The Chevrolet Malibu’s name has always made this family sedan sound more interesting than it is, but this car became significantly more compelling following a 2016 redesign that added interior space while shedding weight thanks to the increased use of high-strength steel.
Between that and a trio of more efficient powertrains, the Malibu also became a more fuel-efficient choice, a notable thing when one of your key competitors is the Toyota Camry.
For 2018, the Malibu carries on with the same available turbocharged gas engines and a gas-electric hybrid powertrain but undergoes some trim changes. In gas-powered LT models, a new Redline Edition appearance package brings 19-inch wheels and black exterior trim.
Gas and hybrid models are now standard with a convenience and tech package that brings remote engine starting, auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 120-volt power outlet, colour driver information centre, 8.0-inch infotainment display, wireless smartphone charging, two USB ports and leather-trimmed steering wheel and shifter.
Hybrid models are further treated to standard active safety gear that includes city-speed automatic braking with pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, front and rear park assist, blind spot monitor and lane change alert, lane keeping assist, following distance indicator and forward collision and rear cross traffic alerts.
The Malibu’s basic specs are unchanged: Gas-powered models start out with a 1.5L turbo four-cylinder that puts 163 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque through a six-speed automatic, while an optional 2.0L is good for 250 hp and 260 lb-ft and comes matched with a nine-speed automatic.
Hybrid models get a 1.8L gas engine that teams up with a pair of electric motors to make 182 hp, which is funnelled into a continuously variable transmission.
This is a nicely-appointed car with a roomy interior, and Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment setup is one of the most intuitive you’ll find. The cabin is underpinned by a competent chassis that lends the car a European driving feel, but the 1.5L engine’s performance is disappointing. The Honda Accord’s 1.5L turbo motor is stronger on paper and feels that way on the road.
Gas-powered Malibus come in L, LS, LT and Premier trims, while the Hybrid comes in a single trim level that can be optioned with extras.
Notable options in the LT model include a driver confidence package that adds the same active safety kit that comes standard in Hybrid and Premier models. Meanwhile, Premier trim adds the option of radar cruise control, all-speed automatic braking, semi-automatic park assist and an electric parking brake.
Fuel consumption estimates are 8.8/6.5 L/100 km (city/highway) with the 1.5L engine and 10.5/7.4 in 2.0L models. Hybrid ratings are 4.8/5.1 L/100 km.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed