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Few midsize sedans have the lineage of the Chevy Malibu. First introduced to motorists back in 1964, the Malibu continues to be an industry leader with nine different generations of models. There was a brief hiatus in the Malibu between 1983 and 1997, but when Chevy brought it back for a new generation, it was designed with model improvements that continue to this day. The 2021 Chevy Malibu represents the most advanced and luxurious model so far and a truly great value in a midsize sedan that comfortably seats up to 5 passengers.
Every Malibu comes equipped with a Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system on an 8-inch diagonal color touchscreen. This seamlessly blends the car’s important informational details with entertainment features, like a 6-speaker audio system, Bluetooth audio streaming for up to two smart devices, and Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, depending on your phone’s operating system. If you are looking for a dependable sedan in a sporty package with luxury features, safety, exceptional fuel economy, and solid performance at an affordable price, then you cannot beat a 2021 Chevy Malibu.
The 2021 Chevy Malibu comes in five different trim levels, each with many exceptional features. The base model is the Malibu L, and it features 16-inch aluminum wheels, a MacPherson strut front suspension, and 4-link rear suspension. The Malibu L has a starting MSRP of $22,140, which is excellent for budget-friendly shoppers.
The Malibu LS has an MSRP of $23,270 and adds the Teen Driver technology, visor vanity mirrors for front-row passengers, a compass, and outside temperature indicators. Both the L and LS trims have gold Chevy bowtie emblems. The Malibu RS ups the luxury factor on this sedan. It includes a power driver’s seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, black Chevrolet bowtie emblems, special black Malibu and RS badges, a chrome grille surround with black grille inserts, dual exhaust outlets, 18-inch aluminum wheels, and a rear spoiler. The Malibu RS has an MSRP of $24,270.
The Malibu LT adds LED daytime running lights, LED tail lights, front heated cloth seats, outside heated mirrors, and 17-inch aluminum wheels for an MSRP of $26,670. The top trim on the 2021 Chevy Malibu is the Premier. This one truly has it all, with 19-inch aluminum wheels, chrome door handles with body-color inserts, bright sill plates, the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Plus system with navigation, an 8-inch HD color touchscreen, and a Bose premium 9-speaker audio system. The seats in the Malibu Premier are perforated leather, with front and rear heated, something your passengers are sure to love on cold winter days. The 2021 Chevy Malibu Premier has an MSRP of $33,370.
There are two engine options on the 2021 Chevy Malibu. The standard engine is a 1.5-liter Turbo 4-cylinder gas engine. This utilizes a dual overhead cam design to produce 160 horsepower and generate up to 184 lb-ft of torque. This engine features continuously variable valve timing and direct-injection to improve performance and efficiency. All trims of the 2021 Malibu are equipped with this engine except for the Premier.
The engine on the Premier is a 2.0-liter EcoTec Turbo 4-cylinder gas engine. It also has a dual overhead cam design with direct injection and continuously variable valve timing. As a result, this engine produces 250 horsepower and generates 260 lb-ft of torque.
The 1.5-liter Turbo on the 2021 Malibu is paired with a continuous variable transmission (CVT). Instead of having set gear speeds, the CVT continually adjusts the engine’s timing to better fit the driving conditions, making for a smoother ride and more efficient engine performance. The 2.0-liter EcoTec Turbo is equipped with a 9-speed automatic transmission. This is electronically controlled for better control and performance.
The 2021 Chevy Malibu is one of the most fuel-efficient sedans in its model class. That is because the engineers at Chevy have designed the Malibu with an attention to aerodynamics, reducing the resistance when driving the Malibu at higher speeds. They also used turbocharging in the engines, which can boost the power of smaller engines without reducing their energy efficiency. Finally, the 1.5-liter Turbo has automatic stop/start technology that will turn the engine off when you come to a stop either in traffic or at a light and then automatically restarts the engine as soon as you take your foot off the brake. This will reduce your Malibu’s fuel usage and emissions.
All 2021 Malibu models are front-wheel drive only. The Malibu with the 1.5-liter Turbo provides up to 29 miles per gallon in city driving, 36 miles per gallon on the highway, and a combined 32 miles per gallon. If you opt for the Premier, its 2.0-liter EcoTec Turbo will provide you with 22 miles per gallon in the city, 32 miles per gallon on the highway, and 26 miles per gallon combined.
You might think that a midsize sedan with a 4-cylinder engine would be sluggish. However, with the 2021 Malibu, this is certainly not the case. The model with the 1.5-liter Turbo can 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 7.8 seconds. If you opt for the Premier, you can expect even faster acceleration. The 2021 Malibu has a top speed of 130 miles per hour, so you should have no problem cruising on the highway in your Malibu.
Even in a sedan, you need to have access to plenty of cargo and passenger space so you and your passengers can feel comfortable and have enough space to put all your stuff. The 2021 Chevy Malibu has a full 15.7 cubic feet of cargo space in its trunk. This is plenty of room if you are going on vacation and need a place to stow your suitcases or if you are coming from a large grocery run.
The first thing you are sure to notice when you open the door to the 2021 Chevy Malibu is the roominess of this sedan’s interior. There is a full 102.9 cubic feet of space for you and four passengers in the Malibu. It is amazing since the outside of the Malibu looks trim and sporty. This is because the designers at Chevrolet have done an excellent job apportioning the interior space of the Malibu in a very efficient manner, maximizing the amount of space available for you.
There is plenty of room for everyone in the Malibu. Front-row passengers will appreciate 39.1 inches of headroom, 41.5 inches of legroom, 58.5 inches of shoulder room, and 54.1 inches of hip room. Don’t worry because the rear seat passengers will be able to stretch out with 37.5 inches of headroom, 38.1 inches of legroom, 57.1 inches of shoulder room, and 53.4 inches of hip room. Unlike many other midsize sedans, the folks at Chevrolet haven’t forgotten about the passengers who are sitting in the back of the Malibu.
The 2021 Chevy Malibu comes equipped with a great assortment of standard safety features. For example, the base model Malibu L has 10 airbags, daytime running lights, electronic grade braking, a rear vision camera, a tire pressure monitoring system, StabiliTrak electronic stability control system with traction control, and OnStar and Chevrolet connected services access. These features are excellent, and they're just the starting point.
There are additional safety features on the Malibu if you opt for a higher trim. For example, the Malibu LS and each higher trim feature buckle to drive and the Teen Driver system, which gives you peace of mind if you have a new driver in your household. Chevrolet also offers a number of excellent optional safety features on all trims for the 2021 Malibu, except the L.
Rear Cross Traffic Alert detects other vehicles, pedestrians, and obstacles behind your Malibu when you put your car in reverse. Automatic Parking Assist will help you get your Malibu into the toughest parallel parking spots. Similarly, Rear Park Assist detects objects in your path as you back into a spot. Gone are the days of denting your car’s bumper backing into shopping carts at the mall.
Forward Collision Alert can detect if you are too close to the car in front of you when you are driving and will alert you so you can avoid a crash. Automatic Emergency Braking works with the Forward Collision Alert to avoid or minimize the impact of a frontal collision by providing hard braking and assisting your own braking in this emergency. Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert will reduce the chances of a collision on the highway when you are changing lanes. The system detects cars in our blind spot and alerts you to them as you go to change lanes.
Front Pedestrian Braking works at speeds below 50 to detect a pedestrian in the path of your Malibu. It will sound an alarm and begin to automatically brake so you can avoid striking the pedestrian. The Malibu can also be equipped with Intellibeam High Beam Assist that will automatically turn your high beam headlights on and off late at night to improve your vision and reduce the chance of temporarily blinding an oncoming driver. Finally, Adaptive Cruise Control adjusts your Malibu’s speed so you can automatically maintain a safe following distance when the cruise control system is in operation.