Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Overview
Pros & Cons
- Excellent fuel economy
- Good power and acceleration
- Intuitive technology
- Small trunk
- High starting price
Notable for 2017
- Android Auto and Apple CarPlay now standard
Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Rankings and Research
The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid ranking is based on its score within the Midsize Cars category. Currently the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid has a score of 8.7 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 20 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.
2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Pictures
2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Review
The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is not only one of the best hybrid vehicles on the market, it’s one of the best midsize cars. The Malibu satisfies most shoppers’ primary reason for considering a hybrid, with fuel efficiency that is among the best in its class. This efficiency doesn’t cause performance to suffer, though; the Malibu Hybrid has a powerful drivetrain that will effortlessly get you where you need to go.
Is the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid a Good Car?
The 2017 Malibu Hybrid competes very well with hybrids and nonhybrids alike in the very competitive midsize car class. It may be the most well-rounded example among all of its rivals.
As a hybrid, the Malibu gets excellent gas mileage, while still retaining performance that’s among the best in the class. Power delivery is instant, and acceleration is smooth and steady the entire time you press the pedal. Driving dynamics are positive as well, with poised handling and a comfortable ride. The Malibu’s regenerative braking system performs so well that you might not even be able to tell you’re driving a hybrid.
Inside the cabin, the Malibu impresses further. Materials are generally upscale and the design is attractive. There’s plenty of space for passengers, and the intuitive standard infotainment system comes with cool features like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. One of the few downsides is a small trunk, but it should still be enough space for most daily applications. The Malibu Hybrid is the 2017 Best Hybrid Car for Families award winner because it has the best combination of space, available family-friendly features and positive reviews from professional automotive writers in its class.
Should I Buy the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid?
The Chevy Malibu Hybrid should appeal to most shoppers, whether they're specifically looking for a hybrid or not. You won't sacrifice performance for mileage with the Malibu Hybrid. One downside is that its base price of almost $28,000 is very high compared to the entire midsize car class. However, it's still less than some other hybrids in the class, like the Honda Accord Hybrid and the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt. Other competitors, like the Toyota Camry Hybrid, are cheaper to start with, but the Malibu has the lowest maximum price of the bunch. That means you can get the best car for the least amount of money.
The Malibu Hybrid is a very smart choice for a daily commuter car or a family vehicle. Rear-seat space is ample whether you're hauling coworkers in a carpool or growing teenagers, and standard features like a Wi-Fi hot spot, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay will help keep everyone entertained on the journey. You can also feel confident in your investment, as the Malibu gets very high predicted reliability ratings. Like most hybrids, you'll get a special warranty for the car's hybrid components and mechanicals.
We Did the Research for You: 20 Pieces of Data Analyzed
We analyzed 20 pieces of data and research from around the automotive industry to help you decide if the 2017 Chevy Malibu Hybrid is right for you. Our reviews are based on what professional auto journalists are saying about the Malibu Hybrid, and we incorporate other research like crash test results and reliability ratings from independent bodies. We’ve done the research so you don’t have to. Our expert analysis will help you make a smart buying decision.
The Malibu Hybrid was completely redesigned for the 2016 model year and sees no major changes for 2017. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2016 and 2017 model years.
Why You Can Trust Us
Our team of researchers, analysts, and writers have a combined 75 years of experience in the auto industry, and we've been helping consumers find the right cars for almost a decade. Our focus is on you, so we don't accept expensive gifts, trips, or bribes from car companies. Additionally, any ads you see on the page are handled by an outside vendor.
How Much Does the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Cost?
The 2017 Chevy Malibu Hybrid has a starting price of $27,875, which is high for the midsize car class. However, this price is very competitive among midsize hybrid rivals and other alternative fuel vehicles. The Honda Accord Hybrid retails for $29,605, while the Toyota Camry Hybrid costs $26,790. The plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt’s $33,220 starting price is slightly high for a hybrid.
Where the Malibu sets itself apart from rivals is in its straightforward pricing structure and overall value. There is only one trim level available, and nearly all options can be found across three packages. These range from about $900 to about $2,100. Adding all the packages puts the Malibu's price ceiling at around $32,100, which is still less than the standard Volt. The Volt has a similar pricing structure to the Malibu Hybrid, and it tops out at around $38,500. Conversely, the Honda Accord Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid have multiple trim levels and in some cases offer additional packages you can choose from. The highest Accord Hybrid trim starts around $36,000, while the Camry Hybrid can approach $34,000 with its highest trim and an expensive option package.
Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Versus the Competition
Which Is Better: Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid or Chevrolet Volt?
The Chevy Volt is a plug-in hybrid that ranks very well among the extremely competitive compact car class. It also competes closely with the Malibu Hybrid. Depending on your priorities and budget, there's no clear winner in this matchup. The Volt differs from a traditional hybrid in that it uses an electric motor as its primary source of movement, plus a gasoline backup, instead of the other way around. This means it can travel a decent distance on only electric power (53 miles, to be exact), making it a top choice for consumers who have a short commute or regularly drive around town. The Malibu Hybrid doesn't have such capabilities. However, you'll likely have to use mostly electric power in the Volt to save enough gas to justify its $5,300 price increase over the Malibu. Both cars offer satisfactory performance, but the Malibu Hybrid is a little more potent under the hood. That’s not to say the Volt isn’t quick, but it would be better described as peppy than outright powerful. Inside the cabin, the Malibu Hybrid’s overall quality is a little better, and it has exactly 1 cubic foot more cargo space. However, the Volt is slightly more utilitarian. The Volt is a hatchback, meaning it has a large opening to fit bulky items in. Likewise, the Malibu’s battery obstructs a lot of the usable space you would gain by folding the rear seat. The Volt hides the battery since it was designed as a plug-in hybrid from the start, but the Malibu Hybrid can't because the original design was for a gas-only engine. The Malibu Hybrid is a better choice for families, as its back seat has ample space for most adults to ride in comfort.
Which Is Better: Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid or Toyota Camry Hybrid?
The Toyota Camry Hybrid ranks below the Malibu Hybrid, but it is still a very good car overall. Choosing which car is better might come down to where you place your priorities, but for considerations important to hybrid shoppers, the Malibu is probably the smarter choice. Hybrids are all about efficiency; in that regard, the Malibu is a clear winner with its mileage of 49 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway. The standard Camry only manages 42 mpg in the city and 38 on the highway – and that’s reduced in higher trims to 40/37 mpg city/highway. The Camry undercuts the Malibu on MSRP by almost $1,100, but it has more expensive trim levels and option packages that quickly raise its price. By contrast, there is only one Malibu trim and just three packages to choose from. Passenger and cargo space is a bit better in the Camry, which offers excellent room in all five seats and an extra 1.5 cubic feet of trunk space. First-time hybrid shoppers may not be familiar with regenerative braking: it uses energy generated during braking to recharge the electric battery. The Malibu’s and Camry’s regenerative systems work much differently. Braking in the Malibu feels just like in a standard car, while the Camry’s brakes tend to feel grabby (sudden friction kicks in when the physical brakes take over from the regenerative brakes). The Camry Hybrid is a very solid option, but the Malibu Hybrid is just a bit better in terms of performance and value.
Which Is Better: Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid or Honda Accord Hybrid?
Along with the Malibu Hybrid and Camry Hybrid, the Honda Accord Hybrid rounds out the trifecta of hybrids that rank very highly in the midsize car class and are nearly identical to each other. All things considered, the Accord is just as good of a car as the Malibu, but the Malibu is a slightly more attractive value proposition. The Accord starts at $29,605 in contrast to the Malibu’s $27,875, and there are higher Accord trim levels you’ll have to buy if you want to add features. These increase the price by thousands of dollars, putting the most expensive Accord at around $36,000, while a top Malibu costs about $32,000. The Accord has the strongest engine among hybrids in the class at 212 horsepower, though the Malibu’s acceleration and power delivery is just as smooth and strong as the Accord’s. You’ll get a little better efficiency with the Accord, too: both it and the Malibu get 49 mpg in the city, but the Accord returns 47 mpg on the highway, besting the Malibu’s 43 mpg. Cargo space is better in the Accord than the Malibu, to the tune of just over 2 cubic feet. That difference can account for a couple full grocery bags, but you won’t have any other options to increase space. The Accord’s back seat is completely fixed in place, so you can’t fold it. There’s not even a pass-through to haul long or skinny items. By contrast, you can fold the Malibu’s second row, and even though a good portion is blocked by the battery, it offers a ski pass that still allows two passengers to sit. The Malibu offers better overall passenger room, as taller riders in the Accord may feel short on legroom in the front seats and cramped in headroom in the back seats. Overall, the Malibu Hybrid is the better choice.
Malibu Hybrid Interior
How Many People Does the Malibu Hybrid Seat?
The Chevy Malibu Hybrid seats five people. Wherever you sit in the car, you’ll experience immense comfort and likely have a lot of room. The front seats are especially welcoming, as you can adjust them in many different ways to find a suitable position. Chevy lengthened the Malibu platform just last year, and both the hybrid and nonhybrid gained some much-needed back-seat space. Legroom in the rear should be enough for most passengers, even those on the taller side. Those same occupants might be a little snug when it comes to headroom, though.
Seating accommodations vary somewhat noticeably in the Malibu's rivals. The Toyota Camry Hybrid has excellent room all around, with good head and leg space in all five seats. Conversely, the Chevrolet Volt has a cramped back seat. Taller passengers in the Honda Accord Hybrid will probably want for more headroom in the back and more legroom in the front.
Malibu Hybrid and Car Seats
There are a few problems with the LATCH car-seat system in the 2017 Malibu Hybrid, mostly dealing with the lower anchors on the two rear outboard seats. You’ll probably find the attachment points to be deep in the seats, and it takes a little extra effort to hook the straps on.
Malibu Hybrid Interior Quality
The 2017 Malibu's high base price is mostly due to it being a hybrid with all the extra technology that entails, but for your money, you'll be rewarded with a mostly upscale interior. The standard upholstery is a premium cloth, and you can upgrade to leather. Overall, the cabin's design is attractive and subtle, though some hard plastics prevent it from feeling completely high-end.
Competitors like the Honda Accord Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid offer about the same quality interior, with materials that increase in quality with higher trims. The Chevrolet Volt has a straightforward and pleasing layout, but there are plenty of hard plastic surfaces.
Malibu Hybrid Cargo Space
The Malibu Hybrid offers 11.6 cubic feet of cargo space, which is just about average for hybrid sedans in the class. The most notable thing about the Malibu Hybrid’s trunk is the placement of the battery (which is why it has less space than the regular Malibu). It sits right behind the rear seats, which takes away a lot of the opening created when you fold those seats down. There is still a small pass-through, which is good for long, skinny items.
You'll get a little less space with the plug-in Chevrolet Volt, which only offers 10.6 cubic feet in its trunk. The Volt is a hatchback, though, so loading and unloading cargo through its large opening is easy. Most hybrids (like the Malibu Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, and Toyota Camry Hybrid) were built off of an existing model and have their battery placed in such a way that it removes most utility you get by folding the rear seat down. Some, like the Accord, have a back seat that's completely fixed in place. However, because the Volt was designed from the ground up, all the hybrid components are located out of the way. You can fold the rear seat and have a complete opening to the trunk like you would in any gas-only car.
While the Accord Hybrid and Camry Hybrid can't match the Volt's versatility, they do offer more trunk space than the Volt and Malibu Hybrid. The Accord Hybrid has 13.7 cubic feet of cargo room, while the Camry Hybrid has 13.1 cubic feet.
Malibu Hybrid Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation
Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system comes standard in the Malibu Hybrid, and it is often regarded as one of the better interfaces available. The touch screen responds quickly to inputs, and pages of menus are easy to flip through. A 7-inch screen is standard, and you can upgrade to an 8-inch screen as part of a package that costs about $900. This package also includes wireless device charging, two USB ports, remote start, and a three-prong 120-volt outlet.
One of the most attractive facets of the MyLink system is the inclusion of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which are newly standard in the Malibu Hybrid for 2017. You can connect your phone to the interface and the screen will mirror your smartphone’s functionality and screens. You’ll be able to access most of your favorite apps, music, and contacts. The Malibu can also function as a Wi-Fi hot spot, allowing all your passengers to stay connected on their devices during long road trips.
The Chevrolet Volt ups the ante only slightly with its standard equipment, boasting an 8-inch screen, two USB ports, and connectivity with the Chevy Remote Link app. This allows you to use your smartphone to lock, unlock, and remotely start the Volt.
You can’t get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in the Toyota Camry Hybrid, and they're merely optional with the Honda Accord Hybrid. You can upgrade the Accord Hybrid's standard infotainment system from a single 8-inch screen to a dual-screen setup that removes most physical controls and replaces them with an additional 7-inch touch screen.
Malibu Hybrid Performance
Malibu Hybrid Engine: Excellent Acceleration
The Malibu Hybrid is one of the best-performing vehicles in the class and features overall performance scores far ahead of any other hybrid. The Malibu Hybrid is powered by two electric motors mated to a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that deliver a combined 182 horsepower. It relies more on its electric motors than its gas engine, which results in sprightly acceleration that stays smooth and uninterrupted. Chevy says the Malibu Hybrid can even get up to speeds of 55 mph using only electric power.
Both the Honda Accord Hybrid (212 horsepower) and the Toyota Camry Hybrid (200 horsepower) have more muscle under the hood than the Malibu, and they each deliver strong and smooth acceleration and power. However, both of these cars are equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which functions like an automatic. Under a heavy foot, CVTs tend to exhibit a loud whine or droning, and both cars demonstrate this noticeably. The Malibu Hybrid doesn't have this issue with its automatic transmission.
Malibu Hybrid Gas Mileage: Better Than Most
Hybrid vehicles are usually more desirable for their fuel economy than for their performance, but the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid soundly delivers both. We’ll start with the obvious: fuel efficiency. The Malibu Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 49 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway. That’s better than nearly every other midsize hybrid car except the Honda Accord Hybrid, which earns an estimated 49 mpg in the city and 47 mpg on the highway.
The Toyota Camry Hybrid's mileage depends on the trim level, but either way it's lower than the Malibu Hybrid and Accord Hybrid. The base Camry Hybrid gets 42 mpg in the city and 38 on the highway, but higher models only get 40/37 mpg city/highway. Plug-in hybrids like the Chevrolet Volt not only return much better overall efficiency than regular hybrids, but they can operate on only electric power for certain distances, making them good as daily commuter cars or for regular short trips. The Volt, for example, can go 53 miles using only its battery, and it achieves 106 mpg-e, which is very good for a plug-in hybrid. For more information, see Decoding MPG-e or Best Plug-in Hybrids.
If you are considering the Malibu Hybrid solely for savings at the pump, you may be waiting a while. Considering average fuel prices and yearly mileage, it would take you about 15.5 years to recoup the roughly $6,200 price difference between the Malibu Hybrid and the gasoline-only Malibu. Likewise, comparing the Malibu Hybrid to the plug-in Volt results in some astonishing figures. You'll only save about $100 per year in fuel (electricity plus gas) costs with the Volt over the Malibu Hybrid, meaning you'd have to drive the Volt over 50 years to account for its roughly $5,300 price increase over the Malibu. However, if you drive mainly short distances on just the electric motor and keep the Volt charged regularly, you'll see greater savings relying more on paying for electricity than gas.
Malibu Hybrid Ride, Handling, and Brakes: Strong Performer
The Malibu Hybrid's regenerative brakes don't have the grabby and inconsistent feel typically associated with these systems. Instead, its brakes feel more like those found in traditional gasoline cars. The brakes in the Honda Accord Hybrid also feel smooth and sturdy, but those in the Toyota Camry Hybrid exhibit more of the expected friction and grabbing. As a plug-in hybrid that uses its electric motor as the main source of power, the Chevrolet Volt has a slightly different regenerative braking system. You can increase regenerative braking power in some instances by simply letting off the gas pedal, which greatly slows the car down and sends more energy to the battery.
The Malibu Hybrid’s steering is weighted nicely, but it doesn’t provide much feedback from the road. However, the car still handles with some agility. Ride quality is excellent, as the Malibu Hybrid can absorb bumps and shocks from the road, keeping passengers relaxed and undisturbed.
Malibu Hybrid Reliability
Is the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Reliable?
The 2017 Chevy Malibu Hybrid gets a very high predicted reliability rating from J.D. Power and Associates: its score of 4.5 out of five is higher than most other cars on the market. The Toyota Camry Hybrid gets the same high score as the Malibu, while the Honda Accord Hybrid receives a very respectable four out of five. By contrast, the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt earns a below-average rating of 2.5 out of five.
Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Warranty
The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is covered by a three-year/36,000-mile warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Chevy covers some hybrid components for eight years or 100,000 miles. You'll get the same coverage, including that of the battery and hybrid components, with competitors like the Camry Hybrid and Volt. Honda covers its Accord Hybrid with the same basic and powertrain warranty lengths as the Malibu.
Malibu Hybrid Safety
Malibu Hybrid Crash Test Results
The 2017 Malibu Hybrid earns a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with five out of five stars in frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover crash test. It also receives the highest possible score of Good in all five tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and is named a 2017 IIHS Top Safety Pick.
Whether you go with the Malibu Hybrid or one of its rivals, you'll end up in an extremely safe car. The Chevrolet Volt gets a perfect five stars in all NHTSA assessments and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. Both the Honda Accord Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid earn the IIHS' Top Safety Pick+ honor as well, and they receive a five-star overall rating from the NHTSA. The Accord Hybrid gets a four-star rating in the NHTSA frontal crash test, while the Camry Hybrid gets four stars in frontal crash and rollover testing.
Malibu Hybrid Safety Features
A rearview camera is the only standard driver assistance technology in the Malibu Hybrid. This is in line with the class as a whole, as few other midsize cars have standard safety features other than a camera. Like most of its rivals, the Malibu offers a lot of advanced features as options, including automatic high beams, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, low-speed automatic emergency braking, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, and lane keep assist.
The Malibu's optional safety features are an all-or-nothing proposal, as you can only get them as part of a single package. However, at about $1,200, it's a very good price to get that many features.
One of the Malibu's few rivals that come with more standard driver assistance features is the Honda Accord Hybrid. It includes forward collision warning, automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and Honda LaneWatch. The last feature uses a camera mounted on the passenger-side outside mirror to display a video feed of the lane next to you when you activate your turn signal, essentially eliminating your blind spot as you merge or make a lane change.
While the Accord Hybrid comes with all those features, it's at a price of over $500 more than the cost of equipping the Malibu Hybrid with all its available safety features. And the Malibu Hybrid offers more safety tech than the Accord Hybrid does.
Which Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Model Is Right for Me?
This is an easy question to answer, because there's only one trim level available. Your options for customization are limited to three available packages, which add small convenience features, upgrade your seating and audio, or enhance safety with several driver assistance technologies.
The 2017 Malibu Hybrid starts at $27,875. Given that rather high base price, it's easy to recommend sticking with the car just as it rolls off the line. You'll get cool standard features like an infotainment system, satellite radio, and smartphone integration via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. However, you may want to opt for the Convenience and Technology package for about $900. It's a great deal that includes upgrades like navigation, remote start, a larger touch screen, wireless device charging, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
Depending on how tight your budget is, you may also want to spring for the Driver Confidence package. It includes a whole suite of advanced safety features, like automatic braking, pedestrian detection, and lane keep assist, and it’s a steal at around $1,200.
Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, a USB port, satellite radio, a rearview camera, proximity-key entry, push-button start, the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and OnStar with a Wi-Fi hot spot.
Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Options and Packages
The Convenience and Technology package costs $895 and includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, two USB ports, a 120-volt outlet, remote start, an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, and wireless charging.
For $2,140, the Leather package includes leather upholstery, a six-way power-adjustable passenger seat, heated front seats, and a Bose nine-speaker premium audio system.
The Driver Confidence package retails for $1,195 and adds automatic high beams, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, low-speed automatic emergency braking, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, and lane keep assist.
The Final Call
The 2017 Chevy Malibu Hybrid is an excellent overall car and deserves strong consideration if you're shopping for a hybrid or in the midsize class. Its strong balance of performance, quality, space, and comfort slots it above many competitors. Its reasonable price also makes it a very good value proposition.
Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.
- "What buyers will get is a normal Malibu with the soul of a Volt, the space of a mid-size sedan, and nearly the fuel economy of the outgoing Prius. That's worth crowing about." -- Car and Driver (2016)
- "Overall, the new hybrid Malibu impressed us. … Its real-world fuel economy is likely to live up to its EPA ratings, minus the effects of cold weather, and it's a good-looking, comfortable, and competent car. It's more refined than the Camry Hybrid, has higher EPA ratings than the Fusion Hybrid, and much smoother operation than the single-motor hybrid systems used in the latest Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima." -- Yahoo Autos (2016)
- "If a Chevy Volt is like a hybrid that prefers its electric motor, then the new Malibu hybrid is like a Volt you never have to plug in. That's partly because you can't plug it in, but more because the Volt and the gas-electric Malibu share a lot of major components. Since we happen to like the newly refined Volt, that's good news for the larger family sedan." -- Autoblog (2016)
Research Prices: 2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
Over 75,000 car shoppers have purchased a car through the U.S. News Best Price Program. Our pricing beats the national average 86% of the time with shoppers receiving average savings of $3,279 off MSRP across vehicles. See what others paid for the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid and get upfront pricing to make sure you don't overpay. Learn More »