The 2022 Chevrolet Malibu was once a decent entry in the midsize sedan segment, but it's starting to show its age. Trims and powertrains have steadily disappeared from the lineup, leaving the Malibu with two engines and four trims. We like the exterior, but dated tech and an uninspired cabin have dulled the Malibu's shine. We anticipate replacement or discontinuation within the next few years.
The Chevrolet Malibu comes within shouting distance of excellence, but ultimately it falls short. The biggest culprit is a lackluster interior, which is outfitted with cheap trim and an outdated gauge cluster. That's a shame because the Malibu's shape is elegant and attractive.
The Malibu's ride strikes a nice balance between agility and comfort. Body roll is well controlled, and the sedan comports itself well when the road gets twisty. Unfortunately, most trims are saddled with an underpowered 1.5-liter engine.
The Malibu starts cheaper than competitors like the Honda Civic or Hyundai Sonata, but Chevy's lack of standard active safety tech makes it a hollow victory. The Premier trim improves both the interior and the powertrain, but it costs about $10,000 more than the base LS. In the end, the Malibu falls behind the competition.
The 2022 Malibu starts with a 1.5-liter turbo-four making 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Paired with a CVT and front-wheel drive, it's good for an EPA-estimated 29/36 mpg city/highway. The powertrain is decent around town, but it feels underpowered on the highway, and the CVT buzzes under heavy acceleration.
A 2.0-liter turbo-four is available, but it's limited to the top Premier trim. With 250 hp and 260 lb-ft, the turbo powertrain offers strong acceleration and smooth shifts courtesy of a nine-speed automatic. When we tested it in 2017, a Malibu Premier did the 0-60-mph sprint in a respectable 5.7 seconds. Fuel efficiency falls to 22/33 mpg city/highway.
The Malibu was briefly available with a hybrid powertrain, but that option was dropped in 2020. The future of the Malibu is uncertain—rumors have circulated about discontinuation, but nothing has been officially confirmed.
In the meantime, the Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, and Honda Accord all offer hybrid powertrains. GM has pledged to invest heavily in electric and alternative powertrains over the next few years. If the Malibu is next on the chopping block, an electrified replacement may not be far behind.
The Malibu has a decent but unexceptional safety record. Last year's model earned four stars from the NHTSA and Good scores on all but one IIHS test. In the agency's passenger-side small overlap front test, the Malibu received a Marginal score.
Active safety tech is available but never standard. Most features, including automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitors, are bundled into a $1,095 package. Adaptive cruise control is limited to the Premier trim, where it's part of an upgraded $2,095 safety package.
The Malibu seats five. It's comfortable for a midsize sedan, although it can't quite match the spacious Honda Accord.
Legroom (first/second rows):
Every Malibu gets an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen. The software is quick and easy to use, and the system comes with wireless smartphone compatibility as well as a Wi-Fi hotspot. The Malibu Premier gets Bose sound, wireless charging, navigation, and an 8.0-inch instrument cluster for the driver.
The 2022 Chevrolet Malibu loses its base L trim, which means the lineup now begins with the LS trim. At around $24,500, it's still spartan, and the lack of standard active safety tech doesn't help its value. For another $1,000, the RS trim jazzes up the exterior but does little to help the interior.
At around $28,000, the LT improves the feature list with heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and heated side mirrors. The Premier might be the most tempting of the lot. Though it starts at nearly $35,000, the interior is much improved over lower trims, and the 2.0-liter engine is a worthwhile upgrade.
|$0||0% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48 Months - GM announces a GM Financial APR program that is good towards the purchase of select models.||01-31-2022|
|$0||1.9% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - GM announces a GM Financial APR program that is good towards the purchase of select models.||01-31-2022|
|$0||0.9% Financing for a maximum term of 60 Months - GM announces a GM Financial APR program that is good towards the purchase of select models.||01-31-2022|
|$0||2.99% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48, 60, 72 Months - GM announces APR rates on select models.||01-31-2022|
|$0||3.24% Financing for a maximum term of 75 Months - GM announces APR rates on select models.||01-31-2022|
|$0||3.49% Financing for a maximum term of 84 Months - GM announces APR rates on select models.||01-31-2022|