2020 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid vs. 2019 Kia Optima Hybrid

                        Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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                        In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Malibu Hybrid are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

                        The Malibu Hybrid has standard OnStar?, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

                        Both the Malibu Hybrid and the Optima Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and rear cross-path warning.


                        The Malibu Hybrid’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Optima Hybrid’s (6/100,000 vs. 5/100,000).

                        There are almost 4 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Kia dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Malibu Hybrid’s warranty.


                        The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Optima Hybrid’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

                        J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.


                        The Malibu Hybrid’s 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 104 lbs.-ft. more torque (375 vs. 271) than the Optima Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

                        Fuel Economy and Range

                        On the EPA test cycle the Malibu Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Optima Hybrid (49 city/43 hwy vs. 39 city/45 hwy).

                        The Malibu Hybrid has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.


                        The Malibu Hybrid has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer a CVT.

                        Tires and Wheels

                        For better traction, the Malibu Hybrid has larger tires than the Optima Hybrid (225/55R17 vs. 205/65R16). The Malibu Hybrid’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Optima Hybrid (225/55R17 vs. 215/55R17).

                        The Malibu Hybrid’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Optima Hybrid’s standard 65 series tires.

                        For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Malibu Hybrid has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Optima Hybrid.

                        Passenger Space

                        The Malibu Hybrid has .4 inches more front shoulder room, 2.5 inches more rear legroom and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Optima Hybrid.

                        Cargo Capacity

                        The Malibu Hybrid’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Optima Hybrid Premium doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.


                        The Malibu Hybrid has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The Optima Hybrid has no towing capacity.


                        The Malibu Hybrid has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

                        The Malibu Hybrid’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Optima Hybrid does not have an oil pressure gauge.

                        The Malibu Hybrid’s front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Optima Hybrid’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

                        Both the Malibu Hybrid and the Optima Hybrid offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Malibu Hybrid has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

                        © 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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