Chevy returns with its flagship Malibu sedan this model year and serves up a sportier frame, upgraded tech, and a new transmission for its standard 160 horsepower turbocharged 1.5-liter engine. This sleek and sharp addition to the ninth-generation Malibu is sure to attract attention with its overall better fuel economy, which is 2 mpg higher than last year’s model. Drivers will be able to choose from five trim levels: L, LS, LT, RS, and Premier with an available hybrid version as well. The first four trims have the base engine, while the high-end Premier gets a more robust turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine generating 250 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque.
Comfort and Convenience
The base L trim level is relatively bare-bones, but the LS trim adds a compass and exterior temperature display, plus sound-reducing windows. Moving up to the sportier RS supplies a leather-wrapped steering wheel as well as an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat complete with power lumbar support. On the LT trim, all of the standard features from the LS are bundled with the addition of remote start, heated mirrors, heated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control, rear-seat air vents, and rear-seat reading lamps. A Leather Package can also be incorporated to the LT, which adds leather upholstery and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. With the Premier, all of the LT’s features come standard in addition to the Leather Package. Ventilated front seats, a driver’s seat with memory settings, wireless charging pad, and heated outboard rear seats are bundled on top of everything else. Optional for the Premier is the Sun and Wheel Package, for a dual-pane power sunroof and wheel upgrades.
Active safety features are only available with the LT and Premier trims in the form of options packages. For example, the Driver Confidence Package includes blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking sensors, while the Driver Confidence II Package adds automatic high beams, lane keeping assist, and forward collision alert. The Premier can include these as well, although it also has its own Driver Confidence III Package that provides an electronic parking brake, adaptive cruise control, active parking assist, and an automatic forward collision avoidance system.
Standard Technology & Hybrid Technology
The base L trim is lightly equipped, though it does have a new 8-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration in addition to a six-speaker audio system. With the LS and RS, drivers can enjoy 4G LTE connectivity as well as Wi-Fi. Next is the LT, which includes satellite radio in addition to the features standard on the RS. At the top of the line, the Premier gets the previous trim’s technology as well as navigation and a nine-speaker Bose audio system.
This version of the Malibu has its own 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired to an electric motor generating a combined 182 hp and 277 lb.-ft. of torque. This hybrid edition also gets an EPA-estimated 43 mpg highway and 49 mpg city. Equipment-wise, the Hybrid is rather similar to the LT, although it adds an electronic parking brake and heated seats. What’s more, the infotainment interface is unique in that the trip computer is replaced by an 8-inch color display, and a tire repair and inflation kit is included as standard.