2009 Chevy Malibu Hybrid Review

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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Handsome styling inside and out, comfortable seats, good fit and finish, smooth ride, hushed cabin, high crash test scores.
  • Electric motor provides negligible fuel economy and performance benefits, some low-grade cabin materials, no rear center armrest, lifeless steering.

The word "hybrid" may elicit environmental warm fuzzies, but the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid provides negligible "hybrid" benefits. It may cost a little less than other hybrid sedans, but you get a lot less in terms of fuel economy and performance.

Vehicle overview

The 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid manages to be both a success and a failure. As a midsize sedan, the Malibu is a success thanks to its handsome styling, solid driving dynamics and spacious, comfortable cabin. But the hybrid version is what's called a "mild" hybrid. And like a tofu burger or near-beer, it's simply not as good as the real thing.

To clarify, a full hybrid has the ability to run on electric power alone at speeds up to 25 mph or so. As such, it is able to get impressive fuel mileage, especially in stop-and-go traffic and city driving (the driving situations that are the worst for a gas engine's fuel efficiency). However, the Malibu hybrid's "mild" status means that its electric motor isn't really used for propelling the car on its own -- its primary purpose is starting the engine when it automatically shuts off to save fuel at traffic lights or other stopping situations.

Granted, the Malibu Hybrid's four-kilowatt electric motor/generator can actually move the car on its own up to a dizzying 3 mph, but that's essentially useless in terms of increasing fuel economy. To put it into perspective, the Camry Hybrid's 30-kilowatt unit can propel it up to 30 mph.

Furthermore, the Malibu Hybrid's performance isn't as good as real hybrids. When maximum power is called for, its electric motor assists the gas engine, but the added boost is minimal as it adds a mere 5 horsepower to the cause. That doesn't compare too favorably to the Toyota, whose muscular electric motor kicks in an additional 40 horses when needed. Another bummer is that the Malibu Hybrid's overall fuel economy rates just a few mpg better than the standard four-cylinder Malibu.

With a base price around $25,000, the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is only about $1,000 less expensive than the Camry Hybrid and Nissan Altima Hybrid (which shares the Toyota's hybrid technology), both of which are also cleaner in terms of emissions ratings. If price and the environment are priorities, the Toyota Prius remains the best bet, by being both cheaper and incredibly fuel efficient while offering an impressive amount of passenger and cargo space. It's also a tad quicker than the Malibu and offers more luxury features.

Despite how impressive the regular 2009 Chevy Malibu is, the Hybrid version leaves us cold. General Motors says that its full-fledged "two-mode" hybrid system will eventually make its way into the Malibu. It can't arrive fast enough.

2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid models

The 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is a midsize sedan available in one trim level. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, cruise control, keyless entry, automatic climate control, a tilt-telescoping steering wheel, power height adjustment for the driver seat and a six-speaker stereo with CD/MP3 player, auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio.

The few available options include a six-way power driver seat and a sunroof.

2009 Highlights

Other than a few tweaks that improve fuel economy slightly and the replacement of the 16-inch wheels with 17s, there are no changes for the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid.

Performance & mpg

The Malibu Hybrid features a small electric motor that starts the 164-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and adds a small boost of power under high-load conditions. Hybrids aren't expected to be quick, but with a 0-60-mph time of around 11 seconds, the Malibu is much slower than the Camry and Altima hybrids. Even the Prius is quicker.

Unlike other hybrid setups, the Malibu's offers full electric propulsion only up to about 3 mph, whereas the Altima and Camry hybrids can get up to almost 30 mph. Consequently, city gas mileage is only a bit better than the standard four-cylinder Malibu. EPA fuel economy ratings for this year's updated Hybrid model stand at 26 mpg city/34 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined.


Standard safety features on the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid include antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control and OnStar. Front-seat side and full-length side curtain airbags are also standard.

In government crash testing, the Malibu Hybrid scored five stars (the highest possible) in both frontal- and side-impact tests. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the (similar) non-hybrid four-cylinder Malibu scored the best rating of "Good" for both frontal-offset and side-impact protection.


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. On the upside, the Malibu Hybrid provides the same comfortable, hushed ride as the non-hybrid version.


While its value as a hybrid is debatable, the Chevy Malibu scores big style points inside and out. The dual-cowl dash design is certainly eye-catching, while buyers have a pair of classy two-tone color schemes to choose from: gray/lighter gray and brown/tan. Although there's still some cheap plastic trim here and there, overall the Malibu is a vast improvement over past Chevy models and also better than its platform twin, the Saturn Aura hybrid.

Firmly supportive front seats make for comfortable 500-mile days behind the wheel, and the controls for the audio and climate control systems are simple to use. With its long wheelbase, the Malibu offers generous amounts of legroom for rear passengers, though the seat lacks a center armrest and the sloping roof line may impinge on headroom for tall folks. Unlike other hybrid sedans, the Malibu's trunk is not compromised by large battery packs, and it holds a maximum of 15.1 cubic feet of luggage.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
6 yrs later
4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)
Follow up after 6 yrs... I’m 1st owner. It had top safety award for 2009. Came equipped with corvette tires, it handles with amazement. It’s 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 it’s 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).
4.88 out of 5 stars
Looks good so far
4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)
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?)
5 out of 5 stars
new lelel of comfort
4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)
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.
5 out of 5 stars
4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)
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.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
More About This Model

The typical hybrid vehicle offers significantly better fuel economy than its conventionally powered brethren, but it also demands a significantly higher price. The 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is an exception on both counts. Thanks to a "mild" hybrid system that does little more than shut the engine off when the car is stopped, the hybrid's combined EPA fuel economy rating of 29 miles per gallon is just 4 mpg better than the regular four-cylinder Malibu LT1's, which means it drinks a measly 14 percent less gas. But thanks to a $1,550 federal tax credit, the 2009 Malibu Hybrid only costs about $1,500 more than a comparably equipped LT1.

That means there's an economic argument to be made for buying this hybrid-powered Chevy. If you drive 15,000 miles a year, and gas costs a steady $3 per gallon, then the hybrid will save you $250 a year over the LT1, according to the EPA's estimates. Drive the hybrid for six years, and you've made up the difference. If gas spikes to, say, $6 per gallon, you'll break even in half the time. Of course, there's also the intangible psychological benefit of knowing that you're burning less of a finite resource, and therefore spewing fewer harmful gases into the atmosphere — if you're into that sort of thing.

Beyond the engine bay, the 2009 Chevy Malibu Hybrid is much like any other Malibu, which is to say, it's a pleasantly forgettable midsize sedan. On the bright side, rear legroom is plentiful, and the hybrid's quiet, cushy ride makes it an agreeable companion both around town and on the highway. On the downside, the outdated four-speed automatic is a poor performer, and the hybrid's acceleration is even slower than the none-too-swift LT1's. You can add a modern six-speed automatic to the LT1, but not to the hybrid. The costs are a toss-up over the long run, so it really comes down to what you want out of your 'Bu.

The Malibu Hybrid's main rivals are the formidable Ford Fusion Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid, which trounce the Chevy with combined fuel economy ratings of 36 mpg and more than 34 mpg, respectively. The Toyota also provides acceleration that's downright spirited by comparison. It no longer comes with a tax break, though, so it'll run you about $2,200 more than the Malibu Hybrid. As for the Fusion, its tax credit status is in flux, but it also costs appreciably more than the Chevy. In our opinion, the all-around superior Camry is well worth the extra cash, and the Fusion's eye-popping fuel economy makes it worth the stretch as well. Nonetheless, as long as the Malibu Hybrid retains its tax credit, it will stand out as one of the rare hybrid-powered cars that make both environmental and financial sense.

Used 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Overview

The Used 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is offered in the following submodels: Malibu Hybrid Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A). The Used 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic. The Used 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 100000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid?

Price comparisons for Used 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid trim styles:

  • The Used 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Base is priced between $8,995 and$8,995 with odometer readings between 64450 and64450 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrids are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2009 Malibu Hybrids listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,995 and mileage as low as 64450 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid.

Can't find a used 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrids you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid for sale - 8 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $18,620.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 1 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $9,914.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid for sale - 5 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $8,398.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 5 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $14,155.

Should I lease or buy a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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