2020 Chevrolet Malibu vs. 2019 Kia Stinger

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

Both the Malibu and the Stinger have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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.

Warranty

The Malibu’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Stinger’s (6/100,000 vs. 5/100,000).

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

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Malibu first among midsize cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Stinger was rated third in its category.

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 Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

Engine

As tested in Motor Trend the Malibu Premier 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Stinger 2.0L:

Malibu

Stinger

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

6.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

15 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

96.2 MPH

95.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Malibu

FWD

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

29 city/36 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/32 hwy

Stinger

RWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

3.3 turbo V6

17 city/25 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/29 hwy

3.3 turbo V6

17 city/25 hwy

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

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Chevrolet Malibu higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the Kia Stinger (3). This means the Malibu produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Stinger every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chevrolet Malibu Premier, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Stinger.

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 Stinger doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The Malibu has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Stinger doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

The Malibu stops much shorter than the Stinger:

Malibu

Stinger

70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

182 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Malibu RS/Premier’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Stinger (245/45R18 vs. 225/40R19).

Suspension and Handling

The Malibu Premier handles at .88 G’s, while the Stinger GT pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Malibu Premier executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Stinger Premium (26.4 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 26.8 seconds @ .67 average G’s).

Chassis

The Chevrolet Malibu may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 800 pounds less than the Kia Stinger.

The front grille of the Malibu (except 2.0 Turbo) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Stinger doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Malibu LT is quieter than the Stinger GT2:

Malibu

Stinger

Full-Throttle

71 dB

84 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

71 dB

Passenger Space

The Malibu has 9.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Stinger (102.9 vs. 93.8).

The Malibu has .8 inches more front headroom, 2.1 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear headroom, 1.7 inches more rear legroom and 2.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Stinger.

The front step up height for the Malibu is 2 inches lower than the Stinger (13.5” vs. 15.5”). The Malibu’s rear step up height is .9 inches lower than the Stinger’s (14.1” vs. 15”).

Towing

The Malibu has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The Stinger has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The Malibu (except L) offers a 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 Stinger doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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 Stinger does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The Malibu’s standard 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 Stinger’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

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

The Malibu Premier has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Stinger doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The Malibu Premier’s optional Automatic Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Stinger doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Malibu owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Malibu will cost $385 to $4635 less than the Stinger over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Chevrolet Malibu will be $10988 to $22556 less than for the Kia Stinger.

Recommendations

The Chevrolet Malibu outsold the Kia Stinger by almost 9 to one during 2018.

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

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