The all-new next-generation 2016 Chevrolet Malibu entered the stage at the New York Auto Show, larger, lighter and more efficient than ever before. With its all-new powertrains and technologies, it appears it’s finally ready to take on competition from Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry.
At the press preview both the Chevrolet Malibu and the new Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid made their appearance, with sharper and sleeker styling that looks very family close to the larger Chevrolet Impala. In fact it almost looks as large.
A new interpretation of the Chevrolet face is crisper and more refined, side creases nuanced in a way that is more graceful than before, and the rear-three quarter view almost reads like a rear-wheel drive car. It looks more balanced than the Malibu it replaces.
The big news is under the hood where Malibu comes almost directly in line with the Ford Fusion in powertrains. Standard will be a 1.5 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, power dense with 160 horsepower and as much as 37 mpg highway.
For those wanting more power, a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder is available with 250 horsepower and an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission. The smaller 1.5 liter engine comes with a six-speed automatic.
The headliner however is the first true and robust hybrid powertrain for the 2016 Malibu which borrows heavily from the drive unit and system found in the Chevrolet Volt. Chevrolet says it will give 48 mpg city, 45 mpg highway – and 47 mpg combined which would make it the current class leader.
The power unit has two motors in its main hybrid drive system combined with a 1.8 liter four-cylinder engine. In total the system provides up to 182 horsepower together. The two-motor drive unit and lithium-ion battery pack can power the Malibu Hybrid up to 55 miles per hour on electric only power.
Chevrolet didn’t elaborate on the details of the hybrid drive system, like what type of transmission it has. They said only that it’s slightly modified from the Chevrolet Volt drive system, which itself really doesn’t have a transmission.
The wheelbase of the new 2016 Malibu is nearly 4-inches longer and its length better than 2-inches but it’s almost 300 pounds lighter than the outgoing model do to increased use of lightweight high-strength steels in its new body structure.
More room can be found inside as a result with over an inch more leg-room in the rear seat cabin as well as up front where the familiar dual cockpit dash design gets a new take. Center stack controls are laid out more intuitively and a new 7-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard on LS and up models.
Safety is well up too with now 10 standard airbags and an available suite of driver-assistance features like forward collision alert, rear cross traffic alert and automatic parking assist just to name a few.
The new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu goes on sale later this spring and will be built at GM’s Kansas City, Kansas Assembly Plant.