2008 Malibu Hybrid test drive
As you can see on these pictures, it’s pretty hard to tell the Hybrid from other regular Malibus.
Same story as with the Camry Hybrid and the Altima Hybrid.
I do think Hybrids should look a bit more different. (But who am I…)
It has its own wheel design and tires.
And the interior trim does not have the wood.
And I must say, it does look a bit cheaper than the regular models.
At least in my test car with the grey interior.
The system is the same as in the Aura Hybrid.
the car doesn’t run on electric alone. Unlike the Toyota system. That’s why you get theses pretty unimpressive mileage figures:
32 HWY and 24 City. That’s only 2 more than the regular, and cheaper, 2.4 Liter model.
Once under way, the Hybrid drives pretty much like the other models. The same steering, and for now, the 4 speed auto.
The only difference as far as what you notice, is the engine shut off once the car is stopped for a few seconds. It starts again as soon as you lift the brake pedal. It’s not weird and you get used to it very quickly.
As I mentioned before, the tires are specific to the Hybrid, and they do need a higher pressure. But I didn’t notice any difference in ride comfort.
By the way, the Malibus tire pressure monitor system gives you exact numbers for each tire. Not just a warning when the pressure is too low.
A nice detail.
The main difference in driving is actually how the transmission behave. It is much slower to downshift than the other models. It just doesn’t want you to push the engine at all. All it wants to do is save gas.
It can be really frustrating. Unless you just give up, and just”save gas”…
The Malibu Hybrid doesn’t show off. So you can’t really be “the cool one with the Hybrid”.
But I actually managed to get 29mpg on mixed driving. Mostly on back roads.
Not bad. Compared to the 25 mpg I got with the now Hybrid Malibu before.
So the adventage is about 4mpg. Better than the official numbers.
But is it still worth it?
The car is $1800 more than the 2.4 Liter. After a $1300 tax credit, you end up paying just $500 more.
I do like saving gas. But the slow transmission and the “not so fancy” interior decor would tip the scale towards the regular 2.4 Liter.
GM has a 2 mode hybrid on other cars. Like the Tahoe.
But no such thing is planed for the Malibu.
So what we have now is what we’ get until a complete new car comes out.
Which by the way, should be before the regular 5 year cycle…