Consumer Reports says the Chevy Malibu Hybrid gets better fuel economy than any other midsize hybrid sold in America. True, there are compact hybrids like the Toyota Prius that do better, but if you want a hybrid with a little more elbow room, the Malibu is CR’s choice. The “as tested” price of the car was $30,735 dollars. That includes most of the features of the mid level Malibu LT including 17″ alloy wheels plus automatic climate control and an electronic parking brake.
The base Malibu comes with a 1.5 liter 4 cylinder engine. The Malibu Hybrid has a larger 1.8 liter engine but still manages to squeeze 12 more miles out of every gallon of gasoline. That’s a significant increase. CR says with the addition of an electric motor in the powertrain, the Hybrid also outperforms the conventional car in acceleration tests.
Highway fuel economy was an impressive 49 mpg. Overall, the test car returned 41 miles per gallon in combined highway and city driving — the best in its class. It can also operate solely on battery power in some circumstances.
CR went on to say, “The Malibu Hybrid proved secure and forgiving on our track. But it posted a respectable speed through our avoidance maneuver — even bettering that of its nonhybrid sibling. In fact, the Hybrid proved slightly more balanced when cornering on our test track, probably because of the weight of the hybrid battery in the back. The Malibu Hybrid proves every bit as comfortable of a ride as the Toyota Camry, but it trails the luxury-like plushness of the Subaru Legacy. The Chevy absorbs bumps very well and remains composed.”
The testers praised the Malibu Hybrid for its uncluttered interior. It found the infotainment system — which is compatible with both Apple Car Play and Android Auto — easy to use. The Malibu does suffer from some outward visibility issues compared to competitors like the Accord, Camry, and Legacy. Testers also complained that car was harder to get in and out of than its competition. I experienced this recently in a Chevy Cruze rental and attribute it to Chevrolet tucking the front seat passengers behind the B pillar for increased side impact protection.
Consumer Reports found the standard seats uncomfortable and recommends the $2,140 leather seat upgrade which includes a forward collision warning system, automatic emergency braking and blind spot monitoring. Those features should be standard on every new car but aren’t because manufacturers are anxious to keep prices as low as possible in this very competitive segment of the market.