2021 Toyota Corolla 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 2020/08/11

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 and rear 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, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

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, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Corolla the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 32 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Malibu last would have qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

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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

© 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 2020/08/11

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 Corolla’s reliability 61 points higher than the Malibu.

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 2019 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota third in reliability. Chevrolet is ranked 25th.

Engine

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

As tested in Motor Trend the Corolla SE/XSE 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder is faster than the Chevrolet Malibu 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder:

Corolla

Malibu

Zero to 60 MPH

8.2 sec

8.5 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

16.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86.4 MPH

84.6 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 2020/08/11

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

Corolla

Malibu

2.0 4 cyl./Auto

31 city/40 hwy

29 city/36 hwy

1.5 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

2.0 4 cyl./Auto

31 city/38 hwy

22 city/32 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

1.8 4 cyl./Auto

30 city/38 hwy

n/a

1.8 4 cyl./Auto

29 city/37 hwy

n/a

Transmission

© 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 2020/08/11

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

Brakes and Stopping

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The Corolla stops shorter than the Malibu:

Corolla

Malibu

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

143 feet

149 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

© 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 2020/08/11

For better maneuverability, the Corolla’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the Malibu’s (35.6 feet vs. 37 feet).

Chassis

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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.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Corolla easier. The Corolla’s trunk lift-over height is 27.1 inches, while the Malibu’s liftover is 30.5 inches.

Ergonomics

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The Corolla’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Malibu’s parking brake has to released manually.

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 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. (This window function must be activated by your Toyota service department.) 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

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

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Corolla is less expensive to operate than the Malibu because it costs $164 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Corolla than the Malibu, including $217 less for a water pump, $258 less for a muffler, $112 less for front brake pads, $14 less for fuel injection and $59 less for front struts.

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 2020/08/11

Consumer Reports® chose the Toyota Corolla as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Chevrolet Malibu isn't recommended.

The Toyota Corolla outsold the Chevrolet Malibu by over two to one during 2019.

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