2016 Chevrolet Malibu: Up Close

16Chevrolet_Malibu_ES_09.jpg 2016 Chevrolet Malibu; | photo by Evan Sears

The Chevrolet Malibu has never been our favorite midsize car. It finished midpack in our $27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge last year, ranking fifth out of 10 cars. That’s a respectable result and a good indicator of how Malibu has done in the market: OK, but not great. Well, Chevrolet is done with settling for mediocrity and has finally stepped up with an all-new 2016 Malibu that aims to rise to the top of the midsize segment.

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It starts with the exterior styling, which loses the previous model’s bland awkwardness for exactly what you’d expect a baby Impala to look like. This isn’t a bad thing at all; its low headlights with clamshell-hood cut and Corvette-inspired taillights make it look much more distinctive than anything from Subaru or Hyundai.


16Chevrolet_Malibu_ES_12.jpg 2016 Chevrolet Malibu; | photo by Evan Sears

However, there is a resemblance to the generic midsize silhouette that we’re starting to see in cars like the Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion and Toyota Avalon. Still, it’s a far more cohesive design than the current Malibu wears.

16Chevrolet_Malibu_ES_18.jpg 2016 Chevrolet Malibu; | photo by Evan Sears

Inside is another step up. Interior materials, at least on the top Premium trim level I sat in, are first class, with high-quality leather and plastic throughout. Controls feel greatly simplified; gone are the myriad buttons and switches that plagued many of GM’s midsize cars. They’re replaced by simple, easy-to-use controls and a larger touch-screen with a streamlined Chevrolet MyLink system.

16Chevrolet_Malibu_ES_16.jpg 2016 Chevrolet Malibu; | photo by Evan Sears

Comfort is quite good as well, with plenty of room for front seat passengers and easy entry and exit. Noticeable work has gone into making the backseat much more tolerable, with greater legroom and headroom. It’s also relatively easy to get into, with a slightly higher roofline and what feels like a larger door opening making that task much less of an exercise in flexibility.

We’ll have to see just how well the new Malibu drives to determine if it would likely have scored better in our prior comparison test, but based on what has changed so far, it looks like a much more competitive model than the outgoing car. Add in new safety features, excellent estimated fuel economy and a multimedia system that’s faster than the current one and we’ve got big hopes for the new Malibu.


More on the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu:

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Will Reach 48 MPG in City Driving 

2016 Chevrolet Malibu First Look

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