5 Stars

4 Stars



5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Leg Forces (l/r)

186/153 lbs.

167/333 lbs.



4 Stars

3 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

173 lbs.

197 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Chevrolet Malibu is safer than the Lincoln MKZ:



Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

16 inches




Spine Acceleration

29 G’s

46 G’s

Hip Force

488 lbs.

597 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.


The Malibu’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the MKZ’s (6 vs. 5 years).

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


J.D. Power and Associates rated the Malibu first among midsize cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The MKZ isn’t in the top three in its category.

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 Lincoln vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 32 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lincoln is ranked 19th.


As tested in Car and Driver the Chevrolet Malibu 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the MKZ Hybrid:



Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

9.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

24.7 sec

25.3 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

8.9 sec

9.1 sec

Quarter Mile

16.4 sec

17.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

85 MPH

83 MPH

Top Speed

130 MPH

109 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Malibu gets better fuel mileage than the MKZ:




1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

29 city/36 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/32 hwy



2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/31 hwy

3.0 turbo V6

18 city/27 hwy


2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/29 hwy

3.5 SOHC V6

17 city/26 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Chevrolet Malibu uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended on Malibu Premier for maximum performance). The MKZ with the 3.0 turbo V6 engine requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Malibu has 1.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the MKZ Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (15.8 vs. 14 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.


A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chevrolet Malibu Premier, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the MKZ.

Brakes and Stopping

The Malibu stops shorter than the MKZ:



70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

170 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

The Malibu Premier handles at .88 G’s, while the MKZ Premiere AWD pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Malibu Premier executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.2 seconds quicker than the MKZ Premiere (26.4 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Malibu’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the MKZ’s (37 feet vs. 39 feet).


The Chevrolet Malibu may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 600 to 1000 pounds less than the Lincoln MKZ.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Malibu LT is quieter than the MKZ AWD:



At idle

42 dB

44 dB


71 dB

75 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

71 dB

Passenger Space

The Malibu has 6.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the MKZ (102.9 vs. 96.6).

The Malibu has 1.2 inches more front headroom, .8 inches more front shoulder room, .9 inches more rear headroom, 1.1 inches more rear legroom and 1.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the MKZ.

The front step up height for the Malibu is 2.5 inches lower than the MKZ (13.5” vs. 16”). The Malibu’s rear step up height is 1.9 inches lower than the MKZ’s (14.1” vs. 16”).

Cargo Capacity

The Malibu has a larger trunk than the MKZ (15.7 vs. 15.4 cubic feet).


While the MKZ Hybrid is not recommended to tow, any Malibu can tow a minimum of 1000 pounds.


The Malibu’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 MKZ does not have an oil pressure gauge.

Consumer Reports rated the Malibu’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the MKZ’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

When the Malibu Premier is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The MKZ’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Malibu owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Malibu will cost $590 to $6530 less than the MKZ over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Malibu is less expensive to operate than the MKZ because typical repairs cost much less on the Malibu than the MKZ, including $417 less for a muffler, $42 less for fuel injection, $60 less for a fuel pump, $53 less for front struts, $659 less for a timing belt/chain and $939 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Chevrolet Malibu will be $10974 to $17779 less than for the Lincoln MKZ.


The Chevrolet Malibu outsold the Lincoln MKZ by over seven to one during 2018.

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

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