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Chevrolet Malibu vs. Kia Optima

Compare repair costs, reliability, and owner reviews

Chevrolet Malibu

$518
Average Annual
Repair Cost

Kia Optima

$411
Average Annual
Repair Cost

Overall Reliability Rating

4
Group 4
Group 4
Excellent
The Chevrolet Malibu Reliability Rating is 4.0 out of 5.0, which ranks it 13th out of 24 for midsize cars. The average annual repair cost is $518 which means it has lower than average ownership costs. The severity of repairs is average, and major issues are less frequent than average, so major repairs are not common for the Malibu.
4
1
2
Group 4
Group 4
Excellent
The Kia Optima Reliability Rating is 4.5 out of 5.0, which ranks it 10th out of 24 for midsize cars. The average annual repair cost is $411 which means it has excellent ownership costs. The severity of repairs is average, and major issues are less frequent than average, so major repairs are not common for the Optima.
Cost
Average annual repairs total
$518
inexpensive
expensive
$411
inexpensive
expensive
Frequency
Average annual repair shop visits
0.34
not often
very often
0.35
not often
very often
Severity
Percentage of annual repairs that are urgent
12%
not urgent
urgent
11%
not urgent
urgent

Overall Car Ratings & Details

5
(4)
4
(28)
3
(26)
2
(25)
1
(5)
The Chevrolet Malibu ranks highest in exhaust and ranks lowest in suspension.
“Great car for commuters”
“Great car for commuters”
5
(7)
4
(21)
3
(15)
2
(4)
1
(2)
The Kia Optima ranks highest in exhaust and ranks lowest in electrical.
“I got stuck buying from Dons used cars. He is a buy here pay here dealer. It is a 2004 Kia Optima and i was in a rush as they just done detailing the vehicle. So after i got the car home ...”
“I got stuck buying from Dons used cars. He is a buy here pay here dealer. It is a 2004 Kia Op...”

Vehicle Comparison Rundown

The Chevrolet Malibu and the Kia Optima are two different midsize, four-door sedans. Both the Malibu and Optima come with front-wheel drive.

The Chevrolet Malibu comes with a standard engine that has 160 horsepower, while the Kia Optima has a standard engine with 185 horsepower. The Malibu fights back with its optional 250-horsepower engine, five horses more than the Sonata’s 245-horsepower option. The Malibu and the Optima both offer a hybrid version. Extra bonus: The Optima also offers a plug-in hybrid version that can be driven up to 29 miles on electric power only. 

Going inside, the Optima boasts 104.8 cubic feet of interior volume, a little more than the Malibu’s 102.9 cubic feet. Trunk space is nearly identical, with the Optima’s 15.9 cubic feet  edging the Malibu’s 15.8. Both the Malibu and the Optima have plenty of space for people and stuff.

Overall, the Kia Optima gives you more standard horsepower, a bit more interior space, and the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. It also includes Kia’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, which the Malibu does not have. If you plan to keep your car for many years, this is an excellent benefit. The Kia Optima wins this comparison.

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