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Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

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  • hwyhobohwyhobo Posts: 263
    I just read in Autoweek what the expected mileage is supposed to be.

    Quote:

    The hybrid version also goes on sale in November. It is rated at 32 mpg highway and 24 mpg city.

    Wait, I am confused. The current 4 cyl Malibu gets (according to Edmunds) 24 mpg city and 34 mpg highway. Does that mean that the hybrid will be less fuel efficient? Is that due to the change in EPA mileage reporting methodology?

    I like the Malibu, simple, understated, gets the job done, but those numbers are underwhelming.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    I think it's the "new math" the EPA is using.

    Here's the "new" figures for the 2008 Malibu (from fueleconomy.gov):
    2.4L 4-cylinder 24 city/32 highway (hybrid)
    2.4L 4-cylinder 22 city/30 highway

    The "new" figures for the 2007 Malibu are:
    2.2L 4-cylinder 21 city/31 highway.

    For comparison, the "old" EPA figures were 24 city/34 highway for the '07 4-cylinder.

    I also checked and they list the "old" numbers for the new Malibu hybrid as 28 city/35 highway. Considering my 2000 Impala was rated as 20 city/30 highway, and I've consistently run closer to those numbers than the "new" 17 city/27 highway, I'd think/hope I'd come in closer to the old numbers than the new on any car.

    Either way it looks like the Malibu hybrid's main advantage will be in increased city mileage improvements.
  • hwyhobohwyhobo Posts: 263
    Thanks. I suspected that but wasn't sure. Still, the numbers don't strike me as a big reason to pay for the hybrid with its added complexity, particularly in view of what Toyota can do with that technology (I understand that it's a different system, but to a consumer ultimately what matters is the end result, not how they got there).
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    I think you can probably do the math on the Malibu hybrid versus the Camry hybrid and make a case for the fact that even though the Camry gets better mileage, it also costs more...and you'd have to drive the car for 150-200k miles to save enough money on gas to make it worthwhile (and that doesn't factor in the cost of battery replacement). With gas prices changing all the time (and who knows if the Malibu will actually sell at or near sticker) it's hard to really say at this point.

    On the other hand, the same argument works against the Malibu when you look at the Prius, which gets stellar gas mileage at roughly the same price as the 'bu hybrid. Not having compared the cars side-by-side I don't know if the Malibu is larger/nicer enough to compensate for the lower mileage or not. I also think the fact that the Prius has a unique look that identifies it as a hybrid works in its favor, since driving the Prius makes a statement (and plays a factor in some people choosing it). I honestly think Chevy should put fender skirts or something more distinguishing on the Malibu hybrid than just a few little badges (even if it were an optional thing), so that those who want to flaunt their hybrid status could do so.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    As someone pointed out in the regular Malibu board, you can now build an '08 Malibu (including the hybrid) at www.chevrolet.com. You can't do it on their primary "build and price" button, but you have to go to the "upcoming vehicles" '08 Malibu page and from there you can build one.

    From what I can tell your only option choices on the hybrid are exterior paint color, interior color (varies by exterior), and an engine block heater. I presume that might change down the road once they can gauge the demand for the car and/or production ramps up, but for now those are the options. So it looks like MSRP ranges from a low of $22,790 to a high of $22,960 (w/black paint + engine block heater).

    At least if you're interested in the Malibu hybrid all you have to do is pick the color you want, since they'll all be equipped the same. From the option list there are a few things I wouldn't mind having (power adjustable pedals, rear power outlet and sunshade), but nothing I can't live without.

    Building a similar base Saturn Aura hybrid with no options comes to $24,995...but you can add the power pedals and a few other things to the Aura hybrid that you can't to the Malibu (including leather seats and a sunroof). I'm sure I'll compare them both when the time comes, but with a lower MSRP and the ability to use what little GM Card points I've got on the Malibu, the Aura would have to be WAY better to swing my vote that direction.
  • hwyhobohwyhobo Posts: 263
    I honestly think Chevy should put fender skirts or something more distinguishing on the Malibu hybrid than just a few little badges (even if it were an optional thing), so that those who want to flaunt their hybrid status could do so.

    Alas, those of us who live in cities with street curbs dislike superfluous decorations that impede function of the vehicle. I would hope that GM would rather concentrate on improving fuel efficiency than on fender skirts. :D

    While it has been said repeatedly that Prius "flaunts" its hybridness (new word? ;)), I think its design is superbly functional and eschews any unnecessary "form over function" visual gadgetry. This aspect of it may attract people more that its visual uniqueness.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    Add fender skirts...and curb-feelers. :)
  • hwyhobohwyhobo Posts: 263
    I thought fender skirts were the curb feelers. :surprise: ;)
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,890
    A Forbes.com article on the least efficient hybrids and the dreaded "hybrid premium" are the subject of today's Alternate Route entry, Boon or Bane?

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  • hwyhobohwyhobo Posts: 263
    Good article. Allow me to quote a fragment here:

    If my past driving habits continue, I'll be driving it about 10,000 miles per year and using roughly 303 gallons of gasoline. Had I purchased a Prius and was getting 50mpg, I could expect to use only 200 gallons over the course of a year, saving me 103 gallons of gas annually. Using $4/gallon gas prices to give me even more incentive to choose a hybrid, that's $412 per year still in my pocket. Price difference between the cars is $8500. You know the math. That's over 20 years to break even. And even the most loyal hybrid advocate doesn't expect that the hybrid battery pack won't have to be replaced in that length of time. Normal maintenance and wear and tear is going to be the same for both, so that's a wash.

    So other than to feel good about myself or tell people how much smarter I am than they are, where's my incentive to buy?


    Author is obviously missing the most important incentive that many people had in California - carpool lane sticker. Generous IRS deductions helped, too, but quite a few of those I talked to admitted that the carpool sticker was THE reason they bought the Prius.

    Frankly, battling the morning commute traffic in Silicon Valley, I have considered that myself. Since California is not giving the stickers right now, I will wait, but I have the feeling they will return, and then it is quite possible that I will give in just to be able to get to work in a reasonable time.

    Mind you, the whole concept of a carpool lane is a subject for another discussion, but I don't really want to start it here.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,796
    "Author is obviously missing the most important incentive that many people had in California - carpool lane sticker. Generous IRS deductions helped, too, but quite a few of those I talked to admitted that the carpool sticker was THE reason they bought the Prius. "

    I don't think the author was missing this at all; the stickers are no longer a perk (they won't issue any new ones), and CA is already in trouble with the Feds over allowing the hybrids in carpool lanes (indirect trouble - it seems the carpool lanes move too slowly, and this was noticed when they applied to the Feds for the hybrid sticker exemptions).

    I suspect that the sticker will not be renewed when they expire in 2009 (I think that is the date).

    But in any case I don't expect the author to comment on a perk that isn't valid any longer.
  • "Price difference between the cars is $8500."
    I just bought a Prius for $23,000 with comparable equipment the Malibu cost about the same thing. Where does the $8500 come from?

    One convenience I like is only having to fill the tank about 2 times per month versus 4 times per month.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    That line came from an article that wasn't referring to the Malibu Hybrid...here's the few lines from the article just before the quote that you referenced:

    "Average Prius owners, for example, seem to be reporting combined driving mileage numbers of 48-50mpg. Price on the base 2007 Prius is $22,175. Price on my base 2007 Versa that I purchased in February was $13,675, and I'm getting 33mpg in combined driving. That puts me right in the range of that 18.5 mpg difference that buyers expect hybrids to get over similar non-hybrid vehicles.

    The Prius and Versa would seem to be vehicles of a similar class with regard to form and function."

    I think in terms of size and attributes the Malibu is more comparable with the Camry Hybrid, which is quite a bit more expensive than the Malibu. In a Malibu versus Prius fight the Prius wins on economics, but it's also a smaller car and competes in a different class of vehicle.
  • The versa is a sub-compact, the prius is a mid size. I've logged more than 20,000 miles in my girlfriends Prius. It is a comfortable car (front seat, or back) for my 6'3" 210 LB frame. The versa, on the other hand is a vehicle that I just wasn't able to wedge myself into the back seat of.
    When the versa is loaded up with options to be comparable to the base model Prius, it costs almost 17k.
    The Malibu and the prius are of comparable performance, and comparable size (most interior dimension within 1 inch of each other. (malibu has 3" more front hip room, prius has 3" more rear shoulder room). The camry hybrid is a bigger, faster car than the Malibu. The Malibu is closer to A Prius than A Camry.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,890
    If the Versa and Prius are in different classes of vehicle, then that's just semantics.

    The Versa is 1" longer than the Prius, 1.2" narrower, and 1.7" taller.

    You enjoy the Prius more, great. But please... midsized???

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  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,796
    "You enjoy the Prius more, great. But please... midsized???"

    When they did the Gen 2, they managed to just barely get into the EPA mid-size category. This was done not by enlarging the vehicle that much, but by making it a hatchback instead of a sedan, which pushed interior volume past the compact car limit.

    In my opinion it is a small car. The EPA says mid-size.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,890
    Let's leave this spot for discussion of the Malibu hybrid and take Versa and Prius chat to the appropriate homes :P

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  • I'm sorry coalburner called you an idiot. I would rather be more conversational than confrontational. I had not looked into the Versa. I am sure it is a nice car. Edmonds does not seem to think the Versa and Prius are comparable and compare the Versa against the Fit and Yaris.

    When testing the Prius, I compared it to another Hybrid, say the Civic. The road noise in the Prius was non-existent, there were so many little added features that no other car (in the price range) seems to have, like the backup camera, the key-less entry system, standard ABS brakes and so many other little things that just add to a wow factor that is not available in comparable priced anything.

    Since I was at the Toyota dealer I tried a Corolla a great little car with great gas mileage but.... This brings me to the point. Gas mileage is only one reason to buy a car, but still if you are going to make a hybrid, make it a lot better in gas than the non-hybrid version otherwise what is the point? Sorry about straying so far off Malibu.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,890
    The subject of hybrids with not-so-spectacular gas mileage was the subject of a recent entry on the Alternate Route. You can check out Boon or Bane? and leave a comment there if the mood strikes you!

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  • reneemreneem Posts: 1
    I just wrote an article that talks about the New Malibu that is coming out and compares it to some of the other new cars on the market. You may find the information useful. Here is the link

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/419684/new_chevy_malibu_vs_honda_and_to- yota.html">link title
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    That's one of the most incomprehensible reviews I've ever seen...

    "The Honda also has some additional safety features such the three point seat belts, with automatic tensioning system, standard adjustable front seat belt anchors, standards driver and passenger seat belt reminders, standard vehicle stability assist with traction control, standard brake assist, tire pressure monitoring system, standard anti lock braking system, side impact door beams, child seat tether anchor."

    Aren't most of these things required by law? What is the last car you saw that didn't remind you to put on the seat belt?

    "When it comes to torque@RPM however there is a difference. The Malibu is 160@4500, the Camry is 161@4000, and the accord is 161@4300."

    Some difference, 1 foot pound. Renee, Renee, Renee... I hope they didn't pay you to write this review.
  • mfletou1mfletou1 Posts: 508
    Look at what Camry Hybrid's are going for and what the feature content is. They're headed down to the $23-$24 level. Before the $2600 tax credit (which I got) I paid around $26 for mine, but it has features that aren't available on the Malibu. The 2007 Camry was much closer to the Camry XLE than anything else. People have widely misundertood the TCH for that reason, and compared it to a base Camry as if it is apples to apples. Its not.
  • scortchscortch Posts: 41
    It boils down to simple stupidity for me. I mean come on. What's the point of creating a car with a hybrid engine, if it's not going to provide any better gas mileage? WTF should I even bother with a hybrid that's no better than a standard engine vehicle?

    Come on Chevy. You enter the hybrid scene with something this stupid. Why waste the resources and money of R&D on something that provides the consumer with no gain? Plain stupidity. No wonder they are having financial troubles.

    If I'm going to spend the money on a hybrid, it's going to get significantly better gas mileage. It would just be a waste of money to buy a Malibu Hybrid. They should just remove the line and move on.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    The Malibu Hybrid does provide about a 10% increase in fuel economy, but by the same token the cost is about 10% greater than a base model...so somewhat of a wash there I suppose. The benefit I see for this model would be for someone like myself who will be trading in a 2000 Impala, so the gas mileage increase from my current car to the Malibu hybrid will be more like 25%.

    I agree that the Prius, though slightly smaller in all dimensions than the 2008 Malibu, makes more sense...both dollar-wise and environmentally. However, from what I've seen the Prius models on local dealer lots tend to be optioned up to the point that their prices fall more in the $25k+ window instead of closer to $22k, which begins to erode the financial benefits of the Prius. Probably smart on Chevy's part to limit the options on the Malibu hybrid, since it's price becomes more or less static.

    Availability of the Saturn Aura Hybrid has been limited, and I suspect the Malibu Hybrid will be the same...whether that's a marketing, production, or demand decision I don't know; but I'd guess they're offering the hybrid to have something out there, but they really won't ramp up production and push the hybrid models until they get a plug-in and/or two-mode hybrid out in a couple of years.
  • scortchscortch Posts: 41
    10% gain is nothing. You can get a 10% increase simply by changing where you get gas or by driving differently.

    They should have spent the money on a true hybrid that was better than what is out there from the other manufacturers.

    Spending it to simply say "Hey look, we have a hybrid" is dumb.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    With CAFE standards as they are, I suspect even a gain of 10% helps. I drove a previous generation Saturn Vue hybrid with this similar setup, and I didn't notice much difference between driving it and a standard version. From what I've read the Prius/Camry hybrids draw a lot of attention to their "hybridness" in terms of performance, braking, etc. If the Malibu hybrid is more transparent in that regard, it might appeal to a more mainstream buyer. Considering there's no other domestic hybrid sedan out there other (other than the Saturn Aura), maybe GM figures having something to offer, even if it's not a "true" hybrid, is better than nothing at all.

    From what I've read the 2008 Saturn Vue will have the same basic setup as the Aura/Malibu, but I think I read that by the next year they may offer a true dual-mode hybrid, and the year after that they may offer a plug-in hybrid version (albeit one that will only deliver about 10 miles of driving on a charge). I'm hopeful something similar is coming for sedans as well; my commute one-way to work is about 12 miles, so if I could cover almost half that with electric alone and cut my gas consumption in half that'd be pretty impressive. Still not as good as what the Volt promises, but every little bit helps.
  • nosirrahgnosirrahg Little Rock, ARPosts: 872
    You're also right that a 10% gain could be made by driving differently, but if mild hybrids help avoid the reintroduction of a mandatory 55 MPH speed limit, I'm all for it!
  • I think its design is superbly functional and eschews any unnecessary "form over function" visual gadgetry. This aspect of it may attract people more that its visual uniqueness.

    I guess you may not have seen the dash on the Prius.It reminds of a Christmas tree.Dont misunderstand,I actually like it,but I doubt it was designed with function in mind.
    As to the Chevy Hybrid...it it gets an honest 24 MPG in city driving,it might be worth it,but 32 Hwy is pretty low.I get better than that on my very conventional KIA Optima with the 2.4 engine and 5 speed Auto.
  • GM has done this before. Coming out with a "hybrid" that really doesn't doesn't do much but allow GM to say they have a hybrid vehicle in their lineup. Remember the Chevy hybrid truck?

    I'll give credit where credit is due; the new Malibu is a worthy competitor to the Accord and Camry and that's quite an accomplishement for GM. But putting a hybrid option out there with a 10% gain in fuel effeciency is rediculous.

    hybrid pro: better fuel economy (not much to cheer about here)
    hybrid cons: added weight and less room in vehicle. added up front cost. added maintenence down the road. added uncertainty with a technology that GM hasn't had much experience in.
  • I agree. Well said. Proper maintenance and slowing down all contribute to better economy. Some mild aftermarket parts and tuning can help even more so lets squeeze more out of what we have and we will end up saving more fuel than driving the same way in a hybrid, with some exceptions of course. Of course driving 55 would help hybrids and all vehicles get better mileage but the thought of crawling along in huge packs at that speed would be terrible in this day and age.

    Although i do not agree with people doing 80 miles an hour on the Chicago toll roads in heavy traffic either. Yes, it can be done by flying down the shoulder to avoid traffic and it happens much too often! Not that i have ever done that of course, well maybe once.... :shades:
This discussion has been closed.