Toyota Corolla vs. Chevrolet Malibu: Which Is Better?

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Despite being slightly more expensive, the 2022 Chevrolet Malibu is the superior compact car when compared to the 2022 Toyota Corolla, in part because it has more space and more power.
are household names, and their compact economy vehicles are popular options for those looking for a car that’s affordable, easy to drive, great on gas, and dependable. However, we’re here to tell you that the Malibu and Corolla are not created equal—in fact, one seriously outperforms the other.
To help you pick the perfect tiny car for you,
—the trustworthy super app created to make
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shopping as easy as sending a text—has conducted a side-by-side analysis of the Toyota Corolla and Chevy Malibu. Let’s dive in. 


Both the Chevrolet Malibu and Toyota Corolla are marketed as economy cars with affordable price tags. With that said, the Malibu will likely cost you just a few thousand dollars more, depending on which model you choose.
Let’s break down the pricing for each trim option for both vehicles:
2022 Toyota Corolla Nightshade
2022 Toyota Corolla SE Nightshade
2022 Toyota Corolla Hybrid LE
2022 [Toyota Corolla XLE](
2022 Toyota Corolla APEX
2022 Chevrolet Malibu Premier
If price is the most important factor to you, then the 2022 Toyota Corolla is the obvious choice—you can opt for the top-of-the-line APEX and pay just about $2,000 more than Chevy’s entry-level Malibu.
Cost of ownership estimations for the Corolla are considerably lower than that of the Malibu, too. According to
, the 2022 Toyota Corolla will cost owners an estimated $30,348 over a five-year period. This includes $4,799 in
Toyota Corolla insurance costs
predicts that a 2022 Chevrolet Malibu will cost owners about $35,482 over the same five-year span. Interestingly,
Chevrolet Malibu insurance costs
are predicted to be slightly lower at $4,472, but financing, repairs, and maintenance costs are all a bit higher. 
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The Chevrolet Malibu outperforms the Toyota Corolla in terms of performance, thanks to a more powerful engine. 
In fact, the Malibu offers several powertrain options. Lower trims are powered by a 163-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that drives the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). This engine offers a 7.8-second 0 to 60 mph time and smooth, even acceleration.
If you crave a bit more power, you can opt for the top-of-the-line Premier trim, which is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that puts out 250 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.
On the other hand, the Corolla’s lower trims have a weaker 139-hp, 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that sends power to the front wheels via a CVT. You can upgrade to a sportier engine, but even then you’ll just get a 169-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The only plus? You can opt for a six-speed manual transmission at higher trims.

Fuel efficiency

The Toyota Corolla Hybrid LE is the most fuel efficient option on our list, offering 52 mpg in combined driving. However, if you opt for a traditional gas-powered vehicle, Corollas and Malibus perform quite similarly.
Let’s take a closer look at the exact fuel economy ratings for each of the Corolla and Malibu’s engines:
Fuel economy (city/hwy/combined)
2022 Toyota Corolla L, LE, Nightshade, XLE, APEX
1.8 L 4-cylinder
31/40/35 mpg
2022 Toyota Corolla SE, SE Nightshade, XSE
2.0 L 4-cylinder
31/40/35 mpg
2022 Toyota Corolla Hybrid LE
1.8 L 4-cylinder
53/52/52 mpg
2022 Chevrolet Malibu LS, RS, LT
1.5 L 4-cylinder
36/39/32 mpg
2022 Chevrolet Malibu
22/33/27 mpg
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Overall, the Malibu lags behind the Corolla only slightly in terms of fuel efficiency. However, keep in mind that opting for a Corolla hatchback (as opposed to a sedan) will cause your fuel economy to dip by a few miles, moving its ratings closer to the Malibu’s. 


When it comes to infotainment-driven technology, the Corolla and Malibu are neck-and-neck, containing very similar features
Both include touchscreen infotainment systems equipped with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a mobile WiFi hotspot. The Malibu’s touchscreen system is a bit easier to use, while the Corolla boasts a few more hard buttons and rotary knobs—but the differences aren’t severe. 
Tech-driven safety features truly set the Toyota Corolla apart, however. This vehicle received a 5-star
NHTSA safety rating
thanks to standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.
The Malibu comes in second, earning a slightly lower 4/5 star safety rating from NHTSA—primarily because the high-tech safety features aren’t standard. You’ll have to shell ou some extra cash for available automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control. 
MORE: 6 cruise control safety tips you should never ignore


Both Toyota and Chevy are known for their reliability, and the two cars get extremely similar ratings from experts like J.D. Power, RepairPal, and Consumer Reports.
The 2022 Toyota Corolla earned an 82/100 reliability rating from J.D. Power, while the 2022 Chevrolet Malibu earned a lower score of 80/100. 
Similarly, the Corolla barely beats out the Malibu on RepairPal, with the former earning a 4.5/5 rating and the latter earning a 4.0/5. 
Consumer Reports also shows a slight preference for the Corolla—but the difference is minute. 


When it comes to passenger space, the Malibu outperforms the Corolla, especially when it comes to legroom in the back row. You may not think a few inches makes a big difference, but when you’re a full-grown adult forced to squeeze in the back seat, you’ll really feel that extra bit of space (or lack thereof).
Take a look at how much roomier the Malibu is:
Toyota Corolla Sedan
Toyota Corolla Hatchback
Chevrolet Malibu Sedan
Cargo volume
13.1 cubic feet
17.8 cubic feet
14.8 cubic feet
Headroom (front seats)
38.3 inches
38.4 inches
39.1 inches
Legroom (front seats)
42 inches
42 inches
41.5 inches
Headroom (rear seats) 37.1 inches
37.6 inches
37.5 inches
Legroom (rear seats)
34.8 inches
29.9 inches
38.1 inches
When comparing the two sedans, the trunk of the Malibu is bigger as well. It measures at 15.7 cubic feet, while the Corolla’s trunk measures at just 13.1 cubic feet.
However, if you opt for the Corolla hatchback, you will get a total of 17.8 cubic feet of trunk space. Just know that this is at the great expense of the legroom in the back seat. 

The final word

If you’re looking for something with a low sticker price and low cost of ownership, the 2022 Toyota Corolla is a great choice. It is affordable, fuel efficient, and reliable.
However, in terms of comfort and performance, the 2022 Chevrolet Malibu outperforms its competition—and it competes well in other categories, too. If you have the extra cash, opting for the Malibu will afford you a more fun and refined driving experience. 

How to find cheap car insurance for a Chevrolet Malibu

Are you officially sold on the Chevrolet Malibu? Once you test drive it, pick your trim, and sign the dotted line, it’ll be time to find the perfect insurance policy to protect it.
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Yes. The Malibu has an exterior length of 194.2 inches, while the Corolla measures at 182.3 - 182.5 inches (depending on if you choose the sedan or hatchback). The Malibu is also wider, measuring at 73.0 inches, compared to the Corolla’s width of 70.1 inches.
The Corolla is a bit better on gas than the Malibu, especially if you opt for the fuel-efficient Hybrid model.
You’ll likely spend a few thousand dollars more on the 2022 Chevy Malibu compared to the 2022 Toyota Corolla, but it really depends on which trim you choose. Malibu starting prices range from $24,495 to $34,595, while Corolla starting prices range from $21,520 to $26,665.
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett.
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