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2019 Subaru Legacy vs. 2019 Chevrolet Malibu Review

Oct 03, 2018
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2019 Subaru Legacy

Starting Price: $23,430 | Price yours

Above Average: Resale value, standard EyeSight driver assist, fuel economy, standard AWD

Below Average: Acceleration with 4-cylinder, no height adjustment for passenger seat

Consensus: A safe, reliable sedan with impressive fuel economy, interior room and the added benefit of standard all-wheel drive.


2019 Chevrolet Malibu

Starting Price: $22,965 | Price yours

Above Average:  Fuel economy, hybrid model, legroom, features

Below Average: Driver assist systems are optional, standard horsepower, trunk size

Consensus: A sophisticated family sedan with lots to like, but with advanced driver assist features that should be standard, not optional.

The Subaru Legacy comes standard with full-time Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, yet its fuel economy remains near the top of its class. Subaru’s excellent EyeSight driver assist system is now standard on every model, as is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Legacy offers a handsome and spacious cabin, a large trunk, excellent safety and resale figures and a very loyal following. The Malibu is pulled by its front wheels, and while its standard turbocharged 4-cylinder engine gets better fuel economy than the Legacy’s

4-cylinder, it isn’t as powerful. Both cars have available engine upgrades, but only on the topline models. The Malibu offers a more robust infotainment setup and more features like ventilated front seats and a height-adjustable passenger seat with power lumbar support. It also feels a bit sportier in the curves. However, driver assists like collision avoidance and blind-spot warning are optional on the Malibu, while adaptive cruise control is only available on the most expensive Premier trim. The Legacy holds its value better than the Malibu, and the two score about average in reliability.

Subaru Legacy Advantages

Standard EyeSight driver assist, standard AWD, resale value, trunk space, horsepower

Chevrolet Malibu Advantages

Fuel economy, available hybrid model, available features, lower base price


Roomy cabin, good safety scores, high-tech infotainment and advanced driver assists, good fuel economy, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Final Recommendation

While the Subaru Legacy and Chevrolet Malibu are both good sedans, we give the advantage to the Legacy. Its standard suite of driver assists (automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane keep assist) and snow-conquering all-wheel drive make it the better buy. The Malibu offers a few more creature comforts, plus a fuel-sipping hybrid, but its resale values fall far short of the Legacy’s, as does its trunk space.

2019 Subaru Legacy 2019 Chevrolet Malibu
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.5-liter flat-4 1.5-liter turbo I4
Horsepower 175 hp @ 5,800 rpm 163 hp @ 5,700 rpm
Torque 174 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 184 lb-ft @ 2,500-3,000 rpm
Transmission Continuously Varibale Continuously Variable
Fuel Economy 29 mpg (25 city, 34 hwy) 32 mpg (29 city, 36 hwy)
Also Available 3.6-liter flat-6 2.0L turbo, hybrid
Warranty 3 years or 36,000 miles 3 years or 36,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5 stars 5 stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 108.3 inches 111.4 inches
Overall Length 189.1 inches 193.8 inches
Width 72.4 inches 73.0 inches
Height 59.0 inches 57.6 inches
Turning Diameter 36.8 feet 37.0 feet
Headroom, Front 40.0 inches 40.1 inches
Headroom, Rear 37.6 inches 37.5 inches
Legroom, Front 42.9 inches 45.3 inches
Legroom, Rear 38.1 inches 38.1 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 58.1 inches 58.5 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 57.3 inches 57.1 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 104.6 cu. ft. 102.9 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 15.0 cu. ft. 11.6 cu. ft.
Source: Kelly Blue Book

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