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Tuesday 27 September 2016
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Test Drive: 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Review

Test Drive: 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Review

This week I bring you the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, a much improved and much better looking midsize sedan than the one it replaces.

This is the ninth generation of the Chevy Malibu that started out in 1964 as the top-of-the-line Chevelle model. Over time, the Malibu became known as a fleet or rental car, but this 2016 will likely put an end to that.

So what’s new for 2016?  First off, it is 2.3” longer, it’s wider, it has a longer wheelbase, and while it was getting bigger, it shed 300 pounds. The 2016 has much more technology, and a much more chiseled exterior. LED front lights are the rage these days, as are glossy black wheels and dual exhaust, all things you’ll find on this car.


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I have heard people refer to it as sexy, and while I would stop just short of that, it certainly looks upscale. The only thing that hit me as a little odd on the outside is the placement of the Malibu emblems on the front doors, they just sort of look out of place, but do not detract from the overall beauty of the car.

This front-wheel drive sedan comes standard with a new suite of engine choices. The base engine is a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that is mated to a 6-speed automatic, and together they put out 160-horses.

My review vehicle has the larger 2.0-liter turbo, also 4-cylinder, that has GM’s first ever 8-speed automatic transmission, and together they produce 250-horses, but honestly it feels like more. A hybrid version will be available later in the year.

The 2016 Malibu comes in four trim levels. The LS is the stripped down version, then there is the 1LT package, the one I am testing – which is the 2 LT, then the nicest one is the Premium package, which replaced the LTZ of years past.

The interior is nicely done and while there is some noticeable plastic, most of the areas you actually touch are soft. The cloth seats are comfortable and appear to be very durable as well. The center console is nicely done, and I love the old-school knobs for the air conditioning and radio volume.

The gauges are easy to read and there is a color driver info center right in the middle. The leather steering wheel comes with a ton of controls and makes it really easy to operate features without taking your eyes off the road.

There is an 8” color touchscreen that operates the MyLink system to hook up your telephone to Bluetooth, and you can activate Apple Carplay or Android Auto depending on your phone. You also operate the radio, turn on the 4G LTE hotspot, use Onstar turn-by-turn navigation, and configure the settings of the car to fit your needs. 

This new Malibu has increased legroom for front and rear seat passengers.  The rear seats will fold down to make the already large trunk space even bigger.

I was thrilled to have this 2LT package because usually they send me super-loaded cars to test, not the ones that will sell the best, like this package. The level of standard equipment on this car is amazing. In fact, note that this car does not have a single option other than the paint, which is Iridescent Pearl and runs $995. Everything else I will discuss comes at no charge.

Here are the most notable free features on the 2016 Malibu: you get 10 airbags, rear-view camera, remote start, keyless entry, power seats with power lumbar support, wireless phone charging, automatic headlights, and a theft deterrent system.

On the safety technology front, you get low speed automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, collision alert, front and rear parking assist, and Lane Change Alert, all features you normally find on more expensive cars.

If your kid likes to borrow your car, this Malibu will be their worst nightmare. In the settings on MyLink, you can set up Teen Driver, that can only be changed by use of a PIN. The settings take effect when you hand your kid, or the valet, a particular key fob.

From there, parents can learn how far their child has driven, how fast they’ve gone, and how many times they braked hard.  Teen Driver automatically mutes the radio until front safety belts are fastened. Additionally, the radio system’s maximum volume can also be set. The system will also make sure all safety features are automatically turned on. Parents can select a maximum speed between 40-75 mph, which, if exceeded, activates a visual warning and audible chime, letting the teen know that the info will be recorded on the report card.  This could be a lifesaver.

The 2016 Malibu really drives and handles well. Although a 4-cylinder, acceleration is good with the 2-liter, although there is just a hint of turbo lag.

In the tough midsize sedan segment that includes greats like Accord, Camry, Fusion, Altima, and Mazda 6 to name a few, Chevy has a player with the new Malibu.

You’ll love the fuel economy of 22 city, 33 highway, and 26 overall, but I saved the best for last. With everything you see on this car, the sticker price is just $30,490 and in a different color, it would only be $29,500.

The Bow Tie boys did an outstanding job on the 2016 Malibu, and although it just came out, I predict it is going to be a huge hit.

  • What I liked most: The overall value for the money.   
  • What I would change: Really nothing, everything is well done.
  • MSRP: Base price $28,620, as equipped $30,490.
  • Fuel Economy: 22 City/33 Highway, 26 Combined.
  • Fuel Tank: 13 gallons.
  • Dimensions: 193.8” long/73” wide/57.6” high.
  • Weight: 3086 Pounds.
  • Trailer Towing: Not rated.
  • Miles When Tested: 317 miles.
  • Final Assembly Point: Fairfax, Kansas.
  • 2016 Malibu in a Few Words: A real competitor in the midsize sedan segment.
  • Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty, with roadside assistance, two free scheduled maintenance visits, and free courtesy transportation.
  • Manufacturers Website: Chevrolet
Photo Credit: Chevrolet