2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Performance
This performance review was written when the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid was new.
The 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid provides a comfortable ride, but not an exciting one. The suspension is forgiving and handles rough roads well, but test drivers say the car lags behind other hybrids in acceleration and handling, and it doesn't offer the fuel-economy of its hybrid rivals.
- "This car was a dog. My test car felt slow and a little underpowered and that was with just me inside it. Add the family and a weekend's worth of luggage and you'll compound the problem." -- Chicago Sun-Times
- "The Malibu Hybrid's performance isn't as good as real hybrids." -- Edmunds
- "I drove this Malibu more than 130 miles in one day, and the trip computer indicated that I averaged 29 mpg--not too bad in a biggish sedan like this. A Toyota Camry Hybrid would get better even mileage (as we found in our Four Seasons test), but the Toyota's base price is about $1000 more than the Malibu Hybrid's. Still, the Camry's 34-mpg combined EPA rating is worth that premium when you consider the Malibu Hybrid's less impressive 27-mpg combined economy rating." -- Automobile Magazine
- "Performance, as we are well aware, is among the last yardsticks buyers use to judge a hybrid. The deal closer is fuel economy, and the Malibu hybrid is rated by the EPA at 24 mpg city and 32 highway -- figures that may disappoint people hoping for the astronomical fuel-economy numbers posted by the Prius." -- Car and Driver
- "The hybrid system doesn't give much of an improvement over the nonhybrid version, and we couldn't achieve the EPA-rated fuel economy." -- CNET
Acceleration and Power
The 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid uses a 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, assisted by an electric motor smaller than the one found on many other hybrids. While the Altima and Camry Hybrids can reach 30 mph under electric power alone, the Malibu Hybrid's gasoline engine kicks on at just 3 mph. The EPA estimates that the Malibu Hybrid will get 26 miles per gallon in city driving, and 34 on the highway -- on both measures, just a 2 mpg boost from its conventionally-powered cousin. The Camry Hybrid, by contrast, gets a rating of 33/34.
- "Four-cylinder models (regular and Hybrid) don't jump from a stop but build speed reasonably quickly" -- Consumer Guide
- "Hybrids aren't expected to be quick, but ...the Malibu is much slower than the Camry and Altima hybrids."-- Edmunds
- "The hybrid's acceleration numbers are right on top of those of the last four-cylinder Malibu we tested: 0 to 60 in 8.8 seconds and the quarter-mile in 16.8 at 84 mph versus 8.7 and 16.7 at 83 mph. The Toyota Prius, in comparison, dogs to 60 in 11.3 seconds and lopes through the quarter in about the same time as a midpack Iditarod team, 18.3 at 76 mph." -- Car and Driver
- "As for driving, the throttle doesn't deliver much get-up-and-go." -- CNET
Handling and Braking
Reviewers say the handling of the 2009 Malibu Hybrid doesn't equal what the traditional Malibu has to offer -- but many hybrid buyers aren't expected to push their cars to their performance limits. It does offer a comfortable and compliant ride.
- "The electric powered steering doesn't provide any meaningful feedback. The low rolling resistance tires are great for mileage, but the grip they provide could be better." -- Chicago Sun-Times
- "Hybrid 4-cylinder models use 17 [inch tires] that allow bumps to be taken in stride." -- Consumer Guide
- "The 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid doesn't offer the regular model's level of sporty handling. Most people don't expect their hybrid to handle like a sport sedan, so bigger concerns are that the Malibu trails its rivals in terms of acceleration and braking." -- Edmunds
- "With better steering and a slightly tighter suspension setup, the Malibu is more fun to drive than its most obvious competitor," the Toyota Camry Hybrid. -- Automobile Magazine
- "Steering feel is slightly numb, but very nicely weighted." -- Car and Driver
- "While we weren't impressed with the car's pick-up, we like its handling. It wasn't fantastic, but after finding loads of understeer in the Mercury Sable and the Honda Accord, we were happy that the Malibu Hybrid went approximately where we pointed its front end." -- CNET