There are over 7 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Hyundai 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 Hyundai Sonata has only front height-adjustable seat belts.
Both the Malibu and Sonata 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 Sonata'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 Sonata doesn't offer a collision warning system.
The Malibu LT/LTZ's optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Sonata doesn't offer a lane departure warning system.
Both the Malibu and the Sonata 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 Malibu stops much shorter than the Sonata:
For better traction, the Malibu has larger standard tires than the Sonata (215/60R16 vs. 205/65R16). The Malibu's optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Sonata (235/50R18 vs. 225/45R18).
The Malibu's standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sonata GLS' 65 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Malibu LTZ offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Sonata's largest wheels are only 18-inches.
The Malibu Eco handles at .83 G's, while the Sonata GLS pulls only .76 G's of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
The Malibu Eco executes Motor Trend's "Figure Eight" maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the Sonata (27.8 seconds @ .6 average G's vs. 28.9 seconds @ .57 average G's).
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 Sonata doesn't offer active grille shutters.
As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Malibu Eco is quieter than the Sonata Limited:
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 Sonata's useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.
The Malibu (except LS) offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The driver can also remotely turn on the heater or air conditioner. The Sonata doesn't offer a remote starting system.
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 Sonata 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 Sonata doesn't offer an easy entry system.
The power windows standard on both the Malibu and the Sonata 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 Sonata 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 Sonata's passenger windows don't open automatically.
The Malibu has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The Sonata only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.
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 Sonata 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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