2020 Chevrolet Malibu vs. 2019 Volvo S60

                        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 are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The S60 doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

                        Both the Malibu and the S60 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

                        For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Malibu the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 157 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The S60 has not been tested, yet.


                        Chevrolet’s powertrain warranty covers the Malibu 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Volvo covers the S60. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the S60 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

                        There are over 10 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Volvo 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 S60 isn’t in the top three in its category.

                        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 Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 29 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 28th, below the industry average.

                        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 Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 89 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 29th.

                        From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Chevrolet 6 places higher in reliability than Volvo.

                        Fuel Economy and Range

                        On the EPA test cycle the Malibu with its standard engine gets better fuel mileage than the S60 T5 FWD (29 city/36 hwy vs. 24 city/36 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 S60 T5 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

                        The Malibu has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the S60 FWD’s standard fuel tank (15.8 vs. 14.5 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 an eight-speed automatic is available for the S60.

                        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 S60 doesn’t offer a CVT.

                        Tires and Wheels

                        For better traction, the Malibu RS/Premier’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the S60 (245/45R18 vs. 235/45R18).

                        Suspension and Handling

                        The front and rear suspension of the Malibu uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the S60, which uses transverse leafs springs in the rear. Coil springs compress more progressively and offer more suspension travel for a smoother ride with less bottoming out.


                        The Chevrolet Malibu may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 550 to 1200 pounds less than the Volvo S60.

                        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 S60 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

                        Passenger Space

                        Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Malibu a Mid-size car, while the S60 is rated a Compact.

                        The Malibu has 6.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the S60 (102.9 vs. 96).

                        The Malibu has 1.7 inches more front headroom, 2.4 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 2.9 inches more rear legroom and 2.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the S60.

                        Cargo Capacity

                        The Malibu has a much larger trunk than the S60 (15.7 vs. 11.6 cubic feet).


                        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 S60 does not have an oil pressure gauge.

                        Consumer Reports rated the Malibu’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the S60’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

                        To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Chevrolet Malibu Premier has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The S60 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

                        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 S60 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

                        Economic Advantages

                        Insurance will cost less for the Malibu owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Malibu with a number “3” insurance rate while the S60 is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

                        According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Malibu is less expensive to operate than the S60 because it costs $200 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Malibu than the S60, including $13 less for a muffler, $147 less for a starter, $64 less for fuel injection, $440 less for a fuel pump and $72 less for a power steering pump.


                        The Chevrolet Malibu outsold the Volvo 60 Series by over 12 to one during 2018.

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

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