For the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid's second year on the market, GM has recalibrated the energy management system to get better gas mileage. The Malibu Hybrid comes in one trim level, and its competitors include the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Nissan Altima Hybrid.
New for 2009
The Malibu Hybrid gets new 17-inch wheels standard; last year's were 16-inchers. Chevy also tweaked software and mechanical calibrations involving the energy management and regenerative braking systems, resulting in a gain of 2 mpg in both city and highway driving.
The hybrid gets the same split grille and Corvette-inspired rear that other Malibus get. In fact, there's nothing to distinguish the hybrid from the regular model except for three GM "Hybrid" badges — two on the front doors and one on the trunklid.
At 70.3 inches wide and 57.1 inches tall, the Malibu is marginally narrower and shorter than competing hybrids. Its 191.8-inch length, however, is longer than the others.
- Standard 17-inch aluminum wheels
- Standard automatic headlamps
- Standard power mirrors
- Single chrome exhaust tip
- Optional sunroof
The hybrid gets a unique instrument cluster that includes a battery charge/assist gauge, a special "Eco" light and other gauges that help drivers achieve the best fuel economy. The hybrid gets the same interior treatment as the regular Malibu. The vehicle is available in two, two-tone interior themes: Cocoa/Cashmere accents the cabin in beige, dark brown and wood trim, and Titanium is a two-tone using grays. Passenger volume is smaller than the other two midsize hybrids, at 97.7 cubic feet. There's a standard 60/40-split bench for hauling large items, and the trunk has 15.1 cubic feet of volume — which is significantly larger than the others.
- Standard power windows, locks and keyless entry
- Standard automatic climate control
- Standard cruise control with steering-wheel controls
- Standard XM Satellite Radio
Under the Hood
GM's mild hybrid system replaces a conventional alternator with an electric motor/generator unit capable of producing 110 pounds-feet of torque. The generator, along with the battery, allows for seamless starting and stopping of the powertrain.
- 164-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 159 pounds-feet of torque
- Variable electric power-assisted steering
The Malibu Hybrid gets OnStar standard, featuring advanced automatic crash notification, remote diagnostics, a monthly status report and Turn-By-Turn Navigation.
- Standard side-impact airbags
- Standard side curtain airbags
- Standard antilock braking system
- Standard electronic stability control
- Standard traction control
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