‘09 Hybrid Malibu Is Mildly Better
It has been a rocky 12 months for American automakers, but GM is carrying on by producing the four-door, five-passenger 2009 Chevy Malibu hybrid sedan. First brought on the scene in 2008 to compete with Toyota’s hybrid Camry, the Malibu hybrid hasn’t changed much this year (unless you count replacing 16″ wheels with 17 inch ones). Just as in 2008, the mileage on the hybrid Malibu is not much different than the mileage on a standard fuel Malibu, because it is a mild hybrid. The difference is just four miles per gallon; the hybrid Malibu gets 26 in the city and 34 on the highway. This is a two mile per gallon fuel efficiency over the 2008 model.
The fuel economy improvement came about because of a new battery charging software that reduces the toll on the engine and slightly larger wheels. Moving up from 16 inch wheels to 17 inch low rolling resistance wheels helps save the driver gas.
Priced just about four thousand dollars more than its standard fuel counterpart; the Malibu hybrid represents a good value at $26,275. The included options, however, put the hybrid model in a class incomparable to the standard fuel Malibu, so a better comparison is to a slightly upgraded model (LT), priced at about $23,225. That being said, the hybrid Malibu is realistically only another $3,000 investment – a difference that can readily be made up in fuel savings, especially with gas prices having no where to go but up right now.
Under the hood, the 2009 Chevy Malibu has a 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine and a 36-volt electric starter-motor-generator that works in conjunction with a nickel metal hydride battery pack. The 2009 Chevy Malibu hybrid’s engine has 164 horsepower.
The design has not changed much since the 2008 model; this is still a stylish and fun-to-drive car. Reviews show this car’s long wheel base to be a key factor in contributing to the smooth ride. For more details on one Canadian driver’s review of this car, check out this article.
Do you think GM’s commitment to building these mild green cars in this economy will pay off? Will the small difference between the price of a standard fuel vehicle and hybrid Malibu draw I more buyers? Unfortunately, I have my doubts. For about $1,000 more, you can get better mpg in a full hybrid Toyota Camry and most likely better resale value down the road.
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Comment by littlejohn on 1 June 2010:
Why bother building a hybrid version if you’re only picking up 4 mpg? Why add electric power to a 2.4 liter engine? An engine that size (bigger than the 2.2 in my Subaru Legacy wagon) should provide plenty of power unless you plan to drag race.
Chevy should have dropped a 1.8 liter mill with a bigger electric motor (about 20 hp). This would have given roughly the same performance with much better city mileage.