Dispatches from New York: GM Doubles Down with a Hybrid Malibu

We remember the Chevy Malibu during its darker days.  When you could pull the key out of the ignition while the car was moving, and…well BAD things happened after that.

So the future for Malibu was a fair question.  Do you discontinue the line?  Do you downplay it?  Do you simply ignore it?

Today at the 2015 New York International Auto Show, GM introduced a new Malibu chock full of more technology–and a hybrid variant.  They doubled-down on the car by giving it a platform at one of the country’s biggest auto shows. From Chevy:

The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, which uses technology from the Chevrolet Volt, will offer a General Motors-estimated 48 mpg city, 45 mpg highway – and 47 mpg combined, unsurpassed in the segment, GM President Dan Ammann announced today.

 

Ammann made the announcement at an International Motoring Press Association breakfast before the 2016 Malibu was to be unveiled at the New York International Auto Show.

 

“Fuel efficiency is important to our customers, especially in the midsize segment and with an estimated 48 mpg city rating, the Malibu Hybrid delivers,” Ammann said.

 

An all-new direct-injection 1.8L 4-cylinder engine mated to a two-motor drive unit slightly modified from the 2016 Chevrolet Volt drive unit powers the Malibu Hybrid. The drive unit provides additional power to assist the engine during acceleration, for 182 horsepower (136 kW) of total system power.

 

An 80-cell, 1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack provides electric power to the Hybrid system. The advanced lithium-ion based chemistry can power the Malibu hybrid at up to 55 miles per hour on electricity alone. The gasoline-powered engine will automatically come on at higher speeds and high loads when necessary to provide additional power.

 

Basically it’s a Volt in a Malibu body.  It’s 4 inches longer and 300 pounds lighter than last year’s model.  The hybrid incorporates EHGR, an acronym for something that means your heater should warm you up faster in the winter.  As well as help the car run more efficiently.

“Midsize customers tell us they want great fuel economy, connected technologies, wrapped in a gorgeous exterior. This is exactly what the 2016 Malibu was engineered to do,” said Jesse Ortega, Malibu chief engineer.

 

The once mundane Malibu gets a heaping helping of electronics and connected car technology.  As the father of a 4-year old, their “Teen Driver” tech is of interest:

The all-new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu will debut Teen Driver, a system that provides parents with a tool to help encourage safe driving habits for their kids, even when they are not in the car with them. Teen Driver supports safe driving habits by muting the audio of the radio or any device paired with the vehicle when front seat occupants aren’t wearing their safety belts, and it gives audible and visual warnings when the vehicle is traveling faster than preset speeds.

 

This feature is the first in the industry with a built-in system that lets parents view on a display how their teenager drove the vehicle. Maximum speed reached, distance driven and number of times active safety features were engaged all can be confirmed.

 

When the time comes I figure autonomous driving will be the rage.  But I want my son to know how to drive manually, the old fashioned way.  Teen Driver will help me understand the difference between a shrug of the shoulders and actual data when I ask “how was the drive?”

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Copyright 2015 Hybrid and Electric Car News

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Sebastian James

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