2020 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid vs. 2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid

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 Avalon Hybrid doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

Both the Malibu Hybrid and the Avalon Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, 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 Hybrid is safer than the Toyota Avalon Hybrid:

Malibu Hybrid

Avalon Hybrid

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

23%

35%

Leg Forces (l/r)

186/153 lbs.

499/567 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.8 inches

Neck Stress

173 lbs.

180 lbs.

Neck Compression

62 lbs.

64 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

173/196 lbs.

447/453 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 Toyota Avalon Hybrid:

Malibu Hybrid

Avalon Hybrid

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

212 lbs.

318 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

13 inches

HIC

235

267

Spine Acceleration

29 G’s

38 G’s

Hip Force

488 lbs.

719 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 Avalon Hybrid’s (6 vs. 5 years).

There are over 2 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Toyota 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 Avalon 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 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.

Engine

As tested in Consumer Reports the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is faster than the Toyota Avalon Hybrid:

Malibu

Avalon

Zero to 30 MPH

3 sec

3.5 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

8.3 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

16.5 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Malibu Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Avalon Hybrid XLE (49 city/43 hwy vs. 43 city/44 hwy). The Malibu Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Avalon Hybrid XSE/Limited (49 city/43 hwy vs. 43 city/43 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 Avalon Hybrid doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Tires and Wheels

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

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Malibu Hybrid’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Avalon Hybrid XLE’s (37 feet vs. 37.7 feet). The Malibu Hybrid’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the Avalon Hybrid XSE/Limited’s (37 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis

The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 350 pounds less than the Toyota Avalon Hybrid.

Passenger Space

The Malibu Hybrid has .6 inches more front headroom and .2 inches more front shoulder room than the Avalon Hybrid.

Ergonomics

The Malibu Hybrid has a standard 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 Avalon Hybrid doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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 Avalon Hybrid does not have an oil pressure gauge.

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

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Malibu Hybrid owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Malibu Hybrid will cost $130 to $780 less than the Avalon Hybrid over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid will be $4121 to $8842 less than for the Toyota Avalon Hybrid.

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

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