The Malibu comes with free roadside assistance for 5 years 100,000 miles. Chevrolet will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Nissan doesn't give free roadside assistance for the Altima Sedan.
Chevrolet's powertrain warranty covers the Malibu 40,000 miles longer than Nissan covers the Altima Sedan. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Altima Sedan ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.
The Malibu's corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Altima Sedan's (6 vs. 5 years).
There are almost 4 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Nissan dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Malibu's warranty.
For enhanced safety, the front shoulder belts of the Chevrolet Malibu are height-adjustable, and the rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Nissan Altima Sedan has only front height-adjustable seat belts.
Both the Malibu and Altima Sedan have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Malibu has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Altima Sedan’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.
The Malibu LT/LTZ offers an optional collision warning system, which detects an impending crash through forward mounted sensors and flashes a bright light and sounds a loud, distinctive tone to warn the driver to brake or maneuver immediately to avoid a collision. The Altima Sedan doesn't offer a collision warning system.
The Chevrolet Malibu has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Altima Sedan doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.
The Malibu has standard OnStar®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Altima Sedan doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.
Both the Malibu and the Altima Sedan 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.
For its top level performance in frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the Malibu as a “Top Pick” for 2012, a rating only granted to 137 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Altima Sedan has not been tested, yet.
The Malibu stops much shorter than the Altima Sedan:
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Malibu LTZ offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Altima Sedan’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.
The Malibu Eco handles at .85 G’s, while the Altima Sedan 2.5 SV pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.
The front grille of the Malibu ECO/LS/3LT uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Altima Sedan doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Malibu Eco is quieter than the Altima Sedan 2.5 SV (73 vs. 75 dB).
The Malibu has a larger trunk than the Altima Sedan (16.3 vs. 15.4 cubic feet).
To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Malibu’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The Altima Sedan’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.
When two different drivers share the Malibu Eco/LTZ, the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Altima Sedan doesn’t offer a memory system.
The Malibu Eco/LTZ’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Altima Sedan doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The power windows standard on both the Malibu and the Altima Sedan have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Malibu is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Altima Sedan prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.
The Malibu’s standard front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Altima Sedan’s power windows’ passenger windows don’t open automatically. The Altima Sedan SL’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to lower them fully.
The Malibu LT/LTZ offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet in the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters, which can break or get misplaced. The Altima Sedan doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
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Based on 2012/2013 EPA mileage estimates, reflecting new EPA fuel economy methods beginning with 2008 models. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.
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