2020 Toyota Corolla vs. 2019 Chevrolet Malibu

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Toyota Corolla 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 Corolla has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Malibu doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The Corolla’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 Corolla and the Malibu have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver 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 and available blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

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

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Corolla for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Chevrolet only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Malibu.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Corolla first among compact cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Malibu isn’t in the top three 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 Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked fourth.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Chevrolet is ranked 23rd.

Engine

The Corolla SE/XSE’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 9 more horsepower (169 vs. 160) than the Malibu’s standard 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

 

MPG

Corolla

 

Auto

1.8 DOHC 4 cyl.

30 city/38 hwy

 

 

XLE 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/37 hwy

 

 

SE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

31 city/40 hwy

 

 

XSE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

31 city/38 hwy

Malibu

 

Auto

1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

29 city/36 hwy

 

 

Premier 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/32 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota Corolla uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Malibu Premier requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

The Corolla offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and sportiness. The Malibu doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Corolla’s turning circle is 2.9 feet tighter than the Malibu’s (34.1 feet vs. 37 feet).

Chassis

The Toyota Corolla may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 50 to 200 pounds less than the Chevrolet Malibu.

The Corolla is 11.9 inches shorter than the Malibu, making the Corolla easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The front step up height for the Corolla is .5 inches lower than the Malibu (13” vs. 13.5”). The Corolla’s rear step up height is 1.1 inches lower than the Malibu’s (13” vs. 14.1”).

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Corolla easier. The Corolla’s trunk lift-over height is 25.5 inches, while the Malibu’s liftover is 30.5 inches.

Ergonomics

The Corolla’s front and rear power windows all 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 passenger windows don’t close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Corolla 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. (Your Toyota service department must activate this window function.) The driver of the Malibu can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Corolla XLE/XSE offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Malibu doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Model Availability

The Toyota Corolla comes in sedan and four-door hatchback bodystyles; the Chevrolet Malibu isn’t available as a four-door hatchback or station wagon.

Recommendations

The Toyota Corolla outsold the Chevrolet Malibu by over two to one during 2018.

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

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