2022 Chevrolet Malibu Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?
With the shrinking demand for sedans, Chevrolet has discontinued all of theirs but one. The Chevrolet Malibu is a vehicle that has not changed much over the years. In some ways, this is a good thing. In others? It may be holding the Malibu back from achieving its potential. At the end of the day, drivers will have to consider the pros versus cons of the 2022 Chevrolet Malibu to decide if it is worth taking for a test drive.
What's New for 2022?
Buyers can no longer choose the L trim level when shopping the Malibu. In 2022, the LS is considered the entry-level model. An electronic parking brake has also been added to all models. Otherwise, this sedan enters 2022 largely the same. The Malibu is in its ninth generation, which debuted in 2016.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2022 Chevrolet Malibu – The Pros
1. Spacious and Comfortable Interior
The amount of both head and legroom is impressive in the Malibu. Taller passengers, in particular, will be pleasantly surprised when sitting in either row. This is a sedan that can truly seat up to five people without everyone feeling cramped. The seats are well-padded and supportive enough to stay comfortable on even longer drives. Cloth upholstery is standard. There are several interior upgrades available, including leather, climate-controlled front seats, and a heated steering wheel.
2. Easy-to-Use Technology Features
Critics often comment on the Malibu becoming outdated. That said, the tech features inside the cabin are as modern as they come. Wireless versions of both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included, making it a simple task to connect a compatible smart device. Bluetooth, an 8-inch touchscreen, a six-speaker audio system, and a USB port are included as well. The standard Chevrolet 3 infotainment system is easy to navigate so that drivers can get the most out of their technology. There are not many physical controls for the system, but most drivers will find they have no problem getting used to the touch ones.
3. Exciting Turbocharged Engine Option
The top Premier trim of the 2022 Malibu draws its power from a 2.0L turbocharged engine. It generates 250-horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, which makes for a thrilling experience. Rather than the CVT that the standard engine comes with, this engine upgrades gets a nine-speed automatic transmission for smooth and responsive shifts. Those seeking a good deal of passing power will love the Premier trim and this powerful engine.
4. Attractive Exterior Design
The sharp headlights and double-grille look of the Malibu make it very visually appealing. For an even bolder look, shoppers can go with the RS trim level. It gets a black grille, a dual exhaust system, and a rear spoiler. All 2022 models are equipped with LED daytime running lights and taillamps. LED headlights are reserved for the top Premier model of the Malibu.
5. Strong Fuel Economy Estimates
The standard Malibu engine, which creates 160-horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, offers impressive fuel efficiency numbers. Drivers can expect 29mpg in the city and 36mpg on the highway. Going with the more powerful turbocharged engine will mean getting more average numbers, with estimates coming in at 22mpg city and 33mpg highway.
6. Competitively Priced Base Model
Despite getting rid of the lowest level, the Malibu remains affordable in 2022. The LS model has a starting price of around $24,000. This makes it one of the most affordable sedans out there currently. The sporty RS trim costs only $1,000 more. It is worth noting, however, that the Premier starts at roughly $10,000 more than the base LS. Despite costing significantly more than other Malibu models, the Premier is still affordable compared to rival's top trim levels.
7. Surprisingly Spacious Trunk
One reason that sedans have fallen out of favor is the cargo space. The 2022 Malibu is actually quite practical, giving drivers 15.7 cubic feet in the trunk. In a pinch, the backseats fold down to allow for longer objects to fit inside the Malibu as well. Even without that extra space, the Malibu can handle a luggage set or a big grocery shopping trip.
8. Smooth Ride Quality
Something about the Chevrolet Malibu screams "old-school luxury." The ride quality certainly lends to that feeling. With a cushioned ride that can handle rough pavement, passengers will love riding in the Malibu. The handling of the vehicle is also pleasant, with composed cornering and responsive braking.
9. Available Appearance Packages
The LT trim level allows buyers to customize their 2022 Malibu with either the Sport Edition or Midnight Edition package. Both of these packages include 19-inch black-painted aluminum wheels, black exterior badges, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The main difference between these two involves the exterior color. The Midnight appearance package must be paired with Mosaic Black Metallic paint, while the Sport Edition can be had with a wider variety of colors. There is also a Redline Edition for even more head-turning looks that includes red accents on the 19-inch wheels.
10. Fully-Loaded Premier Trim
Despite having a relatively low price across the lineup, the Chevrolet Malibu still offers drivers a good deal of luxury. The top Premier trim is loaded with heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated rear outboard seats, and a power moonroof. It also comes equipped with navigation, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and wireless device charging. The Premier also has a very satisfying engine upgrade underneath its hood.
Reasons Not to Buy a 2022 Chevrolet Malibu – The Cons
1. Where are the Standard Driver Aids?
It is hard to imagine that in 2022 there is a vehicle that only comes with a rearview camera standard on its list of advanced safety features. Unfortunately, that is the case for the new Malibu. All models are available with packages that can add driver aids, however. The Driver Confidence I package includes lane change alert, blind-spot monitoring, and parking sensors. The Driver Confidence II package has all of that, plus automatic high beams, pedestrian detection, and more. It is unfortunate that drivers still have to pay extra for these things.
2. Standard Engine is Merely Meh
The standard turbocharged 1.5L engine generates 160-horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. While this does not feel weak, necessarily, it also does not feel fun. The continuously variable transmission that it is paired with helps it achieve fuel efficiency, but it does nothing to improve the driving dynamics of the Malibu. It ultimately depends on a driver's personal preferences to decide if the excellent fuel economy is worth the lack of accelerating power.
3. No All-Wheel Drive Option
There are many sedans out there that do not have all-wheel-drive models. At the same time, there are several that do. The Chevrolet Malibu can gain a significant edge over its competition by making an AWD version moving forward.
4. No Hybrid Powertrain Available
Many vehicles are offering hybrid powertrains in an attempt to stay relevant moving forward. Considering the fact that the Malibu is looked at as old-fashioned and outdated by many, this is something that Chevrolet should consider. A hybrid powertrain would help the Malibu appeal to a whole new generation of drivers.
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How It Stacks Up to the Competition:
2022 Chevrolet Malibu vs. 2022 Toyota Camry
Many consider the Toyota Camry to be the ultimate family sedan. It is easy to see why considering the long list of standard driver assistance features and high-end cabin. The Camry also has sharper handling and a more satisfying base engine. Realistically, the only reason someone would choose the Malibu over the Camry is because of its more affordable price tag.
2022 Chevrolet Malibu vs. 2022 Hyundai Sonata
The Hyundai Sonata is a popular well-rounded sedan. When buyers compare the Malibu Premier to the Sonata's performance-oriented N Line, they will find them to be very similar. They also have nearly identical starting prices. Giving the Sonata N Line an edge, however, is the fact that it comes with Hyundai's impressive warranty coverage. On the other hand, it can be argued that the Malibu has better styling features, particularly for the exterior.
The Chevrolet Malibu should be admired for its tenacity. It does continue to offer drivers many things they want, including a good amount of technology at a very affordable price. That said, Chevrolet will want to take a hard look at some aspects of this vehicle moving forward. A standard suite of driver assistance features should be added sooner rather than later. They may also want to consider either boosting the power of the standard engine or introducing a hybrid option. If they really want the Malibu to remain relevant for the foreseeable future, they should probably do both.