2020 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid vs. 2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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2020 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

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

Both the Malibu Hybrid and the Sonata Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and rear cross-path warning.


There are almost 4 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Hyundai dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Malibu Hybrid’s warranty.


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

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 Hyundai vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Hyundai is ranked 8th.


The Malibu Hybrid’s 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 104 lbs.-ft. more torque (375 vs. 271) than the Sonata Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Malibu Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Sonata Hybrid SE (49 city/43 hwy vs. 40 city/46 hwy). The Malibu Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Sonata Hybrid Limited (49 city/43 hwy vs. 39 city/44 hwy).

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 Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.


The Malibu Hybrid 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 Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Malibu Hybrid has larger tires than the Sonata Hybrid (225/55R17 vs. 205/65R16). The Malibu Hybrid’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Sonata Hybrid (225/55R17 vs. 215/55R17).

The Malibu Hybrid’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sonata Hybrid’s standard 65 series tires.

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


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 Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Malibu Hybrid has .6 inches more front shoulder room, 2.5 inches more rear legroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Sonata Hybrid.


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


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 Sonata Hybrid does not have an oil pressure gauge.

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 Sonata Hybrid’s standard power windows’ passenger windows don’t open automatically. The Sonata Hybrid Limited’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to lower them fully.

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

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