HYBRID CAR REVIEW:
Chevroletís Malibu has impressed auto writers, and apparently, the
public too. It is one of the best looking new cars around, quality
appears high, and prices are still relatively reasonable. A hybrid model
should make things even better, shouldnít it?
Well, the Malibu Hybrid
is a good start. It does use a gas engine and electric motor in tandem.
It does generate its own electricity for the motor using regenerative
braking. The gas engine stops running at stoplights, at least if the air
conditioning is either off, or turned to the special hybrid setting. But
my Amber Bronze Metallic test car averaged only 22 miles per gallon on
an EPA rating of 24 City, 32 Highway.
Also, despite a
comfortable ride and pleasant handling, the Malibu Hybrid felt slow when
attempting to drive up the somewhat steep hills in my neighborhood.
Acceleration on the level, open road was also leisurely. The hybrid
offers 164 horsepower and 159 lb.-ft of torque from its 2.4-liter
engine. Thatís not that much for propelling a 3,537-pound car.
The base LS model
non-hybrid Malibu generates 169 horsepower from its 2.4-liter
four-cylinder engine and 160 lb.-ft. of torque, and its posted fuel
mileage is just two mpg lower than the hybrid. What gives?
Perhaps a peek at the
EPAís Green Vehicle Guide will give us a compelling difference between
the two Malibuís. Nope, the Hybrid gets a 6 on the Air Pollution score
and an 8 on the Greenhouse Gas score. The standard Malibu? A 6 and 7
The Hybrid wears its
own badges on the outside, offering bragging rights to hybrid ownership.
Sadly, thereís not that much to be excited about.
And thatís really too
bad, because the Malibu is a real improvement over its predecessor(s).
With Ed Welburn directing design at GM, the look of the corporationís
cars has improved year after year. I was always pleased when I
approached the Malibu in the parking lot. It has neatly distributed mass
and really doesnít have a bad angle on it.
The Malibu ís interior
impresses with its movement, shapes, colors and textures. The dash is an
exuberant sweep, defined by silver and chrome accents. Plastic textures,
long a problem in GM vehicles, are handsome and feel substantial. Fit
and finish are apparently flawless. My Coco & Cashmere interior (brown &
tan) looked and felt better than the carís price might suggest. Even the
audio system, with its standard XM Radio, had 30 station presets.
And safety is top
notch. The Malibu gets the highest possible score of five-star crash
ratings from frontal and side crashes for the driver and all passenger
locations. There are airbags aplenty plus the electronic watchdogs of
four-wheel disc brakes with antilock and the Stabilitrak stability
control system with traction control.
As a GM vehicle, the
Malibu Hybrid comes with OnStar. Using hands-free calling, you can take
care of numerous issues, from the inconvenience of locking your keys
inside the trunk to the automatic accident response system. That system
calls you if the airbags deploy and if you donít answer, medical help is
dispatched to your location.
GM is especially proud
of OnStarís new Turn-by-Turn Navigation feature. You simply call and ask
for directions and the system downloads them and talks you step-by-step
to where you want to go. Itís like a navigation system that you donít
have to program yourself. And OnStar sends you a monthly vehicle
diagnostics report on your car via email.
Prices are all still
pretty reasonable. The non-hybrids start at $20,550 for the LS and work
up through two LT levels to the LTZ model with its standard
252-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 at $27,745. My Hybrid carried a price tag of
$22,790, including shipping.
So, the Hybrid costs
you about $2,000 more than the base LS, and includes some upgraded
features along with the hybrid system. If youíre willing to live with
fuel economy in the low to mid 20ís, itís a good deal, but if youíre
looking for higher numbers, youíll have to search elsewhere.
By Steve Schaefer
Byline: HYBRID Review provided by Tony
Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Chevy Home Page
Column Name: The 2008
Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
Topic: The Malibu
Hybrid is a good start
Word Count: 742
Photo Caption: The
2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Internet Media
Series #: 2008 - 38
the Microsoft Word version here:
2008 Chevy Malibu
Download the Original Image File here:
2008 Chevy Malibu