Talk about a hybrid that gets no love from the green team. The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is rarely mentioned in the same breath as the Prius or even the Ford Fusion Hybrid despite offering excellent mileage at a reasonable price.
There's a reason for that, of course. The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid isn't a full hybrid like the Prius and the Fusion. In the Malibu, the electric motor is only there to help out the gasoline engine when it needs a little extra power, it can't actually propel the vehicle. It's a simpler system that keeps the Malibu's price down, but it doesn't give the Malibu the big mileage numbers that you might expect from a hybrid.
And how does it perform at the track? Results are after the jump.
Vehicle: 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
Driver: Chris Walton
Drive Type: front wheel drive
Transmission Type: 4-speed automatic
Engine Type: inline4
Displacement (cc / cu-in): 2384cc (145cu-in)
Redline (rpm): 6,700
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 164 @ 6400
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 159 @ 5000
Brake Type (front): ventilated disc
Brake Type (rear): disc
Steering System: electric speed-proportional power steering
Suspension Type (front): MacPherson strut
Suspension Type (rear): multi-link
Tire Size (front): 215/55R17
Tire Size (rear): 215/55R17
Tire Brand: Firestone
Tire Model: FR 710
Tire Type: all season
Wheel Size: 17 front - 17 rear
Wheel Material (front/rear): alloy
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,553
0 - 30 (sec): 3.8
0 - 45 (sec): 6.3
0 - 60 (sec): 10.3
0 - 75 (sec): 14.5
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 17.3 @ 83.4
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 9.8
30 - 0 (ft): 33
60 - 0 (ft): 130
Braking Rating: Average
Slalom (mph): 61.0
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): .76
Handling Rating: Good
Db @ Idle: 42.9
Db @ Full Throttle: 74.9
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 64.0
Acceleration Comments: Sah-low! I was a bit surprised to experience actual gear changes, which is different from other hybrid vehicles. A slight delay from a stop if engine is not running.
Braking Comments: Pedal has no feedback to speak of, but system seems to be adequate for fade and power.
Handling Comments: (Skidpad) Zero steering info or feel. Easily-approached limit with moderate understeer. With VDC on, it nearly matches VDC off with very little intervention. (Slalom) More trustworthy than I ever expected with good transitional behavior and ample grip -- feels like all the weight is carried low in the car. Will eventually oversteer with VDC off, but will not with it on.