Chevrolet introduced the all-new 2016 Malibu—the ninth generation of the midsize sedan which made its debut in 1964. The completely restyled midsize sedan is engineered to offer more efficiency, connectivity and advanced safety features, and features the option of a new full-hybrid powertrain, which leverages technology from the Chevrolet Volt. (Earlier post.) The Malibu Hybrid will offer an estimated combined fuel economy rating exceeding 45 mpg (5.22 l/100 km). When equipped with the standard 1.5L turbo engine option, Malibu is projected to offer 37 mpg (6.35 l/100 km) highway.
The 2016 Malibu is also longer and lighter, with more interior space and improved fuel efficiency. Its wheelbase has been stretched close to four inches (101 mm), and it is nearly 300 pounds (136 kg) lighter than the current model.
Greater use of high-strength steels enabled engineers to design the body structure with thinner components in some areas, delivering comparable crash performance with lower weight. The all-new body structure accounts for more than one-third of the Malibu’s nearly 300-pound weight reduction.
Malibu Hybrid. An all-new, direct-injection 1.8L four-cylinder engine mated to a two-motor drive unit, slightly modified from the 2016 Chevrolet Volt drive unit, powers the Malibu Hybrid. The drive unit provides additional power to assist the engine during acceleration, for 182 horsepower (136 kW) of total system power.
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. EGHR improves engine warm up and ensures consistent fuel economy performance in cold weather. Additional fuel economy benefits come from Exhaust Gas Recirculation, or EGR.
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 55 miles per hour (88 km/h) on electricity alone. The gasoline-powered engine automatically comes on at higher speeds and high loads to provide additional power.
In addition to the drive unit, the Malibu Hybrid also shares the 2016 Volt’s blended regenerative braking system, which provides maximum kinetic energy recovery during braking to be stored into the battery system to help maintain charge, and drive unit power electronics.
Other engine options. An all-new, Ecotec 1.5L turbo is the standard engine in the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu. It is part of a new global family of small-displacement gas engines designed with greater power density to deliver confident performance with excellent efficiency.
The new 1.5L turbo employs the stop/start technology introduced on the 2014 Malibu, which enhances efficiency in stop-and-go driving, contributing to a GM-estimated 27 mpg (8.7 l/100 km) in city driving—an 8% increase over the current model. On the highway, 1.5L-equipped models also feature active grille shutters that reduce aerodynamic drag to optimize efficiency.
The Malibu’s more-efficient standard engine delivers a GM-estimated 160 horsepower (119 kW) and 184 lb-ft of torque (250 N·m). The torque is comparable to the current model’s standard 2.5L naturally aspirated engine in a vehicle package that’s nearly 300 pounds lighter.
A higher-output 2.0L turbocharged engine is available, offering a GM-estimated 250 horsepower (186 kW) and 258 lb-ft of torque (N·m), for a higher degree of performance. Malibu 2.0T models are GM-estimated at 22 mpg (10.7 l/100 km) in the city and 32 mpg (7.34 l.100 km) on the highway.
An all-new, GM-developed eight-speed automatic transmission—the first eight-speed automatic in a GM front-wheel-drive vehicle—contributes to the 2.0T’s balance of performance and efficiency. The 1.5L turbo engine is matched with a six-speed automatic.
Teen Driver and an expanded range of safety features. Teen Driver, a standard feature on most trim levels of the next-generation Malibu, supports safe driving habits by muting the audio or any device paired with the vehicle when front-seat occupants aren’t wearing their safety belts. Teen Driver also provides audible and visual warnings when the vehicle is traveling over predetermined speeds.
To use Teen Driver, a parent enables the feature with a PIN in the Settings menu of the Malibu’s MyLink system, which allows them to register his or her teen’s key fob. The system’s settings are turned on only to registered key fobs.
Chevrolet is the first in the industry with a built-in system that lets parents view on a display how their teenager drove the vehicle. Maximum speed reached, distance driven and number of times active safety features were engaged are among the parameters that can be confirmed.
Teen Driver complements a roster of standard and available safety features, including a rear-view camera system standard on LS, LT, Hybrid and Premier models.
Ten air bags, including front-seat knee air bags, head-curtain side-impact air bags and seat-mounted side air bags, are also standard. Rear-view camera system is standard on LS, LT, Hybrid and Premier models.
Available active safety features include:
- Front Pedestrian Alert that uses a forward-looking camera to help avoid or reduce the harm caused by crashes with pedestrians ahead of the vehicle. The system can apply automatic last-second braking.
- New Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning
- Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert
- New Forward Collision Alert with Following Distance Indicator
- Rear Cross Traffic Alert
- Front and Rear Park Assist
- Intellibeam, which automatically switches the headlamps to high beam for better road illumination and improved visibility
- Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Automatic Braking
- Automatic Parking Assist
The 2016 Malibu goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2015 and will be built from globally sourced parts at GM’s Fairfax Assembly Plant, in Kansas City, Kansas. The plant received a $600-million investment in paint shop and tooling upgrades in 2013.