By on December 11, 2015

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

Chevrolet announced this week that its hybridized version of the mid-sized Malibu would start at $28,645 including destination, for a fuel-sipping, 48 city-mpg, long-legged miler with all kinds of good looks.

Those are the facts.

Also true: the Ford Fusion Hybrid is $3,585 less expensive (although it only manages 41 mpg in the city), the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is $1,810 less expensive (40 mpg city), the Toyota Camry Hybrid is $1,220 less dear (although it manages 43 mpg in the city) — so only the 50-mpg Honda Accord Hybrid starts at a higher price ($1,495 more).

The Malibu Hybrid will be available only in LT trim when it goes on sale in the spring.

The hybrid Malibu sedan sports a 1.8-liter turbo four and a 1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery that can power the car alone up to 55 mph. According to Chevrolet, the car weighs 300 pounds less than its predecessor, but sports a 4-inch longer wheelbase.

The Malibu Hybrid will sport a 7-inch MyLink touchscreen (an 8-inch screen will be available) and LTE hotspot as standard.

A nation of potential mid-size hybrid buyers just wondered aloud if the mid-size, middle-priced Malibu Hybrid constituted a good deal from the Bow Tie brand.

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63 Comments on “2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Priced At $28,645, Nation Furrows Brow...”


  • avatar

    Maybe it’s just me, but maybe Chevy should have dropped the Malibu name again years ago. When is the last time they were competitive/desirable? 1972? Maybe 1977? No one cared for the stretched Grand Am model of the late 1990s, not many cared for the squared-off Saab of the early 00’s. Maybe some liked the seventh generations powerful V6 and muscle car d-pillars? Every time I see an eighth generation, I still can’t believe someone thought it was OK to sell that as a largish family sedan with 3 smaller cars under it. It just looks so cobbled together.

    The new one looks like a smaller Impala, which everyone likes, but no one buys. Maybe people are used to getting Impalas for 18 grand, after they ruined the name by slapping it on a squared off Lumina. Not sure what the fix is at this point, I’m sure they don’t want to call the new Malibu the Celebrity, or the Corsica. Full disclosure, I had a V6 Corsica in high school, and everyone told me they hated my car. I swear, it wasn’t THAT bad…

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Malibu is fine. Better than doing the whole Cavalier, Cobalt, Cruze deal. While the Malibu isn’t in my top five of midsized cars, it’s fine. A name change isn’t going to make it better. I only trust GM to make the name worse. They can’t even figure out a better name for their BEV than Bolt.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      The last gen Malibu (2008-2012) was fairly competitive and well regarded. It was not as good as the Camry/Accord (although arguably better looking) but it was by no means a bad choice.

      Then Chevy completely ruined it for the current gen by shrinking it in Chevy’s stupid quest to give more space between the Malibu and the Impala (even though one of the main complaints about the previous one was how narrow it was and its ramifications on interior space)

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      The eighth generation was the absolute failure.

      My memory of these: 1997 – 03 – Hey! It’s not a Corsica! Is that really a Cutlass under there? (I know a guy who drives one of these; it has been bulletproof for him; he makes six figures a year, and his wife drives a nice car, but he just loves the little “basic transportation++”)

      2004-07 – The later you go in the run, the better. The 3500 got better. They removed that ugly metal bar across the front. Apart from the steering column – which was done right in 2007 – and the inclusion in the vast swath of GM recalls, I continue to be surprised by how reliable my Uglibu is ten years on. Further, I like the balance of a 200-ish V6 and the fuel economy trade off.

      2008-2012 – They climbed up the mountain and were given a view of the promised land. This one was a nice car. I still think it would have benefitted from a third engine – I am a fan of the V6 configuration instead of a turbo 4 with GM’s steering because the bigger V6 had a bit too much torque steer as GM will always reserve the nice front steering for Buick.

      2013-2015: And so, it ends, worse than it began. My Uglibu was good side-to-side but bad front-to-back. The previous generation Malibu was good front-to-back, not so good side-to-side. This one was worth in both dimensions of driver and passenger comfort. I couldn’t see why you’d get one of these instead of a Cruze if you wanted a commuter car. And it was a dog compared to the “Super Accord V6” in a straight line. I had one for a while as a long term rental – I felt like it was made by a committee to answer “this is nice” “this is OK I guess” “this is nice too”, and they really satisfied nobody. I continue to believe they have done and do the Regal wrong, too, so I think it was just a brainworm that took over at GM and made this abomination happen.

      Without an Oldsmobile, I remain puzzled by General Motors – I can’t get a V6 Malibu because I have to buy an Impala. I can’t get AWD unless I buy a Buick or a Cadillac. I can’t get comfortable seats unless I buy a Buick. Then again, the American middle class is no longer the majority economic segment, and the Oldsmobile was the middle class man’s car. That’s probably why I’ll eventually replace my Malibu with a Ford, unless the 200 gets a good long-term quality rating.

      • 0 avatar

        GM really only needs to be Chevrolet and Cadillac right now. Oldsmobile’s reason to exist dried up 35 years ago.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I agree with “GM needs to be only Chevrolet and Cadillac.” And I was a huge Oldsmobile fan for decades. Owned two new and several used ones over the decades. The Olds Rocket V8 was the best there was.

          Buick needs to given to GM of Shanghai and GMC folded into the Chevrolet Truck division as a “Professional Grade” option for industry.

        • 0 avatar
          rpol35

          You sure you don’t mean Buick? Oldsmobile went away in 2004.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The N-body Malibu was probably the best selling of the bunch as it really sold MY95 to MY04 with fleet only “Classic” models being available after 2003. These things were everywhere about 1999/00 and today they are still around but I’d say 60-70% are already gone. The best was clearly the Ep I LWB model from MY08-12 and was sold in MY13 as a fleet model.

        GM needs to decide what to do with its so called midsizes in all three of its marques. Regal, although I understand what happened with the Saturn thing, is basically a failure in almost every metric. The Alpha CTS has been a failure in most metrics. The Malibu’s saving grace vs these was its volume but it also suffered from some of the same issues as its cousin brand models.

        Speaking more about the Buick and Chevrolet models, the Delta IIs cut into the reason to buy a Malibu or Regal. I’m surprised there were 200K units of Malibu even sold at all after MY12, why should I spend more to get the same I4? Sure if you break it down well I can get a 2.0 or 2.0T in this vs a 1.8 in this and the 2.0 is better because etc yeah I get it. Its still an I4 and its still a small car, and don’t get me wrong I have a small car about Cruze size and I like it, but its just me or one passenger I’m hauling around. So what happens when I need a house worth of groceries or additional child passengers? The first Epi Malibu was great for this as I had seen first hand, and its limited V6 offering aside the model was a decent tool for such a job (as is Camcord) and the pricing was closer to the small car at the time. Now? I either have to get the “big” Ep II, leave GMs brands if I want a V6 option car of reasonable size, or I *have* to look at Traverse/Tahoe/Equinox which I believe is the point. The only other logical thing I can suggest is go coupe only in this between Cruze and Ep II Impala segment OR go coupe with suicide doors a la Saturn SC2, Say what you will about Z-body Saturn but those little doors were a fricking brilliant idea which was continued on the Ion but later dropped altogether. Come up with an attractive FWD two door coupe with suicide doors and visibility which can access a child seat and you’ve got something. Buick’s doing the coupe/conv things finally so do a Chev version without a conv option but offers suicide doors and some practicality instead.

        Oh and I would love to meet the guy who put threat protection on a N-body 3100, its not even the right motor/platform of the period to invest in.

    • 0 avatar
      wumpus

      The late 70s model was pretty good (assuming you got the V8. 305-350 (depending on the year. I had the 305) with a 4 barrel carb. Detuned out the wazzo, but presumably that was fixable (I didn’t, but then the wagon couldn’t steer). The V6 was combined with a chevette transmission that was the subject of a recall/class action suit (not sure the whole story, just something told in passing).

      That wagon lasted till the mid 90s (at that point it was just stored in a lot while I bounced around the country). Not what I would buy in a car (unless, like my parents I wanted to haul a basketball team/cubscout den around), but boy did it do everything asked of it.

      While bouncing around the country, one of the better rental cars I could get was the V6 Corsica. In those days, when you got a Corsica (which was plenty), you looked down and hoped to see L1,L2 (guessing from memory) which told you it was a V6. Should you have the 4, you also got the 3 speed transmission which meant the 4 cylinders rated 150hp would *never* happen because it was so peaky (I think I got once while trying to merge in California and it was a blink and you missed it occasion). Of course, it was bland as you could get so I see high school types hating it. You could do a lot worse paying for/maintaining lots of cars that high schoolers like.

      • 0 avatar

        I had the V6 Corsica with the 3 speed auto. It had the torque to take off at stoplights, especially compared to most other cars of the late 80s. Unfortunately the gearing meant a top speed or around 90 and terrible highway mileage. To this day, men, women, and small children make a face when I tell them I owned a Corsica. I thought it was plain and modern in a way that aged well compared to other fwd sedans of the time.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          I had a 1996 3100/4 speed auto Corsica during 1997-1999 and liked the car overall. It made a great little commuter with plenty of power and mid 30’s highway mileage. It would also blow away V6 Mustangs and most 4 cylinder cars of the time. Nobody ever made faces at me except in surprise when I blew past them at the stop lights!

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      How about “BelAir” or “Vega”?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I would need to see more than just this costs X less and this costs Y more before I dismiss out of hand this is over priced.

    As I understand the new world order, LT is the second from the top tier for the new ‘bu, coming in L, LS, LT, and Premier or something like that trims. I could be wrong – gladly corrected.

    So the question for me is what does the extra Cheddar get me in comparison beyond more MPGeeeez.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      What advantages does this Malibu have over.. say… a train? Which I could also afford.

      Realistically, I think part of the price being more is because Ford and Toyota use port injected, naturally aspirated four cylinder engines in their hybrids. The hybrid system probably also costs more than the Ford/Toyota powersplit device.

      • 0 avatar
        derekson

        The price difference is largely trim level. You can get a Fusion Hybrid in the base S trim.

        Not sure how that works out in terms of actual equipment comparisons.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The Fusion Hybrid SE starts at $26K, so there is still some difference. Until the options are released, who knows. The Fusion Hybrid Titanium starts at $31K.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          Also, the Fusion EPA estimated MPG is 44 city, 41 highway, not 41 city as Aaron reported. I drive the PHEV drivetrained Fusion, and I’d say those number are spot on, provided you drive 65-70 on the highway. We did a 900 mile highway trip last year and got 39 mpg, but that was going 75 whenever possible, which was most of the time.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        You’ll notice that the heated gas pedal warms your feet while you drive, while the… gently massages your buttocks. Well Count Homer, shall we discuss the…

    • 0 avatar
      dougjp

      Agree, if there is something with a clear deficit here, its the article which has a complete lack of comparative features. Names and their prices? That’s it, that’s all? Please…..

  • avatar
    bts

    What’s interesting to see is the Malibu hybrid gets better combined MPG when running in gas mode than the Volt, 47 vs 42. The two hybrid drivetrains were developed together, but since the Malibu is expected to run in gas mode way more often than the Volt they must have optimized for that. This hybrid system is one of the best out there and should definitely be put in more of their cars.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      It should get better MPG in gas mode. Most plug ins get worse MPG in gas mode than their equivalent hybrid. The Prius plug in and C-Max Energi are good examples of this.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      I stand to be corrected, of course, but the difference may be that hybrids such as the Prius and Escape Hybrid, when running in gas-engine only mode, basically have the engine propelling the car. When hybrids such as the Volt are running their gas engine, they are using it to turn a generator which charges the hybrid battery which powers an electric motor to propel the vehicle. The latter system may be more capable in ev mode, but it just has to have significant conversion losses when running the gas engine. Which shows up as a mileage cost, which explains the Volt’s unimpressive mileage once its plug-in charge is used up. Sounds to me like the Malibu hybrid system is like the Prius/Escape setup rather than like the Volt.

    • 0 avatar
      wumpus

      Some of that should be from the weight of the batteries. Add a few hundred pounds and you can easily drop from 47 to 42.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    What’s the point of a Malibu hybrid? Gas where I live is $1.89. Payback period? Never.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      Which of us is dumber?

      You, for judging and planning according to today’s price of gas?

      Or me, for wondering why the hell this sad, unsalable sedan is getting any further life at all when GM has great CUV platforms on which they should lavish their resources?

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Yes, because the price of oil will forever be $35 a barrel and we won’t have to sell cars ever again.

      GM, Chrysler, Ford – 2002

    • 0 avatar
      Krivka

      If it gets twice the mileage, you still save 1/2 of what you would spend on gas. No matter what the price is.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Wrap your mind around the idea that some people would spend extra money to buy cars that get excellent mileage even if gas was free.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        I just love how the Volt drives and the fact that I can run it on electricity most of the time. That’s my payback. I should have a used one in my garage within 3 months. The fact that gas is under $2 a gallon in MN currently makes it the perfect time to buy one.

        I get what your saying with buying a new hybrid Malibu, but good to see GM is looking into the future with their product planning versus the next fiscal quarter.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        Free gas? Hmm….I’d say 99% of people wouldn’t care at all about fuel economy if the fuel was free. Only the most dedicated tree huggers would care, but they’re so far in the minority that it is insignificant.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      65Corvair,
      Your calculation of payback period is off. At $28,245, the Malibu Hybrid is $2,750 more than the regular 1LT Malibu.

      With gas at $2/gallon and driving 12,000 miles/year, you would spend $533 annually on gas in the hybrid (45 mpg), vs. $800 in the regular Malibu (30 mpg).

      Which means you would make back your money in 10 years with the hybrid. With a likely lifetime of 20 years, the hybrid owner saves a couple thousand dollars.

      Learn math before you spout.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        The math works out.

        In a sane world (where the price of gas reflects its impact on the environment, cultures, geopolitics, etc) this would have been considered a ‘smart’ move and a contender for “car of the year”.

        In the present world (where the inflation-adjusted price of gasoline is near 1965 levels) it will be considered “meh”.

        It’s a shame, as it (and the new Volt) are probably the best efforts of GM to date.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but unfortunately there is no 2016 Accord Hybrid. I took a friend car shopping 2 weeks ago and she fell in love with the Accord; they didn’t have but a handful of leftover ’15s on the lot and none in the color combo she wanted. A regional search should none available. That’s when the salesman said there was no ’16 refreshed hybrid replacement.

    She really wanted silver on gray so she bought a Sonata Hybrid instead. Pretty snazzy ride.

    • 0 avatar
      Prado

      There will be a 2016 Accord Hybrid. It just isn’t out yet. Production is moving to Japan to free up U.S. capacity. Salesman is a liar.

      • 0 avatar
        jthorner

        If it is presently true that there are no 2016 Hybrid Accords available, so the salesman didn’t lie. Obviously the buyer wanted a new car now, not sometime in the future when the 2016 Hybrid Accord becomes available.

  • avatar
    daviel

    KIA Optima hybrid, 36/40, 10 yr warranty, $26, 000

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    I havent read anywhere except in places where folks have a very light foot that anyone has gotten 50 mpg out of the Accord.

  • avatar
    runs_on_h8raide

    Terrible. For GM and Chevy to have success with this hybrid, it needs to be turned into a lifted wagon and renamed the Chevy Malicross ZL1 or Chevy Crossbu Z28. Boom…so much potentials.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Never understood why Chevy never sought a competitive edge by offering AWD on Malibu and Impala. As far as I know they have good AWD systems available from their CUV lines. And in the bigger picture, why they don’t regard the Malibu and Impala as their ‘one-two-punch’ in the market. They are finally good and attractive cars, but they’ve squandered so much by always trying to position these as cheap cars, and only watering-down what reputation they had left.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      You can get AWD if you upgrade to the Buick LaCrosse. As for mid-sized sedans, most don’t have offer AWD. The Legacy, Fusion and 200 do…but I think those are it.

    • 0 avatar

      Because AWD is offered on comparable Buicks. Another bit of old-GM mindset that leads to comments like “I’ll buy a Ford or an Oldsmobile but not a Chevy”.

      Maybe Buick needs to be China-only. Offer an AWD Malibu and Impala.

    • 0 avatar
      Brett Woods

      There is almost nothing that Traction Control and good tires can’t handle in the City/Suburban situation.

      Did you like the Dodge Magnum AWD station wagon 2005-2008? It didn’t sell very well. I think Chevy Malibu has it right the way it is. Understated quiet, comfortable luxury cruiser that has traffic power and presence but also sips fuel.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    When Chevy puts $2000 on the hood, the price difference won’t matter anymore.

    That will happen – let’s see – for…

    New Year’s January Special Deal Dayz
    President’s Day
    Shamrock Spring Specials
    Bunny Hoppin’ Trail Days
    Memorial Day
    Summer Splash
    Independence Day
    Back to School Discounts
    Fall Into Our Store Specials
    Trick or Treat Surprise
    Election Week/Thanksgiving Only
    Year-End Clearance

    There’s never been a better time to buy a Malibu!

  • avatar
    MWolf

    The Malibu was never a terrible car to me. Not perfect, but not bad. The ugliest ones were the 2004-07’s, in my opinion. I owned a 2000 Malibu for five years. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but it was reliable, usually easy (and cheap) to fix, parts were plentiful, and it was comfy enough for my frequent road trips. It got close to 30 mpg, as well, so that was nice. Did I mention I paid $400 for it? It reminded a friend of bad memories, she thewanted it gone, I needed a car. We talked. It only had a dent in the fender.

    I only ever did basic maintenance. Plugs and wires, brakes, etc. Anything else that wasn’t basic maintenance (they had a few quirks. Blower motor resistors, blower motors, climate cintrol) was dirt cheap and DIY easy to fix. Had close to 170k miles on it when the subframe rusted, thanks to where I live

    I think the new ones are decent. Haven’t driven one, but they seem much nicer than mine was, based on a little research. Yeah, still nothing jaw dropping, but not the worst thing out there by a long shot.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      The 97-03 N body platform cars seem to almost be the equals of Cavaliers in cockroach-like longevity. While I’ve heard of somewhat prevalent valvetrain issues with the 3100 (rocker arms pop off), they seem to follow the time honored GM “runs poorly longer than other cars run at all.” They are less sensitive to oil quality than most competing imports of the same years, the 98-01 Camry in particular had a run of oil sludge issues during this time period. And they don’t have timing belt driven interference engines like an Accord of the same year. These Malibus do have a nasty habit of rusting out by the fuel filler.

      I’m worried that GM’s newer offerings with “modern” engines won’t quite live up to those previous expectations. I could be wrong of course.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        If the intake issue is caught before anti-freeze works it’s way into the motor the 3100’s overall can go 300k miles pretty easily. We sell loads of cars with this motor. Most have well over 100K on there original engines and most have intake gaskets that are either starting to go bad or are outright blown. The aftermarket plastic or steel replacements are far superior and solve one of the main problems with this engine. The other issue with some of these motors is piston knock until the engine is warmed up. They can literally go 100K like this without issue. Some heavier oil plus certain treatments seem to help with this quite well.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    GM has had the completely-pointless GMT900 hybrids, the weak mild-hybrids, and the pricey plug-in Voltec cars that are the Volt and ELR. But never a normal hybrid.

    Meanwhile, cross-town competitor Ford has made gains all over the place in terms of reliable, ordinary hybrids that people want to buy and can afford, and indeed the comparable Fusion Hybrid SE undercuts this Malibu by a few thousand dollars. I’m a GM fan, but the Malibu has for the longest time been a lackluster nameplate whose various generations have had a habit of flooding rental fleets and generally not transacting for anywhere near their asking price…so it may end up competing head-to-head with the Fusion Hybrid SE.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex Mackinnon

      I think using the Volt setup will have some very obvious advantages that most other hybrids don’t.

      Torque. I’m not sure what this version has, but the Gen. 1 Volt has 273 ft/lbs at 0 mph.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        The Volt is awesome, but also expensive. It’d be difficult to hit the price point of the Fusion or Camry Hybrid with that setup.

        • 0 avatar
          Alex Mackinnon

          AFAIK the new Hybrid Malibu is basically a Volt with a small non-plug-in battery and a bigger gas generator.

          I believe the electric motors are the same, or similar. It wouldn’t be a stretch to guess that it shares the 298 ft*lb spec that the new Volt has.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Actually the C-Max and Fusion Hybrid eCVT was designed from the get go to be used on both the regular and PHEV versions. Being set up to be used in a PHEV does have an advantage over the earlier Ford and Toyota versions that weren’t designed to be used in a PHEV. Being set up for EV use at speed means that there are more powerful higher speed motors. That means engine off operation at higher speeds and potentially higher regen rates.

        However you do need to keep in mind that a motor’s output is directly proportional to the amperage supplied to it. So have a battery with a lower peak current and the max torque will be less from the same motor.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    I wouldn’t call the GMT-900’s pointless. I wanted one back in August 2007 but they weren’t available. Then when I learned of the reduced towing capacity that was a deal breaker for me. I think they were still rated to tow 5700 lbs. or something like that. Not enough capacity for my needs. Still the thinking was sound. Another 5 mpg on a FS SUV is a way bigger gain than 10 MPG on a little econobox.

  • avatar
    Brett Woods

    I really can’t NOT cross-shop this car because there are too many positives about it.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    The 2016 Fusion S hybrid starts at $25675 including destination according to Edmunds latest prices which makes it $2970 less than the 2016 Malibu not $3585. The Malibu LT is the next to most expensive trim level so you are getting more std features than the base Camry LE hybrid with it’s plastic hubcaps or the cheapest trim level Fusion S hybrid. If a L or LS Malibu hybrid were offered it would probably be very close in price to those two above basic trim level cars.

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    Total Recall Motors and Brand X will be restating their EPA numbers after people find out that they won’t be able to achieve higher than 35 mpgs in the city with this thing. The smirk on their corporate face of Witch Barra and her murdering thugs will be smacked off in less than a year as the deception is exposed and the company will report lower numbers than Ford.

    BTW – not one Honduh hybrid has ever hit posted EPA mileage claims. Class Action lawsuits bear this out.


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