2020 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid vs. 2020 Toyota Prius Prime

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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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 Prius Prime doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

Compared to metal, the Malibu Hybrid’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Toyota Prius Prime has a metal gas tank.

Both the Malibu Hybrid and the Prius Prime have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, 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 Malibu Hybrid’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Prius Prime’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.


The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Prius Prime’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.


The Malibu Hybrid’s 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 61 more horsepower (182 vs. 121) and 269 lbs.-ft. more torque (375 vs. 106) than the Prius Prime’s 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

As tested in Car and Driver the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is faster than the Toyota Prius Prime:



Zero to 60 MPH

7.3 sec

10.2 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

20.2 sec

30.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

17.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90 MPH

79 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The Malibu Hybrid has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Prius Prime (13 vs. 11.4 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 Prius Prime 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 Prius Prime:



Front Rotors

11.8 inches

10 inches

Rear Rotors

11.3 inches

10.2 inches

The Malibu Hybrid stops shorter than the Prius Prime:



70 to 0 MPH

175 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

135 feet

139 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Malibu Hybrid has larger tires than the Prius Prime (225/55R17 vs. 195/65R15).

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 Prius Prime’s standard 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Malibu Hybrid has standard 17-inch wheels. Only 15-inch wheels are available on the Prius Prime.

Suspension and Handling

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

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Malibu Hybrid is 2.4 inches wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than on the Prius Prime.

The Malibu Hybrid handles at .84 G’s, while the Prius Prime Limited pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Malibu Hybrid executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Prius Prime XLE (27.5 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 28.5 seconds @ .56 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The Malibu Hybrid has 11.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Prius Prime (102.9 vs. 91.5).

The Malibu Hybrid has .4 inches more front hip room, 4.3 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 4.7 inches more rear legroom, 1.8 inches more rear hip room and 4.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Prius Prime.


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 Prius Prime has neither an oil pressure gauge nor a temperature gauge.

The power windows standard on both the Malibu Hybrid and the Prius Prime 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 Prius Prime prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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

The Malibu Hybrid has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Prius Prime has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the XLE/Limited.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Malibu Hybrid has standard extendable sun visors. The Prius Prime doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Malibu Hybrid’s 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. The Prius Prime doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Malibu Hybrid and the Prius Prime 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 Prius Prime doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

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

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