2020 Ford Fusion
2020 Chevy Malibu
|175||Standard Horsepower (HP)||160|
|Yes||Available Hybrid Option||No|
|16||Trunk Space (cu.ft.)||15.7|
A midsize sedan is one of the best value vehicles around. And while it may not have the utility of the more popular compact SUV, a midsize sedan will generally offer a greater variety of luxury features and a sportier feel for the same price. For those interested in modern midsize cars, comparing the 2020 Ford Fusion vs 2020 Chevy Malibu is a great place to start. These two vehicles are among the most popular American sedans on the market, and they offer an excellent array of features and options at an affordable price. However, while they may appear similar at first glance, the 2020 Ford Fusion has numerous advantages over the 2020 Chevy Malibu.
Mechanically, the Ford stands out for its available all-wheel drive system and two separate fuel-saving hybrid configurations, while the Chevy is only available as a gasoline-powered front-wheel drive vehicle. Plus, the 2020 Ford Fusion also offers a much wider array of features and technology on its lower trim levels, ranging from power seats and automatic climate control all the way up to built-in navigation and automatic emergency braking. In fact, Chevy does not offer a single piece of standard driver assistance technology, even on its top trim. This makes the average 2020 Ford Fusion a far safer and more comfortable vehicle than the average 2020 Chevy Malibu. But to see the entire range of differences between the two sedans, a full comparison is necessary.
Mechanically, the 2020 Ford Fusion offers numerous advantages over the 2020 Chevy Malibu. Not only does the Ford have more power than the Chevy, but it also has an available all-wheel drive system that is ideal for winters and two different hybrid drivetrains for enhanced fuel economy.
Comparing Base Engines
The base engine in the 2020 Ford Fusion is a 2.5L four-cylinder producing 175 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. This is the economy engine that is only available in the lowest S trim of the car. The most common engine in the 2020 Ford Fusion is actually a more powerful and more efficient 1.5L turbo that generates 181 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque.
The 2020 Chevy Malibu is also generally found with a 1.5L turbo, but despite being the same size, the Chevy engine has a noticeably inferior 160 hp and a slightly higher 184 lb-ft of torque. Further, the 2020 Ford Fusion pairs its two base engine options with a traditional six-speed automatic transmission that provides a more engaging driving experience than the continuously variable transmission that comes with the Chevy 1.5L engine.
When it comes to the top engine, both cars are equipped with a 2.0L turbo. And while these engines are closer in output, the Ford engine again has the advantage with its 245 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque against the Chevy engine’s 250 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. But more importantly, while the Chevy 2.0L engine is only available in the top trim of the 2020 Chevy Malibu, the Ford 2.0L can be had in the much more affordable SE trim of the 2020 Ford Fusion.
While the Chevy's 2.0L is paired with a more modern nine-speed automatic transmission, the Ford's 2.0L can be equipped with all-wheel drive. Not only does this make the Ford Fusion a safer vehicle in ice, snow, and rain, but it even in good weather it improves handling and acceleration over both cars’ standard front-wheel drive layout. And while even a comparison of the gasoline engines reveals the mechanical superiority of the 2020 Ford Fusion, this car can also be optioned with one of two different hybrid powertrains.
Where the Ford Takes the Competition
The standard 2020 Ford Fusion Hybrid combines a 2.0L Atkinson cycle engine with an 88-kilowatt permanent magnetic motor and a 1.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. Altogether, this powertrain gives it a solid 188 hp on top of its excellent fuel economy of 42 miles per gallon combined. However, even better fuel savings are possible with the Ford Fusion Plug-In Hybrid.
While it is rated for the same 42 miles per gallon combined in normal driving, the Plug-In Hybrid has a much larger 7.6-kilowatt-hour battery that allows it to travel for 26 miles on battery power alone. As long as the car is only used for short trips and is plugged in to recharge afterward, it is possible to not burn any gasoline at all. And the best part is that recharging can be done from any 120-volt power outlet, although installing a 240-volt outlet will cut the recharge time from 7 hours to just 2.5 hours. With these excellent hybrid options, there is no denying the Ford's superiority.
The technology comparison between the 2020 Ford Fusion vs 2020 Chevy Malibu is relatively close, with both cars offering a wide range of both infotainment and active safety technologies. However, the 2020 Ford Fusion has several small advantages that put it into the lead.
Fun Technology Features
Both Chevy and Ford offer a central 8-inch color touch screen in every trim of their midsize sedan, and the Chevy Infotainment 3 and the Ford Synch 3 software share many features. These features include support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing simple smartphone integration for both leading operating systems, as well as the ability to control car features through a manufacturer mobile app.
But while Chevy only offers built-in navigation on the top trim of the 2020 Chevy Malibu, Ford has made this an option on every trim of the 2020 Ford Fusion. Further, the best sound system available in the 2020 Chevy Malibu tops is a nine-speaker Bose setup, while the 2020 Ford Fusion can be equipped with a superior twelve-speaker Sony system. Altogether, the Ford’s selection of infotainment technology is noticeably more capable than that of the Chevy.
Advanced Driver-Assistance Features
And when it comes to advanced driver assistance features, this gap is even more extensive. Every trim of the 2020 Ford Fusion comes standard with an excellent suite of Ford Co-Pilot 360 suite of safety technologies. These include automatic emergency braking, blind-spot, and rear cross-traffic alerts, and lane departure warning.
In comparison, not even the top trim of the 2020 Chevy Malibu has a single standard piece of advanced safety technology. And while the top trims can be equipped with a similar set of technologies for an added price, the lower trims of the Chevy do not even have this option. This significant difference in the availability of driver assistance technologies makes the average 2020 Ford Fusion a much safer vehicle than the average 2020 Chevy Malibu.
When it comes to available luxury and convenience features, the 2020 Ford Fusion is generally a better-equipped vehicle than the 2020 Chevy Malibu. Although both vehicles have a similar feature set in their top trims, Ford offers many more features in the lower trims.
The 2020 Ford Fusion comes with a standard dual-zone automatic climate control system in every trim except the base, and even the base trim has it available as part of an optional package. In comparison, only the top two trims of the 2020 Chevy Malibu have an automatic climate control system. This is a similar story with everything from sunroofs to auto-dimming rearview mirrors; trim for trim the 2020 Ford Fusion is simply better equipped and more comfortable than the 2020 Chevy Malibu.
And on top of having more features in its lower trims, the 2020 Ford Fusion even has some features that are wholly unavailable on the 2020 Chevy Malibu. These include items such as rain-sensing windshield wipers to reduce driver workload, a compass to aid navigation, and fog lights for improved visibility in bad weather. Altogether, these features add up to further enhance the convenience and comfort of the 2020 Ford Fusion.
And while the 2020 Chevy Malibu does have some unique features of its own, such as heated rear seats to keep all the passengers warm and automatic parking assist to semi-autonomously steer the vehicle into tight spaces, these features tend to only be available on only the highest trims, which makes them less than relevant to the vast majority of buyers. With all of that said, the 2020 Ford Fusion has a lot more to offer in terms of the interior features.