Fuel economy, interior space and dramatic styling are three things midsize sedan buyers look for, and these are the areas Chevrolet focused on while developing the all-new 2016 Malibu, which just debuted at the New York Auto Show.
Unquestionably the biggest news with this midsize sedan has to do with mass. Riding on GM’s new Epsilon II architecture, Engineers have managed to cut its weight by 300 pounds, 120 of which came out of its body structure alone. This means the new Malibu should tip the scale at right around 3,200 pounds give or take. Greater use of high-strength steel and more advanced computer modeling are the main reasons for this weight loss.
This achievement becomes even more impressive when you look at this car’s dimensions. Its wheelbase is nearly four inches longer and its body is more than two inches lankier. Much of that stretch was added to the back seat, addressing a major complaint with today’s Malibu. Legroom for riders in steerage has increased by nearly 1.5 inches.
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Of course another area that received a lot of attention is the engine compartment. This car will be available with three different powertrains. The base unit a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that’s matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. It should provide 160 hp, 184 lb-ft of torque and up to 37 MPG on the highway.
Stepping up from there, drivers can get a more powerful 2.0-liter turbo that’s paired with a GM-developed eight-speed self-shifting gearbox. This combination should deliver an estimated 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of twist all while returning up to 32 MPG on the interstate.
Finally, GM is offering a hybrid version of the 2016 Malibu. Not surprisingly this drivetrain borrows a lot of technology from the company’s next-generation Volt. It features a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, a drive unit with two electric motors plus an 80-cell, 1.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Additionally it benefits from an innovative exhaust-gas heat recovery system for improved fuel economy and greater passenger comfort in cold weather. All told this car is projected to average more than 45 MPG, though official figures are not available.
Of course the new Malibu also offers a dump truck-load of technology including 10 standard airbags, 4G LTE connectivity, wireless phone charging, pedestrian alert, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and so much more. Practically all of the latest and greatest technologies are on the menu.
Chevrolet engineers have even come up with a new feature called Teen Driver that helps encourage safe motoring. Parents can limit vehicle functions, mute the audio system if seatbelts aren’t fastened and even get reports about how their kids are doing. This is very clever, if not a bit creepy.
Additionally LS, LT and Hybrid models come standard with Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system, which includes a seven-inch screen. A newly available Premier trim level offers an eight-inch display, something that’s also available in other models for extra cost. Both systems have processors that are 1.5 times faster than their predecessors for snappy performance.
Chevrolet’s all-new 2016 Malibu will be built at the company’s Fairfax Assembly Plant in the redundantly named town of Kansas City, Kansas. The car is set to launch in the fourth quarter of the year. No pricing information is available at this time.
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