There is a good deal that the hybrid version of the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu takes from the Chevrolet Volt. Google’s most searched car adopts the dual electric motors, regenerative braking, and transmission from GM’s marquee EV, though a higher displacement 1.8L four-cylinder engine is used instead.
The extra horses that come with the engine is much-needed because the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is 371lbs heavier than the standard model, plus it doesn’t really play in the same EV segment as the Volt does; it is an electrified version of an established nameplate that contends with those of others, such as the hybrid Hyundai Sonata or Kia Optima.
The 1.5kWh battery in the sedan is less than one-tenth the capacity in the Volt’s 18.4kWh pack. It is meant for speeds below 55mph, and isn’t an ‘Eco’ mode to be engaged with the push of a button. Instead the range that is managed by the Malibu – up to 47mpg combined driving – is better than other hybrids in its league and is also close to the current Toyota Prius.
While the hybrid drivetrain of the Malibu feels seamless akin using a CVT, there is a meaty amount of torque in its electric motors that deliver 277lb-ft so there shouldn’t be frustrations finding some kick going from a standstill. For a starting price of $28,645, it is more expensive than its equivalents in the Optima, Sonata, or even Camry, but it is well-worth the extra cash.