Overview & Reviews
The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid (along with its mechanical twin, the Saturn Aura Hybrid) was GM's first foray into the midsize hybrid sedan segment. It was powered by a gas engine augmented by a small electric motor. Like other vehicles in its class, the Malibu Hybrid promised improved fuel economy along with passable performance and the typical virtues one would expect from a family sedan.
However, potential buyers should know that the Malibu is not a "Full" hybrid in the sense that it can utilize its electric motor solely to propel itself at city speeds (meaning up to 25 or 30 mph). The latter feature is what allows full hybrids to get such phenomenal fuel mileage in the city and in stop-and-go traffic. That said, the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid didn't demand the initial price premium of a full hybrid either.
Though we think fairly highly of the Malibu itself, we honestly didn't see the point in this half-baked hybrid and would advise those who are looking for a used hybrid midsize sedan to consider the "real" versions offered by the Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry lineups.
Most Recent Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Models
The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid was produced from 2008-'10 essentially unchanged throughout its short model run. The Malibu Hybrid came in one well-equipped trim level with standard features that included alloy wheels, full power features, keyless entry, automatic climate control and a CD stereo with MP3 playback, an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio. The few options included a power driver seat and a sunroof.
Under the hood, the Malibu Hybrid featured a four-cylinder gas engine coupled with a tiny electric motor. Unlike cutting-edge, full-hybrid competitors, the Malibu relied on its gas engine to do almost all of the work. The gas mill was a 2.4-liter unit rated at 164 horsepower and 159 pound-feet of torque; the electric motor added a maximum of 5 hp for a total of 169.
The electric motor could only propel the Malibu Hybrid by itself at speeds of up to 3 mph, and came into play to assist the gas engine under hard acceleration. However, its main task was to restart the gas engine, which automatically shut off during a full stop to minimize fuel consumption. At 24 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined, the Malibu Hybrid's EPA-rated fuel economy was just 2 mpg higher than the non-hybrid four-cylinder Malibu. And the hybrid's acceleration was leisurely at best, with the benchmark 0-60-mph sprint requiring about 11 seconds.
Measured against other contemporary midsize hybrid sedans, our editors agreed that the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid fell short. Competing models offered far more impressive gains in fuel economy relative to their non-hybrid four-cylinder brethren -- the Ford Fusion Hybrid rated 36 mpg city/41 mpg highway, the Altima Hybrid 35/33 and the Camry Hybrid 33/34. This is largely because the electric motors in these models were far more powerful than the one in the Malibu, which allowed them to operate solely on electric power at city speeds. The extra electric power also enabled these sedans to accelerate with more authority. The Malibu did boast a considerable price advantage over those more sophisticated hybrids, but its modest fuel economy advantage over the base four-cylinder Malibu made it a questionable economic choice.
On the upside, the Malibu offered the same refined ride and attractive interior design as the non-hybrid Malibu. Ergonomics were first-rate, road and wind noise were muted and the front seats nicely shaped for long hauls. Rear-seat legroom was excellent, although the rakish rear roof line could limit headroom for taller passengers and there was no center armrest. And one notable advantage of the Malibu's relatively puny electric motor system is that the trunk wasn't filled with space-eating battery packs.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 15.00
Nice Ride - 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
By Tim - December 4 - 9:43 pm
The only thing I would change is the accent color of the interior, would be darker(dirt shows too easily on lighter surfaces). Nice comfortable ride I'm getting around 28 mpg city and 38 mpg hwy. Much better than the cobalt I had before witch avged 20 city and 29 hwy. Nice audio system sound is clear & crisp. The trunk is a surprise I thought because the batteries were in back that the trunk would be smaller, not so I was able to fit a card table 2 folding dog crates and suitcases and still had room! you could put a compact spare in this car as well but is not an option at purchase because they want to save on weight. All in all a very nice product from GM.
Great Value - 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
By Bud - December 1 - 2:20 am
I bought the Chevy Mailbu hybrid 2 weeks ago. And I'm very pleased with the car so far. It gets good MPG and is a lot of fun to drive. GM did a nice job on the new Mailbu hybrid.
vehicle - 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
By tekar - March 1 - 4:43 pm
i bought a 09 malibu hybrid for new york taxicab couple months i like it and suddenly makes noise from engine had to change belt at 36000mile then front two wheel makes noise through bump ,and of course to change headlight bulb you've to take whole front bumper out which cost around $70-80 something happens its expensive to maintain so i would suggest buy regular not green not good gas mileage i wish it 26-34mpg
new lelel of comfort - 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
By bob - December 20 - 7:36 pm
We traded in our 1 year old 2009 Malibu LS for a 2009 Malibu Hybrid 4 months ago. After rebates we spent $3k and the government will be giving us $1550 back. What a steal. We love the car and our salesman. It gets about 37 mpg on a trip or about 6 mpg, on average better than our non hybrid Malibu did. This car has to be the most underrated and thus biggest bargain out there. They are giving them away. We did not loose 20% as we drove it off the show room floor. The Kelly "trade in" for the Hybrid is more than we paid for both Malibus combined. We didn't fully appreciate the car until we had driven it for a few months. We love the way it slows you down without touching the brakes.
Looks good so far - 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
By david - March 25 - 5:40 pm
My wife gets compliments all the time. People are surprised it is a Malibu (considering the previous old boxy style). The car looks great, could be a bit more peppy but gets the job done. We have had zero mechanical problems, Gas in this car seems to last for ever. We average around 30mpg in mixed city and highway driving (not bad for a mid size sedan). Sound system great, lots of little nooks to holds stuff, lots of trunk space, comes with XM, on- star is cooler than I thought with turn by turn GPS and the emailed mechanical reports. Overall, this car has a lot of cool features for the money, the coolest is the motor shuts off while stopped in traffic to save gas (why didn't I think that?)
Good Car - 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
By mtbiker06 - October 1 - 9:53 am
I've had this car for almost two years now. It is a great quality car with only a few minor problems. The a/c fan has a ticking sound. (but I've had this problem with every GM car that I have owned). Some of the trim seems to be coming loose around the edges. Also, the hybrid batteries had to be replaced already, but it has an eight year warranty on hybrid parts. I will get anywhere between 25 mpg in the city to 36 mpg on the highway (all highway driving at 60 mph though) The car drives very smoothly and handles great. The acceleration leaves a lot to be desired though. I do wish the hybrid system was a full hybrid.
Outstanding - 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
By Brent - August 13 - 8:26 pm
This vehicle is my daily driver. It will definitely exceed the EPA listed mileage. I'm currently averaging 35+ mpg in mixed city/highway driving. Given the nature of this car, performance was not at the top of my list, but it will move when you ask it to, and get solid mileage the rest of the time.
6 yrs later - 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
By your_welcome - September 5 - 12:09 pm
Follow up after 6 yrs... Im 1st owner. It had top safety award for 2009. Came equipped with corvette tires, it handles with amazement. Its used mainly to drive to work and back home, a hilly round trip of about 45 miles. The trip has about 25 miles of highway (50 mph, with 3 stop lights), and the rest is stop and go city driving. It averaged 27-28 when new, now its 30-31 MPG at 45,000 miles on it. Mileage seems to get better with each oil change (every 6K miles) A HUGE gas factor is using the AUTOMATIC climate system (both on AUTO setting, use defrost only when needed). So far, the car has performed without problems (the 24 volt battery did have to be replaced, but under warranty).
check it out and you will buy it - 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
By frank kaczynski - January 15 - 2:46 pm
I'm presently enjoying 34-38mpg in a combo of highway and city and I have to say its hard to believe the mileage is better that in the subcompact car I previously owned. This car is just a little smaller than the impala and is a very comfortable ride on long trips. Its hard to believe its only a four cylinder because when you nail it the electric motor also kicks in and its got plenty of pep. I fell in love with the styling both interior and exterior- its really sharp! When I showed it to co-workers two of them actually purchased a straight malibu shortly after viewing and riding in mine. Chevy really detailed this car with some very classy styling and the 2- tone interior is sharp!
Mediocre Hybrid - 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
By Mike S - October 28 - 5:20 am
We have a 2009 Malibu Hybrid as a fleet vehicle in the agency I work for. We've had it for approx 6 months and put 5000 miles on it. I am not impressed by it. The electric motor assist, frankly, is a useless gimmick. It does not provide electric-only power when you are tooling around a parking lot or in stop-and-go traffic. The total power output of the engine is lethargic and the vehicle has issues merging onto highways without going full-throttle, which is disappointing. We also have a 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid which outclasses it in almost every way possible. I suggest driving both before making a decision one way or the other. The Fusion is a couple thousand more but well worth it.