Review: 2016 Chevy Malibu Hybrid

– Detroit, Michigan

The Chevy Volt is a great car for saving gas, but it won’t fit everyone’s lifestyle. The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, on the other hand, might have a wider appeal: It’s roomier inside, it doesn’t ever need to be plugged in, and it’s also $5,450 cheaper than a Volt (though the Volt is eligible for various tax breaks).

Whereas the last Malibu Hybrid was a so-called mild hybrid system that brought only minor efficiency gains, the new car is a much more thorough attempt to make Chevrolet’s midsizer more save at the pump. Its two-motor hybrid drivetrain is related to the one in the Chevrolet Volt, although the Malibu’s battery is considerably smaller. That means the car doesn’t operate primarily as an EV – the twin electric motors can only power the car short distances at up to 55 mph – but more as a traditional hybrid, with motors aiding the 1.8-liter gasoline engine. That’s enough to make it one of the most efficient non-plug-in cars you can buy today. Better still, the Malibu Hybrid isn’t any worse to drive than its non-hybrid versions.

Pros

  • The Malibu Hybrid is seriously efficient. Though I only averaged 41 miles per gallon compared to the EPA rating of 46 mpg combined, that’s a great figure for a car of this size used in lots of urban driving. The 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid is the only non-plug-in midsize sedan that posts higher figures, with 48 mpg combined. By contrast, the thriftiest non-hybrid version of the Malibu, with the car’s 1.5-liter turbo-four engin...