Chevy Malibu Vs. Honda Civic Sedan: Can a Compact Take Down a Midsize?

By Justin Cupler | January 23rd, 2019

Compact cars seem to grow in roominess every year, and the 2019 Civic Sedan borders on midsize levels of roominess. But can the Civic Sedan work as an alternative to the 2019 Chevy Malibu for our Linwood, Michigan area buyers? Find out below.

Exterior

The Chevy Malibu went through a refresh in 2019, earning a sportier look it’s ever had. It also gained a new RS appearance package that makes it look even sportier. The Honda Civic, on the other hand, went through its last visual update in 2016, giving it a slick new look that attracted tons of buyers and remains popular to this day. In 2017, the Civic Si debuted with a sportier look and extra power to match.

In terms of size, the Malibu is 193.8 inches long, 73 inches wide, and 57.6 inches high. This sedan rides on a 112.2-inch wheelbase. The Civic is a fair amount smaller than the Malibu at 182.3 inches long, 70.8 inches wide, and 55.7 inches wide. The Civic’s wheelbase checks in at 106.3 inches.

Advantage: 2019 Chevy Malibu

  • Traditional looks
  • Sleek, updated styling
  • RS appearance package adds sporty touch

Advantage: 2019 Honda Civic

  • Stylish appearance
  • More standard features
  • Sporty Si model with performance to match

Interior

Inside, the 2019 Chevy Malibu’s looks are more toned down than its exterior may lead you to believe. While the Malibu’s interior may be a little on the vanilla side for some, many midsize buyers will appreciate this simple, undistracting look that also gets relatively luxurious in its upper trim levels.

The 2019 Honda Civic boasts a more youthful appearance the younger crowd will appreciate. Plus, its Si trim puts sportiness into this compact sedan.

In terms of features, the 2019 Malibu has some added tech the base Civic LX lacks, including an 8-inch touchscreen, OnStar, keyless ignition, and more. Moving up the trims, the Malibu’s features get even more upscale, giving it a higher ceiling than the Civic.

In terms of roominess, the 2019 Malibu’s front seats offer 40.1 inches of headroom, 45.3 inches of legroom, 58.5 inches of shoulder room, and 54.1 inches of hip room. The 2019 Honda Civic comes up short in headroom by 0.8 inches, legroom by 3 inches, shoulder room by 1.5 inches, and hip room by 0.4 inches.

In its rear seats, the 2019 Chevy Malibu offers 37.5 inches of headroom, 38.1 inches of legroom, 57.1 inches of shoulder room, and 53.4 inches of hip room. The Civic is tighter in headroom by 0.4 inches, legroom by 0.7 inches, shoulder room by 2.1 inches, and hip room by 6.1 inches.

Trunk space matters big in the midsize segment. The 2019 Malibu offers a respectable 15.8 cubic feet, and the Civic comes up short at 14.7 to 15.1 cubes.

Advantage: 2019 Chevy Malibu

  • Simple, easy-to-appreciate cabin
  • Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Advantage: 2019 Honda Civic

  • More premium features at the top end
  • Sportier cabin

Performance

While most of the Malibu and Civic models are far from sporty, the Civic Si shakes things up with its adaptive suspension and 205-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

At its base level, the Chevy Malibu comes with a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. This power heads through a continuously variable transmission for an independently tested 8.3-second 0-to-60 sprint time.

The 2019 Honda Civic Sedan comes standard with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque. This engine pairs with a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional continuously variable transmission. This adds up to a 7.8-second 0-to-60 mph time.

The 2019 Chevy Malibu Premier comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 250 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This engine pairs with a nine-speed automatic transmission to sprint the Malibu to 60 mph in an independently tested 5.7 seconds.

In the 2019 Civic EX and higher trims, it comes with a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 174 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. This extra power heads through a continuously variable transmission for a 7.3-second 0-to-60 sprint.

The 2019 Honda Civic Si pushes the 1.5-liter engine to 205 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque,. This power flows exclusively through a six-speed manual transmission for a 6.8-second jaunt to 60 mph.

Fuel economy can play a big role in choosing a midsize sedan, as many buyers have daily commutes to deal with. The 2019 Malibu’s base 1.5-liter engine delivers great fuel economy at up to 29 mpg city, 36 highway, and 32 combined. The Malibu’s optional 2.0-liter engine delivers a respectable 22 mpg city, 32 highway, and 26 combined.

The 2019 Honda Civic with the 2.0-liter engine delivers up to 25 mpg city, 36 highway, and 29 combined with the manual transmission. Swap in the continuously variable engine, and the Civic with the 2.0-liter engine delivers up to 30 mpg city, 38 highway, and 33 combined. With the 1.5-liter engine and CVT, the Civic gets up to 32 mpg city, 42 highway, and 36 combined. Finally, the Civic Si gets up to 28 mpg city, 38 highway, and 32 combined.

Advantage: 2019 Chevy Malibu

  • Quicker to 60 mph with the 2.0-liter
  • Peaceful ride
  • Slight fuel-economy advantage at base level

Advantage: 2019 Honda Civic

  • Quicker to 60 mph in base trim
  • True sport model in Si trim
  • Big fuel economy advantage with turbo engines

Pricing and Features

The 2019 Chevy Malibu is available in five trim levels — L, LS, RS, LT, and Premier — and their starting prices range from $22,965 to $32,545.

The 2019 Honda Civic has six trims — LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, Touring, and Si — and their starting prices range from $19,450 to $27,300.

2019 Chevy Malibu Key Features and Pricing by Trim

L: $22,965

  • 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Continuously variable transmission
  • Automatic stop/start
  • Four-wheel disc brakes
  • 16-inch steel wheels with covers
  • Black antenna
  • Daytime running lights
  • Auto-on/off halogen headlights
  • Power mirrors
  • Single-zone manual climate control
  • Chevrolet Infotainment 3
  • 8-inch color touchscreen
  • Six-speaker AM/FM audio system
  • Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Cruise control
  • Power door locks
  • Monochromatic driver information center
  • Front and rear floor mats
  • Keyless open
  • Keyless ignition
  • OnStar
  • 12-volt power outlet
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seat
  • Rear-seat reminder
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Steering-wheel-mounted control
  • Trunk cargo anchors
  • One-touch-down power windows
  • Rearview camera

LS: $23,995

  • All L features, plus
  • Acoustic front glass
  • 16-inch aluminum wheels
  • Compass
  • 4G LTE Wi-Fi
  • Temperature display
  • Teen Driver

RS: $24,995

  • All LS features, plus
  • Dual stainless-steel exhaust with polished tips
  • Black front and rear bow tie emblems
  • Blacked-out grille
  • Rear spoiler
  • 18-inch Black-Chrome wheels
  • Eight-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment
  • Leather-wrapped shift knob
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel

LT: $27,340

  • All LS features, plus
  • Body-color antenna
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Heated mirrors
  • LED taillights
  • 17-inch wheels
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • SiriusXM
  • Remote vehicle ignition
  • Heated front seats
  • Rear seat vent
  • One-touch up/down power driver’s window

Premier: $32,545

  • All LT features, plus
  • 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • Nine-speed automatic transmission
  • Dual stainless-steel exhaust with polished tips
  • Chrome door handles with body-color accents
  • LED headlights
  • Mirror-integrated turn signals
  • Bright sill plates
  • LED taillights
  • 18-inch aluminum wheels
  • 8-inch HD touchscreen
  • Nine-speaker Bose audio system
  • Smart-charging USB port
  • 8-inch driver-information system
  • Two-position driver’s seat memory
  • Ambient interior lighting
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • 120-volt rear power outlet
  • HD rearview camera
  • Ventilated front seats
  • Heated rear outboard seats
  • Six-way power passenger seat
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Trunk mat
  • Wireless charging pad

2019 Honda Civic Sedan Key Features and Pricing by Trim

LX: $19,450

  • 2.0-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder engine
  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • Four-wheel disc brakes
  • 16-inch steel wheels with hub caps
  • Two-speed wipers
  • Projector-beam halogen headlights with auto-on/off
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Body-color door handles
  • Body-color power mirrors
  • Automatic climate control
  • Power windows with auto-up/down front windows
  • Power door locks
  • Cruise control
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Map lights
  • Rear heater ducts
  • Floor mats
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Fold-down rear seat
  • 5-inch color touchscreen
  • Four-speaker audio system with 160 watts
  • Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming
  • One 1-amp USB port
  • Forward collision warning
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Road-departure mitigation
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Multi-angle rearview camera with guidelines

Sport: $21,150

  • All LX features, plus
  • Larger front stabilizer bar
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Center-outlet exhaust
  • Smart entry with walk-away auto lock
  • Fog lights
  • Body-color rear spoiler
  • Variable-intermittent front wipers
  • Sport pedals
  • Keyless ignition
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped shift knob
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seat
  • 7-inch Display Audio infotainment system
  • HondaLink
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Text messaging function
  • 1.5-amp USB charging
  • Multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines

EX: $23,400

  • All LX features, plus
  • 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • Continuously variable transmission
  • Larger front stabilizer bar
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Remote ignition
  • Heated mirrors
  • Smart entry with walk-away auto lock
  • Fog lights
  • Body color rear spoiler
  • Variable intermittent wipers
  • Moonroof
  • Shark-fin antenna
  • Keyless ignition
  • Rear-seat center armrest
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped shifter knob
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seat
  • Heated front seats
  • Eight-way power driver’s seat
  • Eight-speaker audio system with 180 watts
  • 7-inch touchscreen
  • HondaLink
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • SMS text message function
  • One 1.5-amp USB charger
  • SiriusXM
  • HD Radio
  • Multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines
  • Honda LaneWatch

EX-L: $24,600

  • All EX features, plus
  • HomeLink universal home remote
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Leather seating

Touring: $27,300

  • All EX-L features, plus
  • Paddle transmissions
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Chrome door handles
  • Mirror-integrated turn signals
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • LED headlights with auto-on/off
  • Sport pedals
  • Heated rear outboard seats
  • Four-way power passenger seat
  • Satellite-linked navigation
  • 10-speaker 450-watt audio system with subwoofer

Si: $24,300

  • 205-horsepower 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • Adaptive dampers
  • 18-inch gloss-black machine-finish wheels
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Projector-beam halogen headlights with auto-on/off
  • Body-color door handles
  • Heated, body-color power mirrors
  • Smart-entry with walk-away auto-lock
  • Variable intermittent wipers
  • Fog lights
  • Body-color wing spoiler
  • Power windows with one-touch-up/down front windows
  • Power door locks
  • Cruise control
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • LED pocket light
  • Floor mats
  • Keyless ignition
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Alloy sport pedals
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Aluminum-and-leather shift knob
  • Rear-seat armrest
  • Heated front seats
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seats
  • 10-speaker 450-watt premium audio system with subwoofer
  • 7-inch high-resolution touchscreen
  • HondaLink
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • SiriusXM
  • HD Radio
  • Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming
  • Text message function
  • One 1.5-amp front USB port
  • One 1-amp center USB port
  • 7-inch driver-information center
  • Multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines
  • Honda LaneWatch

Who Should Buy the 2019 Chevy Malibu?

The 2019 Malibu is perfect for buyers looking for something simple and unimposing. The extra roominess makes it great for larger families. It also boasts a quicker 0-to-60 time at the top end for those with a heavier foot.

Who Should Buy the 2019 Honda Civic?

The 2019 Honda Civic is great for the younger crowd looking for a more exciting model, especially in its Si trim. The Civic’s higher fuel economy with the 1.5-liter engine also suits commuters’ needs.23

Take on the streets of Linwood, Michigan in comfort and with great fuel economy in the 2019 Chevy Malibu? Head down to Garber Chevrolet Linwood serving the Bay City, Linwood, and Standish areas to take the 2019 Chevy Malibu for a test drive. You won’t be disappointed. If you cannot make it in, you can also check out our online inventory to see if we have a Malibu in stock that suits your needs.