2019 Chevrolet Malibu Review

Malibu

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2019 Chevrolet Malibu Overview

The midsize Chevrolet Malibu sedan was last redesigned for the 2016 model year. For 2019, midway through its product life-cycle, it sees some important visual and content updates.

The biggest changes for 2019 are to the Malibu’s front end. The headlights are similar, but the two-piece grille arrangement has been completely redesigned. It now catches the eye with an elaborate rhombus-mesh pattern. The turn signals have been relegated to the lower bumper, surrounded by reshaped LED signatures. Thanks to all of the new apertures and fixtures, the new front bumper is smoother than the previous one. At the rear, the only major alteration is a new set of taillights. Overall, the facelift is subtle, but effective.

All of the Malibu’s previous trims, L, LS, LT, and Premier, return. The L kicks things off with 16-inch steel wheels, keyless access and start, a 6-speaker sound system, USB connectivity and Bluetooth. Scaling the trim lineup unlocks standard and optional features like a sunroof, leather upholstery, alloy wheels, a premium sound system, heated and cooled front seats, a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, remote start, wireless phone charging, dual-zone climate control, and rear USB outlets. For 2019, an all-new generation of Chevrolet’s infotainment technology comes standard in the form of an 8-inch touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility on all grades except L. Premier models now throw in heated outboard rear seats as well.

Slotting between LS and LT is a new RS trim. The RS, in keeping with Chevrolet tradition, brings a sporty theme to the lineup. There’s a distinctive black grille, black Chevrolet badges front and rear, a rear spoiler, 18-inch wheels, and a dual-tip exhaust system.

The Malibu carries on with the same base powerplant as before, a turbocharged 1.5-liter inline 4-cylinder engine with start/stop, good for 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The previous 6-speed automatic transmission has been replaced with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). For buyers seeking V6-like power, the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine and 9-speed automatic transmission carry over for Premier, making the same 250 hp and 260 lb-ft. All Malibus are front-wheel drive (FWD). Chevrolet has not yet released official fuel economy figures for any of the 2019 configurations, estimates range from 22 city mpg to 32 highway for the premium engine, about the same as before.

In terms of safety, the Malibu L gets a rear seat reminder and, for 2019, a standard reversing camera. The LS adds Chevrolet’s Teen Driver program that can inform parents about their children’s driving habits. Driver Confidence I is available for the LT and Premier, bundling blind-spot monitoring, lane-change alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking sensors. Driver Confidence II, offered only on Premier, tacks on forward-collision alert, lane-keep assistance, front pedestrian braking, following distance indication, low-speed automatic emergency braking, and automatic high beams. When last tested in 2017, the Malibu achieved a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), and the revamped 2019 model should rate similarly.

A number of competitors have been redesigned or revamped since the latest Malibu debuted, so the 2019 update comes right on schedule. Look for the new Malibu to arrive in dealerships later in 2018.

Updated

Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.

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