New Car Review

2017 Chevrolet Malibu: New Car Review

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Chevrolet Malibu LS
Used 2017 Chevrolet Malibu
$15,450
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Chevrolet Malibu LS
Used 2017 Chevrolet Malibu
$15,494
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Chevrolet Malibu LS
Used 2017 Chevrolet Malibu
$15,549
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Chevrolet Malibu Premier
Used 2017 Chevrolet Malibu
$23,684
RELATED READING
See all Chevrolet Malibu articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader December 2016

The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu is a sporty midsize sedan offering room for five adults, a choice of two modern turbocharged engines and a price tag that makes it competitive with such rivals as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion. The Malibu distinguishes itself in a number of ways, the most obvious being with its sleek styling, ample technology features and excellent fuel economy.

But does the Malibu's bold look hide a mediocre car underneath? For the first time in years when talking about this Chevy, we can honestly say that we don't think so. The latest Malibu isn't just handsome and striking; it's also technologically advanced, fuel efficient and comfortable. There's even a hybrid version, which we've covered in a separate review. If you're interested in a midsize sedan, it might surprise you to discover that this is absolutely one that deserves a spot on your shopping list.

What's New for 2017?

For 2017, the LT2 trim is dropped and the Premier trim gains a 9-speed automatic transmission. LS and LT trims now feature Teen Driver, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, while a new Sport Package is made available for the LT.

What We Like

Handsome design; modern interior; comfortable ride; large infotainment screen

What We Don't

Mediocre base engine; 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder only available on most expensive trim; no all-wheel-drive variants

How Much?

$22,555-$38,000

Fuel Economy

The latest Malibu offers three engines: two traditional gas-powered engines and a new hybrid power plant we've covered in a separate review. Most models use a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that touts 163 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, mated to a standard 6-speed automatic transmission. This engine is the best choice for drivers who prioritize fuel efficiency, as it offers an Environmental Protection Agency-rated 27 miles per gallon in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.

Drivers who want more power can upgrade to the Premier's 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which boasts a bulky 250 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. This engine is mated to a standard 9-speed automatic transmission and earns an estimated to 22 mpg city/33 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu comes in four trim levels: L, LS, LT and Premier.

The Malibu L ($22,555) is pretty basic, as it comes standard with only 16-inch steel wheels with hubcaps, Bluetooth, a 6-speaker stereo, power accessories, air conditioning, cruise control and keyless entry with push-button ignition.

Next up is the LS ($24,100), which adds GM's OnStar system with 4G LTE Wi-Fi, 16-in alloy wheels, GM's MyLink infotainment system (accompanied by a 7-in touchscreen and both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay), a rearview monitor and Bluetooth audio.

From there, drivers can opt for the LT ($26,000), which adds 17-in alloy wheels, a power driver's seat, rear climate-control vents, satellite radio, LED running lights and heated mirrors.

Topping the range is the high-end Premier ($31,850), which offers a luxury-car-like array of features that includes the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, 19-in wheels, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8-in touchscreen, a power passenger seat, a wireless smartphone-charging system, a navigation system and a 9-speaker Bose sound system.

The Malibu also offers a few options, most of which include features from higher trim levels. Also optional is a sunroof and two different Driver Confidence packages, which tout modern safety gadgets such as automatic high beams, forward-collision warning with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and even a self-parking system.

Safety

In government crash tests, the Chevrolet Malibu earned an overall 5-star rating, with 5-star scores in the front- and side-impact tests and 4 stars in the rollover test. The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Malibu its highest rating of Good in every crash test, Superior in the crash avoidance and mitigation category, and even awarded it a Top Safety Pick honor.

As for safety features, the Malibu has a lot to offer. While we bemoan the lack of a standard rearview monitor on the base L, all Malibu models offer standard anti-lock brakes and side-curtain airbags. The latest Malibu also touts a wide range of safety options, from forward-collision warning with automatic braking to lane-departure warning, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, a blind spot monitoring system and more.

Behind the Wheel

On the road, the 2017 Malibu offers a lot of impressive characteristics. While it isn't the most engaging midsize sedan -- that honor goes to the Mazda6, with the Ford Fusion a close runner-up -- we vastly prefer the new Malibu's driving experience to that of the model that came before it. It's light on its feet, sporty, and yet composed in corners. It also offers high levels of comfort and a cabin that's well-insulated from road and engine noise.

If there's one kink in the Malibu's otherwise excellent design, it's the rather weak 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. At 164 hp, this motor offers less power than any competitor's and even falls behind the engines in some compact cars such as the VW GTI and Mazda3. We almost wish Chevy had kept the old 2015 Malibu's 196-hp 4-cylinder -- which was one of the most potent among midsize sedans, returning 25 mpg city/36 mpg hwy, figures nearly identical to the current model's.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Chrysler 200 -- Like the Malibu, the Chrysler 200 is a formerly maligned midsize sedan that has now made good with a handsome Fiat-derived design and a wide range of technology. Unlike the Malibu, it offers all-wheel drive and a potent V6 engine.

2017 Ford Fusion -- The Fusion is an excellent contender in this popular segment, boasting handsome styling, forward-thinking technology and several available models, including a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and an all-wheel-drive variant.

2017 Honda Accord -- The Honda Accord is among the best midsize sedans thanks to notorious durability, a roomy interior, reasonable pricing and a lot of different variants.

Used Chevrolet Impala -- If you like the Malibu's general design and interior but need more space, consider Chevrolet's larger Impala. Higher pricing means you may need to consider a used 2014 -2016 model, however.

Autotrader's Advice

If you're choosing a Malibu, it's hard not to pick the upscale Premier model. In addition to touting high-end features such as a navigation system and ventilated seats, it also comes standard with some must-haves, including a more powerful 2.0-liter engine, dual-zone automatic climate control and a power passenger seat. Opt for one of Chevy's Driver Confidence packages and you're basically driving a luxury car.

Find a Chevrolet Malibu for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Chevrolet Malibu LS
Used 2017 Chevrolet Malibu
$15,450
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Chevrolet Malibu LS
Used 2017 Chevrolet Malibu
$15,494
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Chevrolet Malibu LS
Used 2017 Chevrolet Malibu
$15,549
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2017 Chevrolet Malibu Premier
Used 2017 Chevrolet Malibu
$23,684
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Chevrolet Malibu: New Car Review - Autotrader