2015 Chevrolet Malibu Review

Pros & Cons

  • Outstanding crash test scores
  • well-appointed interior
  • comfortable ride
  • strong turbocharged engine.
  • Snug backseat
  • MyLink touchscreen interface can be finicky to use at times.
List Price Range
$7,991 - $16,950

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2015 Chevrolet Malibu may not be the first midsize sedan that comes to mind, but it's a solid effort that checks most of the boxes for shoppers in this segment.

Vehicle overview

Ah, Malibu. We know it well. Sandy beaches, palatial estates, celebrities galore and winding canyon roads. All of which begs the question: What on earth does the 2015 Chevrolet Malibu have to do with its namesake? Well, like many Malibu residents, Chevy's family sedan received some front-end enhancements last year. Otherwise, though, there's not a whole lot of overlap. The Malibu gets the job done, but it tends to get lost in the shuffle versus its higher-profile rivals.

That's a shame, because when you get right down to it, the Malibu is a pretty nice car with few apparent weaknesses. One used to be the underwhelming Eco model's "mild hybrid" powertrain -- too mild, frankly, to justify the compromises in performance and trunk space -- but Chevy has done away with the Eco for 2015, leaving just the satisfying base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine or the strong turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder as your choices. Another shortcoming, literally, is the Malibu's limited rear legroom, an unavoidable consequence of the car's unusually compact wheelbase. But other than that, the Malibu has much to recommend it, including excellent crash-test scores, an upscale interior and a quiet, supple ride.

Despite these and other merits, however, the Malibu is simply outdone by other midsize family sedans. The 2015 Nissan Altima, for example, is notable for delivering better fuel economy with both its base and optional engines. Same goes for the Honda Accord, which also offers a particularly spacious backseat. On the home front, the 2015 Ford Fusion impresses with its sharp handling, head-turning style and rich feature set. The overhauled 2015 Hyundai Sonata also merits close consideration, and there are others we could mention as well.

So where does that leave the 2015 Chevrolet Malibu? Even if it isn't a class leader nor as glamorous as its name suggests, it's still a competitive family sedan that's worth taking for a spin.

2015 Chevrolet Malibu models

The 2015 Chevrolet Malibu midsize sedan is offered in three primary trim levels: LS, LT and LTZ.

The base LS starts with 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, keyless entry, full power accessories, cruise control, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cloth upholstery, a power driver seat height adjuster, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, OnStar (with 4G WiFi connectivity), Bluetooth phone connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player.

The LT is divided into three sub-trims: 1LT, 2LT and 3LT. Relative to the LS, the 1LT adds heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, cloth and leatherette (vinyl) upholstery, Bluetooth audio connectivity, the MyLink infotainment system (includes a 7-inch touchscreen, voice controls, Internet radio smartphone app compatibility and voice-to-text messaging capability for certain smartphones), satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod interface.

The 2LT piles on 18-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, a compact spare tire (replacing the standard tire repair kit), dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar) and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The 3LT is essentially identical to the 2LT with the addition of the turbocharged engine.

The top-of-the-line LTZ has two sub-trims of its own: 1LZ and 2LZ. Either way, you'll get leather seating, heated front seats, an eight-way power passenger seat (with power lumbar), an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a cargo net for the trunk. The 2LZ adds a sunroof and the turbocharged engine.

Many of the fancier features are available on lower trim levels via various option packages. Other add-ons (depending on trim) include the Advanced Safety package (consisting of forward collision warning, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems), xenon headlights, keyless ignition and entry, driver memory settings, a nine-speaker Pioneer audio system, a 120-volt power outlet, a navigation system and a rearview camera.

2015 Highlights

The hybrid-powered Malibu Eco is no longer available, but all Malibus receive a 4G data connection with WiFi hotspot capability.

Performance & mpg

All 2015 Chevrolet Malibus employ a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. The base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that generates 196 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 29 mpg combined (25 city/36 highway), aided by a barely perceptible stop-start system that automatically turns off the engine when the car comes to a halt.

The optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is only offered on the 3LT and 2LZ trims. It pumps out 259 hp and a robust 295 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy checks in at 24 mpg combined (21 city/30 highway). As with the base engine, this is respectable but not class-leading efficiency.

Safety

The 2015 Chevy Malibu comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front knee airbags, front side airbags, rear side airbags and side curtain airbags. Also standard is the OnStar telematics system, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking and stolen vehicle assistance. A rearview camera is available, as is an Advanced Safety package with forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems.

In government crash testing, the Malibu earned a perfect five stars for overall crash protection, with five stars for total frontal impact protection and five stars for total side impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Malibu its highest possible rating of "Good" in the small-overlap frontal-offset and moderate-overlap frontal-offset impact collision tests. The Malibu also earned a "Good" rating in the side-impact, roof strength and whiplash reduction (seat and head restraints) tests.

Driving

The 2.5-liter engine is one of the strongest base offerings in this segment, providing plenty of juice whether you're accelerating from a stop light or merging on the freeway. Still, the 2.0-liter turbo is a significant and desirable upgrade, imbuing the 'Bu with authoritative power at any legal speed. The downside is that some rival V6s -- the Altima's and the Accord's, for example -- are more fuel-efficient, as is the more powerful 2.0-liter turbo shared by the Sonata and Kia Optima. But if you're sold on the Malibu otherwise, the turbo is certainly an appealing option.

Road and wind noise are things you're only distantly aware of in the Malibu's cabin. Chevy set out to make this Malibu the quietest one yet, and they nailed it. The suspension is a win as well, expertly soaking up bumps while preserving the driver's sense of control. The one demerit here concerns handling, as the Malibu just isn't that fun to drive compared to some rivals. If you value a playful, sporty character when you're in the saddle, there are better options elsewhere.

Interior

The 2015 Chevrolet Malibu is blessed with an unusually upscale cabin by segment standards, at least in terms of design. The dashboard's graceful curves are complemented by a tasteful smattering of metallic accents. The materials are mostly impressive as well, with ample soft-touch surfaces, though some of the buttons and stalks have a less substantial feel than we'd like.

The central control layout looks a bit intimidating at first glance, but there's a logic to it; most drivers should acclimate quickly after a few miles behind the wheel. The MyLink touchscreen interface -- standard on all but the base LS -- scores points for its intuitive menu structure, and it also provides smartphone app integration, including radio apps like Pandora and Stitcher. However, we've found that touch inputs don't always meet with a quick response or even a response at all, suggesting that Chevy's still got some kinks to work out.

Seat comfort in the Malibu is a tale of two rows. In front, the cushions are nicely shaped for long hauls, and the optional power driver seat provides extensive adjustments for drivers both short and tall. In back, however, the Malibu's relatively short wheelbase makes for "midsize-minus" passenger space. It's snug enough that tall folks in front will have to slide their seats up to make room -- a rare inconvenience in a modern midsize sedan. You may also struggle to fit a rear-facing child seat. This may not be a deal-breaker, but it's something to keep in mind when you're weighing your options.

The Malibu's trunk measures 16.3 cubic feet, which a bit larger than the norm for a midsize sedan.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2015 Chevrolet Malibu.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

2015 Chevy Malibu Ls
Joe,03/15/2016
LS 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
Well I have had this car for two months and I am very happy with it, the 2.5L engine makes good power 196hp and the fuel mileage is very good I actually get the advertised mileage ,the car is very comfortable and all the controls are laid out nice and are very easy to understand and operate it handles great and it is a joy to drive. the only thing I would change is the engine auto start stop feature it works well but I rather not have it and there should be a on-off switch for those of us who would rather have it off but I took care of that and it does not auto start stop unless I want it to. So at this point the car drives and operates just the way I like and I am very happy with it and I would recommend it to anyone who needs a nice mid sized car
Really Love This Car
Randy Risner,08/10/2015
LT 4dr Sedan w/1LT (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
I have owned many cars including Mercedes Benz, Jaguar, Cadillac Buick and other premium brands. This car impresses me for its value. It is solidly built with quality materials. It rides well, it handles well, it accelerates well, it is comfortable on long drives and it gets incredible fuel economy for its size and weight. The only complaints I have are the limited room in the rear passenger area and the blind spots in the rear. I recently drove the car from California to Alabama. My average speed was 80 mph. My average fuel economy was better than 36 mpg. Maintenance costs are fantastic. Regular maintenance on this car is about $40 per visit compared to over $400 per visit for my wife's Mercedes C Class. I won't even go into the maintenance costs I experienced as a Jaguar owner. Overall, this car compares quite favorably to similar offerings by Japan or Europe. I drive this car a lot having put over 40,000 miles on it in one year. All of that mileage and no significant problems at all. This is not a sports car and it wasn't designed as one. So, everyone complaining about handling and acceleration are comparing apples to oranges. It drives quite well and is very much like any other similar car like the Honda Accord or Nissan Altima. In my opinion, the car is a bit overpriced. However, I made up for that with GMs military discount which brought the price into reasonable territory. Further, I doubt that the car will hold its resale value the way Honda or Nissan does simply because it is a domestic offering. All in all, this car does what GM says it can do. It is a great value and a great car.
Love this car!
Steve,11/28/2015
LT 4dr Sedan w/1LT (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
It's easy to hook up all of you wifi and blue tooth, making hands free a standard thing. Great on gas, love the interior, Had other Malibu's in the past that lasted and lasted. I mean like 190,000 and still humming along! Dependable, safe and beats everyone on price except the inferior brands. Would let my kids travel in it or recommend to someone's mom. I love this car~!!! Update on 5-30-2016. After six months driving it, I love it even more. My mileage is averaging between 28-.5-29.6 MGP. I drive about 36 miles per day round trip to work and with SeriousXM, it seems like a ten minute drive and I have to sit in the car to finish listening to something every day! 6/1/17 Mileage averaging over 30 MPG. No other maint. expenses but Gas, oil, rotating tires, which are still good at 40K miles. Update December 2017-Just over 50k miles, tires wearing so well I should get the full 65,000+ out of them. Steering still right on, loving the satellite features for using phone, etc. and bluetooth. Only wish now would be to have it just a tad more quiet. I recently rented a Buick Verano and found it to be noticeably quieter and the ride smoother. UPDATE June 2018, over 65,000 miles now and all is well! Just replaced the original Goodyears with the next grade up that are a little quieter. The interior is all intact, still great mileage, and also just changed the fuel filter and blew out the lines. Mileage went from 29.3 back up to 32.43. worth the expense, I would say. Update 1/2020-Just hit 100,000 miles. Still getting 30 mpg mixed miles. Nothing besides two O2 sensors replaced under warranty, and replacing the splash guard clips under the front bumper cover. Don't hit those parking stops!. Still love the car!
Great Car
Sean G,09/16/2015
LT 4dr Sedan w/1LT (2.5L 4cyl 6A)
First I'd like to say that the negative reviews seem to be from people who've rented the car (and know nothing about it), bought it used, or are weirded out by the Eco 4cyl engine. I bought my 2015 Malibu LS new after trading in my 2006 Malibu LT. I love the start/stop engine which cuts the engine off after you brake for extended periods of time, then cuts back on after you let off the brake. quite a few cars have this set up, you hardly notice it and it saves a good deal of MPG's. Especially if you're in traffic!! As a bonus you still take off just as fast if not faster than you would had the engine still been running. The trunk can be opened via key fob or a small button on the middle tail light when doors are unlocked. It's a huge step up, just the amount of space I'm used to in front and back-it's a bit more snug in back, but the trunk is a bit bigger now. if you're a fan of Chevy, want a midsize sedan with a some "getup and go", a bit of style, and want good MPG's this is the car for you. If legroom in back is an issue, grab an impala.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2015 Chevrolet Malibu features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover11.1%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2015 Chevrolet Malibu

Used 2015 Chevrolet Malibu Overview

The Used 2015 Chevrolet Malibu is offered in the following submodels: Malibu Sedan. Available styles include LT 4dr Sedan w/1LT (2.5L 4cyl 6A), LS 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 6A), LT 4dr Sedan w/2LT (2.5L 4cyl 6A), LTZ 4dr Sedan w/2LZ (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), LTZ 4dr Sedan w/1LZ (2.5L 4cyl 6A), LT 4dr Sedan w/3LT (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), and LS Fleet 4dr Sedan (2.5L 4cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2015 Chevrolet Malibu?

Price comparisons for Used 2015 Chevrolet Malibu trim styles:

  • The Used 2015 Chevrolet Malibu LT is priced between $7,995 and$15,690 with odometer readings between 45142 and126344 miles.
  • The Used 2015 Chevrolet Malibu LS is priced between $7,991 and$14,000 with odometer readings between 36595 and132295 miles.
  • The Used 2015 Chevrolet Malibu LS Fleet is priced between $11,990 and$13,998 with odometer readings between 40620 and94477 miles.
  • The Used 2015 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ is priced between $11,999 and$16,950 with odometer readings between 20778 and117456 miles.

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Which used 2015 Chevrolet Malibus are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2015 Chevrolet Malibu for sale near. There are currently 51 used and CPO 2015 Malibus listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $7,991 and mileage as low as 20778 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2015 Chevrolet Malibu.

Can't find a used 2015 Chevrolet Malibus you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Chevrolet Malibu for sale - 2 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $10,912.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 7 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $15,406.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Malibu for sale - 3 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $20,115.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 11 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $24,566.

Should I lease or buy a 2015 Chevrolet Malibu?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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