2021 Chevrolet Malibu

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2021 Chevrolet Malibu Review: The Last Breath

The rise and fall of sedans in the USA is perhaps best represented by the Chevrolet Malibu's nine-generation chronicle, through which it transformed from being a large and marvellous V8- powered cruiser before the 2000s to the modern-looking but far more low-profile turbo 4-cylinder-powered car that it is today. For 2021, the top-spec Chevrolet Malibu Premier is presented with a more entertaining 250-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder gas engine, but it doesn't really do much to enhance its appeal. It is fairly polished on the road and decently fuel-efficient, too, but with brands such as Honda and Mazda still putting a lot into the Accord and '6' sedans, respectively, does the 2021 Malibu really have anything that makes it special or anything that even keeps it relevant?

Read in this review:

6.6
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2021 Chevrolet Malibu Changes: ๐Ÿš™Whatโ€™s the difference vs 2020 Chevrolet Malibu?

The changes to the 2021 model year aren't extensive. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard across the whole range. The LT model can now be ordered with a new Sport Edition package that adds several sporty exterior features. A new color called Cherry Red Tintcoat is available on high-spec models, while Buckle to Drive is now standard across the range. The latter will not allow the shifter to move out of park unless the driver's seatbelt is buckled. However, the 4-door sedan has not made as many updates over the years as its segment rivals.

Pros and Cons

  • Suave yet low-profile design
  • Exquisite ride and handling
  • Thrifty fuel economy showing
  • User-friendly infotainment
  • Barebones entry-spec model
  • Legroom is minimal in the rear
  • Concerningly low safety rating
  • Terrible reliability track record

Best Deals on Malibu

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Trims and Prices

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
L
1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$22,270
LS
1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$23,400
RS
1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$24,400
LT
1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$26,800
Premier
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$33,500

Malibu Exterior

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Front Angle View Chevrolet
2021 Chevrolet Malibu Rear View Driving Chevrolet
2021 Chevrolet Malibu Side View Chevrolet
See All 2021 Chevrolet Malibu Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 194.2 in
  • Wheelbase 111.4 in
  • Height 57.9 in
  • Max Width 73.0 in
  • Front Width 62.6 in
  • Rear Width 62.5 in
  • Curb Weight 3,126.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

Malibu Performance

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Front Angle View 1 Chevrolet
2021 Chevrolet Malibu Rear Angle View Chevrolet
2021 Chevrolet Malibu Wheel Chevrolet

Engine and Transmission

Standard-fit in the majority of the 2021 Malibu sedan lineup is a super-efficient 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that comes mated with a continuously variable automatic transmission. It's been dialed to produce up to 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, which has the front-wheel-drive Malibu feel fairly competent around town. There's quite a bit of turbo-lag, however, and the CVT's inherently listless responses only make it worse. Power delivery is steady and gradual, nevertheless, and getting up to highway speeds isn't an unbearable chore. Exclusive to the top-spec Premier variant is a far more strapping and refined 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 unit that produces up to 250 hp and 260 lb-ft. It comes paired with a slick-shifting and intuitive 9-speed automatic transmission.

  • Engines
    1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmissions
    9-Speed Automatic, Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Malibu Gas Mileage

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    15.8 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 29/36 mpg
* 2021 Chevrolet Malibu L

Malibu Interior

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Dashboard Chevrolet
2021 Chevrolet Malibu Steering Wheel Design Chevrolet
2021 Chevrolet Malibu Central Control Panel Chevrolet
See All 2021 Chevrolet Malibu Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.5 in
  • Front Head Room 39.1 in
  • Rear Leg Room 38.1 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.5 in

Malibu Trunk and Cargo Space

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Front Seats Chevrolet
2021 Chevrolet Malibu Rear Passenger Seats Chevrolet
2021 Chevrolet Malibu Trunk Space Chevrolet
  • Trunk Volume
    15.7 ft³

Malibu Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Warranty Note:
    Preliminary 2021 Warranty \ 
  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain Note:
    Qualified Fleet Purchases: 5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Rust-Through:
    6 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance Note:
    Qualified Fleet Purchases: 5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Maintenance Note:
    1 Year \ 1 Visit

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: ๐ŸIs the 2021 Chevrolet Malibu a Good Sedan?

Some people may be drawn to the 2021 Chevrolet Malibu's suave but low-key profile, apt and refined drive dynamics, and thrifty fuel economy returns, but the thing is, these are very typical qualities of the midsize sedan segment. If there's one area where the Malibu does outshine some of its competitors, it's in its modern and user-friendly infotainment system, but then again, it's not the only vehicle to boast a first-rate system. There are still many cars that offer a whole lot more and for less money. This alone is enough to turn most shoppers away, but the NHTSA and IIHS's subpar crashworthiness review of the 2021 Chevrolet Malibu is another black mark against it. At the end of the day, Chevrolet would need to improve the Malibu significantly for it to be a truly viable choice over its very many competitors. Its construction through to its standard consignment of features, particularly driver-assists and safety systems, could all do with a good hard look.

๐Ÿš—What Chevrolet Malibu Model Should I Buy?

The Premier, with its 2.0-liter turbo-four motor offers far better performance than its 1.5-liter turbo-four-equipped brethren. The problem is, you don't want to spend $33,500 on the 2021 Chevrolet Malibu sedan when, at that price, you can drive something like the Honda Civic or even the Accord, both of which are far more entertaining to drive and far richer in value. If you're set on the Malibu sedan, we'd recommend the most affordable model, the LS, with the Driver Confidence Package optioned in for the added driver assists. These include a following distance indicator, automatic braking in emergencies, forward collision alert, lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot alert.

Chevrolet Malibu Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2021 Chevrolet Malibu:

2021 Chevrolet Malibu Video Review

Check out some informative Chevrolet Malibu video reviews below.

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