highway. Premier models get the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which gets the new Malibu moving without hesitation. Fitted with a 9-speed automatic transmission, this Malibu gets 33 mpg on the highway, which is competitive for the segment. The hybrid combines two electric motors and a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder for a combined 182 net 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 (L, LS, RS, LT)
160 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
184 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/36 mpg

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (Premier)
250 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 mpg

1.8-liter inline-4 (Hybrid)
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


Pricing Notes

The base-level 2019 Chevrolet Malibu L has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $24,000, which includes a destination charge of $875. The Malibu LS begins at nearly $25,000, while the new RS, at just below $26,000, looks like a good sporting value. Next up is the Malibu LT at just below $28,500. The Premier, with its 2.0-liter engine and 9-speed automatic transmission, leaves the lot at nearly $33,500. As for the Malibu Hybrid, it’s priced just below $30,000. Those Malibu prices are competitive with, and often slightly less than, comparably equipped midsize sedans like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Before buying, always check the Fair Purchase Price calculator to see what others in your area are paying. Please note that resale values aren’t one of the Malibu's strengths.

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