2016 Malibu Hybrid Promises 47 MPG

Today from New York General Motors announced its 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid will achieve 48 mpg city, 45 mpg highway, and 47 mpg combined making it one of the most efficient family sedans on offer in the U.S.

The estimate is not U.S. EPA verified, but per GM is expected to be officially backed up by EPA test certifications for the car that now fills a gap formerly occupied by only mild hybrids against several more-competitive full hybrids.

“Fuel efficiency is important to our customers, especially in the midsize segment and with an estimated 48 mpg city rating, the Malibu Hybrid delivers,” said GM President Dan Ammann of the car that borrows technology from the Chevy Volt.

The new Malibu is being refreshed relatively early in the product life cycle of the lineup that was all new just a few years ago. Under the hood is a 1.8-liter direct-injected engine merged with 2-motor electric drive unit modified from its use in the 1.5-liter 2016 Volt

A 1.5 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery comprised of 80 cells provides energy storage and up to 55 mph all-electric drive. Range for electric drive has not yet been disclosed but this size battery is on par with other hybrids capable of under two-miles EV range, if not just one mile.

Really, this is a regular hybrid, not a plug-in hybrid known for a stretch of electric range, and its efficiency is had by teetering between electric and gas drive with system controls that aim for maximum fuel economy for the car rated with 182 total system horsepower.

It of course will also share regenerative braking and other power electronics as a non-plug in, but “full” hybrid.

The car that’s to be manufactured in Kansas City, Kansas, at the Fairfax Assembly plant is due in showrooms spring 2016.

Industry watchers are reacting positively to GM’s decision to make use of the plug-in Volt’s system in non-plugged form – with tweaks for the midsize Malibu – and the hope is this has brought GM’s segment representative into greater competitiveness.

Formerly, GM has prompted articles asking how serious it was about electrification with no full hybrids and its cost-saving and comparatively milquetoast eAssist mild hybrids.

The automaker now joins on the EPA’s list of most-efficient family sedans the likes of Ford’s now 42-mpg rated Fusion which Ford originally self-certified at 47 mpg as well, but later revised.

Others in the midsized segment are the top-selling 41-mpg Toyota Camry Hybrid which was extensively updated this year, as well as the revised Hyundai Sonata, and pending revised Kia Optima Hybrid.

Honda’s also quite-impressive 47-mpg Accord Hybrid is technically in this class of family sedan although the EPA does count it as one class size bigger as a “large” sedan.

The new Malibu is restyled and updated throughout aside from the hybrid powertrain. That GM is serious about meeting the competitors in this tight segment is clear.