A red 2022 Chevy Malibu is shown from the side parked in front of a brick building.

Reliable and Affordable: The 2022 Malibu vs 2022 Altima

The 2022 Malibu is known as a stylish economy car, while the Nissan Altima offers an understated design with Nissan’s world-class engineering. When it comes to the 2022 Chevy Malibu vs 2022 Nissan Altima, that’s like asking who wore it best. Both cars are budget-friendly vehicles that rank high in consumer satisfaction. So when you look closely, what are the key differences that would lead a driver to choose one vehicle over the other?

If you’re looking for a midsize sedan, it’s clear both vehicles have their strong points. As one of America’s best sedans, the Chevy Malibu continues to hold its spot in Chevy’s line-up, despite the automaker discontinuing most other sedans to focus more on SUVs and trucks. On the other hand, the Nissan Altima offers plenty of great safety features and has an all-around practical appeal. Check out how the two vehicles compare to help you decide which one is the best fit for your lifestyle.

The Basics: Similarities and Differences

Both the 2022 Chevy Malibu and the 2022 Nissan Altima are midsize sedans that offer plenty of cargo space, plus headroom and legroom for drivers and passengers. They are both known as great budget-friendly cars, with the Malibu starting at $23,400 and the Altima at $24,900.

Both sedans have a strong reputation when it comes to reliability and durability, meaning they just go and go and go. When it comes to fuel efficiency, the sedans are about the same. The Malibu offers 29 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway, while the Altima comes in at 28 MPG in the city and 39 MPG on the highway. This great fuel economy, along with a whole host of safety features, makes both vehicles great family and commuter cars.

When it comes to differences, they are minor for the most part. The Malibu seems to offer a little more in the way of available features, like Amazon Alexa Built-in, Chevy’s Teen Driver technology, great turbo power, and a more updated interior. While the Nissan might give drivers a little more power with its base engine and offers extra trim options, the interior lacks wow features that set it apart from the competition.

A red 2022 Nissan Altima is shown driving at night.

Reliable Performance

When it comes to engines, both the Malibu and the Altima offer two different choices depending on the wants and needs of the drivers. The Malibu starts with a base 1.5L turbocharged engine with 160 hp, more than enough power for an everyday ride. Drivers looking for an extra boost can level up to a 2.0L engine with 250 hp. The Malibu offers Electric Power Steering, making it an easy, responsive vehicle that can handle itself in heavy traffic or out on the open road.

One thing you notice about the Altima is that it comes with an option for all-wheel drive, a contrast to the Malibu, which is front-wheel drive only. The Altima also offers drivers two engine options, a standard 2.5L or an available 2.0L VC-Turbo engine that comes with 248 hp, giving you the get-up-and-go you’re looking for. However, if you’re looking to unlock this feature, it’ll cost you. The VC-Turbo engine is only found on the SR VC-Turbo trim, which starts at $31,250.

Trim Options

Both the Malibu and the Altima offer plenty of trim options making it easy for drivers to find that perfect car that fits into their budget. The Malibu offers four trim options plus three special editions, starting with the base LS trim. From there, drivers can level up to the RS, LT, or Premier trim, which gives drivers a lot for their money if luxury is what they’re after. For the asking price of $33,500, the Malibu Premier provides a whole host of great add-ons and features, starting with the 2.0L turbocharged engine and 19-inch wheels with all-season tires. Drivers can also take advantage of a larger driver information center and a Bose nine-speaker audio system. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, with driver-assist features and added high-end options for the interior.

As we mentioned before, the 2022 Malibu also offers three sleek special editions for drivers looking for something to set them apart. The Malibu Midnight Edition speaks for itself. This sleek black-on-black sedan is eye-catching for all the right reasons, featuring a blacked-out grille, bowtie emblems, and badges. If that wasn’t enough, the edition sports 19-inch black aluminum wheels. The Sport Edition is just as sleek, with a blacked-out grille and wheels but can be paired with any of the more colorful exterior paint options. Finally, the Redline Edition adds exclusive red accents to the wheels, side mirrors, and badges.

The 2022 Nissan Altima offers more trim options but still lacks some of the more high-end touches customers might be hoping to get for the price. There are seven trim options in total, but no special editions to spice things up. Starting with the front-wheel drive options, customers can choose from the S, SV, SR, SR Midnight Edition, SR VC-Turbo, and SL trims. Of all these options, drivers can expect to pay the most for the SR VC-Turbo. This option seems to be pricer for its more powerful engine alone and not because of any additional high-end features.

Drivers looking for an all-wheel drive Altima can choose from the SV, SR, SR Midnight Edition, SL, and Platinum trims. The top trim level offers extras like interior accent lighting and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Altima also has its own version of the Midnight Edition, but it isn’t really anything new. Its black-on-black is eye-catching, plus it offers features that are exclusive to the edition. The Midnight Altima is styled with a V-Motion grille, special badging, and 19-inch black aluminum alloy wheels.

A blue 2022 Chevy Malibu is shown parked on a city street during a 2022 Chevy Malibu vs 2022 Nissan Altima comparison.

Driver Assistance Features

Like all Chevys, the 2022 Malibu offers plenty of standard and available options to give drivers peace of mind every time they get behind the wheel. Drivers can choose from a wide range of options that will keep them covered from all sides. The most comprehensive option is the available Chevy Driver Confidence Package, which puts together some of the best driver-assist features to help you navigate the road ahead. Fully equipped, the Malibu offers Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert, and Front Pedestrian Braking, just to name a few features. Drivers can also enjoy various tools like a rear vision camera and high-definition surround vision. With so many great options, it’s easy to customize your car to meet your needs.

Got a teen driver? The Malibu has you covered with its standard Teen Driver technology. This is a system designed to help your teen develop good driving habits. Parents can limit things like speed and radio volume to help minimize distractions. Plus, parents can access an in-vehicle report card to see how their teen is doing when they’re not in the car. The Teen Driver feature also includes Buckle-to-Drive and can automatically turn on additional safety features.

When it comes to the Altima, there are plenty of features to choose from. The available Nissan Safety Shield 360 is a collection of six great driver-assist features, including Blind-Spot Warning, Rear Automatic Braking, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The available ProPILOT Assist is an excellent option for long road trips or daily commutes. This system helps keep you centered in your lane, plus maintains a preset distance between you and the car in front of you, making it great for highway traffic or the open road.

The Sedan for You

Both of these midsize sedans are impressive, to say the least. While the Nissan offers some great features, they often come at a high price, making you wonder if they’re really worth it. The interior of the Altima is practical but lacks some of the more luxurious and high-end materials that the Malibu offers. If you’re looking for modern style with a few extras thrown in, the Malibu is a good place to start. Even on the higher trim levels, it seems you get more for the price than you do with the Altima.

Both sedans offer plenty to choose from when it comes to driver-assist features, but only the Malibu offers the Teen Driver feature, which can be priceless and give parents peace of mind when their teen finally gets behind the wheel. The Malibu has the space for you and your family to stretch out, and with Chevy’s reputation for safety and performance, you know you’re getting your money’s worth and then some. After all, there’s a reason the Malibu is one of America’s favorite cars. But the Altima manages to keep up, presenting some stiff competition. With solid engine choices and flashy exterior styling, there’s no doubt the Altima is a great daily ride for families.

What’s the best way to experience the road? We’d have to admit that getting behind the wheel of either of these sedans is an excellent choice. If you’re looking for a well-rounded budget-friendly car, you can’t go wrong with Chevy or Nissan. Both models are so close it’s tough to sort out which is the “best.” So we’ll leave that up to you, the driver, to choose.