In this work, we designed and synthesized 35 new triazolopyrimidine, pyrazolopyrimidine and quinoline derivatives as P. falciparum inhibitors (3D7 strain). Thirty compounds exhibited anti-P. falciparum activity, with IC50 values ranging from 0.030 to 9.1 μM. The [1,2,4]triazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine derivatives were more potent than the pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine and quinoline analogues. Compounds 20, 21, 23 and 24 were the most potent inhibitors, with IC50 values in the range of 0.030-0.086 μM and were equipotent to chloroquine. In addition, the compounds were selective, showing no cytotoxic activity against the human hepatoma cell line HepG2. All [1,2,4]triazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine derivatives inhibited PfDHODH activity in the low micromolar to low nanomolar range (IC50 values of 0.08-1.3 μM) and did not show significant inhibition against the HsDHODH homologue (0-30% at 50 μM).