2019 Mazda 6 vs. 2019 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mazda 6 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Mazda 6 Signature has a standard 360-degree View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Malibu Hybrid only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Mazda 6 and the Malibu Hybrid 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 and rearview cameras.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Mazda 6 is safer than the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid:

 

Mazda 6

Malibu Hybrid

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

130

173

Neck Injury Risk

23%

23%

Neck Stress

266 lbs.

937 lbs.

Neck Compression

24 lbs.

29 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

43/70 lbs.

186/153 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, results indicate that the Mazda 6 is safer than the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid:

 

Mazda 6

Malibu Hybrid

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

154

180

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.1 inches

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

356

460

Hip Force

380 lbs.

809 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Mazda 6 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 62 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Malibu Hybrid was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

The Mazda 6’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Malibu Hybrid’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Mazda 6’s reliability 48 points higher than the Malibu Hybrid.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Chevrolet is ranked 23rd.

Engine

The Mazda 6’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 5 more horsepower (187 vs. 182) than the Malibu Hybrid’s 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid. The Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 68 more horsepower (250 vs. 182) than the Malibu Hybrid’s 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Mazda 6 is faster than the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid:

 

Mazda6

Mazda6 Turbo

Malibu Hybrid

Zero to 30 MPH

2.8 sec

n/a

3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.5 sec

6.4 sec

8 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.8 sec

n/a

5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.9 sec

14.9 sec

16.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90.1 MPH

97 MPH

86 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Mazda 6 (except Turbo)’s fuel efficiency. The Malibu Hybrid doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Mazda 6 has 3.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Malibu Hybrid (16.4 vs. 13 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Mazda 6 Touring/Signature’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Malibu Hybrid:

 

Mazda6 Turbo

Malibu

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.8 inches

The Mazda 6 stops shorter than the Malibu Hybrid:

 

Mazda 6

Malibu

 

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

181 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

153 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The Mazda 6 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Malibu Hybrid’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Mazda 6 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature has standard 19-inch wheels. The Malibu Hybrid’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

The Mazda 6 has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Malibu Hybrid; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

The Mazda 6 has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Malibu Hybrid’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Mazda 6 has engine speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Malibu Hybrid doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Mazda 6 Touring handles at .87 G’s, while the Malibu Hybrid pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Mazda 6 Grand Touring executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Malibu Hybrid (27.1 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 27.5 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

Chassis

The Mazda 6 (except Sport) offers available computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Malibu Hybrid doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while cruising at 70 MPH, the interior of the Mazda 6 Touring is quieter than the Malibu Hybrid (67 vs. 71 dB).

Passenger Space

The Mazda 6 has .7 inches more front legroom, .6 inches more rear legroom and .1 inches more rear hip room than the Malibu Hybrid.

Cargo Capacity

The Mazda 6 has a much larger trunk than the Malibu Hybrid (14.7 vs. 11.6 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Mazda 6 easier. The Mazda 6’s trunk lift-over height is 28.5 inches, while the Malibu Hybrid’s liftover is 30.5 inches.

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Mazda 6’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Malibu Hybrid’s useful trunk space.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature, the memory seats make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position. The Malibu Hybrid doesn’t offer memory seats.

The Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve and Signature have a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Malibu Hybrid doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Mazda 6’s front and rear power windows all open or close 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 Malibu Hybrid’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.

The Mazda 6 has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Malibu Hybrid doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Mazda 6’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Malibu Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Mazda 6’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Malibu Hybrid’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Malibu Hybrid doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Malibu Hybrid offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the Mazda 6 and the Malibu Hybrid offer available heated front seats. The Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Malibu Hybrid.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Malibu Hybrid doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Malibu Hybrid doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Mazda 6 has a standard Radar Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Malibu Hybrid doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mazda 6, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid isn't recommended.

The Mazda 6 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 6 years. The Malibu Hybrid has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

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

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