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2019 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid: New Car Review

In the 2019 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, you’ll find a roomy, comfortable and technologically advanced midsize sedan offering the fuel economy of a tiny economy car. Sharing its body and interior with the standard Malibu, the hybrid isn’t burdened by wild design ideas or futuristic contours that quickly become dated. Up against popular hybrid rivals like the Ford Fusion, the Kia Optima, the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry, Chevrolet knows its Malibu Hybrid sedan faces competition, but they hope to sway buyers with outstanding fuel economy, a good reputation for reliability and a strong dealer network. Price may be the one thing that hamstrings the Malibu, with the Fusion, the Optima and the Camry all starting about a grand less.

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 2019?

For 2019, the Malibu Hybrid gets a mild exterior makeover, a new 8-in reconfigurable driver information center and a new 8-in touchscreen infotainment system. See the 2019 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid models for sale near you

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?

$29,095-$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 (CVT). 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 ($29,095) is offered in only one trim level. It comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control, a backup camera, a 6-speaker infotainment system with an 8-in touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio, Bluetooth and OnStar with a Wi-Fi hot spot. Also standard are 17-in alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, a power driver’s seat, steering wheel audio controls, keyless access and start and 10 airbags.

Options include a remote starter, an 8-in navigation touchscreen, a wireless device charging system, forward-collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, a blind spot monitoring system, low-speed automatic braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, front and rear park assist, automatic high beams, a power sunroof, a navigation system, heated leather front seats, heated steering wheel, 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 2019 Chevrolet Malibu earned a perfect 5-star overall score. The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Malibu its highest rating of Good in every crash test except the passenger side small overlap front test, which earned a Marginal rating. The Malibu earned a Superior rating in the crash avoidance and mitigation category.

While the Malibu Hybrid only offers basic safety features as standard equipment — including side-curtain airbags, antilock 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-keeping 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 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 a 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

2019 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.

2019 Honda Accord — The Honda Accord Hybrid comes with sleek styling, a massive trunk and rear seat and class-leading fuel economy figures. It will also likely hold its value better than any other hybrid in the segment.

2019 Toyota Camry — The Camry Hybrid offers a reliable, familiar package, a roomy interior and better fuel economy figures than the Malibu Hybrid. Unlike the Chevy, the Camry Hybrid offers three trims from which to choose. Like the Accord, the Camry comes standard with a host of driver-assist safety features optional on the Malibu.

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 2019 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 Mailbu Hybrid for sale

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