5 Stars

5 Stars

Leg Forces (l/r)

186/153 lbs.

432/527 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 flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Chevrolet Malibu is safer than the Toyota Camry:



Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

212 lbs.

296 lbs.

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

14 inches

Spine Acceleration

29 G’s

35 G’s

Hip Force

488 lbs.

622 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 Camry’s (6 vs. 5 years).

There are over 2 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Toyota 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 Camry isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.


As tested in Car and Driver the Malibu Premier 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Toyota Camry 4 cyl.:



Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

7.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.4 sec

20.5 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.7 sec

8.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

16.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97 MPH

90 MPH

Top Speed

156 MPH

133 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Malibu 1.5 Turbo’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Camry doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

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 Camry XSE/XLE requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Malibu has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Camry L’s standard fuel tank (15.8 vs. 14.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The Malibu 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 Camry doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.


A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chevrolet Malibu Premier, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Camry.

The Malibu 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 Camry doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

The Malibu stops shorter than the Camry:



70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

175 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Malibu RS/Premier’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Camry (245/45R18 vs. 235/45R18).

The Malibu L/LS’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Camry L’s standard 65 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Malibu Premier handles at .88 G’s, while the Camry XLE pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Malibu Premier executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Camry XLE (26.4 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 27.3 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Malibu’s turning circle is .4 feet tighter than the Camry L/LE’s (37 feet vs. 37.4 feet). The Malibu’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the Camry SE/XLE/XSE’s (37 feet vs. 38 feet).


The front grille of the Malibu (except 2.0 Turbo) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Camry doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Malibu LT is quieter than the Camry SE (71 vs. 72 dB).

Passenger Space

The Malibu has 2.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Camry (102.9 vs. 100.4).

The Malibu has .8 inches more front headroom, .8 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear legroom and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Camry.

The front step up height for the Malibu is 1.5 inches lower than the Camry (13.5” vs. 15”). The Malibu’s rear step up height is .4 inches lower than the Camry’s (14.1” vs. 14.5”).

Cargo Capacity

The Malibu has a larger trunk than the Camry (15.7 vs. 15.1 cubic feet).

The Malibu’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Camry L doesn’t offer folding rear seats.


The Malibu has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The Camry has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The Malibu has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Camry doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.


When two different drivers share the Malibu Premier, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Camry doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Malibu Premier’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Camry doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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 Camry does not have an oil pressure gauge.

Consumer Reports rated the Malibu’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Camry’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 Camry’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Both the Malibu and the Camry offer available heated front seats. The Malibu Premier also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Camry.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Malibu Premier keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Camry doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Malibu’s optional (except L/LS/RS) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Camry doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Malibu Premier has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Camry doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The Malibu Premier’s optional Automatic Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Camry doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Malibu owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Malibu will cost $465 less than the Camry over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Malibu is less expensive to operate than the Camry because it costs $155 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Malibu than the Camry, including $190 less for a starter, $122 less for fuel injection, $63 less for a fuel pump, $76 less for front struts, $979 less for a timing belt/chain and $621 less for a power steering pump.

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

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