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Compare the2023 Nissan MaximaVS 2023 Chevrolet Malibu

2023 Nissan Maxima
2023 Chevrolet Malibu

Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Nissan Maxima are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Chevrolet Malibu doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Maxima has standard Rear Automatic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Malibu doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Maxima SR/Platinum has a standard Around View® Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Malibu only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

The Maxima has a standard blind spot warning system which uses sensors to alert the driver to objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. A system to reveal vehicles in the Malibu’s blind spot costs extra.

To help make backing out of a parking space safer, the Maxima has a standard rear cross-path warning system, which uses sensors in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. Rear cross-path warning costs extra on the Malibu.

The Maxima’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Malibu doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Maxima and the Malibu have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems and rearview cameras.

The Nissan Maxima weighs 449 to 595 pounds more than the Chevrolet Malibu. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Nissan Maxima is safer than the Chevrolet Malibu:

Maxima

Malibu

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Compression

23 lbs.

29 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk

31%

36%

Neck Stress

124 lbs.

169 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Nissan Maxima is safer than the Chevrolet Malibu:

Maxima

Malibu

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

119

160

Chest Movement

.9 inches

1.3 inches

Abdominal Force

225 lbs.

232 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

3 Stars

HIC

242

365

Spine Acceleration

27 G’s

62 G’s

Hip Force

349 lbs.

1117 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

275

279

Hip Force

480 lbs.

549 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Maxima its highest rating: “Top Safety Pick Plus” for 2022, a rating granted to only 101 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Malibu last would have qualified as only a standard “Top Safety Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

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The Maxima’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Malibu’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Maxima’s reliability 36 points higher than the Malibu.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ January 2021 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 4 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Engine

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The Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 140 more horsepower (300 vs. 160) and 77 lbs.-ft. more torque (261 vs. 184) than the Malibu’s 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Nissan Maxima is faster than the Chevrolet Malibu:

Maxima

Malibu

Zero to 60 MPH

5.7 sec

8.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

16.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100.5 MPH

84.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Maxima has 2.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Malibu (18 vs. 15.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Maxima’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Malibu:

Maxima

Malibu

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

12.13 inches

11.3 inches

The Maxima’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Malibu are solid, not vented.

The Maxima stops shorter than the Malibu:

Maxima

Malibu

70 to 0 MPH

168 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

149 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Maxima has larger tires than the Malibu (245/45R18 vs. 205/65R16).

The Maxima SV’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Malibu LS’ standard 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Maxima SV has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Malibu LS.

The Maxima has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Malibu doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

The Maxima offers an optional full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the Malibu; it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.

Suspension and Handling

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The Maxima has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Malibu doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Maxima SR handles at .86 G’s, while the Malibu LT pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Maxima SR executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Malibu LT (26.6 seconds @ .69 average G’s vs. 27.4 seconds @ .63 average G’s).

Chassis

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The Maxima SR/Platinum uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Malibu doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The Maxima has .3 inches more front headroom, 3.5 inches more front legroom, .1 inches more front hip room and .1 inches more rear hip room than the Malibu.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Maxima easier. The Maxima’s trunk lift-over height is 28.8 inches, while the Malibu’s liftover is 30.5 inches.

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Maxima’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The Malibu’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the Maxima offers cargo security. The Malibu’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Maxima. The Malibu doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

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The Maxima uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Malibu uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

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The Maxima’s front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Malibu’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. The Malibu LT’s front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

If the front windows are left open on the Maxima the driver can close them at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Malibu can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Maxima has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent fuel theft and vandalism, such as sugar in the tank. The Malibu doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Maxima’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Malibu’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Maxima Platinum’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

The Maxima’s LED headlights produce a whiter, brighter light (up to 3x) using five times less power than the Malibu’s standard projector halogen headlights and light instantly. LED lights also last over twenty times longer than halogen.

A power rear sunshade is standard in the Maxima Platinum to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Malibu doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The Maxima’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Chevrolet only offers heated mirrors on the Malibu LT.

The Maxima’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Malibu offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Maxima has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Malibu LT.

Both the Maxima and the Malibu offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Maxima has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Malibu doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Maxima owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Maxima with a number “1” insurance rate while the Malibu is rated higher at a number “3” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Maxima is less expensive to operate than the Malibu because typical repairs cost less on the Maxima than the Malibu, including $84 less for a water pump, $89 less for front brake pads and $13 less for front struts.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2024Advanta-STAR Automotive Research, all rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America (“Advanta-STAR”). If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it, or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. Removal of this watermark/notification without prior written license and approval received from Advanta-STAR is an agreement, understanding, and/or stipulation by the person(s), entities, agents, attorneys, and any other persons involved in the removal of this watermark/notification (including but not limited to Search Optics, LLC and any and all parent entities, sister entities, and subsidiary entities of Search Optics, LLC and/or any other entity, agent, attorney, and persons related in any manner to Search Optics, LLC) to: 1) an agreed upon amount of liquidated monetary damages of a minimum of $1,250,000.00 US Dollars in favor of Advanta-STAR; 2) the jurisdiction and enforcement of any legal claims associated with this matter asserted by Advanta-STAR in the United States Federal District Court in Portand, Oregon; and 3) service of process of any legal claims asserted by Advanta-STAR associated with this matter may be accomplished by First-Class Postage by the United States Postal Service or comparable service. XPYNN-M34HG 2a06:98c0:3600::103 2024/04/24

Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Maxima, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Chevrolet Malibu isn't recommended.

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