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2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 8.2

Thanks to its smooth powertrain transitions and consistent regenerative brakes, reviewers note there is little difference in performance between the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid and the gas-only model. The Malibu Hybrid also earns some of the best fuel economy estimates in the class, and its ride is comfortable on most surfaces.

  • "We had a brief drive time in the hybrid and found it almost like the un-hybrid: Except for the badging, you would be hard pressed to find many dissimilarities from the standard drivetrain models." -- Left Lane News
  • "But on our brief drives, we found the Malibu Hybrid an exceptionally pleasant car to spend time in." -- Yahoo Autos
  • "The 2016 Malibu's crash diet is palpable from behind the wheel. The car feels nimble and light on its feet despite its enlarged dimensions, providing enough driver engagement to keep things interesting on a winding road." -- Edmunds
  • "Although the drive loop from the Palo Alto airport through the main part of downtown and back was a short 6.6 miles, the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid felt just as competent as its gas-powered siblings." -- Motor Trend

Acceleration and Power

The 2016 Malibu Hybrid is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors that combine to make 124 horsepower. According to Chevy, the Malibu Hybrid earns 48/45 mpg city/highway. Those are outstanding estimates when compared with the class as a whole, as well as with most hybrid rivals.

Transitions between gas and electric power go virtually unnoticed. The Malibu Hybrid's engine can be noisy under hard acceleration, but engine noise may be more noticeable from outside the car than from inside it.

  • Mode switches between gas and electric are just as smooth as in the Volt. No shudder or weirdness in the throttle. It drives as much like a gas-only car as any midsized hybrid does. … and the Malibu's baked-in quietness helps to deal with noise from the somewhat coarse 1.8-liter gas engine. Engine startup and shutdown are noisy from outside, but much less noticeable from within." -- Autoblog
  • "The hybrid system is capable of electric-only running at speeds as high as 55 miles per hour, and the transition from electric to blended engine power is close to imperceptible. GM has had some of the best noise suppression in the business for several years now, and the Malibu is quiet under most circumstances." -- Yahoo Autos
  • The electric motor provides plenty of low-end grunt off the line, though the 1.8-liter engine felt coarser as it climbed up the rev range compared to the gas-only turbo engine options." -- Motor Trend
  • As for the Malibu Hybrid, its 182 combined system horsepower may not seem like much, but full-bore acceleration is adequate as long as you don't mind the loud gas-engine droning that comes with it." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

The redesigned Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid delivers a serene ride over nearly any surface. Its steering is also appropriately weighted. While many hybrid cars' regenerative brakes feel overly grabby or intrusive, the Malibu Hybrid's regenerative brakes provide a consistent pedal feel. Front-wheel drive is standard.

  • "The steering is nicely weighted for the class and provides a linear and predictable feel, and the suspension is nicely tuned for a balance between ride comfort and handling." -- Motor Trend
  • "Ride and handling also mirror those of the gas cars. The steering has minimal feedback and decent weight, while the suspension manages lumpy pavement without any old-GM float. Like the rest of the lineup, it has a comfortable overall attitude." -- Autoblog
  • "The suspension was also very nicely sorted. Despite the big 19-inch wheels on our test car, and the corresponding low-profile tires, the new Malibu rode smoothly over pretty much any surface we encountered." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Where GM's learnings from its other electric and hybrid products seems to pay off, actually, is in a nice, predictable brake pedal feel - the transition from regen to friction mode is all but undetectable." -- Automobile Magazine

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