2011 Kia
Optima LX
vs. 2012 Chevrolet
Malibu LT

2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT

9.5

starting from

$24,115

Reasons to buy the Chevrolet Malibu LT

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Power windows
Standard
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Cruise control
Standard
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Less safe for the driver in side collisions
4 stars
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Power seats
Standard
2011 Kia Optima LX

9.2

Runner-up

Kia Optima LX

starting from

$19,950
"Audio quality is balanced with a nice neutral sound ."
reviews.cnet.com | talking about the Optima's stereo
"Great combination of power, handling, safety and fuel economy."
reviews.cnet.com | talking about the Optima's ride quality

Reasons to buy the Kia Optima LX

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Longer-lasting basic warranty
5 year
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Longer basic warranty
60,000 mile
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Safer for the front passenger in head-on collisions
5 stars
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Less chance of rolling over during emergency lane change
5 stars
Luxury Features 7.8 vs 10.0
2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT Winner: Malibu LT
[details]
  • Almost the same
Cost 10.0 vs 9.0
2011 Kia Optima LX Winner: Optima LX
[details]
  • Basic warranty lasts 2 more years, 5 year vs 3 year
  • Basic warranty lasts 24,000 more miles, 60,000 mile vs 36,000 mile
  • Gets around 10% more miles per gallon in the city, 24 mpg vs 22 mpg
Crash Test Ratings 10.0 vs 9.6
2011 Kia Optima LX Winner: Optima LX
[details]
  • The Optima LX has 1.5x less risk of rolling over, 5 stars vs 4 stars
Road Tests - vs -
Missing information
[details]
  • Both have pokey 1/4 mile times
  • Both have sluggish 0-60 times
  • Both have subpar cornering abilities
Safety Features 10.0 vs -
Missing information
[details]
  • Child door locks come standard
Performance 10.0 vs -
Missing information
[details]
  • Neither has an air compressor to maximize power output
  • Neither has a good drivetrain for off-road or bad weather driving
Practicality 10.0 vs -
Missing information
[details]
  • Both can go pretty far on the highway on a single tank, however the Optima LX in particular gets exceptional range
  • Both have a rear seat that folds down for extra storage space
  • Neither offers a navigation system
Entertainment System 10.0 vs -
Missing information
[details]
  • Neither offers an entertainment system
  • Neither offers satellite radio
Overall 9.2 vs 9.5

Luxury Features

Kia
Optima LX
2011 Kia Optima LX
2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT Chevrolet
Malibu LT
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moon roof Not Available vs Not Available Neither offers a sun roof
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power seats Not Available vs Standard Conveniently adjust your seat with the Malibu LT's power seats; not available on the Optima LX
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keyless entry Standard vs Standard Both have keyless entry
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leather Not Available vs Not Available Neither offers a leather interior

Cost

Kia
Optima LX
2011 Kia Optima LX
2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT Chevrolet
Malibu LT
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MSRP $19,950 vs $24,115 The Optima LX has a great price and the Malibu LT is pretty reasonable
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In-city gas mileage 24 mpg vs 22 mpg Both get OK mileage in the city
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basic warranty miles 60,000 mile vs 36,000 mile The Optima LX's basic warranty is fantastic, but the Malibu LT's warranty is very limited
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basic warranty years 5 year vs 3 year The Optima LX's basic warranty is fantastically long-lasting, but the Malibu LT's warranty is very limited

Crash Test Ratings

Kia
Optima LX
2011 Kia Optima LX
2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT Chevrolet
Malibu LT
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Rollover resistance 5 stars vs 4 stars The Optima LX is exceptionally safe; 1.5x safer than the Malibu LT
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Front driver crash test 5 stars vs 5 stars Good protection, only 10% chance of serious head or chest injuries in a crash
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Driver side crash test 3 stars vs 4 stars Poor protection, 11% to 20% chance of serious chest injuries in a crash

Road Tests

Kia
Optima LX
2011 Kia Optima LX
2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT Chevrolet
Malibu LT
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0-60 mph 9.2 seconds vs 9.0 seconds Both have sluggish 0-60 times
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Braking distance at 60mph 121 ft vs 130 ft The Optima LX has above average braking ability for this class of vehicle, but the Malibu LT is just OK
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1/4 mile 16.9 s @ 84 mph vs 16.8 s @ 84 mph Both have pokey 1/4 mile times
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Lateral acceleration 0.76 g vs 0.75 g Both have subpar cornering abilities
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Top speed Unknown vs Unknown

Safety Features

Kia
Optima LX
2011 Kia Optima LX
2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT Chevrolet
Malibu LT
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antilock brakes Standard vs Standard Both come standard with ABS brakes
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Stability control system Yes vs Unknown
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Airbags 5 vs 5 OK number of airbags
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Rear brakes Disc vs Disc Both have the usual brakes for this class of vehicle
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child door locks Standard vs Standard Child door locks come standard
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Roadside assistance system None vs OnStar

Performance

Kia
Optima LX
2011 Kia Optima LX
2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT Chevrolet
Malibu LT
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Horsepower 200 HP @ 6,300 RPM vs 169 HP @ 6,400 RPM The Optima LX is of average power, but the Malibu LT is underpowered
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Number of gears 6 vs 6 Average number of gears
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Transmission Manual transmission vs Semi-automatic transmission Both the Malibu LT's semi-automatic transmission and the Optima LX's Manual transmission are unusual transmissions for this class of vehicle
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paddle shifters Not Available vs Unknown
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Air compressor None vs None Neither has an air compressor to maximize power output
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Power-to-weight ratio 16.0 lb/hp vs Unknown
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Drivetrain type front-wheel drive vs front-wheel drive Neither has a good drivetrain for off-road or bad weather driving
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Curb-to-curb turning radius 35.8 ft vs Unknown

Practicality

Kia
Optima LX
2011 Kia Optima LX
2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT Chevrolet
Malibu LT
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Passengers 5 vs 5 Average number of seats
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Highway driving range 648 miles vs 528 miles Both can go pretty far on the highway on a single tank, however the Optima LX in particular gets exceptional range
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Cargo space 15.4 ft3 vs 15.1 ft3 Both have OK cargo room
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front seats 60.2 ft3 vs 53.8 ft3 The Optima LX has very spacious front seats, and the Malibu LT is OK
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folding rear seats Standard vs Standard Both have a rear seat that folds down for extra storage space
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power outlets Standard vs Standard Both have power outlets
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roof rails Not Available vs Not Available Neither offers roof rails
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navigation system Not Available vs Not Available Neither offers a navigation system
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Cupholders 8 vs Unknown
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front air conditioning Standard vs Standard A/C for hot summer days comes standard

Entertainment System

Kia
Optima LX
2011 Kia Optima LX
2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT Chevrolet
Malibu LT
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Number of speakers 6 vs Unknown
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Has speed sensitive volume No vs Unknown
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CD player Standard vs Standard CD player comes standard
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premium radio Not Available vs Not Available Neither offers satellite radio
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Has auxiliary audio input Yes vs Unknown
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Has subwoofer No vs Unknown
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entertainment system Not Available vs Not Available Neither offers an entertainment system

Other Vehicles to Consider

2011 Kia Optima LX 2011 BMW 328i Optima LX vs 328i
2011 Kia Optima LX 2011 Audi A4 Premium Optima LX vs A4 Premium
2011 Kia Optima LX 2012 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 R-Spec Optima LX vs Genesis 5.0 R-Spec
2011 Kia Optima LX 2011 Nissan Maxima SV Optima LX vs Maxima SV
2011 Kia Optima LX 2012 Honda Civic DX Optima LX vs Civic DX
2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2012 Chevrolet Cruze LT Malibu LT vs Cruze LT
2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2012 Chevrolet Impala LT Malibu LT vs Impala LT
2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2011 Chevrolet Equinox LT Malibu LT vs Equinox LT
2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2011 Nissan Maxima SV Malibu LT vs Maxima SV
2012 Chevrolet Malibu LT 2011 Dodge Avenger Express Malibu LT vs Avenger Express

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