The Bowtie is back in style!
You know those Chevrolet commercials that strip their vehicles of all identification and show them off to consumers, who are constantly wowed by them?
Well, I always found them a bit hard to believe.
That was until I got behind the wheel of the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid. Even with all the badging in place, it’s easy to see why they are so impressed.
Suffice it to say, the Bowtie is back in style.
I clocked nearly 1,400 kilometres in the Malibu Hybrid and what struck me was just how well it drives – not to mention how it looks. I really had no complaints other than an odd rattle that would appear and disappear at random times.
The Malibu Hybrid is powered by a 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine paired with a two-motor electric drive unit. The setup delivers net figures of 182 horsepower and an impressive 278 lb-ft of torque.
That gives the midsize sedan lots of get up and go, making it quite pleasant to drive, and there’s no gear shifting thanks to the one-speed automatic.
The Malibu Hybrid features a 1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack for electric power to the hybrid system, and features regenerative braking to help maintain the charge.
And even though I failed to match the combined fuel economy figure of 4.8 litres per 100 kilometres, I was still quite satisfied with the 5.7 l/100 km.
And the Malibu Hybrid moves you along in style, inside and out. Those consumers on the commercials have a reason to be impressed.
The Malibu is an attractive vehicle, from just about every angle.
Up front, the Malibu grabs your attention with a split grille layout that gives the fascia some depth, and the LED accent lights add some flair.
The hood and body panels have nice crease lines that make the Malibu rather shapely.
At the back, the rear window is sloped at almost a coupe-like angle, accentuating the shape when viewed in profile. At the top of the rear glass, designers cleverly hid the rear brake light, while dual chrome exhaust ports are a nice touch for the rear-end design.
The tester’s exterior was capped off by elegant 17-inch alloy wheels, and I quite liked the Iridescent Pearl White Tricoat paint, although that does add $1,195 to the bottom line.
Inside the Malibu, occupants are welcomed by a comfortable cabin, even if it was a sea of black material in our tester.
The leather seats in it were on the comfortable side during the long drives, and the fit and finish seemed quite good given some past experiences with General Motors vehicles.
Rear legroom was ample, but the trunk is restricted somewhat thanks to the battery pack. However, there was no issue fitting the bags of two colleagues during a three-day road trip.
My one complaint about the interior is that as upscale as the exterior looks, the centre stack housing all the controls left something to be desired. It just comes across as rather plain in an otherwise stylish package.
Perhaps it was the fact many of the buttons one would normally see in that area were non-existent. That’s because the large 8-inch screen for the infotainment system doubles as a control panel for many in-vehicle systems.
That just left a sea of black where buttons would normally be, and for some reason that just didn’t look right to me.
However, the infotainment system itself is easy to operate, and the Apple CarPlay (and Android Auto) adaptability is a feature that I appreciate more each time I use it.
The buttons that are on the centre stack are clearly labelled and identifiable, and the system can be controlled either through the steering-wheel mounted controls or the touchscreen commands.
On the road, a soft touch of the accelerator will allow the Malibu Hybrid to get moving on electric power alone. Another advantage of the Hybrid system is the instant torque from the electric system, allowing the Malibu Hybrid to be quick off the line.
Passengers are treated to a smooth and comfortable ride in the Malibu, which handles the bumps along the road with little fuss.
When it comes to midsize sedans I have driven in recent memory, the Malibu Hybrid certainly ranks among the best.
It has style, power, comfort, loads of creature comforts, and the hybrid powertrain makes it that much more attractive.
I have been critical of some General Motors products in the past, but I have to admit I was more than impressed with the Malibu Hybrid.
2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
Price as tested: $37,230.00
Configuration: front engine/front-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 1.8L 4-cylinder engine paired with a two-motor electric drive unit/ One-speed automatic
Power/torque: 182 horsepower/ 278 lb-ft (net)
Fuel (capacity): Regular (49 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 4.8 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 5.7 L/100 km
Warranties: 3-years/60,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Mazda 6
- Good fuel economy
- Rides well
- Center console design
- Loss of trunk space for battery