The new Chevrolet Malibu is now a little longer and lighter than its predecessor, thanks to a 91mm wheelbase and nearly 136 kg weight reduction. In design, the new Malibu takes on a sleek exterior with all the bow-tie marque’s details and signature cues. Length has been stretched by 58 mm, while the width of the car remains similar to the previous Malibu.
The new Malibu is now offered in five trim levels: L, LS, LT, Premier and Hybrid. With styling influenced by the 2014 Impala, the new Malibu advances Chevrolet’s global design language with features such as slim, sweeping headlights and a progressive take on the brand’s characteristic dual-port grille. The hood and the cowl, the area where the windshield meets the hood, are lower than the current generation and contribute to the Malibu’s much improved aerodynamic performance, as do active grille shutters on LS and LT versions. LED DRLs and LED rearlights, however, are reserved for the Malibu Premium.
Inside the new Malibu, the cabin’s open to offer an expansive feel with a myriad of amenities such as; MyLink 7-inch or 8-inch touch screen, OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot, Wireless phone charging, dual rear-seat USB ports and a 110-volt power outlet. Smacked in the middle of the instrument panel center stack is the updated infotainment system and climate system controls that features Galvano (satin) chrome accents. Ample small storage compartments, perforated leather steering and ventilated seats are also available, depending on Malibu versions.
For engines, the new Malibu gets either the standard Ecotec 1.5L turbo, 2.0-liter turbocharged or 1.8-liter hybrid. The base 1.5-liter is estimated to provide up to 8 percent fuel efficiency, compared to the older Malibu, while still achieving a respectable 160 hp and 250 Nm of torque. Moving up to the 2.0-liter, the power and torque ratings translate to 250 hp and 350 Nm, yet efficiency and emissions are not compromised all that much. The 1.5-liter powerplant is paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission, whilst the 2.0-liter gets a new eight-speed automatic transmission; the first eight-speed automatic in a GM front-wheel-drive vehicle.
The 1.8-liter hybrid with two-motor drive unit, taken from the technology of the Chevrolet Volt propulsion system, is able to derive 182 hp and has a fuel consumption of an estimated 5.2l/100km (45 mpg), which is higher than the combined mileage ratings of the Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata hybrid variants. The engine also features Chevrolet’s first application of Exhaust Gas Heat Recovery, or EGHR, technology, which uses exhaust heat to warm the engine and cabin. Additional fuel economy benefits come from Exhaust Gas Recirculation, or EGR.
In addition, an 80-cell, 1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack provides electric power to the hybrid system. It can power the Malibu Hybrid up to 88 km/h (55 miles per hour) on electricity alone. The gasoline-powered engine automatically comes on at higher speeds and high loads to provide additional power. Typical of hybrids, the Malibu shares the Volt’s blended regenerative braking system and drive unit power electronics.
An extended list of safety features for the new Chevrolet Malibu includes ten air bags, rear-view camera, Front Pedestrian Alert, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert, Forward Collision Alert with Following Distance Indicator, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Front and Rear Park Assist, Intellibeam, Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Automatic Braking, Automatic Parking Assist, and the Teen Driver feature.
The new Chevrolet Malibu is scheduled for fourth quarter roll-out in the United States, followed by the rest of the world.