2016 Chevrolet Malibu Trims 300 Lbs of Fat

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

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.

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.

2015 New York Auto Show Coverage

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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Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for AutoGuide.com. When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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4 of 24 comments
  • Lennie Pike Lennie Pike on Apr 02, 2015

    Of course the usual suspects are missing what is interesting about the Malibu. Standard engine is 1.5 with turbo. If quoted numbers are right, there has been some trickery to get enough motion out an engine that small. Screw the whining about "looks like" or that sort of stuff. I want to know what's going on with the mechanical end. (BTW, this is the first widespread use of center spray direct injection) that's what's really important.

  • Pete Flynn Pete Flynn on Apr 03, 2015

    The Malibu has a legacy of mediocrity to overcome before it can succeed. In the meantime it is still a car of choice for rental fleets.