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Comparing 2018 Chevy Malibu vs 2018 Hyundai Sonata

The 2018 Chevy Malibu vs 2018 Hyundai Sonata

If you’re looking for a new sedan, you may have stared comparing the 2018 Chevy Malibu vs 2018 Hyundai Sonata. Both sedans are excellent choices for a new vehicle, especially considering the Sonata has been significantly refreshed while the Malibu has remained a favorite among drivers for years.

Critics are excited about the 2018 Hyundai Sonata. Mostly due to its very recent upgrades and refreshers. However, it took until the seventh generation release of the brand to see some real changes. In previous years, it was simply seen as a family 4-door that never caught any real attention. It’s pluses: a great infotainment system, a quiet cabin, and a standard blind-spot monitoring system. It’s drawbacks: a dull engine and not too many active safety features.

Critics still love the 2018 Chevy Malibu, calling it handsome and aggressive-looking. That’s due to a sheet metal grill and front end to help the Malibu shed its reputation for looking like just another dull sedan. Buyers and critics alike love the handling and ride, which is smooth and comfortable. This is due to the roomiest of cabins and its most refined engines to date. And unlike the 2018 Hyundai Sonata, the 2018 Chevy Malibu comes with tons of tech, and lots of active safety features. A hybrid engine is also available making the Malibu even more diverse and fuel-efficient.

However, this is just a brief insight into these two popular sedans. Below we’ll take a closer look at how the 2018 Chevy Malibu vs 2018 Hyundai Sonata compare, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of both sedan models.



Sonata’s Big, and Not So Big, Refresher

2018 is the year for the Sonata’s fresh-faced appearance, which reworked almost every part of the exterior from nose to rear. It has a new updated masculine and muscular front end, that comes with new headlights, and a cascading grille. The reshaped hood, new taillights, rear bumper, and taillights complete the redesigned and overhauled look.

While the exterior looks completely different, the interior hardly saw any changes at all, which left critics disappointed.


What About Trims?

Retouches were minor and therefore the interior does not have some of the more luxurious touches that you would expect in a higher level trim. The trims available are: SE, Eco, SEL, Sport, Limited, Sport 2.0T, and Limited 2.0T. These trims can be pricey and are not always worth upping the price for what you gain. The only trim critics decided was worth the price was the SEL trim, which is the 2018 Hyundai Sonata’s 3rd trim level.

You have to update to the SEL trim in order to get some of the more exciting accessories and features such as a power-adjustable and heated driver’s seat, a USB port for the rear passenger, and a proximity key and push-button start. The infotainment only includes a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, but it is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also comes with automatic headlights, and a blind-spot monitoring system. You have to opt for the SEL package to get the active safety features such as lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and automated emergency braking. This all comes with the Tech package, which will cost you an extra $1K from MSRP.


Turbocharge Engines, Anyone?

The engines are interesting enough to write home about, but still lacking in many of the refinements of the 2018 Chevy Malibu. They are turbocharged, but not hybrids and have not yet changed since earlier incarnations. They are all 4 cylinder and the most powerful engine is a 2-liter that can get up to 245 horsepower. Paired with a zippy 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the base model is still pretty fun to drive, but if you update to the 2.0T you can get the new 8-speed unit.



Sleek Design

The exterior for the 2018 Chevy Malibu LT package has been updated and now consists of many new luxurious elements. These include: a blacked-out grille, bow-tie emblems, black Malibu badges outlined in red, and black side mirrors. This package also includes 19-inch wheels painted black.

Combining this with the gorgeous Jet Black interior which comes available in leather, and you have the best in today’s sedan luxury. The interior of the 2018 Chevy Malibu is clean and ergonomic, with a highly stylized dash featuring all the latest in entertainment features. All aspects of the infotainment system are considered incredibly simple to navigate. All HVAC controls are well marked and easy to reach. With the technology available, buyers get an 8-inch touchscreen, wireless device charging, two USB ports for rear-seat passengers, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and remote start.


Did Someone Say Hybrid?

You can add the luxury of the 2018 Chevy Malibu on to an already standard collection of engines you can choose from to make the ride both smooth as silk and speedy. Its turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-four gets up to 163 horsepower at 5700 rpm while pulling 184 lb-ft of torque. You can also choose the 250-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter, the 1.5-liter or the 1.8-liter four-cylinder hybrid. When it comes to the 2018 Chevy Malibu vs 2018 Hyundai Sonata, the Malibu is the only vehicle with a Hybrid option and so many engine options.


Smooth, Speedy, Handling

The 2018 Chevy Malibu is quick, getting 0 to 60 in 8 seconds. The transmission is a clean shift, with hardly any trembling or noise. And even though critics are pleased with the 6-speed, Chevy engineers are already looking into a replacement for the 2019 model.

The handling and steering is one of the best features of the 2018 Chevy Malibu. It is not lethargic in any way and can even feel sporty at higher speeds.  Needless to say, the ride is smooth and controlled, critics even describe the 2018 Chevy Malibu’s ride as “light and tight”. Even with the addition of 19-inch wheels on the Redline package, the ride maintains its smooth and easy-to-maneuver feel.


Interior Redesign

Finally, beyond any luxury the interior has seen with the redesign, the 2018 Malibu also saw improvements in space. An extra 3.6 inches were added in interior volume getting that number over 100 cubic feet. That includes plenty of headroom, legroom, and rear passenger room. It beats out the 2018 Hyundai Sonata in roominess as well as the Honda Accord and the Mazda 6.

With the seats folded down, you create a deepened load floor which has even more room for cargo space. The space carries over from behind the front seats into the back of the trunk, which is an amazing amount of room for a sedan. It has as much cargo room as a compact crossover SUV.


Who Wins in The 2018 Chevy Malibu vs 2018 Hyundai Sonata Battle?

Overall, the 2018 Chevy Malibu has a lot more going for it than the 2018 Hyundai Sonata, which includes it’s excellent handling and steering, cabin space, class-competitive ride quality, engine refinement, and redesigns to exterior styling. While the Hyundai Sonata is also a great choice for a sedan, drivers would have to upgrade all the way to the third trim level to experience all the features driver expect in a base model 2018 vehicle. However, if you’re still undecided between these vehicles, be sure to visit your local dealership for a test drive!