2019 Chevrolet Malibu vs. 2019 Audi A4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 A4 doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

Both the Malibu and the A4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Chevrolet Malibu is safer than the Audi A4:

 

Malibu

A4

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

23%

26%

Neck Compression

29 lbs.

55 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

186/153 lbs.

431/395 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

1 inches

Leg Forces (l/r)

173/196 lbs.

324/341 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 Audi A4:

 

Malibu

A4

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.1 inches

Hip Force

212 lbs.

308 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

235

333

Spine Acceleration

29 G’s

47 G’s

Hip Force

488 lbs.

666 lbs.

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

Warranty

Chevrolet’s powertrain warranty covers the Malibu 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A4. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the A4 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 10 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Malibu’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 13th.

Engine

The Malibu Premier’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 62 more horsepower (250 vs. 188) and 24 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 236) than the A4 40 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Malibu Premier 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the A4 40 TFSI:

 

Malibu

A4

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

15.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

96.2 MPH

91 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Malibu with its standard engine gets better fuel mileage than the A4 40 TFSI (29 city/36 hwy vs. 27 city/34 hwy).

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 A4 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Chevrolet Malibu higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the Audi A4 (3 to 5). This means the Malibu produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the A4 every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chevrolet Malibu Premier, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A4.

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 A4 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

The Malibu stops shorter than the A4:

 

Malibu

A4

 

60 to 0 MPH

130 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Malibu’s wheelbase is 1.4 inches longer than on the A4 (111.4 inches vs. 110 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Malibu is .7 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the A4.

The Malibu Premier handles at .88 G’s, while the A4 Premium pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Malibu Premier executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the A4 Premium (26.4 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Malibu’s turning circle is 1.1 feet tighter than the A4’s (37 feet vs. 38.1 feet).

Chassis

The Chevrolet Malibu may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 400 pounds less than the Audi A4.

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 A4 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 A4 is rated a Compact.

The Malibu has 10.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A4 (102.9 vs. 92).

The Malibu has .2 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more front legroom, 2.6 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear headroom, 2.4 inches more rear legroom and 2.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the A4.

Cargo Capacity

The Malibu has a much larger trunk than the A4 (15.7 vs. 13 cubic feet).

Towing

The Malibu has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The A4 has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The Malibu offers a 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 A4 doesn’t offer a remote starting 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 A4 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 A4 does not have an oil pressure gauge.

Consumer Reports rated the Malibu’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the A4’s headlights, which were rated “Poor.”

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 A4’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

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 A4 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The Malibu Premier’s optional Semi-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 A4 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 $645 to $5465 less than the A4 over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Malibu is less expensive to operate than the A4 because it costs $261 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Malibu than the A4, including $216 less for a water pump, $12 less for a muffler, $441 less for a starter, $23 less for fuel injection, $171 less for a fuel pump, $574 less for front struts, $90 less for a timing belt/chain and $106 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 $12555 to $17084 less than for the Audi A4.

Recommendations

The Chevrolet Malibu outsold the Audi A4/S4 by over four to one during 2018.

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

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