Childre Nissan Compares 2014 Nissan Altima VS 2014 Chevrolet Malibu Near Atlanta, GA

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2014 Nissan Altima

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2014 Chevrolet Malibu

Safety Comparison

The Altima Sedan has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Malibu doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the Altima Sedan and the Malibu have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

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

Altima Sedan




5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Leg Forces (l/r)

32/46 lbs.

196/304 lbs.



4 Stars

4 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

113 lbs.

135 lbs.

Neck Compression

62 lbs.

62 lbs.

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

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Nissan Altima Sedan is safer than the Malibu:

Altima Sedan


Overall Evaluation






Head Neck Evaluation



Peak Head Forces



Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

5 cm

Chest Evaluation



Hip & Thigh Evaluation



Femur Force R/L

1.74/.01 kN

5.45/.25 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L



Lower Leg Evaluation



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 Altima Sedan is safer than the Chevrolet Malibu:

Altima Sedan


Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

58 G’s

68 G’s

Hip Force

677 lbs.

820 lbs.

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

42 G’s

52 G’s

Hip Force

711 lbs.

862 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in the IIHS moderate overlap frontal, side, rear impact, and roof-crush crash tests, and an “Acceptable” rating in the newer small overlap frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the Altima Sedan as a “Top Pick” for 2014. The Malibu is only a standard “Top Pick.”

Warranty Comparison

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

Engine Comparison

The Altima Sedan has more powerful engines than the Malibu:



Altima Sedan 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

182 HP

180 lbs.-ft.

Altima Sedan V6

270 HP

251 lbs.-ft.

Malibu Eco 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid

182 HP

171 lbs.-ft.

Malibu 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

197 HP

191 lbs.-ft.

Malibu 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

259 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

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

Altima Sedan 2.5

Altima Sedan 3.5

Malibu Eco

Malibu 4 cyl.

Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

5.9 sec

8.5 sec

8.4 sec

Quarter Mile

15.7 sec

14.2 sec

16.6 sec

16.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

89.2 MPH

101.7 MPH

83.8 MPH

85.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Altima Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the Malibu:

Altima Sedan


2.5 4 cyl./CVT

27 city/38 hwy

25 city/36 hwy

2.5 4 cyl./Auto

3.5 V6/CVT

22 city/31 hwy

21 city/30 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Nissan Altima Sedan uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Malibu with the 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Altima Sedan has 2.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Malibu LS/Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (18 vs. 15.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Altima Sedan stops shorter than the Malibu:

Altima Sedan


60 to 0 MPH

133 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

147 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The Altima Sedan 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.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Altima Sedan’s wheelbase is 1.5 inches longer than on the Malibu (109.3 inches vs. 107.8 inches).

The Altima Sedan 2.5 SL handles at .84 G’s, while the Malibu Eco pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Altima Sedan 3.5 SL executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Malibu Eco (27.1 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 27.8 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Altima Sedan 2.5/2.5 S’ turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the Malibu’s (36.1 feet vs. 37.4 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The Nissan Altima Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 250 pounds less than the Chevrolet Malibu.

The design of the Nissan Altima Sedan amounts to more than styling. The Altima Sedan has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is lower than the Malibu (.29 to .3) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Altima Sedan get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Altima Sedan 2.5 SV is quieter than the Malibu Eco (38 vs. 43 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

The Altima Sedan has 1 inch more front headroom and 2.9 inches more front legroom than the Malibu.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Altima Sedan easier. The Altima Sedan’s trunk lift-over height is 26.9 inches, while the Malibu’s liftover is 29.8 inches.

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

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

Ergonomics Comparison

The Altima Sedan’s standard driver’s power window opens or closes with one touch of the window control, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths. The Malibu’s standard driver’s power window switch has to be held the entire time to close it fully. The Altima Sedan’s optional front power windows both open or close with one touch of the switches. The Malibu’s optional front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

If the front windows are left down on the Altima Sedan the driver can raise them using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the Malibu can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Intelligent Key standard on the Altima Sedan (except 2.5 Base) allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Chevrolet Malibu’s available Keyless Access doesn’t unlock the trunk.

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

The Altima Sedan’s 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.

Both the Altima Sedan and the Malibu offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Altima Sedan SV/SL offers optional 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 Comparison

The Altima Sedan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The Intellichoice estimates that the Altima Sedan will retain 45.77% to 55.2% of its original price after five years, while the Malibu only retains 39.57% to 41.58%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Altima Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Malibu because it costs $511 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Altima Sedan than the Malibu, including $135 less for a water pump, $66 less for an alternator, $105 less for front brake pads, $59 less for a fuel pump and $14 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations Comparison

Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the Nissan Altima Sedan as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its December 2012 issue and they ranked the Nissan Altima Sedan 2.5 SV two places higher than the Chevrolet Malibu LTZ.

The Nissan Altima outsold the Chevrolet Malibu by 71% during the 2013 model year.

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