2020 Chevrolet Malibu vs. 2019 Ford Fusion

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

The Malibu’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 Fusion doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the Malibu and the Fusion have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors 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 is safer than the Ford Fusion:




5 Stars

4 Stars



5 Stars

5 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Leg Forces (l/r)

186/153 lbs.

232/354 lbs.



4 Stars

3 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

173 lbs.

230 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 is safer than the Ford Fusion:



Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Abdominal Force

239 G’s

269 G’s

Hip Force

212 lbs.

338 lbs.

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

16 inches




Spine Acceleration

29 G’s

45 G’s

Hip Force

488 lbs.

721 lbs.

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


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


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


As tested in Consumer Reports the Chevrolet Malibu 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Fusion 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.:



Zero to 30 MPH

3.1 sec

3.2 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.4 sec

9.2 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

5.3 sec

6.1 sec

Quarter Mile

16.6 sec

17 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86 MPH

84.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Malibu gets better fuel mileage than the Fusion:




1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

29 city/36 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/32 hwy



2.5 DOHC 4-cyl.

21 city/31 hwy

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/34 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/31 hwy


2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/29 hwy

2.7 turbo V6

17 city/26 hwy


A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chevrolet Malibu Premier, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Fusion.

The Malibu 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 Fusion doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

The Malibu stops much shorter than the Fusion:



70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

120 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Malibu RS/Premier’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Fusion (245/45R18 vs. 235/50R17).

Suspension and Handling

The Malibu Premier handles at .87 G’s, while the Fusion Sport AWD pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Malibu Premier executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Fusion SE (26.4 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 27.4 seconds @ .58 average G’s).


The Chevrolet Malibu may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 600 pounds less than the Ford Fusion.

Passenger Space

The Malibu has .7 inches more front shoulder room and .2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Fusion.

The front step up height for the Malibu is 2.3 inches lower than the Fusion (13.5” vs. 15.8”). The Malibu’s rear step up height is 1.2 inches lower than the Fusion’s (14.1” vs. 15.25”).


The Malibu’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 Fusion does not have an oil pressure gauge.

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

When the Malibu Premier is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Fusion’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Both the Malibu and the Fusion offer available heated front seats. The Malibu Premier also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Fusion.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Malibu owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Malibu will cost $665 less than the Fusion over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Malibu is less expensive to operate than the Fusion because typical repairs cost much less on the Malibu than the Fusion, including $9 less for front brake pads, $108 less for a timing belt/chain and $441 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Chevrolet Malibu will be $1261 to $6974 less than for the Ford Fusion.

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

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