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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 Regal Sportback 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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
Both the Malibu and the Regal Sportback 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, 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.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Malibu the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 169 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Regal Sportback has not been tested, yet.
There are over 47 percent more Chevrolet dealers than there are Buick dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Malibu’s warranty.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Malibu first among midsize cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Regal Sportback isn’t in the top three.
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 Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 11th.
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 Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked fifth.
On the EPA test cycle the Malibu CVT with its standard engine gets better fuel mileage than the Regal Sportback FWD with its standard engine (29 city/36 hwy vs. 22 city/32 hwy).
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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer a CVT.
The Malibu stops shorter than the Regal Sportback:
60 to 0 MPH
The Malibu Premier handles at .88 G’s, while the Regal Sportback GS pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
For better maneuverability, the Malibu’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the Regal Sportback’s (37 feet vs. 39 feet). The Malibu’s turning circle is 4 feet tighter than the Regal Sportback’s (37 feet vs. 41 feet).
The Chevrolet Malibu may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 600 to 1050 pounds less than the Buick Regal Sportback.
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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Malibu LT is quieter than the Regal Sportback Essence:
70 MPH Cruising
The Malibu has 4.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Regal Sportback (102.9 vs. 98).
The Malibu has .3 inches more front headroom, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear headroom, 1.2 inches more rear legroom and 1.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Regal Sportback.
The Malibu has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The Regal Sportback has no towing capacity.
The Malibu Premier can be flat towed on all four wheels (dinghy towed), allowing recreational vehicle owners to bring it with them on the road. When they reach their destination, the Malibu can be unhitched and driven around locally. The Regal Sportback can’t be towed flat on the ground.
Consumer Reports rated the Malibu’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Regal Sportback’s headlights, which were rated “Poor.”
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Malibu LT/Premier detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Regal Sportback doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Malibu has standard extendable sun visors. The Regal Sportback doesn’t offer extendable visors.
Both the Malibu and the Regal Sportback 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 Regal Sportback.
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 Regal Sportback 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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
Insurance will cost less for the Malibu owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Malibu with a number “3” insurance rate while the Regal Sportback is rated higher at a number “8” rate.
The Malibu will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Malibu will retain 36.49% to 48.23% of its original price after five years, while the Regal Sportback only retains 28.76% to 36.45%.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Malibu is less expensive to operate than the Regal Sportback because it costs $546 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Malibu than the Regal Sportback, including $307 less for a water pump, $475 less for a muffler, $58 less for front brake pads, $264 less for a starter, $32 less for front struts and $570 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 $5808 to $10135 less than for the Buick Regal Sportback.
The Chevrolet Malibu outsold the Buick Regal by over 11 to one during the 2019 model year.
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