2016 Chevrolet Malibu hybrid (Photo)
2016 Chevrolet Malibu hybrid (Photo)

2016 Chevrolet Malibu hybrid (Photo)

It’s a tough go for most midsize sedans these days, especially in Canada. We Canadians love our crossovers and hatches—sales of Chevrolet’s own Equinox have more than doubled those of the 2015 Malibu so far this year.

Chevrolet’s team wanted to give the 2016 Malibu a compelling new look, and they succeeded. The new Malibu has some of the eye-catching lines of its big brother the Impala, and the result is the Malibu is now one of the best-looking midsize sedans.

Three Engine Choices

The newest Malibu is larger, but almost 300 pounds lighter. That weight loss made it possible to power the Malibu with smaller-displacement engines without feeling a significant loss of power. The smallest is a turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder with 160 horsepower and a 6-speed automatic transmission. This is the standard engine on the L, LS and 1LT.

The 1.5-liter is surprisingly capable, although you can feel its limits when accelerating on a grade. But for the daily commute it is more than adequate — and it should get about 27 mpg in the city and 37 on the highway (estimated). Part of those good fuel economy numbers come from the start/stop feature which cannot be defeated or shut off.

The other gas engine, a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, puts out 250 horsepower. It uses a new 8-speed automatic transmission, and is standard in the 2LT and Premier trim levels. This is the engine that offers the best acceleration and response throughout the rpm band, and the transmission is well-paired with the engine. This combination feels like the best fit for the Malibu. The downside: fuel economy is an estimated 22 city, 33 highway, which isn’t bad but isn’t nearly as good as with the 1.5-liter. Whichever engine you choose, though, you’ll get a car with an easy, comfortable ride that’ll be a great road trip car.



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