The mileage king of the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu lineup is the Hybrid model, a mid-size gas/electric sedan that borrows some of its energy components from the Volt and Bolt electric vehicles. As a result, the 2017 Malibu Hybrid will take you an amazing 49 miles down the highway on a single gallon of gasoline.
The Malibu Hybrid uses a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine and electric motors for its power. The combination results in a total of 182 horsepower and sends 277 lb.-ft. of torque to the front wheels. You won’t win red light races in this car, but if you buy one that’s probably not what you had in mind anyway.
However, while the others are stopped for gas, you’ll drive right by the station with a big smile on your face.
An 80-cell 1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack supplies power to the hybrid system and can power the Malibu Hybrid up to about 55 miles per hour on electricity alone. The gas engine automatically kicks in at higher speeds or when the driver calls for more power.
One day during my week with the Malibu Hybrid, I drove from Denham Springs to the Santa Maria subdivision. The odometer showed the round trip was about 46 miles, but the “distance to empty” reading was only about five miles less at the end of the trip than the start. That’s because the car stores energy that is generated when coasting or braking.
I drove the car with an eye towards fuel economy instead of my normal way, which generally does not have an eye towards fuel economy unless I’m almost out of gas. I was amazed at the fuel efficiency of this mid-sized sedan. And much of this efficiency is attributable to its sharing technology with the Volt.
In addition to the drive unit, the Malibu Hybrid also share’s the 2016 Volt’s blended regenerative braking system, which provides maximum kinetic energy recovery during braking and coasting. The energy is stored in the battery for use later.
On the road, the Malibu Hybrid is comfortable and roomy. Our Jet Black test car absorbed potholes without fuss, and it had the necessary power from its gas and electric motors to get around slower vehicles on two-lane roads.
Inside the cabin, the 8-way power front seats were well bolstered and comfortable. There’s still some hard plastic in this car, but materials were soft in the right spots. Keyless start is standard, although it takes a little getting used to when you push the start button and only the electrical system silently boots up. The engine doesn’t come on until it’s needed.
Graphics on the 7-inch diagonal touchscreen were crisp and clear, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on the base audio system for 2017.
The driver has the ability to switch between display screens, one of which is an energy meter. This function allows the driver to see what source is supplying vehicle power: the battery, the engine or both. The screen also shows when regenerative braking is active. It’s more than just a really cool feature that I enjoyed using, it’s a good tool to help drivers become more fuel efficient.
A new Teen Driver feature is also standard equipment. This feature allows parents to set driving controls, review junior’s driving habits and encourage safe driving.
Finally, the 2017 Chevy Malibu Hybrid is also a safe car, winning a 5-star safety rating from the government. The hybrid version of the Malibu hasn’t been rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but the regular 2017 Malibu is a “Top Safety Pick Plus,” which is the agency’s highest rating.
2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack
Total system horsepower/torque:
Automatic two motor drive
$27,875 ($32,730 with options & freight)
EPA mileage rating:
49 mpg city/43 mpg highway/46 mpg combined
Estimated highway range: