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2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Review

Review Last Updated: 2/2/10

The Chevy Malibu is one of the best midsize sedans available in America today. Now, residents in 11 states are offered what sounds too good to be true -- a hybrid-powered version of the highly-rated car. But reviewers say the Malibu Hybrid isn't fuel-efficient enough to be worth the money, and it may not matter for long -- General Motors has recently cancelled the car's production.

Though some dealerships have 2009 Chevy Malibu Hybrids sitting on their lots, General Motors had ceased production of the car and cancelled a planned 2010 version -- the Malibu Hybrids currently for sale will be the last.

It shares many of the charms of the gasoline-powered Malibu -- such as handsome exterior styling and well-bolstered seats.  But the Malibu Hybrid lacks the traditional Malibu's dynamic handling, settling instead for electrically-assisted steering that some reviewers find too light. It is available in only one trim level, which comes with most of the features buyers want, but not all of them. And, it's not available everywhere.

Perhaps more significant, it lacks the fuel-efficiency advantage of most hybrid cars. Every other hybrid sedan on the market except for its near-mechanical-twin, the Saturn Aura Hybrid, is more fuel-efficient. The 2009 Malibu Hybrid makes sense for some buyers, if they can find one. But to see a truly significant hybrid from Chevrolet, we may have to wait for the 2010 Chevy Volt.

Those who want hybrid fuel-efficiency with midsize car space in the meantime should look at the Toyota Camry Hybrid -- which shared our Best Midsize Car for the Money Award with its conventionally-powered cousin.  The new Ford Fusion Hybrid, while a bit more expensive, is also dramatically more fuel-efficient, and reviewers say it offers an engaging drive.

The 2009 Malibu Hybrid comes in one trim level, which features cloth seats, automatic climate control, power doors and windows, keyless entry, and satellite radio with an auxiliary mp3 input jack. The only factory options available are a power-adjustable driver's seat and a power sunroof.

  • "There could be some improvements and upgrades to this car, but it succeeds in its overall mission." -- Chicago Sun-Times
  • The Malibu Hybrid is a stylish [four]-door mid-size sedan-but as a mild hybrid, the fuel economy compared with the gas-powered Malibu was a very modest 2-mpg jump to 24 in the city and 32 on the highway." -- Hybridcars.com
  • "It may cost a little less than other hybrid sedans, but you get a lot less in terms of fuel economy and performance." -- Edmunds
  • "The 2009 Chevrolet Malibu's bold, attractive sheetmetal and stylish interior touches are backed by confident handling, a quiet ride and an overall level of refinement competitive with the category's best. ... [But] the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu hasn't been around long enough to challenge the impressive resale values of the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "This midsize sedan stands out for its refined powertrains, smart interior design, and value pricing. We especially like the smooth, quiet 4-cylinder engine and frugal Hybrid." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The style will turn few heads, but it is handsome enough; the interior is attractive and generally comfortable for four and it is a winner in the market place; which is all that matters if you are GM." -- MarketWatch
  • "A Toyota Camry Hybrid would get better even mileage...but the Toyota's base price is about $1000 more than the Malibu Hybrid's." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "You get what you pay for, and, as we've pointed out, we aren't terribly impressed with this hybrid system. For a comparably sized hybrid, you would get a much better, and more expensive, tech car with either the Toyota Camry Hybrid or the Nissan Altima Hybrid. -- CNET
  • "A smoother powertrain makes for a nice Malibu but still not a great hybrid." -- Car and Driver

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