American automakers appear to be increasingly ambivalent about the sedan, as they are gradually ceding this segment to foreign competitors. Ford recently canceled its Fusion and Continental sedans and has officially said it is moving away from “cars” in favor of SUVs and trucks. Chrysler now only makes one car, the Chrysler 300, but it seems like that mostly isn’t his habit. GM also discontinued production of the Cruze earlier this year, but has stuck with a midsize Chevrolet Malibu, a nameplate that dates back to 1964.
The Malibu offers the good and the bad, the cool and imperfect American sedans of the turn of the 21st century. It looks good, with an overhaul coming in 2019. It offers a reasonable price, with a competitive sticker price, and great fuel economy. But it also lacks the refinement of top competitors and provides the main safety equipment for higher décor. Below we bring you all the details of the 2020 Chevrolet Malibu.
Specifications – buy a ticket, take 2.0
Chevy decided to keep things simple for 2020, eliminating the complexities of the hybrid option and offering only two powertrain options for the Malibu. Fortunately, for those looking for adequate fuel economy, the smaller choice between the two options provides significant efficiency without the price premium for the hybrid.
That first option is the 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that develops 163 hp and 184 lb-ft. Of torque coupled with CVT. This created a very competitive highway of 29 and 36 mpg.
The second option is a 2.0-liter turbo 4 with 250 hp and 260 lb-ft. The torque is mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is affected here, with 22 cities and 32 highways. Unfortunately, the 2.0-liter engine is only available on the Premier model.
Unfortunately, the Malibu does not currently have an all-wheel drive option, which is only available in the FWD version.
Driving – RS More Talk Than Walk
Malibu offers a respectable driving experience designed to emphasize ease and comfort rather than excitement. The suspension adjusts well to absorb potholes and cobblestones. The steering is decent and precise while still keeping its weight a bit. The greater return from the road would have been nice. The overall handling was fine, but not as sporty as the other options in this segment.
The 1.5-liter engine feels slow in traffic situations and is a perfect fit anywhere else, but that’s the trade-off it makes for an excellent 35 mpg highway rating. Meanwhile, the 2.0-liter engine was definitely more vibrant, and combined with assured control, was a highlight of the Malibu. However, once you have fun with the Camry’s V6 or Accord’s turbo-4, the Malibu’s 2.0L doesn’t shine so brightly.
As far as the sporty character goes, we have to contend with the decision to limit the mid-volume RS to the smaller 1.5-liter engine. Remember RS stands for Rally Sport, the finish is supposed to be, you know, “sporty.” Instead, the RS model is just an appearance package, with a black and leather accent applied to the shift knob. But we should not be surprised by this as it is normal for menstruation. Automakers continue to offer mid-range “sporty” trims that look sporty while retaining the actual performance improvements for higher trimmings (or in many cases no legitimate upgrades at all). Colorful stitching, fake air vents, fake exhausts … the automakers know racing stripes don’t make you go faster, right?
Comfort and interior – a legitimate fleet cruiser
In comparison, the Malibu interior is perhaps its weakest point, but we’ll start with what is good. The seats are comfortable and forgiving and match well with a soft suspension to facilitate long-distance travel in the back. The cabin is spacious, especially at the front. The rear may not be as wide as its competitors, but most passengers under 6 feet 2 inches will have no complaints. The ride is quiet and the cabin is well isolated from road and wind noise.
The Malibu’s striking shortcomings are in design and materials, both of which lag far behind the rest of the segment. As much as we love the seat functionality, they also seem like something borrowed from a car at least ten years older. The dashboard isn’t inspiring either, with the copious use of hard plastic and the odd choice of fabric in the area just above the glove box. The gauge cluster also looks outdated, not in great throwback, but in kind, which makes production costs low.
Finishes and Functions – Mass Market Exclusive?
Part of the appeal of a car like the Malibu is that you can have something eye-catching that serves well a highway cruiser while also saving money. Oddly enough, then, Chevrolet decided to keep the base and bottom edges bare the same, especially when it came to safety technology.
L – $ 22,095
8 ” touch screen, compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, bluetooth, fabric bucket seats, rear view camera, 16 ” wheels, keyless entry, push-button operation.
LS – $ 23,220
Compass, outdoor temperature display, teen OS, WiFi hotspot.
RS – $ 24,220
Black tie and Malibu badge, 18-inch wheels, rear spoiler, leather steering wheel and shifter knob. The driver’s seat is electrically adjustable in 8 directions.
LT – $ 26,620
Dual zone automatic air conditioning, heated front seats, remote operation. 17-inch aluminum wheels, LED positioning lights, heated side mirrors, options for leather upholstery and sunroof, Driver Confidence Package which includes Forward Collision Warning, Front Automatic Emergency Braking, Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Departure Warning, High Beams Automatic.
The first – $ 33,320
Leather upholstery, 19-inch aluminum wheels, 2.0-liter engine, heated steering wheel, electric passenger seat, wireless phone charging, 9-speaker Bose stereo, sunroof, heated rear seats, driver confidence package.
Conclusion – All About That Brand
The 2020 Chevrolet Malibu could be a good choice if you value good fuel economy, roomy interior space and a reasonable starting price. But as US automakers, including GM, ditch passenger cars and walk away from the ball, Asian automakers such as Hyundai / Kia, Toyota and Honda have continued to cement their dominance in the segment.
The Malibu unisex bag is best suited for buyers who have a strong sense of brand loyalty. If you’ve had good experiences with Chevrolet sedans in the past, the Malibu will likely meet your expectations. But for further refinement, a lower pillar of essential safety and comfort features, along with a more exciting driving experience, puts the Camry, Accord and Mazda6 on an equal footing.