|184||Base Torque (lb-ft)||181|
|38.1||2nd-Row Legroom (in):||34.8|
If a compact car doesn’t have enough room for your passengers and cargo, but you prefer the superior handling and secure, sealed trunk of a car over the bulky height and open cargo area of an SUV, then a midsize sedan is a perfect fit. These versatile vehicles offer an outstanding driver experience while also providing plenty of room for backseat passengers to stretch out and get comfortable. They’re fuel-efficient enough to make sense for commuters and roomy enough to make great family cars.
Today we’re going to look at two midsize sedans head-to-head: the 2023 Chevy Malibu vs 2023 Hyundai Sonata. Both cars are versatile and full of modern technology, but which one is the better option for you? Here at DePaula Chevrolet, we believe in giving you all of the information you need to make an informed decision on your next vehicle purchase. The more you understand your options, the better equipped you’ll be to choose a model that’s going to serve you well for many miles down the road.
The Sonata is a popular model offered by Korean automaker Hyundai. It was first produced in 1985, and the 2023 model is known for its unique styling and fuel economy. The Malibu, from American automaker Chevrolet, has roots that stretch all the way back to its 1964 debut. While it’s a fully modern vehicle today, it has a classic history to pull inspiration from, and Chevy engineers have been tweaking and improving it throughout nine generations as of the 2023 model year. The Malibu is a car with a value price, more affordable than the Sonata when comparing comparable trim levels, but it looks and feels more luxurious than its sticker price would have you guess, offering an elevated experience and giving you plenty of bang for your buck.
Like many modern vehicles, the Chevy Malibu and Hyundai Sonata both come standard with a comprehensive suite of driver assistance features. Driver assistance lets you travel with confidence, providing extra information about your surroundings and kicking in with automated responses to prevent accidents. These features come standard on both the Malibu and the Sonata:
Both cars also offer some features that are standard on higher trim levels or available as optional add-ons. For instance, both cars offer blind-spot warnings and automatic parking features. The Sonata also offers some unique available features, like a blind-spot view monitor that shows a live feed of your blind spot in your digital instrument cluster when your turn signal is on.
One unique feature offered by the Malibu is Teen Driver, which comes standard across all trim levels. This comes in handy for families who want to be able to give their kids a safe car to learn to drive in once they’re old enough to get a learner’s permit. Teen Driver is a configurable feature that you can customize to fit your needs. You can limit some vehicle features, like maximum speed and volume level, and turn certain safety systems on automatically so that your teen can’t disable them while they’re driving. There’s also a Buckle-to-Drive feature that prevents the driver from shifting out of Park for up to twenty seconds if their seat belt isn’t fastened. Teen Driver generates an in-vehicle report card that you can check after your teen has been out for a solo drive and use it to help provide feedback and coaching. Conveniently, you can link Teen Driver to a particular key fob so that the settings will automatically kick in when your teenager is driving but won’t be present for you when you’re using the car.
Both cars have plenty of standard safety tech and useful optional features on higher trim levels. But the Chevy’s Teen Driver makes it a safer choice as a family car, making it easy to help your teenager form great driving habits, even when you’re not accompanying them on every drive. So when it comes to overall safety, the Malibu has the advantage.
No matter what trim you opt for, the Malibu delivers an exterior appearance that’s an aesthetically pleasing mix of classic style and sleek modernism. The iconic bowtie logo is nestled between the upper and lower portions of the grille, making for a handsome front end. The sides of the body are chiseled, creating depth in the design and making the Malibu look sporty and ready to take on any driving challenge.
The Hyundai Sonata has a distinctive exterior style, with a sporty body shape meant to evoke the idea of a coupe and sharp angles that project athleticism. Its headlights and taillights both have a distinct shape and are able to be slim, thanks to bright bulbs that create plenty of visibility. The grille and front fascia have an eye-catching pattern and help make the Sonata stand out in a lineup of sedans.
The Sonata’s appearance varies depending on which trim level you opt for. For instance, the SEL Plus and N Line trims feature gloss black accents like side mirrors, rocker panels, and the front grille that differentiate them from the chrome and body-colored alternatives on other trims. The sporty N Line also has unique front and rear fascia designs not available on any other trims, even the top-level Limited.
With the Malibu LT and 2LT, you can give your vehicle a distinct sense of style with one of three different appearance packages. This gives you the freedom to choose a style that’s perfect for you or forgo an appearance package altogether if looks aren’t a big priority for you. The Sport Edition features a blacked-out front grille, black bowtie emblems up front and in the rear, 19-inch black-painted aluminum wheels, and a black nameplate badge, which come together to form a cohesive look that makes a good contrast for a variety of exterior color options. The striking Midnight Edition offers all of these black accents, including its own dark nameplate badge, but is only available with the Mosaic Black Metallic exterior paint color, creating a bold look that’s sure to make a statement in any setting. The Redline Edition also features the black accents of the other two packages but throws some splashes of red into the mix with red hash marks on the wheels, a red outline for the nameplate badge, and Redline decals on the black side-view mirrors.
Step inside the Malibu, and you’ll be greeted by a comfortable interior with an ergonomic layout that makes the driver’s seat a great place to be, either while running quick errands or while taking extended road trips. With the available eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, it’s easy to get your position just right so you can be as comfortable as possible, and an acoustic-laminated windshield makes the cabin nice and quiet, so you can have conversations with your passengers or listen to music without disruption. An infotainment system featuring an intuitive touchscreen interface and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity makes it easy for drivers to access navigation, music, and hand-free communication while en route, so you can stay entertained and connected whenever you’re on the road. Extras like heated and ventilated front seats are available on higher trim levels, like the luxurious 2LT.
The Sonata also has a comfortable cabin with an intuitive layout and a modern infotainment system. Higher trim levels unlock features like heated and ventilated seats and an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat instead of the six-way manual seat that comes standard on lower trims. The materials look nice, and the layout is simple and easy to navigate.
However, interior comfort is only one aspect of the driving experience; how the car handles on the road is also important. Neither of these models are performance cars catering to extreme driving enthusiasts; both deliver a solid driving experience, especially when compared to crossovers, SUVs, and trucks that have a higher center of gravity. While both cars are responsive and have great on-road manners, the Malibu offers an especially smooth ride with handling that’s sure to make getting there even more than half the fun. That top-notch on-road responsiveness, paired with a comfortable cabin, makes the Malibu a great driver-centric pick. Not that passengers don’t benefit from these advantages too: that smooth ride is also plenty enjoyable from the spacious back seat of the Malibu, which offers enough legroom to let full-grown adults stretch out and stay comfy, even on longer drives.