2020 Nissan Altima vs. 2020 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/12/07

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Nissan Altima have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Nissan Altima 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 Hybrid doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Altima SV/SL/Platinum has standard Rear Automatic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Malibu Hybrid doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

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

The Altima Platinum has a standard Around View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Malibu Hybrid 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 Altima’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 Hybrid doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Altima and the Malibu Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, rearview cameras, available daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Altima the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 88 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Malibu Hybrid was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

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The Altima’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Malibu Hybrid’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability

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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 Altima’s reliability 23 points higher than the Malibu Hybrid.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 9 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Engine

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The Altima’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 6 more horsepower (188 vs. 182) than the Malibu Hybrid’s 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid. The Altima’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 66 more horsepower (248 vs. 182) than the Malibu Hybrid’s 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Nissan Altima 2.4 4-cylinder is faster than the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid:

Altima

Malibu

Zero to 60 MPH

7.6 sec

8 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.5 sec

5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.9 sec

16.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92 MPH

86 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/12/07

The Altima AWD’s standard fuel tank has 3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Malibu Hybrid (16 vs. 13 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Altima FWD’s standard fuel tank has 3.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Malibu Hybrid (16.2 vs. 13 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Nissan Altima higher (7 out of 10) than the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid (5). This means the Altima produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Malibu Hybrid every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Altima stops shorter than the Malibu Hybrid:

Altima

Malibu

70 to 0 MPH

172 feet

181 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

140 feet

153 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Altima SR/Platinum’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Malibu Hybrid (235/40R19 vs. 225/55R17).

The Altima SR/Platinum’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Malibu Hybrid’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Altima SR/Platinum has standard 19-inch wheels. The Malibu Hybrid’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

The Altima has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Malibu Hybrid doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

The Altima has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Malibu Hybrid; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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The Altima 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 Hybrid doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Altima Platinum handles at .91 G’s, while the Malibu Hybrid pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Altima Platinum executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.2 seconds quicker than the Malibu Hybrid (26.3 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 27.5 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Altima S’ turning circle is .9 feet tighter than the Malibu Hybrid’s (36.1 feet vs. 37 feet).

Chassis

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The Altima SL/Platinum uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Malibu Hybrid doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while cruising at 70 MPH, the interior of the Altima Platinum is quieter than the Malibu Hybrid (70 vs. 71 dB).

Passenger Space

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The Altima has .1 inches more front headroom, 2.3 inches more front legroom, .6 inches more front hip room and 1.1 inches more rear hip room than the Malibu Hybrid.

Cargo Capacity

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The Altima has a much larger trunk than the Malibu Hybrid (15.4 vs. 11.6 cubic feet).

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Altima. The Malibu Hybrid doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Ergonomics

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When two different drivers share the Altima Platinum, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Malibu Hybrid doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Altima Platinum’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Malibu Hybrid doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Altima SV/SL/Platinum’s front power windows both open or close with one touch of the switches. The Malibu Hybrid’s front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Altima the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Malibu Hybrid can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Altima’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Malibu Hybrid’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 Altima’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Malibu Hybrid’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Altima SV/SL/Platinum has a standard Intelligent Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Malibu Hybrid doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 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 2019/12/07

Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Altima, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid isn't recommended.

The Altima was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2019. The Malibu Hybrid has never been an “All Star.”

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

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