Out with the old and in with…more of the same. The 2021 Chevrolet Malibu has appeared with few substantial upgrades from the previous year, but with an affordable price point, cool features on top trims, and a generous manufacturer warranty, the sedan could nevertheless be an excellent fit for many.
The limited new features include wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard for all models, and safety technology has been upgraded with a Buckle-to-Drive system that requires the seat belt to be engaged before transmission will shift and other impressive safety features available in optional packages.
Find out what to expect if you’re considering adding the 2021 Chevrolet Malibu to your garage.
What Is The 2021 Chevrolet Malibu?
The Malibu by General Motors (GM) began as a top-of-the-line subseries for the Chevrolet Chevelle in 1964, but its popularity ultimately led to the creation of its own nameplate. It continued to surge in demand throughout the 1970s before being discontinued in 1983. In 1997, a new front-wheel-drive Malibu debuted and has remained a staple in the manufacturer’s lineup ever since.
As GM continues to focus on pickup trucks, SUVs, and sports cars, the 2021 Malibu is the only sedan in its Chevy lineup. Since this midsize option stands alone for its class, GM could have stepped its release up to be more aggressive in comparison to competition like the Toyota Camry and Honda Civic. Still, with two turbo engines available, this year’s Malibu proves fun to drive and offers acceptable fuel economy.
What’s Under The Hood?
The 2021 Chevrolet Malibu comes from the factory with two possible engines, although buyers don’t have to decide between a turbocharged or naturally aspirated motor as each comes with a dedicated turbo. On the L, LS, RS, and LT submodels, a stock 1.5 litre engine producing 163 hp is included. If more performance and innovative features are desired, an upgrade to the Premier model will find a 2.0 litre option that offers an increased 250 hp.
For comparison, the higher-end motor is slightly more powerful than the 2.5 litre four-cylinder and 227 hp engine in the optionally turbocharged Mazda 6. The smaller engine in the Malibu is paired with a CVT transmission to achieve 8.2 L/100km (city) and 6.6 L/100km (highway), while the Premier option is fitted with a nine-speed automatic.
How’s The Interior?
Inside the 2021 Chevrolet Malibu is similar to recent versions given that the manufacturer released a substantial refresh in 2019. The sedan comfortably fits five passengers and provides a range of cargo space in both trunk and cabin, with the trunk measuring 15.7 ft3, 0.6 ft3 more spacious than its midsize rival the Toyota Camry, and an elevated tailgate to keep luggage steady while travelling. While the space isn’t as generous as in the Honda Civic hatchback, it’s impressive for its class.
The Premier model perhaps predictably comes with the most impressive features including high-end amenities like heated front and rear seating, a heated steering wheel, and power-adjustable seats. In the entry-level L, LS, RS, and LT trims, equipment is limited to six-way manual seats, a USB charging port, and a reverse parking camera. While seats are offered in various colour pallets, the glossy plastic that comprises the dashboard is the cabin’s primary focal point.
What About The Tech?
The 2021 Chevrolet Malibu features an 8.0″ touchscreen infotainment center in all available models with updates including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that integrate smartphone compatibility for most devices. With the appropriate software installed, drivers can make hands-free calls, activate navigation apps, and stream music. Although this technology exists in most midsize sedans, this year’s Malibu offers the capability to control devices wirelessly.
In terms of the Bluetooth-powered sound systems, the Premier trim shines with a sophisticated 9-speaker Bose setup. All other submodels use a 6-speaker system which is able to produce high-quality sound because of strategic placement throughout the cabin. The infotainment center also includes driver information on the instrument cluster where drivers can personalize profiles, receive warning alerts, and analyze critical vehicle data.
GM is well-versed in high-tech safety features, and the 2021 Chevrolet Malibu is no different, offering a three-month trial to OnStar, rear-vision camera, and tire pressure monitoring system (including the spare) as standard. For an extra fee, vehicles can add further options such as:
- Automatic emergency braking
- Automatic as well as rear parking assistance
- Following distance indicator
- Blind spot monitor
- Lane keep assist with lane departure warning
- Lane change and side blind zone alerts
- IntelliBeam high beam assistance
These features, and more, are offered in three tiered packages with more advanced technology available as the cost increases.
If considering the Chevy Malibu as a beginner model for a teen driver, GM has everything covered there too. Built-in systems allow you to support someone new to driving by limiting music volume and setting speed alerts for different driver profiles. It also offers an in-vehicle report card to track performance which can help adults address their concerns while ensuring a teenager’s freedom to learn.
Our Take On The 2021 Chevrolet Malibu
While this newest offering doesn’t stray far from previous inceptions, the 2021 Chevrolet Malibu is a sound choice for dependability and affordability. With numerous options to upgrade safety features, a contemporary cabin, and GM’s 3 year 36,000 mi basic or 5 year 60,000 mile powertrain warranty, this midsize vehicle could become a longstanding companion with proper maintenance.
If you’re looking for bells and whistles, the Premier option is hands-down the most impressive. The 2021 Chevrolet Malibu’s features can’t compare with rivals like this year’s Mazda 3 or Toyota Corolla, but it offers just enough innovation to hold its own as a 21st-century sedan.