The Chevrolet Malibu has long been a staple in the maker's lineup. Ever since 1964, Chevrolet has produced the Malibu for the American buyer. Over the years many changes have occurred to the mid-size sedan. New body styles, different engines, and variations on the name have happened. However, the most recent alteration to the 40+ year old vehicle is the introduction of a hybrid version. In the 2008 model year, the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid was unveiled to the public. This vehicle is just one of several new hybrid models that Chevrolet and its parent company, General Motors, have released in recent years.
Rather than jump headfirst into the hybrid trend, Chevrolet first introduced a BAS mild hybrid Malibu in 2007. This version featured environmentally-friendly additions, but was not fully converted to a hybrid propulsion engine. It was not until the spring of 2008 that Chevrolet realized the full potential of a hybrid vehicle. The newest version of the Malibu is priced at an affordable $24,545, not much higher than the straight gasoline-powered counterparts. Under the hood, the Malibu Hybrid has an ECOTEC 2.4L DOHC 4.0L engine. Even though this new hybrid engine has been installed, the green Malibu still only gets 24 city MPG and 32 highway MPG. That is not such a great leap from the non-hybrid's 17 city MPG and 26 highway MPG.
The Malibu Hybrid still has the same body style as the gas-powered version. It is a sleek design that was introduced in the 2006 model year and has been improved upon each year since. Critics are firing accusations left and right about the new Malibu Hybrid. They say that the supposed hybrid version has virtually no advantages over the regular version of the Malibu. Also, some are claiming that the notion of the Malibu Hybrid is simply a marketing tactic that gets Chevrolet on the new green bandwagon. Consumers are being just as harsh on the Malibu Hybrid. Some feel as if they were fooled by false advertisement. Others are hopeful that this hybrid version is simply a precursor to a more developed hybrid yet to come on the market.
The Chevrolet Malibu won the Car of the Year Award from the Detroit Auto Show in 2008. However, some believe that because of the hybrid trim, the Detroit Auto Show should never have rewarded Chevrolet. Nevertheless, Chevrolet will release an improved version of the Malibu Hybrid in 2009. With any luck consumers and critics will review the 2009 much better.