Vehicle Comparison: Malibu vs. Camry – Big Competition in a Mid-size Package
With modern style, better fuel economy and a more comfortable interior, the 2011 Chevy Malibu proves to be no day at the beach for the newest Camry.
Historically a sales leader, the Toyota Camry now finds itself faced with a wealth of stiff competition, most notably in the form of Chevy’s acclaimed midsize, the 2011 Malibu. Sleek and sculpted, the newest Malibu (starting MSRP $21,975) matches the sophistication and refinement of the Camry, and adds an underlying modernism and athleticism that the Camry lacks. With a bold grille, powerful lines and available features like 18-inch 10-spoke aluminum wheels, LED tail lamps, heated side mirrors and a rear spoiler, the newest Malibu fires a sleek shot across the bow of Toyota’s comparatively stale sedan.
A comparison of powertrains reveals parity and progress; both sedans share similar performance specs, but the Malibu does so while attaining greater fuel economy. Base model Camry get a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 169 hp and 167 lb/ft of torque. Base trim Malibu deliver similar numbers (169 hp and 160 lb/ft of torque) out of a lighter, 2.4-liter ECOTEC four-cylinder, and achieves 33 highway mpg, compared to the Camry XLE’s 32, through a standard six-speed automatic transmission. Toyota’s standard transmission is a six-speed manual. Toyota offers an available 3.5-liter V6 engine option while Chevy counters with a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 252 hp.
Only the Malibu features Chevy’s advanced StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, which accompanies standard traction control and standard four-wheel antilock disc brakes. Like the Camry, the newest Chevy Malibu features a MacPherson strut front and independent rear suspension setup, which delivers smooth, responsive handling to match its athletic exterior and energetic engine choices.
Though the newest Camry is taller and slightly wider, the 2011 Malibu bests the Camry in both front leg and headroom. The Malibu also features 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space to the Camry’s 15.
Chevy Malibu Bests Camry and is Available in Cedar Rapids
As an extension of its contemporary exterior design, the cabin of Chevy’s latest brims with superb craftsmanship, reflected in fit and finish gaps as tight as one millimeter. Malibu’s cockpit comes outfitted with higher-quality materials than the Camry. Both vehicles sport available leather seats, leather-wrapped steering wheels and advanced climate control systems. Base model Malibu come better equipped than their Camry counterparts, featuring standard technology like XM Satellite Radio and onboard hands-free communication. Features like Bluetooth communication, an eight-speaker premium Bose® audio system and more come standard on higher trims, as do remote vehicle start and heated front seats, which both cost extra in top Camrys.
With advanced steering and braking systems, tire pressure monitors, available foglamps and six standard airbags, only the 2011 Malibu is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) “Top Safety Pick,” as was the 2010 model, an accomplishment the 2011 Camry (and the 2010 model) cannot match, and only the Malibu features the enhanced security of standard OnStar®. With automatic crash response, turn-by-turn navigation, vehicle diagnostics and roadside assistance at the push of a button, the Malibu’s advanced system provides peace of mind and help when you need it most. For even more security, the newest Malibu also comes backed by a superior five-year/100,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty, which bests Toyota’s offering by 40,000 miles.
With sleeker styling, better fuel economy and more standard amenities across its trim range, the 2011 Chevy Malibu is ranked sixth out of 21 Affordable Midsize Cars by U.S. News and World Reports’ “Best Cars,” which analyzes and compiles all published automotive ratings, reviews and test drives. The Camry? Number 17. Schedule a test drive and experience Malibu’s quality for yourself.