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2021 Chevy Malibu vs. Toyota Camry: The Choice Is Clear

Chevy and Ford have an epic rivalry so hot drivers tend to hate each other, but Chevy also has a bit of a one-sided rivalry with Toyota. The two went head to head for the World Green Car Award in 2016, which Chevy won, but that is rarely the case for the American automaker. One battle that Chevy can’t seem to win is the fight against the Camry, however.

Autotrader did a review of both the 2021 Chevy Malibu, and the 2021 Toyota Camry. Here’s what the review site discovered.

2021 Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry is one of the most reliable vehicles on the road, and there’s a reason for that. The Camry is the only midsize vehicle in its segment to offer a V6 engine. 

The base engine isn’t that powerful. It’s a 4-cylinder engine that doesn’t quite compare with the V6. All-wheel drive is available, but not with the V6 engine. 

For those who are interested in lowering their emissions and saving money at the pumps, there is a hybrid model available. It doesn’t get great acceleration, but drivers do get a smooth, effortless ride.

There are also plenty of standard features. According to Autotrader, “The base LE includes an 8-way power driver’s seat, 60/40-split/folding rear seats, an alarm system, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The newly updated standard infotainment system includes a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa integration.”

Something else that Toyota does is offer a ton of choices. There are nine trim levels, so potential buyers can pick what they want. The base price is slightly higher than the Malibu. The 2021 Toyota Camry starts at $25,000, but offers plenty for that price.

2021 Chevy Malibu

Starting at $23,065, the Chevy Malibu has some great features. There were several things that Autotrader liked including a handsome exterior styling, a comfortable ride, a large infotainment screen, and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

The engine is a rather nice surprise. The standard engine is a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder that is paired with a CVT. Drivers can opt for a 2.0-liter turbo I4 paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission that has more get up and go.

The fuel economy is also a real plus for the Malibu, and is one of the biggest draws for anyone considering it. According to Autotrader, it gets an estimated 32 mpg, which drivers love. 

The standard features aren’t that spectacular, unfortunately. Chevy did make Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard, which is nice but still lags behind the Camry.

Other standard features include cruise control, an 8-in touchscreen, keyless ignition, air conditioning, keyless ignition, and Chevrolet’s user-friendly Infotainment 3 interface.

Which is the best choice?

RELATED: The 2021 Chevy Malibu Is Only Good Enough to Get Consideration

While the 2021 Chevy Malibu has a lower starting price, that’s the only real area it outshines the Camry. It didn’t help that Chevy decided to drop the hybrid Malibu. Given the speed that the green movement is growing, that might not have been a wise decision on Chevy’s part.

The other area that really hurts the Chevy is the lack of AWD. While many drivers don’t care, there are a lot who do. Anyone who lives in an area with questionable weather enjoys knowing that they have a little extra control while driving.

Then there is the fact that Toyota has a reputation for quality and reliability that Chevy can’t compare with. Toyota completely dominated Consumer Reports three-year reliability study, while Chevy didn’t have a single vehicle to make the list.

In fact, the 2020 Chevy Malibu is considered to be the worst midsize car from that year. Rather than going back to the drawing board, Chevy didn’t really bring anything new to the 2021 model. The Malibu is merely decent enough to consider, and that’s about it.