Wednesday, September 7, 2016



You have to appreciate honesty in this business. When a car company admits its offering in a segment isn't up to the task, it catches you by surprise. The surprisingly open Chevy reps stopped short of saying that making the last CHEVROLET MALIBU smaller was a mistake, but given that the righting of the ship included a lengthening of this new model, it was certainly implied. The eighth-generation CHEVROLET MALIBU lasted only three years, with a major update in CHEVROLET MALIBU coming just one year in to try and fix some of the bigger concerns. The goal for the 2016 CHEVROLET MALIBU wasn't to make a competent product better, it was to make an okay one good again

That started with a stretch. The CHEVROLET MALIBU is long again, a big car that meets America's warped idea of a midsized car. Because of this, the CHEVROLET MALIBU dimensions sidle up to the Impala's. In fact, it's within a fraction of an inch of the Impala's wheelbase measurement, and sits right between the last CHEVROLET MALIBU and the Impala in terms of EPA passenger volume. The back seat gets the most of the payoff, bringing it back into
competition with other midsized counterparts.The CHEVROLET MALIBU is now one of the longest in the segment, but also among, if not the, lightest. The CHEVROLET MALIBU 2016 model is claimed to be about 300 pounds lighter than CHEVROLET MALIBU dimensionally challenged predecessor. While most new models tend to choose between lighter or larger these days, Chevy managed not-insignificant improvements to both. Some of that weight came out of the front end. CHEVROLET MALIBU had aluminum hood is lighter than before, and we'd wager that's because it stops very short of the leading edge of the car. Instead, CHEVROLET MALIBU nose is enshrouded in a big plastic fascia, which has to be an advantage at the scales but creates a somewhat unfinished look. That's amplified by the fact that everything ahead of the hood is a bit busy, and actually surprisingly aggressive, in contrast to the rest of the design. 


 The CHEVROLET MALIBU new Cruze, with its cowl-to-grille hood, wears a more cohesive new-Chevy front end.The styling adopts the, dare we say it, coupe-like look of many (most?) new family sedans. The profile is attractive enough but almost generic now since the Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, and others have already moved in this direction. The rear-end styling is inoffensive, almost original Mercedes CLS meets current Impala. The more interesting styling-related item is the near-total lack of differentiation between the lowly L model and the range-topping Premier. Styling doo-dads no longer separate the trim levels, it's the features inside that fuel the upsell. The ritzier models, LT and Premier, get LED daytime running lamps (that further busy up the front end), and the Premier features LED taillights (with graphics similar to the standard lamps, so you can't tell the difference unless they're lighting up). CHEVROLET MALIBU also differences in wheel designs and diameter that actually might entice you to pay more.CHEVROLET MALIBU interior is a big improvement over the last generation, but it's nothing too special. The wraparound design is thankfully gone, opening up the feeling of the cabin left to right. One more vote for the lower trim levels: They adopt cloth dash panels, a Cruze hand-me-up, adding some visual interest to what would otherwise be a wide expanse of plasti-rubber. 

 All models of the new CHEVROLET MALIBU are extremely quiet, with continued use of dual-pane glass to keep things hushed and relaxed. That attitude extends to the handling – it's neither a barge nor a sports car, instead hitting an everyman sweet spot that should appeal to most buyers, which is to say not enthusiasts. The steering is electric, with the usual weight devoid of feedback, but it's well tuned to go along with the unaggressive character of the rest of the car. It's pleasant. You feel the weight reduction, or the engineers did a better job tuning the suspension, or possibly both, because the car soaks up bumps without floating and carries itself with a feeling of solidity that's been absent on recent GM midsizers. Most models (L, LS, and LT) come standard with a new 1.5-liter turbo four making 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. It replaces a rough-around-the-edges 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four that actually made a little more power and about the same amount of twist. Thanks to the weight loss, this engine is plenty for the car, and it's also thankfully slightly more refined than Chevy's larger and older turbocharged four-cylinders. The one oddity we found was that it shifted well shy of redline at full throttle since power drops off right after its 5,600-rpm peak. A standard engine stop/start system is included and almost goes unnoticed, with none of the odd transmission unloading/reloading felt at stoplights in some other models. 
Those who want a fancier CHEVROLET MALIBU will get a 2.0T, which is available on LT and standard on Premier. It is mostly carryover but has been detuned from 259 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque to 250 hp and 258 lb-ft. Frankly, this engine is unnecessary. And while it does better in EPA fuel-economy testing than the last 2.0T Malibu, it takes a noticeable hit compared to the entry models, with ratings of 22 mpg city and 33 highway versus the 1.5T's 27/37 mpg. For those into milestones, this transmission is GM's first application of an eight-speed auto in a front-drive model. Oddly, the eight-speed is sourced from Aisin and not made in-house like most GM transmissions, likely a result of bankruptcy bootstrapping catching GM out with no many-gear auto on hand. It doesn't seem quite as smooth as GM-built-and-tuned transmissions, although it does manage the 2.0T's extra power well. Our advice: If you're considering paying over 30 grand for a CHEVROLET MALIBU with the big engine, take a look at what else is out there for the money. 


The 2016 CHEVROLET MALIBU will also offer the model's first true hybrid variant later in the year. Unlike the eAssist mild-hybrid setup that popped in and out of the last generation,CHEVROLET MALIBU is a true gas-electric system that allows electric-only driving up to about 50 mph. It cleverly shares parts with the new Volt, including its motor-filled transmission, CHEVROLET MALIBU modified here for hybrid duty instead of range-extended electric driving. Despite the gas engine running and providing forward motion more often, the hybrid Malibu acts a lot like a big Volt, which is a good thing. GM's EPA estimates for the car are 48 mpg city and 45 highway, beating all of its midsized gas-electric competitors but the Honda Accord (which is taking a brief hiatus for a revamp). We'll have a more in-depth review of the 2016 CHEVROLET MALIBU Hybrid soon.In addition to the full powertrain lineup, CHEVROLET MALIBU also went all-in on safety. The item getting most of the headlines is what Chevy calls Teen Driver, which is not a second-rate chauffeur but a system to monitor younger drivers or really anyone you don't fully trust with your car. Part of the Convenience and Technology package, it keeps a log of things like overspeed warnings and stability-control interventions that can be reviewed by anyone who types in the PIN (the info doesn't go to the cloud for data-security reasons) and also locks out audio functionality when the front passengers aren't wearing their seatbelts. Because those darn kids just can't get enough of their rock and/or roll.

 There are also two big safety packages available in CHEVROLET MALIBU  the first of which makes use of a camera to provide lane keep assist, pedestrian detection with automatic braking, low-speed collision-mitigation braking, and auto high-beams, CHEVROLET MALIBU also includes items like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and parking sensors front and rear. CHEVROLET MALIBU lane keep assist works particularly well, but its intervention is almost too subtle to feel through the steering wheel. We'd almost prefer more of an obvious slap on the wrist for those who lose focus. Beyond that, there's a second package that builds on the first and adds a radar sensor, bringing active cruise, and improved front automatic braking, while additional sensors at the corner provide park assist for parallel and perpendicular spots.

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