The Chevrolet Malibu is a midsize sedan. Likely, it is the last of its kind for the bowtie brand as Chevy does away with most of its car models in favor of utility vehicles, pickup trucks, and vans. Chevrolet’s domestic competitors have quit the segment, while most foreign makes are still around.
Chevrolet offers the 2022 Malibu in LS, RS, LT, and Premier trims. The Malibu is a front-wheel-drive sedan with room for five. Two engine and two transmission choices are available.
Exterior and Interior Styling
The Malibu possesses sharp looks, but it lacks the personality of most of its competitors. It is a safe design that catches the eye but doesn’t penetrate the heart.
Much of the front fascia shares its look with Chevrolet’s utility vehicles. A broad gaping grille split by a shiny bar amplifies the front end. Narrow headlights with equally narrow optional fog lamps are sporty touches. The profile features a rising beltline and a falling roofline, a combination that normally renders a sporty layout.
However, minimal body sculpting and sedate character lines temper that appeal. From the rear, the Malibu has a notched trunk, thin wraparound lights, and on some models, diffuser-like trim.
Halogen headlights are standard; the Premier trim includes LED lights. Power side mirrors and 17-inch aluminum wheels are included. Wheel choices of up to 19 inches and a rear spoiler are available.
Inside, the cabin offers sufficient room for five. The cabin is straightforward and comfortable, but it doesn’t have the attention to detail of the Honda Accord nor the sportiness of the Mazda6. Cloth seats are standard, but leather seats are available. The rear seat is ideal for two or three in a pinch. The Malibu’s trunk measures a respectable 15.7 cubic feet, which rivals some larger models.
Chevrolet equips the Malibu with full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescopic steering column, and air conditioning. The list of optional features includes dual-zone climate control, an 8-way power driver’s seat, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Some trims include a power-controlled front passenger seat, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, and heated outboard rear seats.
Chevrolet equips the 2022 Malibu with an 8-inch touch-screen display and a 6-speaker audio system. The standard features list includes two USB ports, a Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth, and smartphone integration with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Available on some trims is an 8-inch digital gauge cluster and a 9-speaker Bose audio system. Navigation, two additional USB ports, and wireless device charging are also available.
On the safety front, the Malibu comes with the requisite rearview camera, Teen Driver management, and Buckle to Drive. The last features keep the car from shifting into a higher gear until the driver fastens his seatbelt.
Also available are automatic high-beam headlights, forward collision warning with front pedestrian detection, and forward automatic emergency braking. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, and lane-keep assist are also on the docket. Adaptive cruise control is available.
Engines and Transmissions
Chevrolet offers two engine choices with the 2022 Malibu. Both are turbocharged four-cylinder motors.
The first engine displaces 1.5-liters and works with a continuously variable transmission. This engine makes 163 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. With the CVT this model is an efficient one too, as it delivers 29 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway for a combined 32 mpg.
Exclusive to the Premier trim is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 250 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Power travels to the front wheels utilizing a 9-speed automatic transmission. This model makes 22 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway for a combined 26 mpg.
The Chevrolet Malibu supplies light steering, decent handling, strong brakes, and a comfortable ride. Even with the upgraded engine, though, the Malibu won’t be considered sporty. It doesn’t match the now-retired Mazda6 in that department.
Domestic models such as the Dodge Avenger, Buick Regal, Ford Fusion, and Chrysler 200 left the segment in recent years. It seems hard to believe that this once-thriving segment has shrunken to where only a few key players remain. Indeed, the Mitsubishi Gallant, Volkswagen Passat, and the Mazda6 have also departed or soon will.
As always, the segment is dominated by the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and the Nissan Altima. Other players include the Hyundai Sonata, Subaru Legacy, and the Kia K5. The Legacy offers standard all-wheel drive, a feature that’s optional in the Camry and Altima.
Sum and Substance – The Malibu is an unremarkable midsize sedan in what’s become a niche segment. While the remaining players appear set for the long haul, the Malibu’s days are likely numbered. As such, every competitor offers a more modern choice, with the Malibu likely destined for rental car fleet stardom.
See Also – Wow! 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06!
Photos courtesy of GM Corp.
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