Looking for a roomy midsize sedan that's also stylish? The 2017 Chevrolet Malibu might be a good fit. Here's a quick rundown of what we like, what we don't and the bottom line from the Edmunds editors.
JOSH SADLIER: This is automotive editor Josh Sadlier with an Edmunds Expert Rundown of the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu. The Malibu is Chevrolet's mid-size sedan. Recently redesigned, the base engine is a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. We're not so high on that one. But if you step up to the Premier trim level, get the 2-liter turbo, it's got a lot of power. It's got a new nine-speed automatic for 2017. We're a fan of that one. Overall, the Malibu is pretty rewarding to drive by segment standards. Can handle itself pretty well around turns. Comfortable over bumps. Significant step up from Malibu's past. There's also a hybrid version of the Malibu. Obviously, better fuel economy, but performance does suffer a bit. Step inside the Malibu and you'll find a reasonably capacious back seat. Of course, that's expected for this segment. But you'll have no trouble fitting a couple of six-footers side by side, assuming the people in front are accommodating about it. Interior's quality has certainly improved for this generation. Previously, the Malibu was toward the bottom of the pack in that regard. Now we consider it competitive.The eight-inch touchscreen in the center of the dash is also a high point. It's responsive. It's nice to look at. One of the better ones you'll find in this class. It's not all peaches and cream with the 2017 Malibu. Do have some sparse equipment on base L trim. Not huge fans of the outward visibility. But that's the price you pay for the styling, which kind of reminds us of an Audi A7 if you squint. For more Edmunds Expert Rundowns, click the link to subscribe.
If you're shopping for a midsize sedan, you'll find that now may be the best time ever to consider the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu. Thanks to last year's full redesign, this latest version of the Malibu has ditched its somewhat bland recent past for a much more distinctive present. Key highlights include pleasing driving dynamics (which are downright sporty in the Premier trim), a lively hybrid version, a spacious cabin and (in most trim levels) an easy-to-use infotainment system with a large touchscreen and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone functionality.
There's also the crisp styling, which to our eyes makes the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu one of the sharpest midsize sedans around. The cabin is also well done, with high quality trim and sound ergonomics. Downsides are the thick roof pillars and some shiny trim that can obscure outward visibility.
Behind its aggressive dual-tier grille, the Malibu offers a choice of three engines: two turbocharged four-cylinder engines (1.5L and 2.0L) with 160 and 250 horsepower respectively, and a hybrid powertrain with 182 hp. The smaller turbo-four can feel flat-footed off a stop, but once moving along it effortlessly handles merging, climbing grades and higher speed cruising.
As you might expect, the larger turbocharged engine is considerably swifter. The Malibu Hybrid is the stunner of the lineup, though, with a refined nature and surprisingly quick acceleration to go along with its high fuel economy numbers. EPA estimates range from 26 mpg combined (22 city/33 highway) for the 2.0 turbo to 46 mpg combined (49 city/43 highway) for the Malibu Hybrid.
There are essentially five trim levels in the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu family. The four non-hybrid versions range from the base L up to the loaded Premier. The L isn't exactly a stripped car, as it counts keyless entry and ignition among its standard features, but it is otherwise basic indeed. The Premier trim goes full-on luxury with a heated steering wheel. The well-equipped LS and LT trims, which will likely be the volume sellers, sit between those two. The Hybrid is equipped similarly to the LT. There also are available packages that bring additional tech, comfort and convenience.
Thanks to its refined driving experience, convenient features and roomy cabin, the newest Malibu manages to stand tall in a crowded and competitive segment. When it's time to find the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu that's right for you, Edmunds is ready to help.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.