The automotive industry is full of models, some of which have been around for quite a long time. This shows us that they managed to evolve through history to remain relevant and offer something that customers want.
Among the many options that are still available today is the Chevrolet Malibu. This model has been around technically since the 60s, and despite taking a break in the 80s and 90s, it’s still a popular domestic choice.
For today’s list of tires for Chevrolet Malibu, I went with the latest generation with 17-inch size tires, as it seems to be the most common one out there.
#1. Continental TrueContact Tour
For my first tire option, I’m aiming at a touring option from the premium segment. Continental is known for making excellent tires, and the TrueContact Tour is one of the best in this category.
In dry conditions, the TrueContact Tour is a model that will get the job done. As a premium model, I was expecting a bit more, but unfortunately, it’s a bit behind some of its rivals in the same category. Don’t get me wrong, the grip and traction levels are far higher than what you’d need for your Malibu, and you won’t notice too much slip, but it’s not the best in class. The same goes for the braking distances. Even though they are quite short, they aren’t the shortest. The handling is pretty decent, and the tire delivers solid amounts of responsiveness with enough feedback.
Wet is where most Continental tires shine, so the TrueContact Tour doesn’t disappoint here. The tire delivers marvelous levels of grip and traction, putting it near the top of the segment. You can get a bit aggressive, and the tire won’t let go of the road. This comes combined with some of the shortest braking distances in the grand touring segment. In harsh rainy conditions, the grooves are doing an excellent job at evacuating water, so the aquaplaning resistance is excellent.
Snow is where the tire shows that it’s an all-season model. The TrueContact Tour delivers decent traction on unpacked snow and deals with the packed one acceptably well, but not as good as some of the other models. You are getting acceptably short braking distances, so I’d advise you to be a bit cautious. Overall, the tire is good but not the best.
Refinement is an area where the TrueContact Tour shows who’s the boss. The tire’s comfort levels are excellent, and despite the slightly stiffer sidewall, the tire is very comfortable without being too bouncy. In terms of noise levels, it’s very quiet, even when driving at highway speeds or rougher surfaces. The only noticeable thing is a thump when you go over a pothole.
Warranty is something that Continental does well, and it shows with this tire. The TrueContact Tour comes with an 80,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is very close to the top.
- Superb wet performance
- High refinement levels
- Among the longest treadwear warranty in this segment
- Dry performance is a bit behind some of its rivals
- Traction on snow isn’t the best in class
#2. Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Plus
I’m continuing with the same class of tires, and this is another one from the premium segment. My next tire option is from Pirelli, another premium tire manufacturer, and the model in question is the P4 Four Seasons Plus.
Even though we’re not talking about a grand touring model, the P4 Four Seasons Plus delivers pretty good performance levels. The grip and traction levels will eliminate slip, which is what most people need in daily driving scenarios. There is a bit of room to push it, but don’t expect miracles. As part of the package, you’re also getting very short braking distances. The handling is as you’d expect it to be. There’s a good amount of responsiveness from a tire that’s relatively precise, with not a lot of feedback, which is to be expected in this class.
Wet condition is something that the P4 Four Seasons Plus doesn’t do so well. On damp surfaces, the grip and traction levels are behind some of the rivals in this class. It’s not terrible in any regard, but it’s not a class-leading model. The weakest point of this tire is the braking distance. When compared with some of its rivals, Pirelli’s model is behind, delivering longer braking distances despite being a premium tire. On the other hand, the aquaplaning resistance is decent, and the tire is stable enough at highway speeds.
Surprisingly, the snow performance of the P4 Four Seasons Plus is pretty decent. The tire manages to provide decent traction on unpacked snow as long as it’s not too deep. Packed snow is a bit problematic, so you’ll notice the tire struggling a bit more. This is as much as you can expect from an all-season model. It’s usable enough for some people.
When it comes to refinement, the P4 Four Seasons Plus is a very good performer. The comfort levels are excellent, and the tire deals with bumps and road imperfections like a premium tire should. It absorbs and softens them while keeping the vibrations at a minimum. The noise levels are pretty low, but you’ll hear more from the tire, especially at highway speeds. Around town, it’s pretty quiet.
The biggest advantage the P4 Four Seasons Plus has over the previous tire is the warranty. Pirelli sells it with a 90,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is among the longest in class.
- Long treadwear warranty
- Very comfortable
- Dry performance is excellent
- The noise levels are a bit higher than its rivals at highway speeds
- Performance in wet conditions is average for this category
#3. Hankook Kinergy ST
You’ll find plenty of touring tires from the mid-range segment, and the next one is from Hankook. The model in question is the Kinergy ST, which is an excellent choice for your Malibu.
In normal driving conditions, the Kinergy ST will provide you with plenty of performance. Sure, the grip and traction levels won’t be on the same level as the premium models, so you won’t have a lot of room to push it. One thing I have to praise is the very short braking distances. The handling is more or less as I was expecting. It’s acceptably responsive, with not a lot of feedback. Overall, the performance is fine for most average drivers, which is why I’m including it on this list.
In wet conditions, the Kinergy ST continues to deliver solid results. On a damp road, the traction will be enough to eliminate slip, and the grip will help the car go around a corner without promoting understeer. Keep in mind that this is for normal driving situations. Pushing it too much will get it to let go. Similar to the previous tire, the braking distances aren’t impressive. They are short and safe but not the shortest in its category. On the other hand, the aquaplaning resistance is excellent even when driving at higher speeds.
The weakest point of the Kinergy ST is the winter performance. It’s barely acceptable in lighter conditions, like unpacked snow. The traction levels are average for this category, and you won’t have a lot to rely on. Things don’t improve much on packed snow, making the tire a bit uneasy in these conditions. As you can guess, the tire is completely useless in harsher conditions.
As a mid-range model, the Kinergy ST is quite well-refined. The noise levels are excellent, and the tire is very quiet. There is a bit of hum that you may notice, but that’s only if you’re driving on the highway. The comfort levels are also pretty good for a mid-range tire. It smooths smaller cracks in the road without feeling bouncy. The only thing you’ll notice is a bit of a jolt when you hit a larger pothole.
The warranty isn’t the strongest side of this tire. You’ll get the Kinergy ST with a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is behind the premium and some of its mid-range rivals.
- Solid performance in dry conditions
- Well refined
- The aquaplaning resistance is excellent
- The braking distances on wet roads are a bit longer than its rivals
- Barely usable performance in snowy conditions
#4. Cooper CS5 Grand Touring
There are many touring options in the mid-range segment that are competing against the Hankook. The next one is from Cooper, and it’s the CS5 Grand Touring.
The performance of the CS5 Grand Touring in dry conditions is excellent. There’s plenty of traction to minimize slip, even if you get a bit carried away when accelerating. The cornering grip is also plentiful, so unless you decide to push it hard, the tire will be fine. This comes with braking distances that are very short when compared with other tires from this segment. The handling is something that enthusiasts won’t like too much. You will find the tire to be responsive enough, but it still trails behind some mid-range models. Also, you won’t have a lot of feedback to work with.
As a mid-range option, the CS5 Grand Touring does a good job of delivering performance in wet conditions. The traction on damp surfaces is enough to eliminate or minimize slip under normal conditions. Flooring your Malibu will result in a lot of slips, and throwing it into a corner hard means that you’ll experience plenty of understeer. It’s good for normal driving, which is backed by short braking distances. Harsh rain also won’t be a massive problem, thanks to the tire’s excellent aquaplaning resistance.
In light winter conditions, the CS5 Grand Touring will deliver usable performance. There’s enough traction on shallow and unpacked snow, so you’ll be fine if you live in an area with mild winters. Driving on packed snow is doable, but as good of a job as the sipes do to offer traction, it’s not a replacement for a proper winter tire.
The CS5 Grand Touring is well-refined, so you won’t have a lot to complain about. You’ll have very good comfort levels from a tire that can smooth road imperfections without issues. Larger potholes are softened up to a point, and the vibrations will be kept at a minimum. The noise levels are also pretty low. Around town, the tire is generally quiet, as it is on the highway. It can get audible over rougher surfaces but is not overly noticeable.
Despite being a mid-range model, the warranty is premium-like. The CS5 Grand Touring comes with an 80,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is on the same level as the Continental model.
- Premium-like treadwear warranty
- Solid performance in multiple conditions
- Comfort and noise levels are very good
- The handling is average
- Struggles a bit over packed snow
#5. Goodyear Assurance MaxLife
I’m going back to the premium tires with another standard touring model. I’m talking about the Assurance MaxLife from Goodyear, a tire designed with longevity in mind.
Even though we’re talking about a touring tire, the Assurance MaxLife does a phenomenal job of delivering plenty of performance. The grip and traction levels are higher than what most people would need in daily driving scenarios. This leaves plenty of room to push the tire if you want to have some fun, but there’s a slight downside. The handling isn’t the best, and the responsiveness and feedback are average, even for a touring tire.
The impressive performance of the Assurance MaxLife continues in wet conditions. There’s plenty of traction to minimize slip when accelerating, and the grip levels will prevent understeer in the corners. The limits are higher than what you’d probably need for everyday driving, so don’t expect wonders if you push it too much. Even if you do, the tire is controllable and won’t catch you by surprise. This tire’s aquaplaning resistance is another strong side, keeping it planted in harsh rain with no issues.
In winter conditions, the Assurance MaxLife is good as long as you don’t expect too much. The tire will perform adequately in lighter conditions, meaning the traction levels will be usable on packed and unpacked snow. Deep snow or ice is something that the tire won’t deal excellently.
I feel that the refinement is the weakest point of the Assurance MaxLife. The tire’s comfort levels are okay-ish but not the best in class. There is some firmness to it, preventing it from softening imperfections or potholes as good as some of its rivals. The noise levels are decent, and the tire isn’t the loudest of the bunch. You’ll hear it a bit more at higher speeds, and it won’t be too intrusive when driving around town.
The warranty is excellent, which is to be expected, considering the name. You’ll get the Assurance MaxLife with an 85,000-mile treadwear warranty, putting it a bit behind the Pirelli model.
- Dry and wet performance is very good
- Easy to control on the limit
- Stable in harsh rain
- The handling isn’t the most responsive
- Not as well refined as some of its rivals
#6. Michelin CrossClimate 2
All the models so far have been standard touring options, so what if you want something from the grand touring segment? If you do, then the CrossClimate 2 is among the best options on the market.
The CrossClimate 2 is one of the best grand touring tires when it comes to dry performance. There’s plenty of grip and traction for normal driving, leaving you with plenty of room to push it if you want to. This tire is the complete package, meaning you’re also getting some of the shortest braking distances in the category. When it comes to handling, there are two sides. On the one hand, you have a grand touring that’s quite responsive, while on the other, the tire won’t provide you with a lot of feedback.
Rainy conditions are something that the CrossClimate 2 won’t struggle with. The traction levels are phenomenal, and the tire eliminates slip with ease. In the corners, the grip will be more than enough to keep the car planted. Yes, you can push it past its limits, but very few people will try to reach that point. Safety is another thing this tire does right, thanks to the short braking distances. In harsh rain, the tread pattern evacuates water very well, providing super aquaplaning resistance.
The CrossClimate 2 has a 3PMSF rating, meaning that the winter performance is a bit better than some of its rivals. It can deal with unpacked snow quite well, even if it’s a slightly deeper patch. The tire continues to deliver performance even on packed snow and combines that with short braking distances. As good as it is, it won’t be an ideal option for harsh winter conditions.
As far as refinement is concerned, Michelin nailed it with the CrossClimate 2. The tire’s irons out smaller imperfections quite well, offering a smooth ride. It can soften larger bumps or potholes without transferring vibrations into the cabin. The noise levels are on the lower end of the spectrum. It’s very quiet around town, and there’s a bit of hum on the highway, which is almost unnoticeable.
Despite the bump in warranty over its predecessor, it’s not the best in this category. The CrossClimate 2 comes with a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is behind some of its premium rivals.
- Very short braking distances
- More than enough grip and traction for daily driving on dry and wet roads
- Superb refinement
- Among the more expensive options in this class
- The treadwear warranty is behind some of its competitors
#7. Firestone Destination LE3
The last of the all-season touring options for today’s list is a highway tire from a mid-range manufacturer. I’m talking about the Destination LE3 from Firestone. It’s technically for CUVs and SUVs, but it comes in a size that would fit a Malibu.
In dry conditions, the Destination LE3 delivers pretty good results. It’s far from a performance tire, but the grip and traction levels will provide more than what you’d need in daily driving scenarios. There’s even a bit of room to push it without worrying about losing control. The handling is pretty good, considering that it’s a highway tire. It’s responsive enough, and you can make those minor corrections without the tire struggling to follow your commands.
The tire continues to impress in wet conditions as well. With the Destination LE3, you’re looking at performance levels that are more than enough to eliminate slip or understeer on damp roads. You’re also getting very short braking distances, putting it near the top of the mid-range segment. Like with any tire, you can push it too much, and it will let go of the road, but it will do that predictably, so you won’t have any surprises. Finally, you’re also looking at excellent aquaplaning resistance, which is to be expected from a highway tire.
Winter performance with the Destination LE3 is available but with some limitations. In lighter conditions, the tire offers solid levels of traction on unpacked snow with a slight drop over packed one. It’s usable if you don’t have harsh winters in your area, at which point the tire starts to struggle.
The Destination LE3 is a highway tire, meaning you’re getting high refinement levels. In terms of noise, the tire is very quiet around town and even at higher speeds. There is a bit of noise over rougher roads, but it’s nothing that most people would complain about. You’re also getting high comfort levels. The tire will smooth road imperfections and soften potholes. The only thing I should mention is that it may feel a bit unsettled in certain conditions. It’s noticeable when you’re driving over repetitive imperfections.
As far as the warranty is concerned, Firestone did an excellent job. The tire comes with a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is quite good for this category.
- The performance is on par with some premium models
- Refinement is excellent
- Usable in lighter winter conditions
- It may struggle a bit over repetitive road imperfections
- Needs just a bit more feedback
#8. Bridgestone Blizzak WS90
All-season tires are usable in light winter, but for the harsher conditions, you’d want to have a proper winter tire. An excellent option for your Malibu is the Blizzak WS90 from Bridgestone.
As a premium tire, the Blizzak WS90 doesn’t disappoint in terms of dry performance. Thanks to the high traction levels, the tire hooks to the road and eliminates slip whenever you need to accelerate. It’s the same story when going into a corner. The grip levels are excellent, and the tire will help your car go around a corner without too much understeer. With this, you’re also getting some of the shortest braking distances in this category, meaning your safety won’t be compromised. The biggest surprise is in the handling department. The tire is quite responsive for a winter tire and offers a decent amount of feedback.
Wet performance is another aspect of the Blizzak WS90 that deserves high praise. The traction and grip combo is doing an excellent job, and the tire claws to the road, offering plenty of performance and, most importantly, safety. You can see that with the braking distances, which are among the shortest in its class. The tire continues to impress even in harsh rain. It offers excellent aquaplaning resistance, meaning the stability at highway speeds won’t be compromised.
The Blizzak WS90 is a winter tire, and this is where it shines. It doesn’t matter if you drive on packed or unpacked snow; the traction will be excellent. The tire won’t struggle unless you get aggressive and will follow your inputs without feeling like it’s about to lose control as soon as you turn into a corner. Even when you drive in deeper snow, you’ll notice that the tire will do that effortlessly. Ice can be tricky, but this tire still manages to offer usable performance. Keep in mind that this is for situations where you’re in a pinch.
When it comes to refinement, the Blizzak WS90 disappoints a bit. The noise levels are fine around town or on the highway as long as the road is smooth. Over rougher surfaces, the growl is noticeable. In terms of comfort, it’s decent and offers a smooth riding experience, especially when it comes to absorbing larger blows. With that said, there’s a bit more vibration than some people would like.
- Marvelous snow performance
- Usable traction on ice
- Superb performance in dry and wet conditions
- The noise levels are a bit higher on rougher roads
- You’ll notice a bit more vibrations in the cabin
#9. Cooper Discoverer True North
We have a model from the mid-range segment within the same category as the previous tire. The Discoverer True North won’t have the same performance levels, but it makes that up for the lower price tag.
Regarding dry performance, the Discoverer True North does a solid job. The grip and traction levels are pretty good, and even though it’s behind the previous model, the performance should be fine for most people. With that said, the braking distances show that it’s a mid-range model. They are short and safe but noticeably longer than some of its premium rivals. As for handling, it’s a winter tire. The responsiveness is acceptable and should be fine with most people. With that said, I feel like it needs just a bit more precision.
In rainy conditions, the Discoverer True North offers pretty good performance. For the most part, the grip and traction levels will be enough for daily driving, but they won’t leave you a lot of room to push it. The biggest drawback is that once you go over the limit, it can catch you by surprise and start to understeer. On a positive note, you have short braking distances combined with excellent aquaplaning resistance.
The Discoverer True North is a winter tire, so you can expect to see some solid performance in these conditions. For normal driving conditions, the grip and traction levels will be more than enough for most people. It deals with all kinds of snow in lighter conditions with ease, and it will be fine in deeper patches. They are a bit behind the previous model, which is to be expected. In icy conditions, the tire offers usable performance and, like before – one that’s a bit behind some of the premium models.
When it comes to refinement, the Discoverer True North has two sides. On the slightly positive side, we have the comfort levels. The tire does a solid enough job of softening potholes and smoothing road imperfections. On the other hand, we have the noise levels. I wouldn’t call it obnoxiously loud, but the tire is a bit more noticeable on the road, even when compared with the previous tire.
- Dry and wet performance is pretty good
- Deals with winter conditions excellently
- Short braking distances in wet conditions
- Needs a bit more precise handling
- The noise levels are average
#10. Cooper Evolution Winter
I’m on a roll with Cooper models for a Malibu, and the last model I’ll talk about is a studdable one. The previous two were good for winter, but a studdable tire is the one you should be looking at if you need more.
As a mid-range option, the Evolution Winter does a very good job of delivering performance for daily driving. The grip and traction levels come in abundance, so it won’t feel like you’re constantly driving on the limit. There is some room to push it, but once you do, you’ll notice that it’s a bit behind some of its premium rivals. This also includes the braking distances. They’re short, but not as short as the previous two. The tire has a relatively soft nature, meaning the responsiveness will be average, and you won’t have a lot of feedback.
Surprisingly, the Evolution Winter does a pretty good job in wet conditions. On damp roads, the traction levels are excellent, and the tire will minimize slip as long as you’re not overly aggressive. It’s the same with the cornering grip. For normal driving, the tire will go around a corner with no issues. Also, the braking distances are among the shortest in this segment. For aquaplaning resistance, the tread pattern does a very good job of keeping the tire stable in harsh rain, even when you’re driving on the highway.
Without the studs, the Evolution Winter is a pretty good performer. It deals with unpacked snow well, and even though it may struggle a bit in very deep patches, it will do a very good job of delivering traction. Packed snow is often a bit problematic, and this tire isn’t immune from that. Despite that, it still delivers more than enough performance for most people. As for ice, it trails behind its premium rivals, which is to be expected. That is, until you fit the studs. The performance is much better, and you won’t feel like you’re driving on ice. There’s a lot more traction, and the tire is much easier to handle.
When it comes to refinement, you can probably guess how it performs. The Evolution Winter is generally a comfortable tire that deals with road imperfections and potholes nicely. The only noticeable thing is that it may feel bouncy when you’re driving on broken roads. As for the noise levels, it’s a winter tire, so it won’t be quiet. The hum you’ll hear around town isn’t terrible, but the noise levels increase when you get on the highway.
- Studdable for improved winter performance
- More than enough performance for everyday driving
- Short braking distances in multiple conditions
- The price isn’t too far off from the premium models
- It may feel a bit bouncy at times