Chevy Malibu Vs. Toyota Camry: Battle of the Midsize Sedans

By Justin Cupler | January 15th, 2019

The midsize sedan segment isn’t as popular as it once was, but there are still plenty of premier models available for our Bay City, Linwood and Standish buyers. Chevy and Toyota both have great options for you in the 2019 Malibu and 2019 Camry, respectively, but which one is the better buy for you? Find out here.

Exterior

The midsize sedan segment became vanilla over the years, but with new faces like the Malibu and Camry spicing it up, things have taken a turn for the better. The 2019 Chevy Malibu’s looks are all-new after a refresh, while the Camry is just a year removed from a full redesign.

The 2019 Malibu boasts a more traditional midsize sedan look, but it is far from boring. The Camry, on the other hand, is lower and wider than before and features a sleek and sporty design that the midsize segment typically lacks.

Both models have basic base trims with steel wheels, hubcaps and the basic exterior wares, but they also have more upscale models with large wheels and premium features. They also have their respective sporty models in the Malibu RS, and Camry SE and XSE.

As midsize sedans, the 2019 Malibu and 2019 Camry are similar in size. The Malibu is 193.8 inches long, 73 inches wide, and 57.6 inches high. It rides on a 112.2-inch wheelbase. The 2019 Toyota Camry is 192.1 to 192.7 inches long, 72.4 inches wide, and 56.9 inches high. It sits atop a 111.2-inch wheelbase.

Advantage: 2019 Chevy Malibu

  • Sporty RS model
  • Sleek, midsize looks

Advantage: 2019 Toyota Camry

  • Lower, wider and sportier
  • More premium looks in higher trims

Interior

Inside, the 2019 Camry and 2019 Malibu have the standard midsize sedan look. The Malibu’s look is even more standard, while the Camry’s interior looks are more unique and sporty with its Y-shaped center stack and more aggressive seats. Both models also feature high ceilings with their premium upholstery, sound systems, and infotainment systems in their top trim levels.

In its front seats, the 2019 Malibu has 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 Toyota Camry’s front seats have 1.8 inches less headroom, 3.2 inches less legroom, and 0.8 inches less shoulder room, but they have 1.3 inches more hip room.

In its rear seats, the Malibu has 37.5 inches of headroom, 38.1 inches of legroom, 57.1 inches of shoulder room, and 53.4 inches of hip room. The Camry comes up short by 0.1 inches in legroom and 1.4 inches in shoulder room, but it has an extra half inch of headroom and 1.3 inches in hip room.

In its trunk, the 2019 Camry has 14.1 to 15.1 cubic feet of luggage room. The Malibu trumps it with 15.8 cubic feet.

Advantage: 2019 Chevy Malibu

  • Roomier front seats
  • More luggage room
  • Simple, toned-down looks

Advantage: 2019 Toyota Camry

  • More rear legroom and hip room
  • More premium appearance

Performance

The midsize segment is all about a balance between fuel economy and performance, and both the 2019 Chevy Malibu and 2019 Toyota Camry deliver.

The 2019 Malibu’s base engine is a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. This power routes through a continuously variable transmission that delivers power to the front wheels. This amounts to an 8.3-second 0-to-60-mph time in independent testing.

The 2019 Toyota Camry’s base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 203 to 206 horsepower and 184 to 186 pound-feet of torque. This power heads through an eight-speed automatic transmission and out to the front wheels for an independently tested 7.9-second 0-to-60 time.

The 2019 Malibu Premier comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 250 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This power moves through a nine-speed automatic transmission and out to the front wheels for a 5.7-second 0-to-60 sprint in independent testing.

The 2019 Toyota Camry’s optional 3.5-liter V-6 engine produces 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. This power flows through an eight-speed automatic transmission before heading to the front wheels for an independently verified 5.7-second 0-to-60 sprint.

Fuel economy is the other side of the coin in the midsize sedan segment, and the Malibu does well with its 1.5-liter engine delivering up to 29 mpg city, 36 highway, and 32 combined. The Camry with its base 2.5-liter engine gets up to 29 mpg city, 41 highway, and 34 combined in its L trim, but its other trims see their fuel economy fall to 28 mpg city, 39 highway, and 32 combined.

The optional engines in the Malibu and Camry get the same 22 mpg city, 32 highway, and 26 combined.

Advantage: 2019 Chevy Malibu

  • Faster in-seat feel with 2.0-liter engine
  • Comfortable ride

Advantage: 2019 Toyota Camry

  • Traditional optional V-6 engine
  • Sportier handling

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.

There are also seven trim levels that make up the 2019 Toyota Camry lineup: L, LE, SE, XLE, XSE, XLE V6, and XSE V6. Starting prices range from $23,845 to $34,600.

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 Toyota Camry Key Features and Pricing by Trim

L: $23,845

  • 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Electric power steering
  • Four-wheel disc brakes
  • Bi-LED headlights with auto-on/off
  • LED daytime running lights
  • LED combination taillights
  • Dark-gray front grille
  • Color-keyed power mirrors
  • Color-keyed outside door handles
  • 16-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
  • Intermittent wipers
  • Acoustic noise-reducing windshield
  • Shark-fin antenna
  • 4.2-inch multi-information display
  • Cloth seating
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Layered-wood trim
  • Chrome interior door handles
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Power windows with one-touch-up/down
  • Power door locks
  • 12-volt power outlet
  • One 1.5-amp USB port
  • Entune™ 3.0 Audio with App Suite
  • Six-speaker AM/FM audio system
  • 7-inch touchscreen
  • Scout® GPS Link compatible
  • Siri® Eyes Free
  • Apple CarPlay
  • USB media port
  • Bluetooth audio streaming
  • Wi-Fi Connect
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Lane-departure alert
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Hill-start assist

LE: $24,350

  • All L features, plus
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Eight-way power driver’s seat
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seats with center armrest
  • Anti-theft alarm

SE: $25,550

  • All LE features, plus
  • Sport-tuned suspension
  • Black front grille with sport mesh insert
  • Color-keyed sport side rocker panels
  • 18-inch black machined-finish alloy wheels
  • Color-keyed rear spoiler
  • Single exhaust with dual chrome tips
  • Single-zone automatic climate control
  • Leatherette-trimmed sport seats
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Embossed mesh interior trim

XLE: $28,925

  • LED headlights with fully integrated LED daytime running lights
  • LED taillights
  • Bright metallic grille
  • Color-keyed heated power outside mirrors with turn signal
  • Color-keyed outside door handles with touch-sensor lock/unlock feature
  • 18-inch silver machined-finish alloy wheels
  • Single exhaust with chrome finisher
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • 7-inch multi-information display
  • Leather seating
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Heated front seats
  • Tiger Eye wood interior trim
  • Smart key system on front doors and trunk
  • Keyless ignition
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Two 2.5-amp USB ports
  • LED rear-seat lighting
  • Ambient lighting
  • Electronic parking brake
  • Entune™ 3.0 Audio Plus with App Suite
  • 8-inch touchscreen
  • HD Radio
  • CD player, auxiliary port
  • SiriusXM® Satellite Radio
  • Rearview camera with dynamic guidelines
  • Wireless charging pad
  • Full-speed adaptive cruise control
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert

XSE: $29,475

  • All SE features, plus
  • Smoke-tinted headlights
  • Smoke-tinted taillights
  • Gloss-black front grille with sport mesh insert
  • Color-keyed heated power outside mirrors with turn signals
  • Color-keyed outside door handles with touch-sensor lock/unlock feature
  • 19-inch black machined-finish alloy wheels
  • Dual exhaust with quad chrome tips
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Wireless charging pad
  • Rearview camera with dynamic guidelines
  • 7-inch multi-information display
  • Leather seating
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Multistage heated front seats
  • Textured metal interior trim
  • Smart key system on front doors and trunk
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Two 2.5-amp USB ports
  • LED rear-seat reading lights
  • Ambient lighting
  • Electric parking brake with brake hold
  • Entune™ 3.0 Audio Plus with App Suite
  • 8-inch touchscreen
  • HD Radio
  • CD player, auxiliary port
  • SiriusXM® Satellite Radio
  • HomeLink universal home remote
  • Keyless ignition
  • Full-speed dynamic cruise control
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert

XLE V6: $34,050

  • All XLE features, plus
  • 3.5-liter V-6 engine
  • Panoramic moonroof
  • Dual-exhaust with chrome finisher
  • 10-inch color head-up display
  • Entune™ 3.0 Audio Plus with JBL® w/Clari-Fi™
  • Nine-speaker audio system with subwoofer

XSE V6: $34,600

  • All SE features, plus
  • 3.5-liter V-6 engine
  • Panoramic moonroof
  • Dual-exhaust with quad chrome finishers
  • 10-inch color head-up display
  • Entune™ 3.0 Audio Plus with JBL® w/Clari-Fi™
  • Nine-speaker audio system with subwoofer

Who Should Buy the 2019 Chevy Malibu?

The 2019 Chevy Malibu is perfect for a buyer looking for a lower-priced sedan that doesn’t compromise on room and luggage capacity. It also offers plenty of premium goodies in its higher trim levels without the higher top-end price of the Camry.

Who Should Buy the 2019 Toyota Camry?

Legendary reliability, a potent V-6 engine, and a performance-oriented XSE model make the Camry a great option for a wide range of buyers. It also has a higher ceiling in terms of premium features, making it the better option for buyers looking for the best of the best tech and luxury.

Ready to tackle the daily commute to Linwood, Michigan or just planning to cruise to Bay City once in a while in the 2019 Chevy Malibu? Stop by Garber Chevrolet Linwood to test drive the 2019 Malibu and see if it’s up to your liking. We’re certain you’ll love it. If you cannot make it in today, you can check out our online inventory to see if we have a 2019 Malibu in stock that suits your needs.