Bright Malibu excites with competitive refinement

test drive


2017 Chevrolet 
Malibu LT
• Mid-size sedan, FWD
• 1.5L Turbo DOHC 4-cylinder engine
• 6-speed automatic transmission
• Remote start
• 8” Chevrolet MyLink touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto capability
• OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability
• Wireless device charging (for recent wireless phones that have capability)
• 5 Year/60k Powertrain Limited Warranty. 3 Year/36k Bumper to Bumper. Roadside assistance & courtesy transportation. Two maintenance visits.
• 30 mpg (27/36 city/hwy)
MSRP: Around $27.3k, pictured, with dealer-installed options.
As always, check with dealer for details

Chevy Malibus have been rolling down the road for a long time, in one generation or another. In fact, I remember our family owned a metallic brown Malibu that my mother treated like a four-wheel drive, much to the chagrin of my father (who did most of the repair work).
The model line took some time off in the ‘80s, but like a popular rock star, decided to make a comeback in the late ‘90s. Also like many a popular rock star, it took some time to find its voice again in the crowded mid-size car market, but in the past decade or so, the Malibu is starting to roll out something worth listening to. I may have really just mixed my metaphors right there.
The result is a vehicle getting noticed. The Malibu has looks that grew on me. The more I look it over, the more I like the partitioned grille (with Chevy bowtie) with three intake slots and side flairs under the lights. The part that’s really sneaking up on me in a good way is the swept-back rear window and smooth-winged transition into the trunk. It puts me in mind of luxury style from much more expensive cars and strikes me as something distinctly modern.
The Arctic Blue paint is something that needs to be seen in person, I doubt the newsprint page will do it justice, being a crisp, pale blue that hints of platinum and silver. 
Inside, the design is simple, and there aren’t too many controls to distract the eye. The functionality is there, but I had a moment when I realized that I’d been spoiled by too much technology when I couldn’t figure out why the car wouldn’t cool, despite the air conditioner. I fiddled with the 8” touchscreen, looking for options and then realized that the vents were simply closed, despite the fan being cranked to max. Let this be a lesson to admit that sometimes, the low-tech solution is still best.
The 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is showing up in many Chevy cars with good reason, it provides respectable power while still achieving mileage that makes you double check your numbers.  Boby Wise, sales consultant at Ed Bozarth Chevrolet Buick pointed it out, noting that “It’s getting to the point where you’re getting mileage good enough that you might not need hybrids.” While I hope that we keep developing better efficiency on all engines, I have to admit that the numbers on the Malibu meet or exceed much smaller vehicles of a few years ago.
The ride and quiet are also notably pleasant on the nicely equipped LT I drove, and it packs in some convenience features, like Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless phone charger, heated mirrors and more little touches.
Alas, for my mother’s sake (and the sake of my childhood summer day trips), I didn’t really test its off-road capablities.  Off hand, I can’t really recommend them.
For your driving pleasure, the 2017 Chevrolet Malibu is available now to experience at Ed Bozarth Chevrolet Buick. I will warn you about local construction around the area, but that’s true of most of the town as I write this. Expect some detours to get there, but with unique style, a refined driving experience, a very cool color, and technology that’s useful, the Malibu is worth the drive.

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