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Chevrolet has been making the Malibu model for quite some time, and just a few years ago it was known as a good vehicle to buy, especially in the used market. But, nowadays, the brand is letting the sedan slip and it’s becoming known as one of the worst models to get, and it’s losing to rivals like the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, and Toyota Camry. 

What makes the newer models so bad according to Car and Driver? Let’s take a look at the 2017 to 2023 versions to see where things went wrong. 

A Chevy logo against a black background.
Chevy has made some questionable choices over the years | CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images

Newer models of the 2023 Chevy Malibu

Car and Driver gave the 2022 and the 2023 models a score of 6 out of 10, which is not a great rating. The reviewers liked the way the model drove, how it handled body leans, and how comfortable both versions were when traveling long distances. But, Chevy hadn’t addressed any of the issues the publication disliked about the sedan. 

The interior materials ruined the experience of the cabin and the base model lacked any appealing features to draw someone to buy it, despite the attractive starting price of $24,495 for the 2022 model and $26,095 for 2023. 

Also, the auto start/stop feature was frustrating for the editors, which isn’t anything new if you read the reviews for the previous four model years. Another problem recently cropped up with these two models. The sedan’s impact bars on the 2022 and 2023 models caused quite a lot of problems, so GM decided to buy some of them back. 

2019 to 2021 Chevy Malibu models

Things started to go south for the Malibu in 2019 when it received an 8 out of 10 score for the look of the interior, failure to provide standard options for the lower trims, and an average ride. It was still a relatively good model, but ratings went down from there. The 2020 and 2021 versions came away with only 7 out of 10 points. 

That could be due to the brand’s move to discontinue the hybrid trim in the 2020 Chevy Malibu. Also, the auto start/stop was a problem since it couldn’t be disabled or adjusted since it became an annoyance in 2019. 

The same headaches remained a problem with these models when it comes to the cheap looking interior and the no standard driver or safety features on the lower trims. Plenty of features could be added on upper models, but you’d have to spend quite a bit more to get them. 

The 2021 version hadn’t been affected by the pandemic as far as inflation goes, so it was offered for $23,265 to start, which was a $200 jump from 2020 and an almost $1,000 increase since 2017. Higher vehicle prices could be justified if more features were added, but Chevy didn’t provide that. 

What did Car and Driver think of the Older versions of the Chevy Malibu?

Chevy’s Malibu wasn’t always disappointing to critics. The 2017 and 2018 models received pretty high marks from Car & Driver, each getting 9 out of 10 points. When the redesign happened in 2016, Chevy added a hybrid version that increased fuel savings to approximately 47 mpg on city roads and 46 mpg when traveling on the highway. 

Those figures changed a bit but didn’t veer too far off in 2017 with 47 mpg combined. The gasoline models were rated for 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. As for engine options, you could get the 1.5-liter four-cylinder, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, or a 1.8-liter four-cylinder combined with dual electric motors on the hybrid trim. 

Its exterior design continued to be aesthetically pleasing, while its ride and handling were decent for a midsize sedan. The biggest drawback for this model as well as the 2018 one was the interior materials and features for the lower trims. Chevy has never addressed the cheap plastics that plague its cabin, and the base model, while being affordable, doesn’t have much to offer consumers. 

The brand may have neglected this model so that it can concentrate on more popular vehicles like the Silverado pickup and the Equinox SUV, which seem to bring in more sales than the sedan.

Will the Chevy Malibu get discontinued after the 2024 model year?

According to CarBuzz, rumors have been floating around that the Malibu may be killed after the 2024 model year. It’s hard to say, though, since General Motors hasn’t made any official announcements regarding the discontinuation of it. However, there may be some evidence that there could be a new generation planned for the model in 2025. Only time will tell what Chevy ends up doing. 

If Chevy does keep the Malibu going, we hope they take the hints from Car and Driver and address the biggest problem areas, which are its cheap-looking interior and bare-bones base models. The brand could also look into the auto start/stop feature as well. 


These 3 Cons May Have You Skipping the 2023 Chevy Malibu