5 Best And Worst Years For The Chevy Malibu

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The Chevy Malibu is said to be a dependable midsize vehicle. It is one of the best family-friendly vehicles built with a stylish exterior and an interior.

Many people have noticed the handling of this vehicle is smooth and reliable. Besides that, it also comes with excellent safety features that will protect the driver and the passengers.

There have also been some technological advances that are super convenient and make the overall riding experience so much better.

However, to enjoy these great features, it is crucial to purchase the most reliable model.

So what exactly are the best and worst years for Chevy Malibu?

Here are the reliable and unreliable years below:

Best Years for Chevy Malibu:

  1. 2003
  2. 2011
  3. 2012
  4. 2017
  5. 2018

Worst Years for Chevy Malibu:

  1. 2004
  2. 2006
  3. 2010
  4. 2013
  5. 2016

I will be explaining all these years in further detail, so make sure to stick around until the end of this article.

Additionally, I have also answered some of the frequently asked questions that most people have regarding the Chevy Malibu lineup.

List Of The Best Years For The Chevy Malibu: What Years To Buy

is the Chevy Malibu a good car? Pick the right model by taking a look at the pros and cons of the model years list

Here you have the most popular yet reliable models.

These models have fewer complaints and not so serious problems.

They also have lower maintenance costs, extra safety features that work effectively, and so much more.

Make sure to read all these years so you can find the right one for you and your family.

#1 Best Year: 2003 Chevy Malibu

Starting with the first model, the 2003 Chevy Malibu has many great features that make this vehicle super reliable and fun to drive in.

Various owners have said this vehicle is quite comfortable from the inside.

Even though it is a five-seater vehicle, this still provides extra legroom so passengers can sit all the time comfortably.

This vehicle also has various safety features, which is why, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this vehicle has outstanding ratings for frontal barrier crash and side barrier crash ratings.

You can find the used 2003 model at a reasonable price whether you plan on purchasing it or leasing it.

#2 Best Year: 2011 Chevy Malibu

The 2011 Chevy Malibu is another model that is a must-have midsize sedan.

According to various users, this vehicle has a lot of good qualities that make their driving so much more reliable and safe.

Many people say that the overall ride quality is smooth, quiet, and easy.

This is because of the great handling control that drivers get while taking turns, accelerating, shifting gears, and so on.

Besides that, people also appreciate the interior and exterior styling of the vehicle because it is made out of high-quality, durable materials that do not break quickly.

You will also be happy to know that this vehicle received excellent crash test results from all aspects, which makes it a safe vehicle to drive in.

You can find this vehicle in five trim levels, and all vary according to the quality and performance they provide.

Other than that, the notable features that you should know about are the four-cylinder and V6, standard 6-speed automatic transmission system, OnStar navigation system, and three pairs of child seat anchors, so much more that you will notice when driving.

#3 Best Year: 2012 Chevy Malibu

Now you have the 2012 Chevy Malibu model. Some simple updates have been done in this vehicle that improves its performance so that people love driving it every day.

Keep in mind that the four-cylinder has been upgraded with a six-speed automatic transmission system.

This means that the fuel economy on this vehicle has been improved the throttle response.

Moreover, this vehicle is also great at handling anytime and does not break down like other model years.

Besides that, you will be happy to know it has a durable powertrain, a more spacious and well-trimmed interior, and most important, super quiet, so you will not feel or hear any road imperfections inside while driving.

#4 Best Year: 2017 Chevy Malibu

Another excellent choice for a midsize vehicle is the 2017 Chevy Malibu.

According to cars.usnews.com, this vehicle won the category 2017 Best Midsize Car for Families award, a great achievement for this vehicle.

The main reason this vehicle is so great is its various family-friendly features, spacious cabin for passengers, and cargo space.

There are also various safety features included in this vehicle that makes it easy for drivers to ride all the time.

There are many great things on this vehicle such as the ride and handling aspects are always good, teen driver safety monitor, gas mileage with excellent fuel economy, new sport package as well as refined lane departure prevention, and many more great things that you will get to learn through your driving experience if you do plan on purchasing this vehicle.

Still, most importantly, there are various excellent reviews on this vehicle from professional critics.

#5 Best Year: 2018 Chevy Malibu

The last model on this list you have is the 2018 Chevy Malibu, which has excellent fuel economy, great handling aspects, and the sports-like feeling that you will not get in most midsize sedans in the market.

There have been various advanced tech features such as Teen Driver monitoring system, Bose premium nine-speaker sound system, remote start, wireless smartphone charger, and so much more that will surely work efficiently without causing any serious issues at all.

This vehicle also offers five trim levels that all work efficiently so you can get the most out of them.

Plus, they are all at reasonable prices, so you certainly do not want to miss out on them at all.

You will also be glad to learn that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also gave this vehicle a top rating of five out of five since it is great in protecting the driver and the passengers in terms of frontal and side crashes.

List Of The Worst Years For The Chevy Malibu: What Years To Avoid

Now coming to the most problematic model years of the Chevy Malibu, you want to make sure that you avoid all of these and do not mistake purchasing it.

These years have been extremely difficult for many drivers, and you will get to learn that here so make sure to read until the end.

Now, here are the years you should not purchase.

#1 Worst Year: 2004 Chevy Malibu

Starting with the first model, the 2004 Chevy Malibu is the worst one can own. This is because there are way too many issues that can be difficult to handle.

The most common ones are the electrical system that can cause various vehicle components to malfunction.

People have said that the electrical power steering system causes various issues, which is why it would require the replacement of the steering column.

In some cases, the vehicle would also fail to start or stall randomly, which can be quite dangerous on the road.

This can mainly happen when the pass lock sensor fails, which would also need to be looked into and replaced.

Other than that, there are also issues with the ignition switch, which wouldn’t work properly, and the vehicle can be difficult to start or deal with.

You will also be surprised to know that this vehicle has been recalled nine times by various authorities, which means it has severe issues and must be avoided.

#2 Worst Year: 2006 Chevy Malibu

The 2006 Chevy Malibu is on this list of the worst models because it has poor crash-test results and various other issues that you cannot ignore while driving.

This vehicle tends to lose engine power frequently, making the vehicle stall, vibrate or not start at all, which can be quite annoying to deal with.

It is also said that most issues start to happen when the vehicle reaches around 15,000 miles on the odometer or in earlier stages of driving which is quite disappointing considering this vehicle has an efficient transmission and an engine.

But it seems like in this vehicle. There are too many issues with the engine that most of the components must be replaced so this vehicle can drive smoothly again.

#3 Worst Year: 2010 Chevy Malibu

The 2010 Chevy Malibu has a lot of issues with the transmission system.

It is said that this vehicle had the most severe problems that ruined the quality of driving and various components.

Many people said that this issue is likely to happen when this model reaches around 100,000 miles on the odometer.

This issue is so serious that many had to replace the entire transmission system, which can cost around $3000 or more depending on how serious the issue is.

Around 126 complaints mentioned the powertrain problem where the vehicle loses power frequently. The transmission might have flimsy cables and so much more.

This can also affect the shifting of gears or rough idling, which is why you must fix this problem quickly.

#4 Worst Year: 2013 Chevy Malibu

Coming to the 2013 Chevy Malibu, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this model has various complaints on the wheel bearing failing, engine stalling or complete failing as well as power steering loss, and so much more.

The GM also had to recall this vehicle because of the problems with the eAssist mild hybrid system. This is mainly the reason why the vehicle stalls or fails most times.

Other than that, the power steering system issues can be due to a blown-out fuse that must be looked at immediately since it can make it hard for drivers to move the steering wheel at times and affect the handling.

This can be quite dangerous because losing steering control can cause accidents and serious injuries.

#5 Worst Year: 2016 Chevy Malibu

Now you have the 2016 Chevy Malibu that is prone to serious engine problems, making the vehicle stall randomly while driving or stop the vehicle completely.

This is a considerable safety concern and must be taken seriously.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this vehicle has been recalled ten times and has over 600 complaints reported to them by now.

Various car reviews websites also recommend avoiding this vehicle because there are too many issues that can put your life, passengers, and other drivers on the road at risk.

It is said that when the engine stalls, the check engine light starts to illuminate, showing there are some issues in the vehicle.

Besides that, in some cases, people also said that the engine would blow-by, which means that the fuel is being drizzled all over the place and must be fixed immediately.

Some also reported malfunctioning electrical systems, headlights failing, airbags deployment issues, and many more.

What Are The Most Common Problems With The Chevy Malibu?

Here I will be discussing the problems you will find in most of the Chevy Malibu models.

If you are planning to purchase this vehicle, then be sure to check them, and if they have these issues, then it is best to avoid this vehicle at all costs.

So here are the common problems you will notice in Chevy Malibu.

1. Transmission Problems

There are a lot of models that have this issue, but 2010, as well as 2011 Chevy Malibu, has the worst transmission issues.

In most cases, the transmission just fails to perform, making a huge difference in the way you drive the vehicle and can usually create hazardous situations.

It is said that, on average, this issue is likely to happen when the vehicle reaches around 94,000 miles on the odometer.

People had to pay more than $3000 for repairs, but it can also cost a lot more if you have to replace the transmission completely and labor cost.

2. Engine And Fuel Economy Problems

Many models on the Chevy Malibu lineup had to go through engine and fuel system issues.

However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this issue was most serious in the 2018 Chevy Malibu.

The main reason this might happen is when the gas cap has errors, serious coolant problems, and oil leaks from various components in the vehicle, such as gaskets and lines.

These issues would make the vehicle lose engine power and eventually affect the vehicle’s speed.

Many people also noticed their vehicle stalling, poor idling, complete failure, vibration or shaking, and so much more.

3. Faulty Electrical System

The most common issue found is with the electric power steering system. This issue is likely to happen from 2004 through 2015 Chevy Malibu models.

According to Repair Pal, more than 800 problems have been reported on this issue only, which is one of the most severe issues in this model.

The only way to fix this issue is by replacing the entire steering column, which can cost around $88 up to $111.

Other than that, people also mentioned the vehicle has a turn signal switch failure, inaccurate fuel gauge readings, instrument panel lighting failure, and so much more.

4. Power Door Lock Problems

This is mainly common in the 2009 Chevy Malibu. Many people reported that the door would not lock or unlock at random times, which can be quite annoying to deal with.

Various drivers noticed this could get severe during summer when the temperatures are too high.

To fix this problem, people had to replace the completely inadequate power door lock components, which can cost more than $500.

5. Cracked Intake Manifold Gasket

When the intake manifold gasket is cracked, it can cause the coolant to leak out, which needs to be taken seriously.

This issue is likely to happen with the 2002 Chevy Malibu, where if the intake manifold gasket wears out, it can cause coolant leaks in some cases.

According to experts, it is crucial to go through the coolant flush process to fix the problem. The only way to fix this issue is by replacing the intake manifold gasket.

Other than that, there also have been various class action lawsuits on this problem.

Related: Why Won’t My Chevy Malibu Start?

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How Many Miles Does Malibu Last?

It is said that on average, the Chevy Malibu can last around 230,000 miles to 250,000 miles.

You will have to take proper care of this vehicle carefully to the last longer, for around 10 to 15 years.

Related: How Long Do Chevy Malibu Last?

Q2. What Year Is Malibu Being Recalled?

General Motors LLC (GM) is issuing a recall on the 2010 to 2011 Chevy Malibu models, according to cars websites.

This is mainly because of the crash necessitating the driver’s frontal airbag deployment. This is because the airbag inflator might explode because of the overpressure.

Q3. Do Chevy Malibus Hold Their Value?

According to various websites, the Chevy Malibu is likely to depreciate around 50% after five years, and it will also have a five-year resale value of $14,087.

But overall, this vehicle is a great midsize sedan to own.

Q4. Are Chevy Malibus Good In The Snow?

Yes, the Chevy Malibus are good in the snow, and they can handle normal snow levels.

You need to note that the snow needs to be at least 3 inches or less so it can handle properly. It can surely be difficult to drive if it is more than that.

Q5. What’s Better; Impala Or Malibu?

It mainly depends on what you are looking for in the vehicle.

It is said that if you plan on getting a vehicle with additional passengers, cargo space, and capacity, then the Impala is the best choice for you.

However, the Chevy Malibu is said to be better in various cases due to its efficient fuel economy, more power, and great handling.

The great thing is that it is also a lot cheaper than the Impala.


Since you have finished reading the best and worst years for Chevy Malibu, you can make the right choice simply.

Overall, the Chevy Malibu is the best option as it is one of the most reliable family-friendly midsize cars to drive in.

This vehicle is known for its excellent handling, fuel efficiency, and roomier interior for passengers and cargo.

Just make sure to look into the vehicle carefully as there are some common problems found in the Malibu lineup models.