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A black 2022 Chevy Malibu is shown parked on a city street.

A Battle of the Midsize Sedans: The 2022 Chevy Malibu Versus the 2022 Subaru Legacy

Practical sedans hold a place in many American drivers’ hearts. Midsize cars that are easy to manage, reliable, and take drivers to work, school, and home again remain popular despite the dominance of SUVs in the current marketplace. But not cars are created equal, despite what they may look like. Take a look at the 2022 Chevy Malibu vs 2022 Subaru Legacy, for example. Both are immensely popular midsize sedans with a loyal following.

Chevy and Subaru are brands known to compete when it comes to offering dependable, everyday rides for drivers and their families. So if you’re in the market for a new vehicle, choosing between two best-selling sedans is no easy feat. To make it easy for you, we’re going to break down some of the things that make the 2022 Chevy Malibu and the 2022 Subaru Legacy great and not so great to see if one brand truly reigns over the other in terms of design, performance, and everyday practicality.

Both Vehicles Have Much to Offer

Both the 2022 Chevy Malibu and the 2022 Subaru Legacy have been around for decades, with the Legacy being introduced in the 1980s and the Malibu in the 1960s. So automakers have had more than enough time to work out the kinks and quirks to create a well-rounded design that works for a variety of lifestyles. Not much has changed on either the Malibu or the Legacy for 2022, with the Malibu last receiving a major update in 2019 and the Legacy due for a refresh in 2023. Both Automakers relied on previous updates and designs for 2022, but that’s not to say both models don’t have some great offerings.

The 2022 Chevy Malibu now comes standard with an electric parking brake and still includes wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a feature introduced on the 2021 model. Otherwise, it carries the same modern style as previous years. The sleek body and modern interior with a roomy cabin make it easy for the 2022 Chevy Malibu to fit into both your daily commute and a night on the town. The Subaru Legacy carries over the same design and amenities as the 2021 model, the only big difference being a change to the Premium trim option that now includes better ventilation for the cabin. Otherwise, the Legacy remains the same, with the bulky silhouette and basic interior styling of a more traditional sedan.

A white 2022 Subaru Legacy - 2022 Subaru Legacy Touring XT is shown driving on an open road.

Performance and Value

Both models are budget-friendly sedans, with the 2022 Chevy Malibu base trim starting at $23,400 and the Subaru Legacy coming in at $23,495. So when it comes to deciding on a sedan, it’s easy to go either way when looking at just the price point. So what do you get for the money? The 2022 Chevy Malibu offers up two efficient engine choices: a 1.5L Turbo four-cylinder or, if you’re looking for a boost, opt for the 2.0L. Both engines deliver a premium EPA-estimated fuel economy, with the standard 1.5L offering up to 29 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway, making it a great choice for an everyday ride. The responsive handling and modest power make the Malibu a great family-friendly vehicle for city driving.

When it comes to the 2022 Subaru Legacy, drivers can expect to choose from either a 2.5L Boxer engine that offers a fuel economy of 27 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway or opt for more power with the 2.4L turbocharged engine, giving you 24 MPG in the city and 32 MPG on the highway. Over the years, the Subaru has improved the response time and efficiency of the Legacy to make it a great all-weather sedan.

Looking at trim options, there are plenty of choices for drivers, with the 2022 Malibu offering up to four options ranging from the base LS to the high-end Premiere that starts at $33,500. For the 2022 Legacy, drivers might have a harder time deciding between the six trim options ranging from the base model upwards to the $36,695 Touring XT. So if you’re looking for an affordable higher trim level, the Malibu might be more achievable.

Practicality and Comfort

How in the interior? Most drivers looking at sedans are looking for the same thing; a user-friendly, comfortable car ready to go when they are. Both the 2022 Malibu and Legacy are known for their great, simple design centered around the driver. However, the Malibu outclasses its competition with premium materials and an elevated design that looks more expensive than its actual price tag. The 2022 Malibu was the highest-ranking midsize car in initial quality from J.D. Power, meaning that despite the challenges of the pandemic years, the Malibu sedan continues to offer drivers dependable quality both inside and out.

The 2022 Malibu is designed with the driver’s needs in mind. From the elegant, roomy cabin that offers drivers and their passengers plenty of legroom for comfort, to the latest tech located within easy reach, to the great cargo space of 15.7 cu.ft., the Malibu is designed to elevate every aspect of your daily drive experience. If drivers are looking for a minimalist but comfortable style, the 2022 Legacy doesn’t disappoint. With soft materials, ample legroom, and the latest tech, the Legacy helps drivers relax and just drive at the end of a long day. Need room for hauling groceries or work materials? The Legacy definitely has you covered with its crossover design that offers a comparable 15.1 cu.ft. of space behind the back seat.

Connecting on the Road

If you’re looking to stay connected while on the road, you shouldn’t have a problem considering both the Malibu and the Legacy offer something for everyone. The Chevy infotainment system makes it quick and easy to connect seamlessly to your compatible smartphone via Android Auto or Apple Carplay. You can bring along all your favorite playlists and podcasts, get navigation directions, and send or receive any calls or texts, all without taking your eyes off the road.

In case that didn’t make your day any better, Malibu drivers can opt for the available Alexa built-in feature to access their amazon account, order things off their shopping list, or connect with their at-home devices, making a busy schedule a little easier to manage. The 2022 Subaru Legacy offers the Starlink system that allows drivers to connect their phones to Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, making it simple to get directions, listen to music, and go hands-free to make staying connected while on the road safer than ever.

A white 2022 Chevy Malibu is shown driving on an overpass during a 2022 Chevy Malibu vs 2022 Subaru Legacy comparison.

An Array of Innovative Safety Features

One thing neither the Malibu nor the Legacy lack is safety features. Both Chevy and Subaru are known for their top-of-the-line safety options that give drivers the peace of mind they need every time they pull out onto the road. From its 2018 5-star National Highway Traffic Safety Administration safety rating to being an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s top-safety pick in 2017, the 2022 Malibu is known as a sedan that strikes the perfect balance between safety and style. When drivers get behind the wheel of a Malibu, they know they have Chevy’s technology on their side, protecting them and their families every step of the way.

The Malibu has a variety of available safety features for drivers. Available advanced braking systems like front pedestrian braking and automatic emergency braking, in combination with available alert systems like front collision alert, lane change alert with side blind zone Alert, mean the Malibu has you covered on all sides. In addition to these innovative features, there’s great news for parents of teen drivers. Every 2022 Malibu comes standard with Teen Driver technology that helps your new driver develop good driving habits. Parents can limit stereo volume and speed, among other things, such as an in-vehicle report card to see how their teen is doing.

The 2022 Legacy delivers great driver assistance features to help you stay safe on the road courtesy of Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, plus an available DriverFocus Mitigation Distraction System. The Subaru Starlink Safety and Security App also makes it easy for drivers to stay safe with features like SOS Emergency Assistance to deliver roadside help if needed.

So, Who Wins?

In a comparison this close, it’s tough to declare a winner. Both Chevy and Subaru are top brands with a fiercely loyal following. While the Malibu seems to have more years behind it and more to offer at a lower price, the differences between the two cars are very slight and come down to the driver and their needs.

Younger drivers looking for a little more style and on a tighter budget could benefit from the Malibu’s lower maintenance costs and slightly lower price tag. While drivers searching for a basic sedan to take them from work to home again might enjoy the Legacy. One thing is for sure, regardless of which vehicle comes out on top; both offer a great balance of performance, safety, and affordability.