23 Best & Worst Chevrolet Malibu Years (With Facts & Stats)

The Chevy Malibu is one of the oldest nameplates in the auto industry, having first appeared in 1964.

The popular mid-size car is known for its pleasant driving demeanor, handsome styling and efficient standard four-cylinder.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the best and worst years of the Malibu.

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Chevrolet Malibu Are:

The best Chevrolet Malibu model years are 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2015, and 2014. The worst model years of the Malibu are 2018, 2017, 2016, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2001, and 2000. This is based on NHTSA stats, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Chevrolet Malibu?

Some Malibu years are notably better than others, listed below are the top picks.

2023 & 2022 Chevrolet Malibu

The most recent Malibu models are without doubt some of the best, thanks to improved reliability and offering the latest driving tech and features.

The 2022 and 2023 Malibu’s are solid choices, especially for those looking to get the best possible resale value and longest warranties.

There were no major changes for these Malibu models aside from the fact that the entry-level L trim was removed from the line-up, the electronic parking brake became standard across the range and the 2.0-liter engine was discontinued.

2022 Chevrolet Malibu:

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 82 / 100

2023 Chevrolet Malibu:

  • Edmunds: NA
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

2022 Chevrolet Malibu, Edmunds review:

“Strong Crash Numbers, Light Weight (3100 lbs.), responsive 1.5 L. Engine, Great Basic Sedan with flexibility to meet every Driver’s Demands. No complaints except trunk release should be in the cabin.”

2021 Chevrolet Malibu

The 2021 Malibu boasts sleek styling, a roomy interior and very few complaints have been lodged against it.

There were no substantive updates for this model year although there are a few tweaks worth noting.

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto became standard equipment.

A Sport Edition package was introduced for the LT trim, which adds black Chevrolet logos to the grille and trunk, incorporates a black grille, and 19-inch dark alloy wheels. 

  • Edmunds: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2021 Chevrolet Malibu, Edmunds review:

“I have owned three Malibu’s in my time. The 2014, 2019, and (now) 2021 models. All of them are extremely reliable if basic routine maintenance is performed (as is for almost all cars). The only con(s) I have is that the interior could feel more “premium” with the premier package… and the only package to consider buying is the premier or you’re wasting money.. Otherwise handling, power (on premier only), fuel efficiency, and comfort are excellent…”

2020 Chevrolet Malibu

Handsome design, great ride and handling and lots of tech – the 2020 Malibu is another safe bet.

This model year only received a minimal visual upgrade from the previous year, but also added a few new colors, namely Stone Gray and Black Cherry, as well as a new set of wheels for the higher-end RS and Premier trims. 

Speaking of colors, Iridescent Pearl, Pacific Blue, and Sandy Ridge were removed from the available options for this model year. 

  • Edmunds: 3.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 83 / 100

2020 Chevrolet Malibu, Edmunds review:

“I rented a 2020 Malibu with the base 1.5L engine and the CVT transmission which I had initially expected to perform horribly on the highway. I was wrong and this car was a pleasant surprise in almost every regard. I averaged 37 MPG in mixed city/highway driving, the car rode very smoothly and handled better than expected…”

2019 Chevrolet Malibu

The 2019 Chevrolet Malibu received a light refresh, which included restyled front and rear bumpers, a sharper-looking grille, upgraded headlamps and tail lights. 

Inside, an upgraded 8-inch touchscreen infotainment panel was added and a new color display for the gauge cluster was introduced.

For the high end Premier trim, the Malibu came with heated rear seats, which is a welcome addition to an already feature-rich model. 

  • Edmunds: 3.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.0 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2019 Chevrolet Malibu, Edmunds review:

“I bought the 2019 LT trim level. Decided there were a few things I could live w/o, for the price differences. Few hybrids available in TX, so I went with the standard engine. NO Acceleration deficiencies! In fact, I have to be Very careful Not to speed! I can easily move in & around traffic on our 70 mph tollways, merging w/ ease, onto a busy highway! I find the interior pleasant, comfortable, and nice enough…”

2015 Chevrolet Malibu

The 2015 Malibu is a safer option than many of its predecessors and some of its successors which were plagued by complaints.

The most notable change for this year was the addition of a 4G data connection with WiFi hotspot capability across all trims as standard.

For this model year, Chevrolet decided to remove the hybrid-powered Malibu Eco.

  • Edmunds: 4.1 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.3 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 84 / 100

2015 Chevrolet Malibu, Edmunds review:

“It’s easy to hook up all of your wifi and Bluetooth, making hands-free a standard thing. Great on gas, love the interior, had other Malibu’s in the past that lasted and lasted. I mean like 190,000 and still humming along! Dependable, safe and beats everyone on price except the inferior brands…”

2014 Chevrolet Malibu

Like the 2015 Malibu, the 2014 Malibu is another safe option and despite its age, it still deserves a spot on your test-drive list.

There were numerous upgrades for the 2014 model, including:

  • Added legroom for rear seat passengers
  • A bulkier and more spacious center console
  • updated front-end styling on the exterior
  • Suspension and chassis upgrades aim for a smoother ride.

This model was also praised for its high fuel economy and excellent crash test scores.

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.3 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 80 / 100

2014 Chevrolet Malibu, Edmunds review:

“I am in love with this Malibu. It is a great car… interior is much better than Toyota, Honda, Ford or Mazda. Great gas mileage. Comfy smooth ride. Very little to complain about, only two things – I don’t like that there’s no spare tire, and I don’t like the Stop and Start feature but overall still gets 5 stars”

Consumer Scores For Best Chevrolet Malibu Years

Below is a table that presents all the consumer ratings of the best Chevrolet Malibu model years from reputable vehicle websites:

Model YearEdmunds’ Consumer RatingKelley Blue Book’s Consumer RatingJD Power’s Consumer Rating
2023 Chevrolet MalibuNA4.0 / 5.0NA
2022 Chevrolet Malibu4.2 / 5.04.0 / 5.082 / 100
2021 Chevrolet Malibu4.5 / 5.04.0 / 5.081 / 100
2020 Chevrolet Malibu3.2 / 5.04.0 / 5.083 / 100
2019 Chevrolet Malibu3.2 / 5.04.0 / 5.081 / 100
2015 Chevrolet Malibu4.1 / 5.04.3 / 5.084 / 100
2014 Chevrolet Malibu4.2 / 5.04.3 / 5.080 / 100

Related: How Long Do Chevrolet Malibu Last? (11 Important Facts)

What Are The Worst Years For The Chevrolet Malibu?

The Chevrolet Malibu has also been on the receiving end of several complaints over the years.

Be cautious of the model years listed below...

2018, 2017 & 2016 Chevrolet Malibu

The 2018, 2017 and 2016 Chevy Malibus shared similar problems and were known to have serious engine issues. There are numerous reports online from disgruntled owners who experienced loss of power, reduced speed and stalling due to an engine defect.

The vehicles allegedly have a defective electronic throttle control and accelerator pedal position sensor.

A class action lawsuit was filed as GM reportedly knew about the defect but failed to inform consumers and recall the vehicle parts.

These models were also plagued by transmission problems, explained below by one owner:

“When going to shut off the vehicle the display comes on “shift to park” and will not allow the engine to shut down. Must turn car back on, place into a gear, place into park and turn off power again. This has occurred multiple times over the past few days. It will also take 3 or 4 cycles to finally get the car to shut down completely.”

The 2018 Malibu had a total of 23 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 731 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The 2017 Malibu had a total of 59 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 876 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The 2016 Malibu had a total of 106 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 1,127 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Poor acceleration
  • Loses power and stalls
  • Shift to park warning message always popping up 
  • Check engine light on
  • Transmission problems 
  • Water leaks

2013 Chevrolet Malibu

The 2013 Chevy Malibu is another model year to steer clear of mainly due to its engine problems.

This model was notorious for losing power whilst driving, here’s how one owner describes it:

“Car completely loses engine power and electrical power while driving! This has happened many times in the last 6 months. Dealer found nothing wrong, no codes or evidence of any problems. This seems to be a systemic problem with the Malibu and other similar vehicles in gm family according to several online websites. This is very dangerous and will kill people!”

Numerous owners also complained about the steering wheel locking up whilst driving.

The 2013 Malibu had a total of 191 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 1,208 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Loss of power while driving
  • Steering is difficult
  • Water pump went out

2011 and 2012 Chevrolet Malibu

The 2011 and 2012 Chevrolet Malibu models were severely problematic in the electronics department.

Owners complained about power steering failure, headlights going out, dash warning lights coming on and flickering radios.

There were also numerous reports of stalling whilst driving which was caused by a known issue with the fuel pump relay.

The 2012 Malibu had a total of 91 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 1,327 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The 2011 Malibu had a total of 160 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 1,391 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Timing chain tensioner failure
  • Engine problems 
  • Electronics problems
  • Fuel pump wiring issue

2009 and 2010 Chevrolet Malibu

The 2009 and 2010 Malibu’s are the most problem-riddled model years on this list by a significant margin.

The main problem of both model years primarily stemmed from steering problems.

Hundreds of owners claimed that the power steering was unreliable, the steering wheel was hard to use and turns were unbelievably hard to execute at certain speeds. 

Lots of owners experienced loss of power steering whilst driving leaving them in very dangerous situations.

The 2010 Malibu had a total of 198 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 2,009 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The 2009 Malibu had a total of 209 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 2,146 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Transmission stopped working
  • Power steering not working
  • Car will not go into gear
  • Stalls out while driving 
  • Power door locks malfunctioning
  • Clunks when turning 

Related: 9 Most Common Chevrolet Malibu Problems (Explained)

2007 and 2008 Chevrolet Malibu

The 2007 and 2008 Chevrolet Malibu models were awarded the notorious “Beware of the Clunker” title by CarComplaints.com, and rightfully so.

There were a lot of technical issues and defects surrounding these two models, leading to safety risks on the road.

The most common complaint was power steering failure and various other steering-related problems.

The 2008 Malibu had a total of 188 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 1,384 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The 2007 Malibu had a total of 122 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 1,251 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Power door locks failed
  • Steering wheel shimmies, shakes, and locks up
  • Clunking and popping noise from steering
  • Headlights not working properly
  • Engine died

2004, 2005, and 2006 Chevrolet Malibu

These three combined accounted for over 6,000 problems experienced by the Chevrolet Malibu vehicle line.

To add to this, CarComplaints.com awarded these models with not one, but two unfortunate titles – “Beware of the Clunker” and “Avoid Like the Plague.”

The major concern surrounding these three vehicles was steering in general, whether it be power steering failure, difficulty in turning, and even steering wheel lock-up. 

The 2006 Malibu had a total of 270 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 1,659 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The 2005 Malibu had a total of 413 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 1,719 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The 2004 Malibu had a total of 422 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 1,959 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Steering locked up while driving
  • Steering wheel makes noise when turning
  • Power steering not working properly
  • Transmission failure
  • Engin stalls without warning
  • Power steering going out intermittently
  • Steering column is defective
  • Clunking noise from steering 

2001 and 2002 Chevrolet Malibu

Yet another recipient of “Avoid Like the Plague” by CarComplaints.com, the 2001 and 2002 Chevrolet Malibu model years were notorious for electronics-related issues.

Owners complained about problems with the anti-theft system which was accompanied by ignition and engine troubles.

These issues ultimately led to stalling whilst driving as well as being unable to start the car.

The 2002 Malibu had a total of 466 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 652 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The 2001 Malibu had a total of 399 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 809 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Leaking coolant, cracked intake manifold gasket
  • Passlock problem, will not start and anti-theft light is on
  • Engine is knocking 
  • Leaking coolant, cracked intake manifold gasket

2000 Chevrolet Malibu

The oldest Malibu on this list is also considered to be a clunker by CarComplaints.com. With over 1,000 problems and 416 complaints from reputable websites, we can hardly disagree. 

Most of the issues of the 2000 Chevrolet Malibu stemmed from faulty electronics and lighting.

According to several reports, there was intermittent failure of turn signals, hazard lights, and flashing lights.

This led to the owners’ inability to communicate with other drivers on the road, posing a significant safety risk and possibly getting flagged down by the police.

The 2000 Malibu had a total of 416 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 1,003 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Turn signals/hazard lamps are inoperative
  • Leaking coolant, cracked intake manifold gasket
  • Knocking sound from engine
  • Head gasket failure 

Related: Chevrolet Malibu Beeping? (8 Causes & Solutions)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

There are several Chevrolet Malibu model years, both old and new, that have received numerous complaints through the years. 

Take a look at the complaints and problems for each model year of the Malibu below

Model YearComplaints
2023 Chevrolet Malibu00
2022 Chevrolet Malibu03
2021 Chevrolet Malibu09
2020 Chevrolet Malibu368
2019 Chevrolet Malibu3112
2018 Chevrolet Malibu23731
2017 Chevrolet Malibu59876
2016 Chevrolet Malibu1061,127
2015 Chevrolet Malibu50306
2014 Chevrolet Malibu83456
2013 Chevrolet Malibu1911,208
2012 Chevrolet Malibu911,327
2011 Chevrolet Malibu1601,391
2010 Chevrolet Malibu1982,009
2009 Chevrolet Malibu2092,146
2008 Chevrolet Malibu1881,384
2007 Chevrolet Malibu1221,251
2006 Chevrolet Malibu2701,659
2005 Chevrolet Malibu4131,719
2004 Chevrolet Malibu4221,959
2003 Chevrolet Malibu383692
2002 Chevrolet Malibu466652
2001 Chevrolet Malibu399809
2000 Chevrolet Malibu4161,003
1999 Chevrolet Malibu188807
1998 Chevrolet Malibu1541,002
1997 Chevrolet Malibu34461

What Problems Do Chevrolet Malibus Have?

  • Power steering failure
  • Engine problems – loss of power whilst driving
  • Transmission stopped working
  • Leaking coolant, cracked intake manifold gasket
  • Power steering going out intermittently

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Chevrolet Malibu?

The Chevrolet Malibu is one of the most popular midsize cars on the market.

It secured the 7th spot (right below the Nissan Altima and Subaru Legacy), with a good score of 7.4 out of 10. 

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Honda Accord8.9$26,120 – $38,050City: 22 – 30 /Highway: 32 – 38
Hyundai Sonata8.2$24,500 – $34,750City: 23 – 28 /Highway: 33 – 38
Kia K58.2$25,090 – $31,490City: 24 – 27 /Highway: 32 – 37
Toyota Camry8.0$25,945 – $36,370City: 22 – 28 /Highway: 31 – 39
Nissan Altima7.9$24,750 – $34,450City: 25 – 28 /Highway: 34 – 39
Subaru Legacy7.8$24,395 – $37,695 City: 23 – 27 /Highway: 31 – 35
Chevrolet Malibu7.4$23,400 – $33,500City: 22 – 29 /Highway: 33 – 36
Volkswagen PassatNA$27,575 – $30,575City: 24 /Highway: 36

Source: cars.usnews.com

Related: Chevrolet Malibu Tune-Up & Maintenance Costs (Complete Guide)










  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...