The 2002 Chevrolet Malibu is a midsize four-door sedan, and while relatively conservative in appearance, it remains a popular choice for drivers in the U.S. By creating a car that appeals across the board, it has good performance from a V-6 engine and is loaded with plenty of features all at a price significantly lower than many of its competitors, Chevrolet is ensuring that the popularity continues for this model year.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 3.1-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Malibu LS
The 2002 Chevrolet Malibu underwent very little change from the previous year. A CD player in the audio system, floor mats, and LATCH child seat anchors in the rear seats became standard features for both the base and upscale LS models. New 15-inch alloy wheels are standard for the LS and are available as an option for the base model. The LS model also gains an upgraded audio system as standard.
The 2002 Chevrolet Malibu is smaller when compared to its sister midsize sedan, the Impala. It also comes in with a slightly lower price tag as well. The base and LS model both come as four-door sedans. This can only be differentiated between based on the wheels if the base model has the standard 15-inch steel wheels installed and hasn’t opted for the optional alloy wheels that are standard on the LS. The 2002 Chevrolet Malibu is a fifth generation version, and the exterior design and style has remained relatively unchanged since this generation was launched in 1997. As such, some may find the shape and look to be dated and unremarkable.
The 2002 Chevrolet Malibu seats five passengers in two front bucket seats and three passengers in the rear bench row. A front bench is not available, so this midsize sedan can only ever seat up to five passengers. The rear seat provides plenty of head and legroom and can seat three adults comfortably. In the LS, the rear seat has a split seatback that folds down to increase cargo room in the trunk.
The 2002 Chevrolet Malibu come equipped with plenty of standard features. A new CD player and floor mats plus air-conditioning, an electric rear window defogger, programmable power locks, tilt steering wheel, remote trunk release, and tachometer are all standard for the base model. Upgrading to the LS means the inclusion of remote keyless entry, cruise control, an upgraded audio system, power mirrors and windows, and custom cloth front bucket seats with a six-way power adjustable driver’s seat.
Performance & Handling
The 2002 Chevrolet Malibu only offers one engine and transmission. Both models are equipped with a 3.1-liter, V-6 engine that provides 170 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque coupled with a four-speed automatic transmission. A four-wheel independent suspension ensures that most bumps are absorbed, so that a smooth and comfortable ride is provided. Wind and road noise can be significant within the car, especially when travelling along the highway.
The V-6 engine provides ample power for quick takeoffs but can feel lacking when attempting maneuvers at speed. The transmission can be slow to perform downshifts, which can affect passing, particularly on the highway. Steering and handling is adequate, and is particularly good for driving in the city. At speed, significant body lean can be felt when cornering, and the steering can feel slow to respond and uncommunicative.
The 2002 Chevrolet Malibu provide standard four-wheel anti-lock brakes, LATCH child seat anchors in the rear, and dual airbags. Traction control is not available for either model. Crash testing ranked it as acceptable with good scores for front impact, side rear impact, and rollover testing.
EPA Fuel Economy
Chevrolet Malibu: 18/26 mpg city/highway
- Comfortable interior with plenty of room for passengers
- Long list of standard features for low price
- Acceleration from a stop
You Won't Like
- Traction control is not available
- Steering and handling at speed
Fully-equipped, low-priced, unremarkable, and conservative midsize sedan.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Honda Accord
- Toyota Camry
- Ford Taurus
- Pontiac Grand Prix