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What Features Come Standard on the Chevrolet Malibu?

Last fully redesigned for the 2016 model year, the 2020 Chevrolet Malibu has a similar design to last year’s model. Car and Driver calls the 2020 Malibu “a safe, solid choice.” While that doesn’t make it sound super exciting, there are five different trim levels for buyers to choose from – L, LS, RS, LT, and Premier. There are also a number of available features. Here’s a look at what comes standard on each trim level.

The 2020 Chevrolet Malibu’s appearance

Car and Driver says the 2020 Malibu is a midsize sedan with a “sleek exterior.” There are slight variations across the trims. The RS trim has a rear spoiler and a different grille. The wheel sizes are also different across the trims, with 16-inch wheels coming standard on the L and LS, 18-inch wheels on the RS, 17-inch-wheels on the LT, and 19-inch wheels on the Premier. All the trims have automatic on/off headlights. The Premier comes with LED headlamps, while the other trims have halogen.

U.S. News is unenthusiastic about the interior, saying the 2020 Malibu has a “low-rent cabin.” Those looking for leather seats will need to have the LT or Premier trim, though the RS trim does come standard with a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel. 

Edmunds says the Chevy Malibu is roomy but has less space in the rear seats than competitors do. The L and LS trims come standard with six-way manually adjustable front seats while the RS and higher trims have power-adjustable seats. The LS and higher trims have noise-reducing glass and OnStar. The LT trim adds satellite radio and front-seat heating. Plus, it also has dual-zone climate control with a vent for the rear seats. All the trim levels have keyless entry and ignition.

Car and Driver says the infotainment system, with its 8-inch touchscreen, is excellent and easy to use. However, it doesn’t have a knob to help with its controls, and the display resolution isn’t as sharp as it could be. Every Malibu includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Wi-Fi hotspot capability is on all trim levels except the base L trim. Wireless charging is a standard feature in the Premier and not available in the others. Upgrades in the Premier trim include a navigation system, a nine-speaker audio system, and a sunroof.

How much power do you get?

2017 Chevrolet Malibu LT is on display at the 109th Annual Chicago Auto Show
The Chevrolet Malibu | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

There are two engine options for 2020, and Edmunds describes one as “sluggish” and the other as “zesty.” Four of the five trims come standard with the 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. The Chevy Malibu comes standard with front-wheel drive and a continuously variable transmission.

The Premier trim has a different engine – the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which generates 250 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. It has a nine-speed automatic transmission. While the 2019 model year had a hybrid powertrain option, that is no longer available.

The 2020 Chevrolet Malibu’s safety features

The 2020 Chevrolet Malibu has many safety and driver-assist features available, but most are included in packages only for the LT and Premier. The Driver Confidence I package provides rear park assist, lane change alert with side blind zone alert, and rear cross-traffic alert. The Driver Confidence II package includes automatic high beams, lane-keep assist with lane departure warning, following distance indicator, forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking, and front pedestrian braking.

In addition to the two LT safety packages, the Premier also has available advanced adaptive cruise control, automatic parking assist, and an electronic parking brake. Teen Driver technology is an available feature on all trims except the L trim. This feature lets owners customize or limit certain features and provides a report card on driving habits. A rear-vision camera is standard across the trims, though it’s only in high definition in the Premier trim.

While the 2020 Chevrolet Malibu offers plenty of choices, many of them are available options rather than standard. Buyers looking for lots of features, especially advanced safety features, will need to opt for the LT or Premier with their extra packages.