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Nothing quite embraces coolness and style like Malibu, Calif. It’s no wonder why Chevrolet used the city as inspiration for the name of its midsize sedan. The 2021 Chevy Malibu undoubtedly mirrors its namesake, displaying a sleek profile with swooping lines and alluring curves.

However, the Malibu is no ride in paradise. Despite being one of the most attractive cars in its class, the experts have called the Malibu the worst midsize car of 2020.

There’s no denying that this model has its shortcomings. However, what could be seen as one of its biggest assets just might be its undoing. 

So just where did Chevrolet go wrong with the Mailbu, and what do experts have to say about this one fatal flaw? Let’s take a close look. 

The beauty of the 2021 Chevy Malibu is misleading 

A red 2021 Chevy Malibu on display next to a building with lights on it
The 2021 Chevy Malibu on display | Photo via Chevrolet

It’s easy for shoppers to get caught up in looks. That’s especially true for attractive models like the Malibu, which come in stylish colors like Cherry Red and Silver Ice. However, you can be blindsided if you don’t do your research before purchasing.

The 2021 Chevy Malibu lures buyers in with its trendy design. There’s really not much not to like about it. It exudes sophistication inside and out, making it an excellent option for young professionals on a budget.

Consumer Reports noted how the Malibu’s swooped roofline actually works against it. This design cue looks great from the outside, but it actually hinders the driver’s visibility once they get behind the wheel.

It may not be top-of-mind for some car shoppers, but there is more to car design than meets the eye. Automakers such as Chevrolet tries to create the most attractive vehicle possible in any given class. At the same time, manufacturers must work toward designing a well-rounded machine. 

It’s understandable why Chevrolet sought to design a vehicle that looks impressive from the outside. However, hindering driver visibility is a critical mistake that could dissuade shoppers from buying the Malibu.

Are there any redeeming qualities to the 2021 Chevy Malibu? 

There aren’t too many downright bad cars on the market these days. Thankfully, the Malibu doesn’t fit that category.

Chevy’s midsize sedan offers plenty of high-tech features, and it delivers a silky-smooth ride. Plus, its affordable starting MSRP of $22,140 and fuel-sipping engine make a fantastic option for frugal drivers. 

According to the EPA, its 160-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine gets 32 MPG city/highway combined. Plus, Chevrolet offers an available 250-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine for drivers who crave a little more oomph.

However, these positives don’t do enough to push it ahead of the pack. Consumer Reports listed the 2021 Chevy Malibu last in its midsize sedan rankings and gave it a vehicle score of just 45/100.

Can this design flaw be overlooked?

They say to never judge a book by its cover. While it’s a lovely sentiment, this is certainly hard not to fall into, especially with cars. Drivers are often driven to a vehicle’s silhouette first, and its performance and features become secondary. 

While the 2021 Chevy Malibu looks alluring, the design will likely cause more problems than one might expect. There are plenty of other better options in the midsize sedan class that’ll still turn heads, such as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.


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