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.