2019 Chevy Malibu first drive review: No better, no worse

    There’s nothing concerning the 2019 Chevrolet Malibu that makes it radically totally different than its predecessor. The midsize sedan’s midcycle refresh focuses largely on powertrain and expertise enhancements, with a number of styling tweaks to spherical out the up to date bundle. The top result’s a Malibu that is as spacious and straightforward to drive because it’s at all times been. However numerous inherent shortcomings will proceed to forestall the Malibu from being greater than, at finest, a midpack choose.

    The large information for 2019 is the addition of the RS trim you see right here, with distinctive 18-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, twin exhaust shops, black badges and a black gloss grille. It is a styling bundle — assume Toyota Camry SE — meant to supply a bit extra visible aptitude on the decrease finish of the Malibu’s worth vary. In fact, you will have to love the way in which the refreshed Malibu appears to be like to start with, and fairly frankly, I do not. That vast grille does not do the automobile any favors, nor do the overstyled plastic trim items within the decrease flip sign housings.

    Turbo energy, now with CVT

    Like most Malibu fashions, the RS is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged I4 engine, with 163 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. A repeatedly variable transmission replaces the earlier six-speed computerized, which must end in improved effectivity. The EPA hasn’t launched official gasoline financial system for the 2019 Malibu with the 1.5-liter engine, however the 2018 mannequin was rated at a good 27 miles per gallon metropolis, 36 mpg freeway and 30 mpg mixed.

    Solely the highest Premier trim will get the extra highly effective 2.Zero-liter turbo engine, with 250 horsepower, 260 pound-feet of torque and a nine-speed computerized transmission. In the event you’re on the lookout for gasoline effectivity above all, Chevy will proceed to supply a Malibu Hybrid, with its spectacular 49 mpg metropolis score. With just one.5-liter fashions obtainable at this check drive, I can not converse a lot to the on-road expertise of those Malibu fashions, so keep tuned for in-depth evaluations as these vehicles roll into varied Roadshow workplaces.

    As for the 1.5, it is largely inoffensive and principally quiet in operation, with sufficient energy to get the Malibu up and transferring, although definitely not in a rush. The CVT tends to hang around between 2,500 and three,500 rpm below regular acceleration, however dig deep into the throttle and the transmission will “shift” at larger revs, mimicking the motion of a standard computerized.

    Even on upsized 18-inch wheels and P245/45-series all-season tires, the Malibu has a wonderfully compliant journey. There’s sufficient damping to simply easy out smaller imperfections on the freeway, and the automobile does not fully disintegrate when pushed via extra partaking corners on the attractive, tree-lined roads of my check route south of Seattle, Washington. With mild steering and stable, progressive braking really feel, the Malibu is easy and nice to drive. It is not practically as partaking as a Honda Accord or Mazda6, however affords a stable behind-the-wheel expertise.

    Chevy’s new Infotainment three interface is a delight to make use of. Sadly, the remainder of the Malibu’s cabin is fairly boring.


    Glorious tech, drab lodging

    Chevy’s new Infotainment three setup finds its method into the Malibu for 2019, with an Eight-inch touchscreen commonplace throughout all trim ranges. I actually like this interface — the high-resolution show makes use of neatly organized and intuitively labeled icons, and inputs are met with on the spot response. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come commonplace, and a Wi-Fi hotspot and embedded navigation can be found on larger trim ranges. The 2018 Malibu’s Chevy MyLink system is already one of many higher on-board tech choices obtainable immediately, and Infotainment three merely improves upon this nice design to make it even simpler to make use of.

    Too dangerous the remainder of the Malibu’s inside is not so beautiful. The Infotainment three show sits atop a touch coated in some actually low-cost supplies, from the poor plastics that make up the switchgear to the fabric material that strains the passenger facet sprint and flows below the middle stack. Buttons and dials are neatly organized and all car controls are straightforward to find rapidly, however critically, this complete cabin appears to be like prefer it’s a decade outdated.

    A lot of the inside is comprised of chunky black and grey plastics that look as dangerous as they really feel. Generally used contact factors just like the wiper and switch sign stalks, in addition to the middle console storage cowl, really feel flimsy and low-cost, or like they’re simply going to interrupt.

    The grey fabric seats are snug sufficient, however provide no actual help to your thigh or again. However no less than they’re energy operated, even at $25,000 RS stage. The Malibu affords beneficiant lodging for rear seat passengers, with ample head- and legroom, in addition to 15.Eight cubic ft of cargo house within the trunk to deal with a household’s value of baggage.

    The $24,995 Malibu RS options distinctive 18-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, twin exhaust ports and blacked-out badges.


    Similar because it ever was

    2019 Malibu pricing begins at $22,965, together with $875 for vacation spot, and that new RS trim is available in at $24,995. That is a little bit bit lower than the $25,780 of an Accord Sport 1.5T, although $785 is a small worth to pay for the Honda’s considerably nicer inside and extra partaking driving dynamics.

    Truthfully, I can not blame Chevy for not placing a ton of effort into the Malibu’s midcycle replace. As increasingly more clients step out of sedans and into extra purposeful, simply as reasonably priced crossovers and SUVs, it is a extra worthwhile funding to bolster that booming utility car lineup. The 2019 Malibu isn’t any totally different than its predecessor, with satisfactory on-road manners and seating for 5 adults. However I would a lot somewhat have an Equinox. And I am fairly positive most new automobile consumers would, too.

    Editors’ notice: Roadshow accepts multi-day car loans from producers so as to present scored editorial evaluations. All scored car evaluations are accomplished on our turf and on our phrases. Nonetheless, for this function, the producer coated journey prices. That is frequent within the auto trade, as it is extra economical to ship journalists to vehicles than to ship vehicles to journalists.

    The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial workforce are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material.

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