2018 Chevrolet Malibu Review

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Pros & Cons

  • Spacious interior with lots of front-seat headroom
  • Hybrid trim offers high efficiency and brisk acceleration
  • Responsive and intuitive 8-inch touchscreen interface
  • Lackluster acceleration from the base 1.5-liter engine
  • Six-speed automatic can be unrefined at low speed
  • Limited outward visibility
List Price Range
$12,577 - $23,640

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Which Malibu does Edmunds recommend?

The Malibu 1LT with the Convenience and Technology package balances content and price. However, we found the 1.5-liter engine underwhelming, preferring the driving experience of the Hybrid. The Hybrid comes similarly equipped to the 1LT for only a moderate price premium, and it can also be equipped with the Convenience and Technology package.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

7.6 / 10

The 2018 Chevrolet Malibu stands out in the midsize sedan field for its sharp looks and mix of appealing qualities. It's loaded with technology and offers a roomy interior. There's also a range of engine choices, including a hybrid option. Overall, we think it's a solid pick.

Since its complete redesign for the 2016 model year, the latest Chevrolet Malibu is very competitive in the midsize sedan category. Some rivals might boast better driving dynamics or more features for the money, but the Malibu provides a solid and stylish all-around package.

Chevrolet has loaded all but the most basic trim with desirable features, which means you won't have trouble finding the features you want. We also like the way the Malibu handles, and acceleration from the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is surprisingly peppy. The Malibu Hybrid is a smooth and refined driver, which returns an impressive 45 mpg combined.

2018 Chevrolet Malibu models

For 2018, the Malibu has four trim levels. The base L trim is sparsely equipped, so unless you're looking for the least expensive sedan possible, it's better to step up to the LS or 1LT. Both add a considerable amount of content, although like the L, they rely on a smaller, slightly underpowered engine. The Premier trim comes almost fully loaded and adds a more powerful motor. The Malibu is also available in Hybrid trim with similar features to the LT.

The base L trim comes with a 16-inch steel wheels, keyless entry and ignition, cruise control, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, OnStar, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a six-speaker audio system, and not much else. Notably, a rearview camera and Bluetooth audio streaming are both lacking.

The minor price hike to the LS trim adds quite a bit of equipment. A rearview camera, 16-inch aluminum wheels, and a Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility are all notable upgrades. You also get laminated side windows, which reduce noise, and a 4G LTE connection with Wi-Fi.

Upgrading to the 1LT trim gets you all of the LS' features, as well as 17-inch wheels, heated mirrors, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat, rear-seat air vents and satellite radio.

The 1LT can also be upgraded with several packages. The Convenience and Technology package adds remote-vehicle start, an auto-dimming mirror and wireless charging pad, and it upgrades the touchscreen interface to an 8-inch screen with navigation. A Leather package is also available, which adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, power front-seat lumbar adjustment, and, oddly, a nine-speaker Bose audio system. The Driver Confidence package adds automatic high beams, front and rear parking sensors, and forward collision warning.

New for 2018 is the Redline Edition appearance package, only available on the 1LT, which adds blacked-out 19-inch wheels along with black and red trim pieces in place of chrome.

The L, LS, and 1LT are all powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine (160 hp and 184 pound-feet of torque) mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The Malibu Hybrid uses a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor, producing a combined 182 horsepower and a noteworthy 277 pound-feet of torque. It comes with the same standard features as the Malibu 1LT and can be upgraded with the Convenience and Technology package, the Leather package and the Driver Confidence package.

Finally, the Premier trim includes all of the 1LT's features, as well as the contents of the Convenience and Technology and Leather packages. The engine is upgraded to a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (250 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque) and paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Also included are 18-inch wheels, ventilated front seats, driver-seat memory settings, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, and unique exterior styling cues.

The Premier can be upgraded with the Driver Confidence package and the Driver Confidence package II, which includes an electronic parking brake, adaptive cruise control, parking assist, and an automatic forward collision avoidance system. The Premier Sun and Wheel package adds a dual-pane power sunroof, 19-inch wheels and upgraded floor mats.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our First Drive of the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Premier (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 8-speed automatic | FWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Chevrolet Malibu has received some revisions, including a new nine-speed automatic transmission for the Premier trim in 2017, and the deletion of the 2LT trim level. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Chevrolet Malibu.

Driving

8.0
The current Chevrolet Malibu is a bold step forward for this previously disappointing family sedan. Its long-distance comfort and capable performance are what you expect for the segment, while its sharp handling and available advanced hybrid powertrain are standout elements.

Acceleration

8.5
The standard 1.5-liter engine feels just adequate. Those who prefer more punch can get the Premier model's 2.0-liter engine. The Hybrid's smooth acceleration makes it feel more like an electric vehicle than other hybrids; its gas engine is mostly noticeable when accelerating hard or climbing a hill.

Braking

7.0
Pedal action is smooth and predictable around town and firms up in panic situations. Our non-hybrid test car stopped from 60 mph in 113 feet — excellent for a car in this class. Confident-feeling hybrid brakes are the best in the segment, lacking the uneven pedal feel common to competitors.

Steering

9.0
The steering is low on feedback, and its initial turn-in is a bit rubbery, but the turning effort is consistent and appropriate for this type of car. It's responsive enough to instill confidence and can keep up with those who drive exuberantly.

Handling

7.0
Despite its size and non-sporty positioning, the Malibu corners with more athleticism than most family sedans. The all-season tires howl loudly when pushed, but the car remains composed and predictable. It's confident in evasive maneuvers and even provides some fun for the driver.

Drivability

The base six-speed automatic transmission can feel sluggish and isn't always smooth, with occasional clumsy downshifts and lurches as it rolls to a stop. We prefer the generally seamless powertrain of the hybrid version, especially at city speeds.

Comfort

8.0
The Malibu's ride is smooth and composed, and it deals well with rough roads and undulations. Some might also describe it as firm, but that doesn't make it uncomfortable. Strong air-conditioning along with a quiet interior add to the overall comfort level.

Seat comfort

8.0
Firm, supportive front seats with sufficient side bolstering. We could happily have driven longer in them than our three-hour evaluation route. The rear outboard seats are comfortable for average-size adults, but the center seat is better suited to smaller passengers.

Ride comfort

8.0
Impressive control over choppy, undulating pavement. Remains poised where some others might bound about or transmit sharp impacts. Isolates you from unpleasantness but not from the driving experience. Could be too firm for some.

Noise & vibration

8.0
Engine and wind noises are nicely muted, and even the Hybrid's sometimes-on engine doesn't drone excessively and call attention to itself. Road noise can be intrusive on coarse asphalt, though. In total, a little quieter than average.

Climate control

8.0
The air-conditioning keeps the car cool on a very hot day, even in the Hybrid, whose engine shuts down when the car stops at signals. And we never felt the need to constantly fiddle with the system. Ventilated seats are optional.

Interior

7.0
The Malibu benefits from a pleasant, modern and uncluttered dashboard design and a simple layout of controls. Passenger room is on par with that of most other cars in the segment, which means there's an abundance of it. The Accord's best-in-segment backseat is only incrementally better.

Ease of use

7.0
Excellent climate controls are placed within easy reach with well-sized buttons and knobs. The MyLink screen is prone to harsh reflections and fingerprint smudges, but high placement makes it easy to see and reach. The manual-shift button on top of the shifter needs a rethink.

Getting in/getting out

7.0
Front passengers are able to get in and out with ease thanks to a large opening and relatively tall ride height. Rear passengers of average height or taller will have to stoop a bit to clear the sloping rear roofline.

Driving position

8.0
Ample adjustability when equipped with the eight-way power seat. The seat adjusts far enough down and back for tall drivers. The steering wheel has good telescoping range. The pedals are naturally placed.

Roominess

7.0
The front seats are quite spacious even for larger occupants. The rear seat is typical for the segment, providing enough head- and legroom even for tall adults. The sloping roofline, however, makes that space feel confining.

Visibility

6.0
As with many sedans in the class, the thick roof pillars and high rear decklid obstruct outward visibility. The available beige dash top also causes distracting reflections — we'd get black. A rearview camera is standard on all but the base trim.

Quality

8.0
Acceptable but far from a class leader. Hard plastics up front are at least nicely textured and don't look cheap. Those in back do and are scratchy. Other surfaces are covered in lightly padded cloth or faux leather. Feels sturdy and well put together.

Utility

7.5
If you have stuff to carry around — big or small — the Malibu is far from the best family sedan. The trunk is simply average, and the various interior bins are not ideal for the smartphones and the odds and ends we all carry around these days.

Small-item storage

7.0
For a midsize sedan, the Malibu's small-item storage is poor. A tiny glovebox, merely average center armrest bin, smallish door bins, one-size cupholders without grippers and a media bin too small for even an iPhone 5. Rivals are better, more clever.

Cargo space

6.5
The Malibu's 15.8-cubic-foot trunk is average for the segment — good enough for golf bags and luggage. The much smaller Hybrid trunk is too narrow for golf bags, and the batteries fill up its aft portion. Still OK for a hybrid sedan, though, and there's technically a 60/40-split pass-through.

Child safety seat accommodation

5.0
Four LATCH anchor points and three upper tether mounts are arranged to serve all three rear-seating positions. Anchor points are easy to find under a flexible flap in the crook of the seat.

Technology

The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu might have as much available technology as any car in the segment, with most trims including a MyLink touchscreen interface, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, onboard Wi-Fi and the range of OnStar services. A full gamut of high-tech driver aids is also available.

Audio & navigation

8.0
The Chevy MyLink touchscreen system is much quicker than earlier iterations, and we appreciate its large virtual buttons and general system layout. We think most users will find it easy to use. There are 7- and 8-inch MyLink screens available.

Smartphone integration

8.0
Up to four USB ports are available, along with an auxiliary jack and Bluetooth phone and audio (though the base L is phone-only). Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on the LS and above; they work as expected.

Driver aids

8.0
Blind-spot monitoring and lane departure warning systems are unobtrusive. Optional adaptive cruise control can bring the car to a full stop, but at lower speeds in slow-and-go freeway traffic it makes awkwardly abrupt throttle and brake adjustments.

Voice control

9.0
Standard voice controls are a bit stilted and require the use of specific phrases, but if you are using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, you can push and hold the same button to get to Siri or Google Voice, both of which are much better at responding to natural-language requests.

EdmundsScorecard

Overall7.6 / 10
Driving8.0
Comfort8.0
Interior7.0
Utility7.5

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2018 Chevrolet Malibu.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Short & to the point
Vinnie,08/22/2017
LS 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I traded my '14 for an '18, total redesign, much more roomier... especially in the back seat. Here's the rundown: Pros: It's roomy and comfortable, gives a smooth, quiet ride, has plenty of room in the back seat and trunk, has the features you need on the LS model...without the stuff you don't need ( example:. It has tilt and telescoping wheel, back up camera, OnStar, Bluetooth, internet access, USB ports), Android Auto, auto stop feature, push button start, 6-way adjustable seats, great mileage....so far, averaging 45 MPG. Yes. 45. Cons:. Base engine built for economy, not speed---you won't be winning any red light races, no glove box light, cubbies are weirdly shaped, telescoping wheel does not come out far enough, cup holders small and not adjustable, no vanity mirror lights, no rub strip trim along the doors--- car will get dings easily. Minor stuff, but overall, I highly recommend this car, especially for what you get for the price.
Just NO!
Leah,07/29/2019
LT 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
This will be my third Malibu. I had an 08, 15 now an 18. I bought the 08 used. Had it about 8 years drove it into the ground but never had one problem with that car till the end. The 15 was by far my favorite. Bought it new. no issues 80k miles when I had to give it back (lease). NO ISSUES!!! 18' worst decision I've ever made. The technology on this car is a FAR step back from the 15. Have had it just under 5 months and it's at the dealer for mechanical issues. Apparently we are not the only ones having the acceleration issue on this vehicle. No warning lights to indicate a problem so all we get is we can't duplicate your concern and there's no lights to tell us something is wrong. When you can't accelerate your vehicle on a merge Lane into a highway which I have to do to get to work daily...that's a major hazard. It's not lawn mower engine as one would think, it literally drops out as no gas is being sent to the engine. Would love to know what's actually wrong with all these cars that is having this same problem and would love GM to acknowledge our issues
Traction Control and Check engine light
BKG Kirkwood,01/29/2019
LT 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Caution with this car -- When the Traction Control is activated , the screen shows a notice of " ENGINE POWER IS REDUCED". When it states REDUCED it means that you are in a lower than Low Gear and cannot accelerate above 10-15 miles per hour. You have to pull over, turn off motor for 15 to 30 seconds to get out of this driving mode. Then the check engine symbol comes on for 24 hours and will reset and disappear if nothing is wrong. True experience -- I turned right onto a fwy ramp and the Traction Control kicked in ( for no reason). I am in low-low gear on the ramp, cars behind me and cannot go faster then 15 mph. Entered fwy slow and almost had an encounter with an 18 wheeler before I could pull onto the fwy shoulder , turn off motor so the system could reset. Also, major issue with the rear braking mechanisms . Noisy and there is a lag time after I remove my foot from the brake pedal. This is such an attractive car , inside and out, but cannot be in my barn.
Car is a Lemon!!!
Antoine King,08/19/2019
LS 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Car is going to get someone killed. Car just stalls out whenever it wants. No warning lights no nothing. You go to step on the gas and nothing happens. Happened a few times I was like maybe it’s just breaking in. The more I drive it the worse the problem gets. Then the car loses power all over sometimes when you stop the air goes down really low. Or if I’m on the phone the air goes down I have to manually turn the air back up after I have started sweating from realizing what happened to the air. Car is embarrassing and needs to be recalled. Car is very dangerous. Taking it to the dealer until they can duplicate the problem because I have had plenty of cars and never no car as bad as this one and I brought it brand new it has 22k on it now. Drives like it has 200k like it’s going to die any minute. Something has to be done about this car!!!!!!! What to put 0 stars but it won’t allow me to so I’ll just pick the 1!!!!!

Features & Specs

MPG
27 city / 36 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
160 hp @ 5700 rpm
MPG
27 city / 36 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
160 hp @ 5700 rpm
MPG
22 city / 33 hwy
Seats 5
9-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
250 hp @ 5300 rpm
MPG
49 city / 43 hwy
Seats 5
2-speed
Hybrid
N/A
See all Used 2018 Chevrolet Malibu features & specs

Safety

Our experts like the Malibu models:

Forward Collision Alert
Warns the driver of potential obstacles ahead (automatic braking is available as an optional extra).
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
Informs the driver of vehicles in perpendicular motion behind the car when reversing.
Pedestrian Detection
Warns the driver of pedestrians in the roadway and automatically applies the brakes if the driver does not take action.

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 Rollover10.2%
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 2018 Chevrolet Malibu

Used 2018 Chevrolet Malibu Overview

The Used 2018 Chevrolet Malibu is offered in the following submodels: Malibu Sedan, Malibu Hybrid. Available styles include LT 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A), LS 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Premier 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 9A), Hybrid 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid DD), L 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A), and LS Fleet 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl Turbo 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2018 Chevrolet Malibu?

Price comparisons for Used 2018 Chevrolet Malibu trim styles:

  • The Used 2018 Chevrolet Malibu LT is priced between $12,577 and$20,790 with odometer readings between 4503 and70509 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Chevrolet Malibu LS is priced between $12,640 and$18,995 with odometer readings between 7789 and86203 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Chevrolet Malibu Premier is priced between $17,995 and$23,640 with odometer readings between 4726 and54456 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Chevrolet Malibu LS Fleet is priced between $12,662 and$13,016 with odometer readings between 57735 and72964 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2018 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) 2018 Chevrolet Malibu for sale near. There are currently 119 used and CPO 2018 Malibus listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $12,577 and mileage as low as 4503 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 2018 Chevrolet Malibu.

Can't find a used 2018 Chevrolet Malibus you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Chevrolet Malibu for sale - 8 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $15,754.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 7 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $20,543.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Malibu for sale - 7 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $15,046.

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Should I lease or buy a 2018 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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