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2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 8.2

The 2017 Chevy Malibu Hybrid’s performance is among the best in the class, with a powertrain that delivers seamless and brisk acceleration. It also has admirable handling and a comfortable ride quality. The regenerative brakes function smoothly, in contrast to many other hybrid cars.

  • "But if truly great fuel economy is your thing, check out the Malibu Hybrid. It's a huge improvement compared to previous version (sic), delivering around 45 mpg in combined city/highway driving and a high enough level of refinement that just about any sedan shopper will find it appealing." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2016)
  • In an entirely unscientific and short test loop, we saw 44 mpg indicated on the car's trip computer. This at least suggests that getting close to the EPA numbers … is possible." -- Autoblog (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The Malibu’s hybrid powertrain is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors that together produce 182 horsepower. According to EPA estimates, the Malibu gets 49 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the highway, which are better estimates than nearly all hybrid competitors.

When using just the electric motors, the Malibu Hybrid has quick and smooth acceleration, as well as good overall power. The gasoline engine aids the electric motors at high speeds and stays mostly subdued.

  • "The powertrain to get, though, might very well be the hybrid. Its smooth, quiet and surprisingly quick acceleration is more akin to an EV than other hybrids such as the Toyota Camry, as it relies more on its electric motor than its gasoline engine. When the engine does come on, it's relatively unobtrusive unless you're flooring the gas or chugging up a steep grade." -- Edmunds
  • "It's been awhile since we've driven other hybrid mid-size sedans, but our impression is that the Malibu has stronger and more frequent electric-only running. That's a good thing." -- Yahoo Autos (2016)
  • Chevy says the car can get to 55 mph without firing the engine, but that presumes ideal circumstances of weather and road conditions and driver behavior. What we saw was that it motors around a parking lot just fine unless you get goofy with the go pedal." -- Automobile Magazine (2016)

Handling and Braking

The Malibu Hybrid has a comfortable ride quality and stays composed over rough surfaces. Handling is stable and poised, yet somewhat agile. However, there is little feedback from steering. The regenerative braking helps to recharge the electric motors and feels like normal braking, without the grabby feeling typically associated with regenerative systems.

  • "We also like that the Hybrid's brake pedal feels progressive and natural. Whichever powertrain you select, the Malibu possesses a newfound nimbleness that makes it at least mildly entertaining to drive. Even the Hybrid is surprisingly light on its feet. Ride quality also remains a Malibu strength, with most bumps and ruts getting expertly filtered out before they reach the cabin. There might be a bit more interior noise than before, but this is still a fundamentally quiet car." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2016)
  • "Borrowed from the Volt, the Malibu's braking system seamlessly blends the braking done by the motor-turned-generator and the disc brakes. They feel linear and normal, which can't be said of many other hybrids." -- Car and Driver (2016)

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