Updated 2019 Chevy Malibu gains CVT and new RS trim

Chevrolet's 49-mpg Malibu Hybrid carries on for 2019, as well.

Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
Steven Ewing
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The midsize Chevrolet Malibu receives a number of updates for 2019, including a new RS trim that's positioned right in the heart of the lineup. This isn't a performance model, mind you -- it's a styling-oriented package in the same vein as Honda's Accord Sport or Toyota's Camry SE. But Chevy says a Malibu RS will start around $25,000, so it ought to appeal to a large number of customers.

Chevy will offer the RS with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, the same one found in other Malibu models. The 1.5T ditches its six-speed automatic gearbox for 2019, in favor of a continuously variable transmission -- that's not just for the RS, by the way, that's for all 1.5-liter 'Bus. RS models also get unique 18-inch wheels, a black sport grille, black emblems, a rear spoiler and dual exhaust. Inside, the RS gets a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, but cloth seats.

2019 Chevy Malibu
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2019 Chevy Malibu

Unique wheels, a small rear spoiler and dual exhaust outlets mean that's a Malibu RS, friend.


The entire Malibu line gets a restyled front fascia and new taillamps for 2019, as well as new exterior colors and wheel designs. Inside, an 8-inch touchscreen houses Chevy's new Infotainment 3 system, and a backup camera is standard on all trims, even the base Malibu L.

Malibu Premier models get a more powerful 2.0-liter turbo engine, mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The Malibu Hybrid carries over, as well, with its 1.8-liter engine and electric motor, and should still return up to 49 miles per gallon in the city.

Look for the updated Malibu to hit Chevy dealers this fall, with pricing starting in the low $20,000 range.

2019 Chevy Malibu updates include RS model, new front fascia

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