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What’s New for 2018?
The 2018 Chevrolet Malibu is virtually identical to the redesigned 2016 Malibu model that launched the car’s ninth generation. In 2017, Chevrolet added a new transmission to high-end models, while this year’s model adds a 360-degree view camera to the options list on the upper trims.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2018 Chevrolet Malibu – The Pros
1. Modern Styling
The last generation of the Malibu featured very uninspiring styling, and the new design makes up for this oversight with plenty to spare. With both smooth curves and sharp lines, it neatly combines both of the currently dominant car design aesthetics while still retaining a distinctively Chevrolet character, calling back to Chevy’s classic vehicles like the Corvette, the Suburban and the Impala.
2. Good Fuel Economy
By switching over entirely to turbocharged four-cylinder engines, the 2018 Chevrolet Malibu gets good fuel economy in its base engine, while its more powerful engine option offers a nice balance between economy and performance. At 27 miles per gallon city, 36 mpg highway and 30 mpg combined, the base Malibu slots in on the upper end of the class for fuel efficiency.
3. Hybrid Option
In addition to the standard engine options, the 2018 Chevrolet Malibu also has a hybrid model on offer. At 182 horsepower when combining its gas and electric motors, it is actually more powerful than the standard Malibu’s base engine, while at the same time offering a very impressive mileage of 49 mpg city, 43 mpg highway, 46 mpg combined.
4. Composed Drive
The 2018 Chevrolet Malibu has a relaxed driving feel and responsive performance that makes the car practically effortless to drive. The suspension keeps the car composed and the steering is accurate and decisive. While it does not offer sports-car excitement, the comfort of the Malibu’s driving dynamics can be very attractive on a long commute.
5. Chevrolet MyLink
Infotainment has been a consistent strong suit for Chevrolet ever since they’ve introduced the MyLink infotainment system, which can be found on all but the most basic 2018 Malibu model. There is a large touchscreen, an intuitive system of commands, and effortless integration with smartphone technology. It’s ease of use is simply unmatched in the mass-market segment.
6. Good Options Selection
If there is a particular feature that one wants on their new car, it is almost certainly available on the Malibu. From advanced safety technology to premium audio or a surround-view camera, there is a lot to choose from, and most of it is available either individually or in a convenient package. The customizability can make it easy to get maximum value out of the car.
7. Large Back Seat
The 2018 Chevrolet Malibu stands out from many other cars by having a back seat that does not feel like a penalty box. It is tall, wide and has a large footwell that keeps it from feeling cramped, even for taller adults.
8. Very Reliable
The new Malibu earns a very high score from the quality and reliability testers J.D. Power and Associates. At 4.5 of 5 points, it is easily among the best in its class, with most of the other vehicles in the class rated at a 2 or a 3. That bodes well for the longevity and long-term ownership cost of the current crop of Malibu vehicles.
9. Excellent Safety
The 2018 Malibu takes home top awards from both of the major safety rating bodies in the United States. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety marks it out as one of its Top Safety Picks for the year, with top scores in all crash test and active safety categories. The only area where the IIHS was not completely satisfied with the Malibu were the headlights. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also very happy with the Malibu, giving the model five out of five stars for safety.
10. Low Price Point
The Chevrolet Malibu has one of the lowest prices in the segment for its base model, making it attractive not only to business and fleet customers, but also for everyday buyers looking for a good deal. Value-minded shoppers should definitely include this model on their shopping list.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2018 Chevrolet Malibu – The Cons
1. Spare Base Model
The base model of the Chevrolet Malibu may be priced as practically a steal, but there is a reason for that. As primarily a fleet model, to be sold to rental companies, driving schools and the like, it comes with very little in terms of equipment and very limited options.
2. Awkward Trunk Space
The 2018 Chevrolet Malibu has a fairly average trunk for the class, but several design elements make it hard to use it to its full volume. It is relatively shallow, so getting larger items into it can be a challenge, while the trunk lid is positioned awkwardly and easily gets in the way. On the Hybrid, the trunk is even smaller to make space for the battery.
3. Boring Driving Dynamics
Thanks to its soft suspension and gentle transmission, the Malibu almost drives itself. This can be great for drivers with other things on their mind, but the cushioned ride and the lack of steering feedback make it difficult to actually enjoy driving it.
4. Strong Competitors
The Chevrolet Malibu was designed as a generalist vehicle, which can make it a good all-around choice for many, but it is outclassed by many of its competitors in specific areas. For buyers who feel very strongly about power, efficiency, driving dynamics or passenger comfort, there are other good options available in the segment.
How It Stacks up to the Competition
The mid-size sedan is full of good-quality cars that can make solid alternatives to the 2018 Chevrolet Malibu depending on the driver’s needs. The Mazda Mazda6 and the Subaru Legacy are both popular vehicles that are often compared to the Malibu. The Mazda6 is definitely much more fun to drive and also gets great mileage, but its infotainment system is not very well-liked and it has poor expected reliability. The Subaru Legacy is also spacious and upscale, and it comes with an excellent safety record and standard all-wheel drive. However, it has a somewhat harsh ride compared to the Malibu, and is one of the more expensive vehicles in the class, while the Malibu is one of the least expensive ones.
The 2018 Chevrolet Malibu does most things that drivers want fairly well, though it does not notably distinguish itself. It offers a good all-around experience and plenty of comfort, making it a good daily driver. That it does all of this at below average price for the segment only serves to cement its place among the top mid-size sedans.
• Why buy a 2017 Chevrolet Malibu? w/ pros vs cons