It didn’t take much encouragement for me to test drive the new Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid. As a matter of fact the general manager for Suburban Chevrolet, Jeff Baldwin, came up with the same car to feature at the same time. The Malibu Hybrid is the latest model to be introduced this spring by GM. It competes with other hybrids that have been on the market longer. The Malibu stand head and shoulders above their competition and highly rated among car critics.
My first impression is the styling. When I walked up to the car I immediately wanted to get behind the wheel. This is one attractive automobile that has very distinctive styling. The seats were very comfortable and easy to adjust with the 6-way power seats and lumbar support for the driver. The passenger side on this model also had power seats. However what really sets this car apart is when you start it without putting the key in the ignition. In fact the key fob was lying in the center console. You push a button on the dash illuminates as you are off. The tradition noise of a starter and engine coming to life were nonexistent. It was just the battery providing the energy to drive the car. It silently pulled out of the parking space. I could actually imagine having a conversation with back seat passengers and hearing every word without raising your voice or the sound of the engine. Chevrolet has added electric grille shutters to enhance aerodynamic efficiency at highway speeds, and Active Noise Cancellation contributes to a quiet ride.
As I drove down Highway 26 on the way home you can watch the info center as the configuration of the drive train changes from battery to battery engine and then to engine as you reach highway speeds. It also has a mode where the battery is regenerated by going down slight inclines and during braking. The car is power by a 4 cylinder, 1.8-liter, 122 hp engine and two lithium-ion battery packs. The combined horsepower is 182 when you add the electric motors. When I walked around the car for the first time I was looking for a plug in to charge the two batteries. There isn’t a plug in. The engine regenerates the batteries. Depending on your driving style you could get a range of up to 580 miles per tank.
While driving away from the dealership the mechanics were taking a noon-time break and I had the opportunity to ask them about service problems. All six of them including the service manager said they hadn’t experienced any service problems at this point.
Apart from the styling, the comfort, the quiet and smooth drive train this cars gets amazing gas mileage. When I arrived at my home I couldn’t believe the registered gas mileage of 52 mpg. I haven’t seen this kind of gas mileage since I rode my motorcycle. Out of all the hybrids on the market the Malibu Hybrid beats the competition. EPA numbers are 48 city and 45 highway. After 200 miles of travel city and highway combined I experienced 50+ mpg.
Imagine if your car gets 17-20 mpg and it is your daily driver, you could cut your gas bill in half. We all know that $2.34 per gallon gas could disappear faster than the sun in Western Oregon.
Some reactions: Lonnie who is 6’2” noticed he didn’t hit his head when getting in and had plenty of headroom. The next thing he liked was the quiet, smooth ride. He would definitely consider buying this for his next car.
Anthony really liked the styling and commented how streamlined it looked.
Brent, a teenager, liked the Bose radio, the quiet ride and the styling. Shirley from Shirley’s Tippy Canoe Restaurant, was surprised at the power the car had and of course the uber quiet cabin. Wherever I drove the car to, folks were attracted to it and wanted to know more about it.
If you are looking for a quiet, comfortable, stylish, fun to drive car that gets unsurpassed gas mileage and then try out the new Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid. Thanks to Suburban Chevrolet and Jeff Baldwin, general manager for supplying the test model.