An all-new hybrid powertrain, which leverages technology from the Chevrolet Volt, will offer an estimated combined fuel economy rating exceeding 45 mpg. The Malibu's standard 1.5L turbo powertrain is projected to offer 37 mpg highway.
The 2016 Malibu is also longer and lighter, with more interior space and improved fuel efficiency. Its wheelbase has been stretched close to four inches (101 mm), and it is nearly 300 pounds (136 kg) lighter than the current model.
"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 2016 Malibu goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2015. Additional vehicle highlights:
Available segment-exclusive OnStar 4G LTE in-vehicle connectivity as well as available wireless phone charging
The new Malibu will be offered in L, LS, LT and Premier trims, as well as the Hybrid model. The Premier trim, Chevrolet's new uplevel designation, debuts in the 2016 Malibu. Additional model and trim details will be announced closer to the start of production.
Malibu Hybrid technology
Using technology from the 2016 Chevrolet Volt propulsion system, Malibu Hybrid will offer an estimated combined fuel economy rating exceeding 45 mpg, higher than the combined mileage ratings of the Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata hybrid variants.
An all-new, direct-injection 1.8L four-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.
The engine also features Chevrolet's first application of Exhaust Gas Heat Recovery, or EGHR, technology, which uses exhaust heat to warm the engine and cabin. EGHR improves engine warm up and ensures consistent fuel economy performance in cold weather. Additional fuel economy benefits come from Exhaust Gas Recirculation, or EGR.
An 80-cell, 1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack provides electric power to the hybrid system. It can power the Malibu Hybrid up to 55 miles per hour (88 km/h) on electricity alone. The gasoline-powered engine automatically comes on at higher speeds and high loads to provide additional power.
In addition to the drive unit, the Malibu Hybrid also shares the 2016 Volt's blended regenerative braking system, which provides maximum kinetic energy recovery during braking to be stored into the battery system to help maintain charge, and drive unit power electronics.
Turbocharged performance and efficiency
An all-new, Ecotec 1.5L turbo is the standard engine in the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, offering a GM-estimated 37 mpg on the highway. It is part of a new global family of small-displacement gas engines designed with greater power density to deliver confident performance with excellent efficiency.
The new 1.5L turbo employs the stop/start technology introduced on the 2014 Malibu, which enhances efficiency in stop-and-go driving, contributing to a GM-estimated 27 mpg in city driving - an 8-percent increase over the current model. On the highway, 1.5L-equipped models also feature active grille shutters that reduce aerodynamic drag to optimize efficiency.
The Malibu's more-efficient standard engine delivers a GM-estimated 160 horsepower (119 kW) and 184 lb-ft of torque (250 Nm). The torque is comparable to the current model's standard 2.5L naturally aspirated engine in a vehicle package that's nearly 300 pounds lighter.
A higher-output 2.0L turbocharged engine is available, offering a GM-estimated 250 horsepower (186 kW) and 258 lb-ft of torque (350 Nm), for a higher degree of performance - but not at the expense of good efficiency. Malibu 2.0T models are GM-estimated at 22 mpg in the city and 32 on the highway.
An all-new, GM-developed eight-speed automatic transmission - the first eight-speed automatic in a GM front-wheel-drive vehicle - contributes to the 2.0T's balance of performance and efficiency. The 1.5L turbo engine is matched with a six-speed automatic.
Teen Driver and an expanded range of safety features
Teen Driver, a standard feature on most trim levels of the next-generation Malibu, supports safe driving habits by muting the audio or any device paired with the vehicle when front-seat occupants aren't wearing their safety belts. Teen Driver also provides audible and visual warnings when the vehicle is traveling over predetermined speeds.
To use Teen Driver, a parent enables the feature with a PIN in the Settings menu of the Malibu's MyLink system, which allows them to register their teen's key fob. The system's settings are turned on only to registered key fobs.
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.
Teen Driver complements a roster of standard and available safety features, including a rear-view camera system standard on LS, LT, Hybrid and Premier models.
Ten air bags, including front-seat knee air bags, head-curtain side-impact air bags and seat-mounted side air bags, are also standard.
Front Pedestrian Alert that uses a forward-looking camera to help avoid or reduce the harm caused by crashes with pedestrians ahead of the vehicle. The system can apply automatic last-second braking
With a wheelbase stretching 3.6 inches (91 mm) longer than the current Malibu, along with a 2.3-inch (58 mm) longer overall length and the same overall width, the 2016 Malibu strikes a sleeker-looking proportion. The added wheelbase helps provide better in-cabin comfort and functionality.
With styling influenced by the 2014 Impala, the all-new Malibu advances Chevrolet's global design language with features such as slim, sweeping headlamps and a progressive take on the brand's characteristic dual-port grille. Three body-side creases also add drama to the design and help distinguish the Malibu as a contemporary Chevy.
The hood and the cowl - the area where the windshield meets the hood - are lower than the current model and contribute to the Malibu's greater aerodynamic performance, as do active grille shutters on LS and LT models.
Premium design cues are incorporated on all models, with contemporary lighting technology featured across the lineup, including light-emitting diode (LED) daytime running lamps on LT and Premier models. The Malibu Premier also receives LED taillamps.
Beneath the new Malibu's athletic-looking skin is a stronger, lighter body structure that contributes to its efficiency and driving dynamics. Greater use of high-strength steels enabled engineers to design the body structure with thinner components in some areas, delivering comparable crash performance with lower weight. The all-new body structure accounts for more than one-third of the Malibu's nearly 300-pound weight reduction.
Roomier, more comfortable and more connected interior
The longer wheelbase allows a more open execution of Chevrolet's signature dual-cockpit interior. Rear legroom improves by 1.3 inches (33 mm).
The cabin's open, expansive feel is reinforced with a greater emphasis on comfort, convenience and connectivity, allowing the Malibu to keep pace with customers' connected lives. Highlights include:
Chevrolet MyLink with a seven-inch-diagonal color capacitive touch screen is standard on LS, LT and Hybrid models
Galvano (satin) chrome accents on the instrument panel and center console