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 Ford Fusion has only front height-adjustable seat belts.
Both the Malibu and Fusion 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 Fusion'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 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 Fusion doesn't offer Daytime Running Lights.
Both the Malibu and the Fusion have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee 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 Fusion has not been tested, yet.
Chevrolet's powertrain warranty covers the Malibu 40,000 miles longer than Ford covers the Fusion. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Fusion ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.
The Malibu's corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Fusion's (6 vs. 5 years).
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Malibu first among midsize cars in their 2012 Initial Quality Study. The Fusion isnt in the top three in its category.
J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 15th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 27th, below the industry average.
The Malibu has more powerful engines than the Fusion:
As tested in Car and Driver the Malibu Eco 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid is faster than the Ford Fusion turbo 4 cyl.:
The Malibu Hybrids standard fuel tank has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Fusion Hybrids standard fuel tank (15.6 vs. 13.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Malibus standard fuel tank has a gallon more fuel capacity than the Fusion AWDs standard fuel tank (18.5 vs. 17.5 gallons).
The Malibu stops shorter than the Fusion:
As tested by Car and Driver while cruising at 70 MPH, the interior of the Malibu Eco is quieter than the Fusion SE (64 vs. 67 dB).
The Malibu has .3 inches more rear hip room and .2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Fusion.
The Malibu has a larger trunk than the Fusion (16.3 vs. 16 cubic feet).
The Malibu uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Fusion uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
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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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