Kemna Automotive Group Compares 2017 Chevrolet Malibu VS 2017 Buick Regal In IA

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2017 Chevrolet Malibu

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2017 Chevrolet Malibu

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2017 Buick Regal

Safety Comparison

Both the Malibu and the Regal have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact 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, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Chevrolet Malibu is safer than the Buick Regal:





5 Stars

4 Stars




5 Stars

5 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Neck Compression

29 lbs.

33 lbs.




5 Stars

4 Stars




Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

Leg Forces (l/r)

173/196 lbs.

98/371 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Chevrolet Malibu is safer than the Buick Regal:





Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

15 inches




Spine Acceleration

29 G’s

48 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Malibu the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 103 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Regal has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty Comparison

There are over 47 percent more Chevrolet dealers than there are Buick dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Malibu’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 7th.

Engine Comparison

The Malibu’s standard 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 12 lbs.-ft. more torque (184 vs. 172) than the Regal’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Malibu Premier 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Regal Turbo/GS 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.:




Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

6.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.4 sec

16.6 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.7 sec

6.9 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

15 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97 MPH

95 MPH

Top Speed

156 MPH

142 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Malibu with its standard turbo 4 cyl. gets better fuel mileage than the Regal Turbo/GS FWD turbo 4 cyl. (27 city/36 hwy vs. 21 city/29 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Malibu 1.5 Turbo’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Regal doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Malibu stops shorter than the Regal:





70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

172 feet

Car and Driver

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Malibu’s wheelbase is 3.6 inches longer than on the Regal (111.4 inches vs. 107.8 inches).

The Malibu Premier handles at .88 G’s, while the Regal Turbo pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Malibu Premier executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Regal Turbo (26.4 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 26.8 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Malibu’s turning circle is 1.1 feet tighter than the Regal’s (37 feet vs. 38.1 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The Chevrolet Malibu may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 600 pounds less than the Buick Regal.

The front grille of the Malibu (except 2.0 Turbo) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Regal doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Malibu has 6.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Regal (102.9 vs. 96.8).

The Malibu has .3 inches more front headroom, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, .7 inches more rear headroom, .8 inches more rear legroom, 1.1 inches more rear hip room and 2.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Regal.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Malibu has a much larger trunk than the Regal (15.8 vs. 14.2 cubic feet).

Ergonomics Comparison

The Malibu Premier’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Regal doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Malibu LT/Premier detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Regal doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Malibu Premier keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Regal doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Malibu Premier’s optional Semi-Automatic Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Regal doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the Malibu owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Malibu with a number “3” insurance rate while the Regal is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Malibu is less expensive to operate than the Regal because it costs $540 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Malibu than the Regal, including $586 less for an alternator, $356 less for front struts and $545 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations Comparison

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Chevrolet Malibu, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.

The Chevrolet Malibu outsold the Buick Regal by over ten to one during the 2016 model year.

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