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2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2017

The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid touts the same slick styling and feature-rich interior as the standard Malibu sedan, but with a more fuel-efficient, eco-friendly powertrain. In a segment long the domain of cars like the Honda Accord Hybrid, Ford Fusion Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid, the Malibu Hybrid now competes at or above the levels set by these worthy competitors. With better fuel economy figures than the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Ford Fusion Hybrid, the Malibu has a right to brag, although both the Ford and Hyundai cost less than the Chevy.

If the Malibu Hybrid wasn't on your shopping list the last time you looked for a midsize sedan, we think it definitely should be now, especially for those interested in maximizing fuel economy and minimizing their carbon footprint.

What's New for 2017?

For 2017, the Malibu Hybrid has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Chevy's Teen Driver added to the standard audio system.

What We Like

Strong fuel economy; competitive interior design and materials; handsome sheet metal; well priced for the equipment

What We Don't

More hybrid trim levels would be nice; trunk space surprisingly reduced due to hybrid batteries

How Much?

$28,750-$35,000

Fuel Economy

The Malibu Hybrid offers one powertrain: a 122-horsepower 1.8-liter hybrid 4-cylinder, which is mated to front-wheel drive and a fuel-saving continuously variable automatic transmission. Gas mileage is rated at 49 miles per gallon in the city and 43 mpg on the highway, which places the Malibu Hybrid near the top of the hybrid-midsize-sedan segment.

Standard Features & Options

The Malibu Hybrid ($28,750) is offered in only one trim level. It comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control, a backup camera, 6-speaker MyLink radio with a 7-in touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio, Bluetooth and OnStar with a Wi-Fi hotspot. Also standard are 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, a power driver's seat, steering-wheel audio controls, keyless access and starting and 10 airbags.

Options include a remote starter, an 8-in touchscreen, a wireless-device charging system, forward-collision alert, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, a blind spot monitoring system, low-speed automatic braking, front and rear park assist, automatic high beams, a power sunroof, a navigation system, heated front seats, a power passenger seat and a 9-speaker Bose sound system.

Safety

In crash testing carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu earned a perfect 5-star overall score. The sedan also earned the coveted Top Safety Pick designation from the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

While the Malibu Hybrid only offers basic safety features as standard equipment -- including side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes and a backup camera -- optional safety items abound. The Malibu Hybrid boasts forward-collision warning with low-speed automatic braking, a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear park assist, lane-keep assist and automatic high beams.

Behind the Wheel

The Malibu Hybrid's cabin is comfortable, roomy and quiet (although concrete surfaces bring some road roar). The ride quality is serene and unruffled, and power delivery is responsive and capable. This car is no high-performance freeway blaster, but it takes a lot of the drudge and quite a bit of the expense out of commuting. The only small complaint is that some of the cabin materials show signs of cost cutting.

Regenerative brakes in hybrids and electric cars usually have a tendency to feel strange, but these have what Chevrolet calls a blended action. They feel pretty much identical to the brakes of a regular car, though they still gather energy that would otherwise have dissipated.

Trunk space is somewhat curtailed by having to accommodate the hybrid system's battery pack. While the regular sedan can hold up to 15.8 cu ft., this variant offers 11.8 cu ft. Though this is not exactly a deal-breaker, the extra annoyance is that this battery pack is still in the way, even with the rear seats folded down.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid -- The Ford Fusion hybrid is an excellent midsize hybrid sedan that offers handsome styling and a comfortable ride. Fuel economy is strong -- and as a bonus, the Fusion Hybrid is even offered with a plug-in powertrain.

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid -- The Honda Accord Hybrid is a fuel-efficient midsize model that offers excellent driving characteristics, a roomy interior and the best gas mileage in the segment.

2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid -- The Camry Hybrid offers a reliable, familiar package, a roomy interior and excellent gas mileage, though it can't touch the Malibu Hybrid's numbers.

Used Toyota Avalon Hybrid -- The Avalon Hybrid is an impressive, fuel-efficient full-size sedan that offers a larger interior (and a more comfortable ride) than the Malibu Hybrid. Prices are higher, though, so you may have to consider a used model.

Autotrader's Advice

The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid only comes in one trim level, so that's the one we'd get. But we'd make sure to add a few luxury and safety features too, as they're surprisingly affordable -- and highly desirable.

Find a Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid for sale

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid: New Car Review - Autotrader