See the Commuter Clash Between the 2019 Malibu vs 2019 Cruze

By Emily Eppley | August 31st, 2018

When you’re in the market for a new commuter car, it’s easy to feel drawn to more than one. Do you need the extra space of a full-size sedan? Or is it better to have the edge in fuel efficiency and go with a smaller one? Or what if you want a hatchback? Chevrolet offers two enticing options: the 2019 Cruze and 2019 Malibu with various distinctions that make all the difference on your daily drive.

Take a look at the advantages of each and decide which one is right for you.

Exterior

These sedans are among the first of Chevrolet’s lineup to receive the new, upgraded front fascia. Chevy sculpted the grilles to give off a more assertive look to better match the fierce face of the Camaro. Signature LED headlights flank these grilles, and dual-element taillights out back match them nicely. When you upgrade to these sedans’ Premium trims they get a spoiler to up the sporty feel.

When it comes to body styles, the Cruze has more options with a sedan and a hatchback option. While the Cruze has a smaller wheelbase compared to the Malibu, 106.3 inches versus 111.4 inches, you can get more cargo space in the Cruze Hatchback’s rear hatch.

If you prefer a sedan, the Malibu has 15.8 cubic feet of trunk space — 11.6 cubes in the Hybrid model — to the Cruze sedan’s 13.9 cubes. The Cruze hatchback starts with 22 cubic feet that grows to 47.2 cubic feet with the second row folded flat.

2019 Chevrolet Malibu Advantages

  • Larger trunk in non-hybrid

2019 Chevrolet Cruze Advantages

  • Two body styles
  • Flexible cargo room in hatchback

2019 Cruze Sedan Premier and 2019 Cruze Hatch RS position Cruze to continue its success in the compact car segment.

Interior

There are some slight but significant differences between these sedans’ cabins. The Malibu boasts an 8-inch standard touchscreen while the Cruze has a 7-inch one, but both offer smartphone connectivity and available Wi-Fi. The Malibu has six available trims with heated seats available on the top half of them, while the Cruze has seven, including hatchbacks, with heated seats available on only the top two.

When it comes to legroom and headroom, the Malibu offers more space to stretch and sit tall in both rows. In the front, the Malibu offers 45.3 inches of legroom with 40.1 inches of headroom, while the rear seats have 38.1 inches of legroom with 37.5 of headroom.

The smaller Cruze is better suited to smaller passengers, especially in the second row. The sedan and hatchback have 42 inches of front legroom in the front and 36.1 inches in the rear, while the headroom varies by half an inch. The front row has 38.9 inches of headroom in both body styles, while the second row has 37.3 inches in the sedan and 37.8 in the hatchback. Even the largest is still smaller than the Malibu

2019 Chevrolet Malibu Advantages

  • Larger touchscreen
  • More passenger space

2019 Chevrolet Cruze Advantages

  • More trims to choose from

 

Performance

The Malibu earns the prize here for having more horsepower, but the Cruze comes with more powertrain options. Because the Malibu has a longer wheelbase, it offers a smoother ride, but the smaller Cruze offers more agility around turns.

The standard engine on the Malibu is a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine with 163 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque paired to a continuously variable transmission. The upgraded engine is a 2.0-liter turbo with 250 horsepower and 260 pound-feet mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. While the EPA has yet to release the fuel economy for the 1.5-liter, the 2.0-liter engine gets 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.

For the best gas mileage from the Malibu, you’ll want the 1.8-liter hybrid powertrain with 182 horsepower and 277 pound-feet. Thanks to the electric motors, Chevy estimates the Malibu Hybrid at a whopping 49 mpg city and 43 mpg highway.

The Cruze comes standard with a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine with 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque with a six-speed automatic transmission. If you want the nine-speed automatic transmission you’ll have to upgrade to the 1.6-liter turbo-diesel engine with 137 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque.

In the Cruze diesel, delivers great fuel economy at 31 mpg city and 48 mpg highway as a sedan, 30 mpg city and 45 mpg highway as a hatchback. The Cruze sedan with the six-speed automatic gets 28 mpg city and 38 mpg highway, and 29 mpg city and 37 to 38 mpg highway in the hatchback.

2019 Chevrolet Malibu Advantages

  • Punchy 2.0-liter engine
  • Smoother ride
  • Hybrid option with better fuel economy

2019 Chevrolet Cruze Advantages

  • Diesel option
  • Nimble maneuverability

First-ever 2019 Malibu RS features a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, black cloth seats and a standard 8-inch diagonal color touchscreen running Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system.

Features and Pricing

The Chevrolet Malibu comes in L, LS, RS, LT, Hybrid, and Premier trim levels. The Cruze comes in L sedan only, and LS, LT, Diesel, and Premier in both sedan and hatchback.

2019 Chevrolet Malibu Key Features and Pricing by Trim

L: Pricing TBD

  • Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system with 8-inch color touchscreen
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • Keyless entry with push-button start
  • Driver information center with monochromatic display
  • Rearview camera
  • Rear seat reminder
  • 12-volt power outlet
  • 16-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
  • 1.5-liter turbocharged engine

LS: Pricing TBD

  • Features from L trim, plus:
  • Exterior temperature display
  • Teen Driver
  • 4G LTE Wi-Fi
  • Acoustic windshield and front side glass
  • 16-inch aluminum wheels

RS: Pricing TBD

  • Features from LS trim, plus:
  • Eight-way power driver’s seat with lumbar control
  • Heated seats
  • Leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel
  • Trim-exclusive interior styling
  • Black bow tie emblems
  • Blacked-out grille
  • Rear spoiler
  • 18-inch wheels
  • Dual exhaust with chrome tips

LT: Pricing TBD

  • Features from LS trim, plus:
  • SiriusXM radio
  • LED daytime running lights and taillights
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control with rear vent
  • Power-folding, heated side-view mirrors
  • 17-inch wheels
  • Remote start
  • Heated front seats

Hybrid: Pricing TBD

  • Features from LS trim, plus:
  • Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Plus system with 8-inch HD color touchscreen
  • 8-inch Driver information center with multi-color display
  • HD rearview camera
  • Electronic parking brake
  • 17-inch wheels
  • 1.8-liter hybrid engine

Premier: Pricing TBD

  • Features from LT trim, plus:
  • Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Plus with 8-inch HD color touchscreen and navigation
  • Bose Premium nine-speaker audio system
  • Rear USB charging port
  • Wireless phone charger
  • Power seats with two-position driver-side memory
  • Six-way power passenger seat
  • Ambient interior lighting
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • 120-volt power outlet in the center console
  • Ventilated front seats
  • Heated front and rear seats
  • Heated leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Chrome door handles
  • LED headlights
  • Rear spoiler
  • 18-inch wheels
  • 2.0-liter turbocharged engine

2019 Cruze Sedan Premier grille designs reinforce Cruze’s premium appearance.

2019 Chevrolet Cruze Key Features and Pricing by Trim

L: Pricing TBD

  • 7-inch color touchscreen with Chevrolet Infotainment 3
  • Four-speaker audio system
  • Driver information center with monochromatic display
  • Teen Driver
  • Built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi
  • Rearview camera
  • Power door locks
  • Keyless entry
  • 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
  • 1.4-liter turbocharged engine

LS: Pricing TBD

  • Features from L trim, plus:
  • 8-way power adjustable driver seat
  • Carpeted front floor mats
  • Upgraded “Deluxe” steering wheel

LT: Pricing TBD

  • Features from LS trim, plus:
  • Six speaker audio system
  • SiriusXM radio
  • Rear USB charging port
  • Steering-wheel-mounted audio and phone controls
  • Remote ignition
  • Automatic climate control
  • Cruise control
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seat with two center cup holder
  • Rear floor mats
  • LED daytime running lights and signature lighting
  • 16-inch aluminum wheels
  • 40/60 rear seat split

Diesel: Pricing TBD

  • Features from LS trim, plus:
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seats
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • Rear USB charging port
  • Cruise control
  • Rear floor mats
  • Auxiliary in-cabin heater
  • Remote ignition
  • Steering-wheel-mounted audio and phone controls
  • LED daytime and signature lighting
  • Power-adjustable heaters side-view mirrors
  • 16-inch aluminum wheels
  • 1.6-liter turbodiesel engine

Premier: Pricing TBD

  • Features from LT trim, plus:
  • Keyless door and hatch unlock
  • Keyless ignition
  • Eight-way power driver’s seat
  • Heated front seats
  • Heated leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • LED taillights
  • 17-inch aluminum wheels

The first-ever 2019 Malibu RS offers a sporty, personalized appearance that include 18-inch machined wheels, black sport grille, black bowtie emblems, a rear spoiler and a dual-outlet exhaust.

 

Who Should Buy the 2019 Chevrolet Malibu

The 2019 Chevrolet Malibu is a great car for carpoolers and growing families alike. The roomy second row makes it a great car to pack in your loved ones and head out for a weekend adventure. There’s plenty of room in the trunk and loads of features in the cabin to keep you entertained. With the turbocharged engines, you’ll get more punch on the pedal, and the fuel economy on the hybrid is top-notch.

Who Should Buy the 2019 Chevrolet Cruze

If you’re looking for an agile car that slips through city traffic, then the 2019 Chevrolet Cruze is for you. With it’s smaller footprint and responsive handling, it offers great maneuverability around town and in the carpool lane. The multiple powertrains allow you the option to go diesel and get good fuel economy with gasoline or diesel. With the hatchback body style, you get ample cargo room without a larger car, giving this vehicle flexibility in a pinch.

 

Images courtesy of Chevrolet Media

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