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Why U.S. News Doesn’t Love the Chevy Malibu

The Chevrolet Malibu has a fairly long history with it originally being a top-tier trim-level of the Chevrolet Chevelle until 1972. Between 1964 and 1972, the first generation of Chevy Malibu was manufactured in various body styles including a four-door sedan, a two-seat station wagon, a two-door Sport Coupe hardtop, and a convertible.

Since the Chevy Malibu was a top-line subseries of the midsize Chevrolet Chevelle, its interior was more extravagant than the lesser Chevelle 300 and 300 Deluxe.

In those days, the Chevy Malibu was synonymous with luxury and power—an American symbol of a classic muscle car. Today, the Malibu that once boasted 396-cubic-inch V8s with 325 to 375 hp has been reduced to four cylinders and 160 hp.

Not only that, but the Malibu’s rival is the Ford Fusion, not the 2020 Ford Mustang. With the Premier trim only offering four turbocharged cylinders and 250 hp, the only car you will beat in the quarter-mile with a Chevy Malibu is a 2020 Toyota Camry—but not the sportier 301-hp Toyota Camry TRD. Other than that, what other things make U.S. News not love the new Chevy Malibu? 

The Chevy Malibu is just not a very good midsize car

That pretty much sums up the U.S. News Chevy Malibu review. Out of the 10 midsize sedans ranked by U.S. News, it came in 10th place with an overall score of 7.1 out of 10 – a score that is based on the “evaluation of 32 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.”

The Malibu’s interior earned a measly 6.5 out of 10, the lowest-scoring aspect of the vehicle. When it came to safety, the 2020 Malibu earned a reasonably decent score of 8.9 out of 10.

Ironically, the Toyota Camry was ranked first on the list with an overall score of 8.6 out of 10. The Honda Accord came in at a close second with an overall score of 8.5 out of 10. In third place, U.S. News gave the Kia Optima an overall score of 8.0 out of 10. Most of these sedans won pretty high safety ratings, with Toyota and Kia each touting a perfect score of 10.

A sporty yet business-like exterior is the most likable feature

When it comes to complaints from critics about how the 2020 Chevy Malibu is built, most of the negative reviews are about . . . almost everything. Many people feel that the exterior of the Malibu looks nice, especially the sporty-styled RS trim that was introduced in 2019.

Chevy adopted the larger front grille with chrome surround that seems to be the latest auto fashion trend. However, rather than being round, its blacked-out sport grille has sort of a diamond-esque shape.

The exterior colors of the Chevy Malibu include Silver Ice Metallic, Mosaic Black Metallic, and Summit White. Plenty of people have mentioned how nice the colors look in combination with its standard 18-inch sporty aluminum wheels.

For an additional $2,000 or so, the Chevy Malibu RS offers a bunch of cool exterior features that really do make this sedan stick out.

Never judge a sedan by its paint job

Remember the MTV series Pimp My Ride? To make a long story short, hip-hop artist Xzibit hosted the series and promised to take people’s beat-up old vehicles and transform them into show-quality rides. However, it was soon discovered that most of the transformations featured pathetic aftermarket parts and accessories that either broke, didn’t work as advertised, or were even hazardous.

Some of the reviews of the Chevy Malibu are reminiscent of reviews given by participants of Pimp My Ride who ultimately found out that beneath the “pimped out” exterior, things were one pothole away from falling apart.

“Interior quality is a big swing and miss for the Malibu. The cabin design is drab and outdated, and most materials are unimpressive. Many surfaces are covered in hard plastic or low-grade cloth, and the control knobs and steering wheel stalks feel like they were picked out of an aging General Motors parts bin,” wrote Bryan Siwik of U.S. News about the 2020 Chevy Malibu’s interior. Ouch.

Siwik went on to write that the Malibu features an “unimpressive, standard engine.” He also doesn’t hesitate to mention that the Honda Accord is a much better buy and is ranked highly in the midsize car class. Even its hybrid model is crushing the competition in that category as well.

To sum it up, the 2020 Chevy Malibu might look the part from the outside but offers nothing exciting beyond that. Apparently, the folks at the General Motors Company lost their creativity as well; instead of actually designing new features for the 2020 Malibu, they merely gave the old features new names. So, if you were wondering why all the negativity toward the new 2020 Chevy Malibu, that about sums it up.