The all-new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu has been unveiled at the 2015 New York International Auto Show (2015 NYIAS). Following several teasers, Chevy’s D-segment competitor emerges with host of new technological upgrades while at the same time ditching its predecessor’s bulky styling for a sleeker, more modern outlook.
In line with the marque’s latest design language, the front end of the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu boasts a radical take on the dual-port grille, which is now flanked by thinner, swept back head lamps. Depending on the trim level selected, LED daytime running lights are featured. At the back, individuals might be able to see hints of the Kia Optima K5 in the design of the tail lamps – an all-LED affair is featured on the Premier trim.
More importantly, the wheelbase of the new Malibu has been stretched by 91 mm, allowing for a 33 mm increase in terms of rear legroom. Thanks to liberal applications of advanced, high-strength steel in its construction, the Malibu is said to weigh up to 136 kg less than the outgoing model.
Under the bonnet, the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu is powered by a total of three different powertrains – a turbocharged, 1.5 litre Ecotec petrol mill, a turbo’ed 2.0 litre petrol engine and a hybrid model with a direct-injected 1.8 litre petrol engine that’s mated to a Chevrolet Volt-based two-motor drive unit.
Combined power output on the Malibu Hybrid is rated at 182 hp – powering the electric motor is an 80-cell, 1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The system is capable of powering the Malibu Hybrid up to speeds of 88 km/h on pure electric power alone. Additionally, an Exhaust Gas Heat Recovery system harnesses the exhaust heat to warm the engine and cabin.
Conventional methods of propulsion gets taken care of by the other two petrol engines. The aforementioned 1.5 litre engine puts out a total of 160 hp and 250 Nm of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Coupled to a stop-start facility and active front grille shutters that improve aerodynamics, the official fuel consumption figure has been quoted at 11.5 km/l for city driving.
The turbocharged 2.0 litre mill produces a “GM-estimated” 250 hp and 350 Nm of torque. It gets paired to an in-house eight-speed automatic gearbox, making this the first front-wheel drive GM model to feature such a transmission. Official fuel consumption figures are rated at 9.4 km/l for city and 13.6 km/l for highway cycles.
On the inside, the latest iteration of Chevy’s MyLink system gets presented on a seven-inch touchscreen that comes standard on the LS, LT and Hybrid models. The Premier variant gets an eight-inch touchscreen instead – available as an option on the LT and Hybrid versions. Elsewhere, OnStar 4G LTE with WiFi connectivity is featured as standard.
Wireless phone charging is standard on the Premier and available as an option on the LT and Hybrid models. Other conveniences come in the form of dual rear seat USB ports and 110-volt power outlet which is standard on the Premier along with ventilated leather seats – a first for a Malibu, apparently.
In terms of safety kit count, Chevrolet has thrown everything in its arsenal including the proverbial kitchen sink at the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu. Standard on “most trim levels” is the Teen Driver safety platform. Said system is capable of muting the audio system when a front passenger is not buckled up and alerting the driver when he/she travels above a predetermined speed.
Parents are also able to view how the car has been driven via a number of parameters that include maximum speed reached, distance travelled and the number of times the active safety features were triggered. A total of 10 airbags and a reverse camera is standard – the latter on the LS, LT, Premier and Hybrid. Optional safety features include a front pedestrian alert system, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and many more.
The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu will be assembled at GM’s Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kansas. A total of five different trim levels will be available at launch – L, LS, LT, Premier and Hybrid.