It’s bigger. It’s lighter. It’s got something approximating “style”. It’s the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu! Get excited!

Nine generations in and Chevy’s latest Malibu is out to snag a bit more of a segment that’s being slowly eroded by crossovers. But that doesn’t mean Chevy isn’t doing it’s best to bring the fight to the Camrys, Accords, and Sonata’s of the world.

It starts with GM’s Epsilon 2 platform, which has been stretched by 2.3 inches and blessed with a 3.6-inch longer wheelbase to boost interior space. But despite it’s embiggened dimensions, Chevy says the new ‘Bu is almost 300 pounds lighter than its predecessor, which helps it achieve some pretty impressive fuel economy numbers.

The headline figures are 27 city and 37 MPG on the freeway with the turbo’d 1.5-liter four-cylinder. That diminutive mill is good for 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, with power routed to the front wheels through a six-speed auto ‘box. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-pot is also available, with 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, slight down on power from the last gen, but returning 22/32 MPG city/highway.

The hybrid Malibu also returns for the 2016 model year, with a two-motor drive unit inspired by the Volt. That setup partners a 1.8-liter four with a 1.5 kWh lithium ion battery pack that can propel the Malibu up to 55 MPH on electric power alone, with the 182 HP setup delivering a 0-60 time of 7.8 seconds and an estimated 45 MPG.

Naturally, it has a fair smattering of tech and safety features, including active cruise control with emergency braking, front pedestrian alert, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, parking assist, and 10 airbags. There’s also a 7-inch touchscreen with MyLink or an upgraded 8-inch unit, along with 4G LTE and WiFi hotspot.

Chevy is also touting a “Teen Driver” feature which cuts audio when the front seat passengers aren’t buckled up and flashes lights and sounds an alarm when the Malibu exceeds a pre-determined speed. Also, this, from the press release:

Chevrolet 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 are among the parameters that can be confirmed.

Totally not creepy at all.

The 2016 Malibu will be available in L, LS, LT, Hybrid, and Premier trims, with pricing set closer to its on-sale date later this year.


Contact the author at damon@jalopnik.com.
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