Putting the 2017 Camry and Malibu Models Head to Head
Consumers who are looking for a new mid-size sedan have been gravitating to both Toyota and Chevy’s offerings, and with the rising popularity of both models, it only makes sense to put them head to head. This year has seen the Malibu improve its fuel efficiency to a stunning 27 mpg city and 37 mpg highway, and the addition of a hybrid model makes its fuel economy outshine any non-hybrid available at a combined 47 mpg. The Camry, on the other hand, features Toyota’s well-documented safety features as well as a power upgrade that leaves the Malibu’s modest optional upgrade in the dust.
Safety is Key
One of the reasons that the Camry is so popular is its perennial high scores on various safety assessments, including those conducted by the independent nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Since the new Malibu models are so new, less is known about their safety features and their ability to withstand different kinds of impacts, leading to an information gulf that Chevrolet really needed to see coming.
Power vs. Economy
When you compare Camry and Malibu performances across all option packages, what emerges is a question of fuel economy vs. power. The Malibu offers some upgrades in fuel efficiency, but at the cost of acceleration the improvements in handling that come from more power and the transmission systems that handle it.
The Malibu has a slightly lower sticker cost with no options, but once you add in your features, the two vehicles price out almost equally. The big difference is overall cost of ownership over 5 years, where the Camry comes in just a little over $28,000 but the Malibu clocks in at around $31,500. Different rating agencies have slightly different estimates about the final dollar amount, but the verdict is always the same: Toyota’s overall balance of fuel efficiency, safety, reliability, and price combine to create a better overall value than any one feature alone would seem to indicate.
When deciding which to pick, using that 5 year ownership data is important, because it doesn’t just put a price tag on the vehicle, it also shows you which areas are comparatively higher cost—depreciation, repair and maintenance, fuel, and so forth. When a vehicle comes out as clearly advantaged as the Camry in the Camry vs. Malibu comparison, it usually means your overall driving experience will be better because the vehicle will combine value and performance for you.