Chevy's midsize Malibu sedan marks model-year 2013 with a redesign and a new addition: The higher-fuel-economy Eco mild hybrid joins the lineup this year. How well does Chevrolet's popular family sedan handle child-safety seats?
For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat.
The front seats are adjusted to a comfortable position for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant seat and convertible seats are installed behind the passenger seat. We also install the infant seat in the second row's middle seat with the booster and convertible in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit. If there’s a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible.
Here's how the Chevy Malibu did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: In the backseat, there are five lower Latch anchors — unusual for a sedan. Normally there are just two sets in each outboard seat. The Malibu adds one anchor in the middle seat, allowing parents to use Latch anchors in a variety of seating positions. Parents should be sure not to use one Latch anchor for more than one child-safety seat. The anchors aren't very recessed, so they're easy to access, especially with the rigid connectors. There are three tether anchors on the rear shelf under hinged plastic covers.
Booster seat: Although there's some bolstering in the seat, it worked to our advantage in this car, helping keep the booster in place. The buckles are relatively recessed, however, which might make them difficult for children to use.
Convertible seat: The forward-facing convertible fit easily in the second row, though the seat bolsters got in the way and made it a bit difficult to find a good fit. For the rear-facing convertible, we had more trouble with the seat bolstering; it made it difficult to find a flat, stable surface for the car seat. To achieve the right fit, the front seat passenger had to move the seat forward quite a bit, leaving only an inch between her knees and the glove box.
Infant-safety seat: The seat was easy to install with traditional Latch connectors, but it took up a lot of space. We also had to move the front passenger seat forward when installing this rear-facing car seat. Again, the passenger had only an inch between her knees and the glove box.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Two
Editor's note: For three car seats — infant-safety seat, convertible and booster seats — to fit in a car, our criterion is that a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat.