|130||Top Speed (mph)||116|
|37.5||Rear Seat Headroom (in)||37.3|
There is nothing as American as the family car. This sturdy sedan with plenty of room for the kids, the dog, and the luggage has been a big part of the development of this country, going back to the days when automobiles first started hitting the road. Two of the most popular five-passenger family sedans to compare today are the 2021 Chevy Malibu vs 2021 Honda Accord. These two cars are not just dependable, but they have sporty aerodynamic looks that speak to their ability to provide excellent acceleration, whether on highways or local roads.
Both sedans feature their manufacturers’ respective infotainment system, the Chevy Infotainment 3 system with an 8-inch touchscreen on the 2021 Malibu and the Honda display audio system, also with an 8-inch touchscreen, on the 2021 Accord. These systems help integrate critical vehicle information with entertainment features like an AM/FM audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. However, you will see some key differences when you compare the 2021 Chevy Malibu vs 2021 Honda Accord. It is these distinctions that will show you why your better value is in buying a 2021 Chevy Malibu.
The 2021 Chevy Malibu and 2021 Honda Accord both come in five different trim levels, each with an increasing assortment of value features. But while the levels are generally comparable, the Chevy Malibu comes at a more affordable price point than the Accord.
The base trim 2021 Chevy Malibu is the L with an MSRP of $22,140. The next level up is the Malibu LS with an MSRP of $23,270, which adds Chevy’s Teen Driver technology, visor vanity mirrors for the front passengers, and displays that show the outside temperature and compass direction. Teen Driver is an ideal system if you have a young driver in the household, as this will help you keep tabs on their driving through a post-trip report. It also helps you limit the volume level on the Chevy Infotainment 3 system and prevent key safety features from being disabled by the young driver.
The sporty Malibu RS adds 18-inch aluminum wheels, dual exhaust outlets, a rear spoiler, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and special black Chevrolet bowtie logos. The RS has an MSRP of $24,270. The Malibu LT has an MSRP of $26,670 and includes LED daytime running lights, LED tail lights, heated front seats, and outside heated and power-adjustable mirrors. The top trim is the Premier, which rides on 19-inch aluminum wheels and comes fully loaded. The 2021 Malibu Premier has an MSRP of $33,370.
The 2021 Honda Accord LX has an MSRP of $24,970, over $2,000 more than the Malibu L. The Accord Sport has an MSRP of $27,430 and comes with a 12-way power driver’s seat and 19-inch alloy wheels. The Accord Sport Special Edition adds heated front seats, a leather-trimmed interior, and a remote engine starter for an MSRP of $28,920. The Accord EX-L has an MSRP of $31,290 and includes a wireless phone charger. The top trim on the 2021 Accord is the Touring 2.0T, which adds ventilated front seats, a head-up display, and heated outboard rear seats for an MSRP of $36,900.
The 2021 Chevy Malibu and 2021 Honda Accord provide drivers with a choice of 4-cylinder gas engines. The standard engine on the 2021 Malibu is a 1.5-liter EcoTec turbocharged four-cylinder. It has a double overhead camshaft (DOHC) configuration for its 16-valves, utilizing direct fuel injection and continuously variable valve timing to produce 160 horsepower and generate 184 pound-feet of torque. This engine comes on every 2021 Malibu model except for the Premier.
The 2021 Malibu Premier is equipped with a larger 2.0-liter EcoTec turbocharged engine that can produce up to 250 horsepower and generate up to 260 pound-feet of torque. It also utilizes direct fuel injection and variable valve timing with its 16 engine valves in a DOHC configuration. This engine will give you much better acceleration than the standard 1.5-liter engine, but with slightly less overall fuel economy.
Interestingly, Honda has also equipped all models of the 2021 Accord with either a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder or a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Also like the Chevy Malibu, the most powerful engine is only available on the top trim of the 2021 Accord. This means that both of these sedans provide very similar driving experiences across their model ranges.
Both Chevrolet and Honda also have the same type of transmissions on their respective sedans, depending on the engine choice. The 2021 Chevy Malibu with the 1.5-liter EcoTec turbocharged I-4 and the 2021 Honda Accord with the 1.5-liter turbocharged I-4 come with continuously variable transmissions (CVT). Where standard transmissions feature set gear speeds, a CVT will constantly adjust the gear ratio to driving conditions. This will improve engine efficiency.
Similarly, the 2021 Chevy Malibu Premier with the 2.0-liter EcoTec turbocharged I-4 and the 2021 Honda Accord Touring 2.0T with the 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 are equipped with an automatic transmission. When compared to the CVTs in the base models, the automatics will provide you greater control over vehicle acceleration at the expense of a little fuel efficiency.
The 2021 Chevy Malibu and 2021 Honda Accord will not hurt you at the gas pump. Actually, these two sedans are very fuel-efficient. Choosing the smaller engine on each will provide you with overall better fuel economy. With respect to the Malibu with the 1.5-liter engine and the Accord with the 1.5-liter engine, both get fairly comparable gas mileage. The Malibu gets 32 miles per gallon combined, and the Accord provides an estimated 33 miles per gallon combined. The overall difference is negligible and gets even smaller in the top trims of both cars with the larger engines, as both the Malibu Premier and Accord Touring 2.0T will give you 26 miles per combined.
Both the 2021 Malibu and the 2021 Accord are front-wheel drive only. This is why they both get really solid fuel economy numbers, particularly in highway driving. To improve overall traction, Chevy has equipped every model of the Malibu with StabiliTrak electronic stability and traction control system. The suspension systems on the two cars are also comparable, with MacPherson strut front suspension and 4-link rear suspension. In addition, both cars have the same 111.4-inch wheelbase, making maneuverability fairly comparable. The Malibu will give you better overall acceleration, with a top speed of 130 miles per hour as compared to 116 miles per hour on the Accord.
The 2021 Chevy Malibu and 2021 Honda Accord are two of the roomiest family sedans on the market. However, Chevrolet has done a better overall job of apportioning this space, particularly where it comes to second-row headroom and shoulder room. Back seat passengers in the Malibu will enjoy 37.5 inches of headroom and 57.1 inches of shoulder room, while they may feel a little more cramped in the Accord, with only 37.3 inches of headroom and 56.5 inches of shoulder room. This is something that may cause issues if you take the whole family out on a long road trip in a 2021 Accord.
One large advantage that the Malibu has over the Accord is its available dual-pane power sunroof. This expansive piece of glass stretches over the front and back seats, making the cabin feel even larger than it actually is. In contrast, the Accord is only available with a small single-pane sunroof that covers the front seats. This is just another small touch where the interior of the Malibu pulls ahead of its competition from Honda.