MPG-o-Matic Review Summary: The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid delivers style and fuel economy, as it competes with the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, and Ford Fusion among others in the Family Sedan category.
The Malibu Hybrid’s Ecotec 2.4 liter four cylinder engine and 36-volt NiMH battery powered electric motor assist produce 164 horsepower (HP) and 159 foot pounds of torque.
While this obviously isn’t the Malibu you’d bring to the drag strip (the 3.6 liter V-6 boasts 252 HP), it’s more than adequate on the road for a great many folks and feels more sprightly than the Saturn VUE Green Line, which uses the identical drive train.
The official mileage estimates for the Malibu Hybrid are 24 miles per gallon (MPG) city / 32 MPG highway. We easily beat those numbers numbers in our week-long test, scoring 36.5 MPG on the highway and 28.4 MPG combined.
Our highway mileage held steady in the high thirties through much of our testing (ie: until we got off the freeway). 40 miles per gallon on a long trip on Interstate highways is not out of the question.
While it’s mileage that matters here at MPGomatic.com, we always take the opportunity to drop the hammer from a standing start to 60 miles per hour (MPH). (Although we haven’t provided a hard and fast 0-60 time, feel free to set your stopwatch to our video review.)
Keeping the Malibu Hybrid’s green ECO light lit is key to achieving the best mileage. But keeping a close tab on the Instant Fuel Economy display really helps to dial in your high-MPG driving skills. Once you have the feel for the drive train, your MPG results will climb.
The Malibu Hybrid saves a good bit of fuel with its AutoStop feature. When you come to a complete stop with your foot on the brake, the engine shuts down automatically. Let off the brake and the belt alternator starter brings the engine to life instantly. While this may seem a bit disconcerting at first, you’ll soon get used to it, and might even come to appreciate all that peace and quiet at intersections.
With all the badges and bow ties, there’s little question that this is a good old hybrid Chevrolet, built in Kansas City, Kansas. (One minor quip: with all the attention to styling detail, LED tail lights should be standard equipment, as they are on the Malibu LTZ)
All in all, the Chevy Malibu Hybrid offers a compelling combination of good gas mileage, clean styling, plenty of room, and a smooth ride in an American-made family sedan.
Although the Malibu is a “mild hybrid,” lacks the ability to crawl solely on electric power, this is a fine car, nonetheless. We applaud Chevy’s first effort and look forward to reviewing the Tahoe Hybrid and upcoming two-mode vehicles.
– by Daniel Gray
May 11th, 2008
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