The latest generation of Chevrolet Malibu and Ford Fusion sedans are two of the more enjoyable mid-size sedans to drive, and both come well-equipped with refined interiors, high-tech amenities and impressive value. It is clear that Chevrolet benchmarked the Ford Fusion when it developed the redesigned Malibu for 2016: these two sedans are nearly identical when it comes to interior space, cargo capacity and standard horsepower, safety features and tech amenities. The current generation of the Fusion has been offered since 2013, but received a significant update for 2017, so is more than capable of competing with the more recently redesigned Malibu.
Fuel Economy & Performance
In base trim, both the Chevrolet Malibu and Ford Fusion come standard equipped with 4-cylinder engines that develop ample power and impressive fuel economy. Still, the Malibu wins the fuel economy comparison quite handily when both are equipped with the base engines, at 27 mpg city and 36 mpg highway, versus the Fusion's 21 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. The difference in fuel economy narrows to nearly nothing when you compare higher trim levels of these two mid-size sedans, including the Malibu's 2.0-liter turbo and the Fusion's 1.5-liter or 2.0-liter turbo engines.
If we had to label one of these mid-size sedans as more of the driver's car, the Malibu would narrowly edge out the Fusion. Its handling is a bit sharper, while the Fusion offers a sophisticated ride that is also tout and confidence-inspiring. The Malibu's range-topping 2.0-liter turbo competes well with the Fusion's available 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbo engine, but Ford now offers an even more potent engine in 2017 and newer Fusions. Opt for a late-model Fusion Sport, and a 2.7-liter EcoBoost comes standard, developing an exceptional 325 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque!
Thanks to its above-average reliability scores since its debut for the 2013 model year (and even in its previous generation), the Ford Fusion is a dependable and smart choice, even when compared with any other mid-size sedan. Malibu sedans from the 2013 model year up until the redesigned 2016 model have shown average reliability, and there is not enough data on the very latest Malibu sedans. If recent history is of value (which, here, we think it is), the Ford likely comes out slightly ahead of the Chevrolet on reliability measures.
Features & Value
With features like Chevrolet MyLink and Ford's latest SYNC 3, both the Malibu and Fusion come well-appointed with modern and intuitive infotainment systems. The same can be said about their advanced safety systems. With similar pricing and standard and available features, the choice between these two fine sedans comes down to personal preference on style and any slight differences in fuel economy and cost of ownership.
Shop for and Test Drive a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Sedan
If you are shopping for a late-model mid-size sedan and are considering one that is certified pre-owned (CPO), we encourage you to test drive multiple versions of the Chevrolet Malibu and Ford Fusion.
See our checklist for test driving used cars, then shop for your CPO vehicle of choice at CertifiedCars.com.