The Big Three carmakers must take advantage of government support and release exciting, innovative vehicles. But what's out there, given the new reality that consumers are buying gas-misers?
The all-new Malibu Hybrid has bold lines and creases, which make the car stand out from the pack. Instead of being overly styled or bland, as usual, it looks like it's wearing a tailored suit. The latest version prowls the road with confidence and commands a presence unlike its predecessors.
Easily the most attractive part of the car, the side profile is subdued. Further inspection reveals a roofline strikingly similar to the Volkswagen Phaeton. Note the strong, thick A-pillar and C-pillar. Execution of the fender flares should have Mercedes-Benz's S-class jealous -- they work, and do not look out of place and silly like the German's.
Concerned about space? Fear not, as roominess is not a concern in this sedan. The dash is carved with the passenger's interest in mind, so there is freedom in the cockpit. Due to the Malibu's length of 191.8 inches, the rear seats are accommodating. With rear-seat legroom of 37.6 inches, there is plenty of space to make even a tall man comfortable.
Sliding into the driver's seat, you are confronted with a tasteful interior design. However, the two-tone look is not easy on the eyes. The test car was equipped with a brown-and-tan concoction; pick any color but this. On top of this, materials are less-than-desirable for a vehicle in the $25,000 price range.
Buttons and dash pieces seem flimsy and utilize cheap materials, which sound, look and feel of bargain-basement quality.
Most importantly, when you drive the Malibu Hybrid, these issues do not matter. That is how good the new Malibu Hybrid drives.
The Malibu is classified as a "mild" hybrid, which allows for an electric motor to add power to the primary gasoline engine. Because of this, the Malibu Hybrid feels as though it has more than 200 horses.
The only communication to the driver is a symbol on the gauge cluster, which lights up when the electric motor is on. If possible, it would be much more helpful for Chevrolet to include a gauge as seen on the new 2010 Lexus RX.
Does it handle on rails? Not quite, but it is an impressive showing for what it is.
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