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We Like: The Premier and Hybrid models with upgraded interiors, solid performance.
We Don’t Like: The base model with a weak engine, lackluster interior.
The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu arrived at COTY in three various trims: LT, Premier, and Hybrid. The all-new hybrid caught rave reviews from most editors, the 2.0-liter turbo Premier impressed with its power, and the base LT offered a handsome exterior that belied its price tag. “I really like the exterior design that makes it appear to be in a class above Camry and Accord,” Chris Walton said of the LT.
Stay tuned to MotorTrend.com as the 2016 Motor Trend Car of the Year contenders and finalists are revealed in advance of the official winner announcement on the evening of November 16. Learn about other Car of the Year contenders at the links below. Check out the Car of the Year introduction HERE, and discover how our Of The Year awards have evolved HERE.
Inside, the Premier and Hybrid models felt downright luxurious with rich leather, ventilated seats, and quiet rides. “The best of the Malibu bunch,” Jason Cammisa said of the hybrid. “It rides great and is way quieter than the Audi A6 on the road.”
The Malibu grew 2.3 inches longer and added 3.6 inches to its wheelbase. That helped create a more comfortable and roomy interior with an additional 1.3 inches of rear legroom. The bigger size did not mean more weight, as we confirmed that Chevy has cut hundreds of pounds out of the Malibu. The lightest LT weighs just 3,124 pounds (1,417 kg).
If it had been mechanically possible, the Malibu would have been placed on a social media platform instead of the new E2XX it uses. The car can be a mobile hot spot with 4G connectivity, and it provides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also has techno-safety features such as adaptive cruise control, active headlight controls, and front pedestrian alert.
This year, the Malibu flaunts its Teen Driver feature, which will notify parents of the car’s top speed, distance traveled, and every time an active safety device was triggered.
Overall, the Malibu is vastly improved, and the new hybrid is one of the best in the segment. As Angus MacKenzie said, “A handsome car, particularly in the context of its competitive set, and in the great tradition of 1950s Chevys, looks more expensive than it really is.”
|2016 Chevrolet Malibu||LT||Hybrid||Premier|
|Base Price||$25,895||$30,000||$31,795 / $35,280|
|Price As Tested||$27,985||$32,100 (est)||$35,280|
|Vehicle Layout||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|Engine||1.5L/160-hp/184-lb-ft turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4/||1.8L/122-hp/129-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4 plus 102-hp electric motor||2.0L/250-hp/258-lb-ft turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|Transmission||6-speed auto||182 hp/277 lb-ft comb/cont variable auto||8-speed auto|
|Length x Width x Height||193.8 x 73.0 x 57.7||193.8 x 73.0 x 57.7||193.8 x 73.0 x 57.7|
|Wheelbase||111.4 in||111.4 in||111.4 in|
|Curb Weight (F/R Dist)||3,124 lb (61/39%)||3,363 lb (59/41%)||3,301 lb (62/38%)|
|Acceleration, 0-60 mph||8.5 sec||7.4 sec||6.2 sec|
|Quarter Mile||16.5 sec @ 84.6 mph||15.8 sec @ 88.5 mph||14.7 sec @ 96.2 mph|
|Braking, 60-0 mph||127 ft||127 ft||117 ft|
|Lateral Acceleration||0.84 g (avg)||0.83 g (avg)||0.88 g (avg)|
|MT Figure Eight||27.4 sec @ 0.63 g (avg)||27.5 sec @ 0.61 g (avg)||26.4 sec @ 0.68 g (avg)|
|EPA City/Hwy/Comb||27/37/31 mpg (est)||48/45/47 mpg (est)||22/32/26 mpg (est)|
|Energy Consumption, City/Hwy||125/91 kW-hrs/100 miles (est)||70/75 kW-hrs/100 miles (est)||153/105 kW-hrs/100 miles (est)|
|CO2 Emissions||0.63 lb/mile (est||0.42 lb/mile (est)||0.76 lb/mile (est)|
|Real MPG City/Hwy/Comb||22/33/26|