Car Buying Strategies
Search Car Buying Strategies Makes & Models Select a Make and Model Makes & Models Select a Make and Model New Cars Prices Buying Advice
Home / Chevrolet / 2023 Chevrolet Malibu

2023 Chevrolet Malibu Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons.

2023 Chevrolet Malibu Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: LS vs RS vs LT and 2LT
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

What 2023 Chevrolet Malibu Trim Should You Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

In terms of popularity, the 2023 Chevrolet Malibu ranks among the top midsize sedans in America. Although the Malibu may trail the competition in some categories, it still remains a great overall car. Many people appreciate the Malibu’s attractive pricing and solid fuel economy. This sedan also provides enough passenger room to satisfy most American families.

A few important updates were made for the 2023 model year. Unfortunately, Chevy no longer offers the Malibu with an engine upgrade. The previously available 2.0-liter, turbo engine packed an enjoyable 250 horsepower. On the bright side, significantly more advanced safety technologies are now standard. Another change is the discontinuation of last year’s more luxurious Premier trim.

There are four Chevy Malibu trim grades to choose from: LS, RS, LT, and 2LT. Here’s a rundown of how these trims compare to each other.

Compare the Malibu LS vs RS Trims. What is the difference?

The affordable LS trim is a clear-cut value. A starting MSRP of just over $26,000 makes it a superb option for budget-minded car shoppers. Luckily, this base trim still provides an array of in-demand features.

With last year’s more potent powertrain no longer being offered, every new Malibu now features the same engine. Chevy’s 1.5-liter, turbo four-cylinder engine supplies the sedan’s power. With a total of 160 horsepower and more than 180 lb-ft of torque under the hood, the Malibu LS offers a competitive level of performance. According to testers, this sedan clocks an average 0-60 mph time of 7.8 seconds.

To help maximum fuel economy, Chevrolet links the engine to a continuously variable auto transmission. When traveling in city traffic, drivers can expect the Malibu to return around 27 mpg. Efficiency rises to 35 on the freeway. The use of regular unleaded gasoline is advised.

All-wheel drive is not an option on any Malibu trim. However, this front-wheel-drive sedan fares well during rainy weather. Only snowy roads will pose an issue for the new Malibu. Chevy equips every Malibu with the same 4-link independent suspension setup. Drivers can look forward to experiencing a comfy ride and rather sporty handling. A variable-effort electric steering system helps make the car easier to drive in tight spaces.

Few Malibu fans will have any complaints about the LS trim’s exterior appearance. An attractive set of 16-inch alloy wheels add to the car’s attractiveness. However, buyers will have to settle for traditional halogen headlamps. Available paint colors for the LS trim include Summit White, Sterling Gray Metallic, Riverside Blue Metallic, Mineral Gray Metallic, and Mosaic Black Metallic.

The inside of the Malibu LS has a quality feel. Buyers can choose between Jet Black and Medium Ash Gray cloth seating surfaces. To cut costs, Chevy equips the LS trim with manual front seats. Some of the notable creature comforts include air conditioning, keyless entry with push-button start, and cruise control.

Chevy’s Infotainment 3 system provides all of today’s most sought-after multimedia features. An 8.0-inch touchscreen comes standard. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto enable drivers to connect their smartphone. With a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot being built into the unit, every passenger has the ability to access the web. A six-speaker stereo, a backup camera, and a 12V power outlet are standard as well.

The big news for 2023 is the LS trim’s newly standard safety technologies. When driving through high-traffic areas, Front Pedestrian Braking helps you to avoid people who are walking across the street. Meanwhile, Following Distance Indicator helps drivers to refrain from trailing vehicles too closely. Another valuable safety feature is Rear Seat Reminder, which makes small children and pets less prone to being left behind.

Other standard driving aids include forward collision warning with low-speed auto emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlights, and lane-keeping assistance. Chevy’s Teen Driver technology is a feature that coaches young drivers to make better decisions. The system allows parents to set a speed limit and promotes seat-belt use. A detailed driving report can also be viewed by parents.

Yet another stress-relieving feature is GM’s impressive OnStar emergency response system. It enables drivers to summon for help throughout the day.

On the LS trim’s list of options is a Driver Confidence package. It improves safety by adding Lane Change Alert, which scans for vehicles hiding in the driver’s blind spot. Other aspects of the package include rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors.

Another big option is the sedan’s remote engine starter. It allows drivers to heat up or cool down the cabin before getting behind the wheel. This comfort-enhancing feature is especially beneficial on cold mornings.

For roughly an extra $1,000, buyers can step up to the sportier-looking Malibu RS. Larger 18-inch aluminum wheels bring a meaner stance. Although the RS trim does not pack more muscle under the hood, dual exhaust pipes do make it appear more powerful. A rear spoiler and blacked-out treatments also help the Malibu RS to turn heads. Unlike the LS trim, the RS trim is eligible for a Radiant Red Tintcoat paint color.

There are some upgraded amenities on the inside. An eight-way power driver’s seat with lumbar control helps promote a more relaxing commute. To give the cabin a premium touch, Chevy adds a leather-covered steering wheel.

Compare the Malibu RS vs LT Trim Levels. What is the difference?

The Malibu LT is not quite as flashy as the Malibu RS. However, it does offer an elevated degree of comfort. Dual-zone automatic climate control and heated seats enables front passengers to experience a more relaxing drive. Meanwhile, backseat occupants can benefit from the sedan’s rear console vent. Buyers can expect to spend an extra $2,100 or so.

When moving up to the LT trim, remote start becomes a standard convenience. Satellite radio is another nice feature that comes equipped on the Malibu LT.

Chevy outfits the LT trim with a smaller set of 17-inch aluminum wheels. Nevertheless, the sedan still has a stylish look. It also adds LED daytime running lights, thus enhancing safety by making the car more visible to other motorists. Heated mirrors come standard as well.

Keep in mind that the LT offers some attractive appearance packages. Most of these packages cost less than $1,000.

Chevy’s Midnight Edition package, which is offered on several other vehicles, has long remained a favorite. It features blacked-out styling cues and 19-inch black wheels. LED tail lamps sweeten the deal. Mosaic Black Metallic is the only available paint color. A Jet Black interior and a leather-covered shift knob give the cabin a sporty theme.

Another option is the Sport Edition package. It also has blacked-out exterior treatments. However, more paint colors are available. Some buyers will be interested in the eye-catching Redline Edition. This package’s trim features 19-inch black wheels with red hash marks. Black side mirrors with Redline decals further set apart the sedan.

Compare the Malibu LT vs 2LT. What is the difference?

Atop the range sits the pricier 2LT trim. However, it’s definitely well worth the money. Its premium features promote an even more relaxing trip.

During the summer months, the Malibu 2LT’s ventilated seats will improve comfort. Hot, humid weather will be less of a concern. On frigid days, a heated steering wheel helps warm things up. Perforated leather seating surfaces give the Malibu 2LT a plushier feel. Other notable upgrades include a power passenger seat, memory functions for the driver’s seat, and ambient interior lighting.

Upgraded interior tech also helps make the 2LT trim a worthwhile investment. Chevy’s enhanced infotainment unit features an HD touchscreen with navigation. When taking out-of-town trips, travelers won’t need to rely on their phone for directions. Wireless charging is another one of the Malibu 2LT’s exclusive features. To improve safety after dark, Chevrolet equips this range-topping trim with a standard auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Upon firing up the engine, drivers will notice the Malibu 2LT’s 8.0-inch digital driving display. They’ll be able to easily obtain key information while on the road. Boasting a total of nine high-performance speakers, the car’s Bose premium audio system treats music lovers to a richer sound.

Like the LT trim, the 2LT trim offers some styling upgrades. The Midnight Edition, Sport Edition, and Redline Edition packages are all available.

A major option is the Malibu 2LT’s available Driver Confidence and Cruise Package. Even at highway speeds, Chevy’s Enhanced Automatic Emergency Braking system can prevent a crash. Another perk is the package’s Automatic Parking Assist feature. It can automatically steer the sedan into parallel and perpendicular parking spaces. Adaptive cruise control is included as well.

Final Thoughts

The entry-level Malibu LS is highly recommended for drivers who prioritize affordability. This base model proves to be stylish, secure, and packed with the latest features. It also delivers the same efficient performance as the higher trim levels.

Chevy’s standard infotainment system is more than adequate. It provides wireless smartphone connectivity and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. For the 2023 model year, a Chevy Safety Assist package is now on the LS trim’s list of standard equipment. A few of the notable driver-assist technologies include low-speed auto emergency braking, active lane assistance, Following Distance Indicator. Parking sensors and a Lane Change Alert come with the optional Driver Confidence package.

The sportier-looking Malibu RS is not significantly more expensive. Aside from its flashier appearance, this trim also improves comfort by adding a power driver’s seat with lumbar control.

For folks who desire a greater number of creature comforts, Chevy offers the Malibu LT. Some of its tempting features include front-seat heating modes, dual-zone automatic temperature control, and LED daytime running lights. The LT trim’s available appearance packages add more style without forcing buyers to invest a ton of money. Remember, LED tail lamps are included with these eye-catching packages.

Drivers who aren’t on a tight budget should consider the top-of-the-line Malibu 2LT, which has a starting price of $32,600. Its well-appointed cabin will win over a lot of luxury car fans. Exclusive features include a Bose premium stereo system, cooled front seats, and an HD infotainment screen. However, this trim’s optional Driver Confidence and Cruise Package does add to its total cost.

Previous Year Trim Configurations:

2022 Chevrolet Malibu Trim Levels