2020 Kia Stinger vs. 2020 Chevrolet Malibu

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/01/23

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Kia Stinger are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Chevrolet Malibu doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Stinger offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Malibu doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Stinger GT2 has a standard Surround View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Malibu only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

The Stinger GT1/GT2’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Malibu doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Stinger and the Malibu 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 and lane departure warning systems.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Stinger its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 54 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Malibu was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/01/23

The Stinger comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Malibu’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Stinger 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Chevrolet covers the Malibu. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Malibu ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

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The battery on the Stinger is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the Stinger’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Malibu’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Kia Stinger’s reliability 21 points higher than the Malibu and the Kia Stinger is rated 27 points higher than the Malibu.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked 6th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 16 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Engine

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The Stinger GT-Line’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 95 more horsepower (255 vs. 160) and 76 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 184) than the Malibu’s standard 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder. The Stinger GT-Line’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 5 more horsepower (255 vs. 250) than the Malibu Premier’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The Stinger GT’s standard 3.3 turbo V6 produces 115 more horsepower (365 vs. 250) and 116 lbs.-ft. more torque (376 vs. 260) than the Malibu Premier’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Car and Driver the Stinger GT-Line is faster than the Chevrolet Malibu 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder:

Stinger

Malibu

Zero to 30 MPH

2.2 sec

2.7 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

16.2 sec

24.7 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.4 sec

8.9 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.5 sec

4.9 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.5 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

16.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95 MPH

85 MPH

Top Speed

132 MPH

130 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/01/23

Regardless of its engine, the Stinger’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Chevrolet only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Malibu 1.5 Turbo.

Transmission

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The Stinger GT/GT1/GT2’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s at 2250 in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Malibu doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Stinger’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Malibu:

Stinger GT-Line

Stinger GT

Malibu

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

13.8 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

12.4 inches

13.4 inches

11.3 inches

The Stinger GT’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Malibu are solid, not vented.

The Stinger stops much shorter than the Malibu:

Stinger

Malibu

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

104 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

142 feet

149 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Stinger has larger standard tires than the Malibu (225/45R18 vs. 205/60R16).

The Stinger GT-Line’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Malibu L/LS’ standard 60 series tires. The Stinger GT’s 255/35R19 rear tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Malibu’s optional 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Stinger GT-Line has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Malibu L/LS.

Suspension and Handling

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The Stinger has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Malibu’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Stinger offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Malibu’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Stinger has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Malibu doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Stinger’s wheelbase is 3 inches longer than on the Malibu (114.4 inches vs. 111.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Stinger is .2 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Malibu.

The Stinger’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.9% to 48.1%) than the Malibu’s (61.6% to 38.4%). This gives the Stinger more stable handling and braking.

The Stinger GT2 handles at .93 G’s, while the Malibu LT pulls only .86 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Stinger GT executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.6 seconds quicker than the Malibu LT (24.8 seconds @ .79 average G’s vs. 27.4 seconds @ .63 average G’s).

Chassis

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The Stinger is 4 inches shorter than the Malibu, making the Stinger easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Stinger AWD is quieter than the Malibu LT (39 vs. 42 dB).

Passenger Space

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The Stinger has 1.1 inches more front legroom, 1.4 inches more front hip room and 2.7 inches more rear hip room than the Malibu.

Cargo Capacity

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The Stinger has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Malibu (23.3 vs. 15.7 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Stinger easier. The Stinger’s trunk lift-over height is 27.5 inches, while the Malibu’s liftover is 30.5 inches.

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Stinger’s hatch uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the cargo area. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Malibu’s useful trunk space.

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Stinger. The Malibu doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just waiting momentarily behind the back bumper can open the Stinger GT2’s power trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The Stinger’s power trunk can also be opened or closed by pressing a button. The Malibu doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

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The Stinger uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Malibu uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the Stinger is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Malibu. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

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The Stinger GT2 has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Malibu doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Stinger’s front power windows open or close 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 Malibu’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. The Malibu LT/Premier’s front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

The Stinger has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Malibu doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Stinger GT1/GT2’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Malibu’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Stinger’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Malibu’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Stinger GT2 has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Malibu doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Stinger’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Chevrolet only offers heated mirrors on the Malibu LT/Premier.

The Stinger GT1/GT2 has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Malibu offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Stinger has a 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. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Malibu LT/Premier.

Both the Stinger and the Malibu offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Stinger has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Malibu L/LS/RS doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Kia Stinger has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. Only the Malibu Premier offers wireless charging.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/01/23

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Stinger third among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Malibu isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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