Brawny, Four-cylinder, CVT-equipped Chevrolet Malibu RS Demands a Modest Price

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

It’s easy to make fun of what amounts to an appearance package, but appearance remains a very important part of the car-buying decision. This isn’t a Warsaw Pact country, circa 1980.

To sweeten its midsize pot, Chevrolet crafted an RS-badged version of its Malibu sedan for the 2019 model year, perhaps as a way of tempting current Redline Edition owners to trade in their rides. Once glance should tell you this thing isn’t a rental, though it still contains the turbocharged 1.5-liter four-banger you’ll find under the hood of lesser-trimmed variants. But what does extra flash and no added dash cost compared to a volume LS? As it turns out, not a lot.

According to order guides seen by CarsDirect, the 2019 Malibu RS stickers for $24,995 after destination, which is exactly a grand more than the Malibu LS.

For that price, buyers gain a blacked-out grille and Chevy emblems, 18-inch wheels, rear spoiler, and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Chevy makes no mention of “speed holes.” The RS, slotted between the LS and LT, does not carry the Premier trim’s 2.0-liter, 250 hp turbo engine, but it does pick up all of the styling and content changes afoot for 2019. And they are notable.

First off, 2019 Malibus gain a refreshed face with a larger — and perhaps more joyous — grille. On the transmission front, the elimination of the lower trims’ six-speed automatic means the RS sends its 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic. A manual shift mode and flappy paddles seems a given, as RS badging hardly conjures up images of shift-free driving. It also doesn’t conjure up images of a 1.5-liter, but for a relatively low-trimmed car costing a grand more than the rental fleet model, who’s going to make a fuss? The worst thing buyers can do is ignore it.

CarsDirect notes that the Malibu RS undercuts the price of competing Japanese sedans, including the four-cylinder Toyota Camry SE ($26,270) and Honda Accord Sport ($26,675). It’s worth noting, however, that the Accord lets you stir things up with a six-speed manual.

[Images: General Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

More by Steph Willems

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 39 comments
  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
  • EBFlex The answer is yes. Anyone that says no is just….. wrong.But the government doesn’t want people to have that much freedom and the politicians aren’t making money off PHEVs or HEVs. So they will be stifled.
Next