Kemna Automotive Group Compares 2017 Chevrolet Malibu VS 2017 Hyundai Sonata In IA

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2017 Chevrolet Malibu

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2017 Chevrolet Malibu

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2017 Hyundai Sonata

Safety Comparison

The Malibu’s standard pretensioning seatbelts also sense rear collisions and remove slack from the front seatbelts to help protect the occupants from whiplash and other injuries. The Sonata doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Malibu LT/Premier offers optional Front and Rear Park Assist to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The Sonata doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Compared to metal, the Malibu’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Hyundai Sonata has a metal gas tank.

Both the Malibu and the Sonata have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, 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 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 Hyundai Sonata:







5 Stars

5 Stars




Neck Compression

29 lbs.

49 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

186/153 lbs.

198/433 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 Hyundai Sonata:





Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

29 G’s

35 G’s

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

Warranty Comparison

Chevrolet pays for scheduled maintenance on the Malibu for 2 years and 24,000 miles. Chevrolet will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance (up to 2 oil changes). Hyundai doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Sonata.

There are almost 4 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Hyundai dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Malibu’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 33 more problems per 100 vehicles, Hyundai is ranked 19th.

Engine Comparison

The Malibu has more powerful engines than the Sonata:



Malibu Premier 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

250 HP

Sonata Eco 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

178 HP

Sonata 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

185 HP

Sonata 2.0T 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

245 HP

As tested in Motor Trend the Malibu Premier 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Hyundai Sonata:



Sonata 4 cyl.

Sonata 2.0T

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

8.4 sec

8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

16.5 sec

16.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

96.2 MPH

86.7 MPH

88.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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









25 city/36 hwy

2.4 4 cyl./Auto


1.5 turbo 4 cyl./6-spd. Auto

27 city/36 hwy

22 city/31 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto


2.0 turbo 4 cyl./9-spd. Auto

22 city/33 hwy

21 city/30 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

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 Sonata doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Malibu stops much shorter than the Sonata:





70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Malibu’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Sonata (245/45R18 vs. 235/45R18).

The Malibu L/LS’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sonata SE/Eco’s standard 65 series tires. The Malibu Premier’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Sonata 2.0T’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Malibu Premier offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Sonata’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Malibu Premier handles at .88 G’s, while the Sonata Eco pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Malibu Premier executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.7 seconds quicker than the Sonata Eco (26.4 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

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 Sonata doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Malibu has .6 inches more front shoulder room, 2.5 inches more rear legroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Sonata.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Malibu (except L) offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Sonata doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Malibu’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Sonata does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The Malibu’s standard front and rear power windows all lower 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 Sonata’s standard power windows’ passenger windows don’t open automatically. The Sonata’s optional rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to lower them fully.

When the Malibu Premier is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Sonata’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Malibu (except L/LS) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Sonata doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

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 Sonata doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Malibu is less expensive to operate than the Sonata because it costs $180 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Malibu than the Sonata, including $166 less for an alternator and $236 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations Comparison

The Chevrolet Malibu outsold the Hyundai Sonata by 7180 units during the 2016 model year.

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