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A white 2020 Ford Fusion is shown from above after winning the 2020 Ford Fusion vs 2020 Chevy Malibu comparison.

Sedan Showdown: 2020 Ford Fusion vs 2020 Chevy Malibu

You may be asking yourself why to get a sedan to begin with, and the truth of the matter is: sedans are highly reliable and efficient, and cost-effective. In general, some may say that sedans are going out of style, and some manufacturers may have even ceased production on lineups over time, but two sedans that have stood the test of time are the Ford Fusion and the Chevy Malibu. These two sedans have retained respectable popularity with both Ford and Chevy, continuously building upon each of their foundations. Simply speaking, these two vehicles are quintessentially everything you’d want in a sedan. More recently, the news iterations of these vehicles have been launched, and it sparked an interesting debate: the 2020 Ford Fusion vs the 2020 Chevy Malibu.

The Fusion and Malibu certainly check all the boxes in what you’d want in a modern-day sedan, but the deeper we look, the more interesting the competition gets. For starters, there are four trims to choose from when shopping for the Ford Fusion and five for the Malibu. The Fusion S serves as the base trim and starts at an MSRP of $23,170, promptly followed by the SE, SEL, and Titanium, which starts at $34,340. The SE, SEL, and Titanium also have hybrid variants should that be more your thing with the latter being sold as either a traditional hybrid or a plug-in. Looking at the Chevy Malibu for comparison, the five trims on offer are the L, LS, RS, LT, and Premier with the base L trim starting at $22,095 and the top-end Premier trim starting at an MSRP of $33,320. The price range between these two vehicles is quite similar, and it conveniently places the Fusion and Malibu in the same category when shoppers are looking for a sedan in that price range. That said, there are some significant differences between the two that we are going to look at today.

Engines and Performance

A gray 2020 Chevy Malibu is parked on a city street.

Although the similarities between the Fusion and Malibu certainly don’t stop there, one thing that does separate the two is the fact that the Fusion supports both FWD and AWD while the Malibu only supports FWD. Both the 2020 Fusion and Malibu give you options for your engine of choice, with the Ford offering three different engines for the Fusion while Chevy offers the Malibu two.

The engine found standard in the base Fusion is a 2.5L I-VCT engine that produces 175 hp and is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. For comparison, the engine found standard on the Malibu is a turbocharged 1.5L I-4 engine paired with a continuously variable transmission, which is also automatic. When it comes to raw horsepower, this engine can only produce 160 hp, which although only 8.5% less horsepower than the Fusion’s standard engine, at the base price it makes sense to go with more power to grant the best bang for your buck.

As previously mentioned, Ford does offer an additional engine choice for the Fusion over the Malibu. The engine in mention is a turbocharged 1.5L I-4, much like the engine found standard in the Chevy Malibu. However, unlike the Malibu’s offering, this turbocharged engine achieves 181 hp which is 13% more than the Malibu’s engine. Lastly, the top-tier engine available for the Malibu is a turbocharged 2.0L that produces 250 hp and the best engine you can get for the Ford Fusion is also a turbocharged 2.0L but produces 245 hp. The difference between these two engines is extremely nominal, and you’re unlikely to notice that additional five horsepower.

Safety & Reliability


A blue 2020 Ford Fusion is parked with a hazy city in the distance.Nowadays, sedans are often some of the safest vehicles on the road, sometimes including safety suites that include a variety of top-end features. Both the Fusion and Malibu are both reliable vehicles. Regarding safety features for both vehicles, the Malibu’s standard safety features are greatly outweighed by the number of safety features found standard on the Fusion, thanks in part to the inclusion of the Co-Pilot360 suite of safety features. Unfortunately, the only safety features found standard on the base Malibu are a rearview camera and the inclusion of Teen Driver which is great for those who have a newly licensed driver in the family, but for those who don’t, it’s simply not enough to make up for the omitted features that are found standard on higher trims.

Bringing the 2020 Ford Fusion in for comparison, a rearview camera is included, much like the Malibu, but with the inclusion of Co-Pilot 360 courtesy of Ford, the Fusion is granted a variety of standard safety features, many of which are traditionally reserved for higher-tier trims. Among the standard safety features, the Fusion includes rear cross-traffic alert. This feature utilizes sensors located on the rear of your vehicle and will send you warnings both visually and auditorily to prevent impact when reversing out of a parking space. Blind-spot monitoring is found standard on the Fusion, which adds an extra layer of safety when you are doing things like switching lanes during highway travel. In this case, the blind-spot monitor will send you signals to notify you of a driver approaching your blind-spot should you wish to merge lanes.

Speaking of lanes, the Fusion also comes standard with lane-keep assist, which provides subtle steering input when the software detects the vehicle is accidentally swerving to the next lane over. Pedestrian detection is also included through pre-collision assistance and uses an array of cameras and sensors to detect if a pedestrian is about to walk in front of your vehicle and sends a warning to the driver. If the driver isn’t able to respond in time, the system will apply the brakes in order to prevent the intensity of the collision.

Forward collision warning is included with this suite and is used to calculate speed and distance to vehicles in front of yours and will warn you of any imminent collisions through auditory and visual alerts. Forward automatic emergency braking comes standard as well and acts much like pedestrian detection but is utilized to prevent collisions with vehicles in front of yours. With all of these features, it is obvious that the Ford is better equipped for safe driving.

Shopping For A Sedan

There are still plenty of reasons to get a sedan in the year 2020, and although newer types of vehicles exist, the Ford Fusion and Chevy Malibu serve as proof that sedans are far from gone. For all of the similarities between the Fusion and Malibu, both of these sedans show a lot of promise, but for those looking for a healthy combination of value, performance, and reliability, the Ford Fusion will end up being the ideal choice.

There is plenty to like about the Ford Fusion, namely its similar performance to the Malibu and, more importantly, the inclusion of a very respectable suite of safety features, which gives the Fusion the utmost bang for the buck. The 2020 Ford Fusion is a strong indication that Ford is not slowing down when it comes to this beloved lineup, which is currently in its fourteenth year in production, and visiting your local Ford dealership is a great way to get started with the process of owning one for yourself.

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