2020 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid vs. 2019 Honda Insight

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

The Malibu Hybrid’s standard pretensioning seatbelts also sense rear collisions and remove slack from the front seatbelts to help protect the occupants from whiplash and other injuries. The Insight doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

To help make backing safer, the Malibu Hybrid’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Insight doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Malibu Hybrid and the Insight have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems 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 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is safer than the Honda Insight:

Malibu

Insight

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

173

202

Neck Compression

29 lbs.

54 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

186/153 lbs.

147/283 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 Hybrid is safer than the Honda Insight:

Malibu

Insight

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

180

220

Hip Force

212 lbs.

316 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

14 inches

HIC

235

279

Spine Acceleration

29 G’s

38 G’s

Hip Force

488 lbs.

617 lbs.

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

Warranty

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

There are almost 3 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Honda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Malibu Hybrid’s warranty.

Reliability

The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Insight’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

The Insight’s redline is at 6600 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The Malibu Hybrid has a 5000 RPM redline.

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 Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th, 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 Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 31 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th.

Engine

The Malibu Hybrid’s standard 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 31 more horsepower (182 vs. 151) than the Insight’s 1.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is faster than the Honda Insight:

Malibu

Insight

Zero to 30 MPH

3 sec

3.2 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

8.7 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

5 sec

5.3 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

16.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86 MPH

84 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The Malibu Hybrid has 2.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Insight (13 vs. 10.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

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

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Malibu Hybrid’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Insight:

Malibu

Insight

Front Rotors

11.8 inches

11.1 inches

Rear Rotors

11.3 inches

10.2 inches

The Malibu Hybrid stops shorter than the Insight:

Malibu

Insight

70 to 0 MPH

175 feet

183 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

135 feet

136 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Malibu Hybrid has larger tires than the Insight (225/55R17 vs. 215/55R16).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Malibu Hybrid has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Insight.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Malibu Hybrid’s wheelbase is 5.1 inches longer than on the Insight (111.4 inches vs. 106.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Malibu Hybrid is 1.7 inches wider in the front and .9 inches wider in the rear than on the Insight.

The Malibu Hybrid’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (58.4% to 41.6%) than the Insight’s (60.6% to 39.4%). This gives the Malibu Hybrid more stable handling and braking.

The Malibu Hybrid handles at .83 G’s, while the Insight Touring pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Malibu Hybrid executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Insight Touring (27.5 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 28.2 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis

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

Passenger Space

The Malibu Hybrid has 5.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Insight (102.9 vs. 97.6).

The Malibu Hybrid has .4 inches more front hip room, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom, .7 inches more rear legroom, 6.1 inches more rear hip room and 2.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Insight.

Cargo Capacity

The Malibu Hybrid’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The Insight’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

Towing

The Malibu Hybrid has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The Insight has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The Malibu Hybrid’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 Insight has neither an oil pressure gauge nor a temperature gauge.

The power windows standard on both the Malibu Hybrid and the Insight have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Malibu Hybrid is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Insight prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Malibu Hybrid’s front and rear power windows all lower 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 Insight’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

On extremely cold winter days, the Malibu Hybrid’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Insight doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Malibu Hybrid has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Insight Touring.

Both the Malibu Hybrid and the Insight offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Malibu Hybrid has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Insight doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

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

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