The Impala and Malibu are two of Chevrolet’s top selling vehicles from their vast lineup of over 20 models including cars, crossovers, SUVs, trucks and vans. Last year, Chevrolet’s combined sales numbers for just the Impala and Malibu exceeded over 325,000 sales in the US alone. While the Chevrolet Impala is considered a full-sized car and the Malibu a mid-sized, today they are equals when entering the Carsforsale.com Vehicle Matchup.
UPDATE: Read our comparison of the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu vs Chevrolet Impala
Fuel Economy: 22 City / 31 Hwy
MSRP: Starting at $27,060
Inside the 2015 Chevrolet Impala:
If you are looking for a spacious, stylish full-sized sedan, look no further than the Chevrolet Impala. A complete redesign in 2014 brought not only a more smooth and sculpted body with HID headlights and standard 18in wheels, but other performance features like Chevrolet’s MyLink technology and a standard 10 airbag package. Coming into 2015, the Impala is nearly unchanged outside of the addition of the Start/Stop feature which is now standard on all models. The Impala is available in a total of 11 color to pick from with three of those being a premium upgrade option. Available in five trim packages including the LS, 1LT, 2LT, 1LTZ and 2LTZ, the Impala offers a wide range of options for consumers to choose from. The base package engine is a 2.5Liter 4-cylinder direct injection engine with 196 horsepower. The 2LT and 2LTZ trims options include a 3.6L DOHC V6 engine with 264hp.
With today’s matchup including two of Chevrolet’s top sedans, we focused on the complete driving experience and handling rather than an equation of tech features plus options divided by price. The Impala first hit the market in 1957 as a big-bodied sedan. They went through an awkward, discovery period beginning in 2000 when they moved toward a large mid-sized vehicle, but have returned to their full-sized roots. We enjoyed the tight and responsive feel of this large sedan, but with the 2.5L four cylinder offering lacked an aggressive feel in terms of that get-up-and-go spark.
Fuel Economy: 25 City / 36 Hwy
MSRP: Starting at $22,465
Inside the 2015 Chevrolet Malibu:
The Chevrolet Malibu manages to hold its own in the crowded mid-sized sedan vehicle category due to the stylish exterior combined with Chevy’s suite of tech and safety features on the inside. The Malibu received a redesign of its own back in 2013 when Chevy decided to only make the Malibu in a four cylinder engine offering. The current Malibu is packed with many standard features including a mobile WiFI 4G hotspot, Bluetooth sync and Chevrolet’s MyLink. The Malibu includes two engine types between the base 2.5L DOHC 4-cylinder with 191 horsepower or the turbocharged 2.0L DOHC with Variable Valve Timing (VVT) which clocks in with 259hp. The 2015 Chevy Malibu is available in 6 trim options and include the 1LT, 2LT, 3LT, 1LTZ, 2LTZ, and LS. The 2.0L turbo engine is only available in the 2LTZ and 3LT trim packages. There are 10 color options to choose from with three of them being a premium upgrade.
The Malibu first hit the market in 1964 and has always been an affordable option for car buyers looking for a quality mid-sized sedan. Being smaller in size, the turning radius and handling on the Malibu are better than the larger Impala. The Malibu is a front wheel drive vehicle that consistently receives high marks and awards for safety and value. The turbo drivetrain option significantly provides more power to the Malibu and give it that exciting, sporty feel that we have come to enjoy out of Chevy’s performance vehicles.
Our Picks for Winner:
Base Model: Chevrolet Impala
The Impala takes this award by a narrow margin due to the increased cargo room (18.8 sq. feet versus 16.3 sq. feet). While both have room for five passengers, the Impala provides additional head and leg room. Yes, one is full-sized and the other is mid-sized but with similar technology throughout and comparable fuel economy, in this case we focused on the comfort inside the vehicle.
Upgrades: Chevrolet Malibu
The Malibu has a turbo engine and the Impala has a V6. At times this can be as difficult to choose a favorite as a mother choosing between two children; well-behaved kids of course. However, combined with the tighter turn radius and increased fuel economy, the Malibu sealed this victory.
Price, fuel economy, handling and increased speed are all advantages of choosing a Malibu over Impala. With a starting MSRP almost $5,000 lower, the Malibu is more affordable to the average car buyer which ultimately was the most important decision point in today’s matchup. The larger sales numbers in 2014 for the Malibu would also suggest it’s more popular with consumers.