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A 2017 Chevy Malibu in Cincinnati, OH is a fine choice for a mid-size sedan. It’s got sleek and sharp looks, a spacious interior, sporty handling, exceptional engines, and plenty of Chevy’s well-renowned safety features. More than that, it’s a vehicle that’s recognized for its dependability — which is backed by a J.D. Power award. Because of all these great features, don’t be surprised if you find yourself leaving McCluskey Chevrolet’s lot with one of your very own. Even at first glance, you can tell the Malibu is a vehicle that has a lot in store.
From bumper to bumper, the Malibu is a vehicle that impresses. In the mid-size sedan world, it’s a refreshing alternative offered by Chevy, that’s been built and designed based on years of knowledge and experience.
That J.D. Power Dependability Award is based on the 2013 model. Even though that was three years ago, the 2017 Malibu is proving — once again — that it’s in it for the long haul. Following last year's fresh-faced redesign, the Malibu remains consistently dependable in not only design, but performance, safety, and fun as well.
The Malibu did receive two major changes for the 2017 model year, though. First and foremost, Chevrolet decided to discontinue the feature-rich 2LT trim. While a major change, it shouldn't be a big issue for consumers who are looking for a top-of-the-line sedan. Since the Malibu still offers the range-topping Premier trim. Speaking of the Premier trim, Chevy also decided to scrap the previous eight-speed automatic that belonged to that trim, and replaced it with a new nine-speed automatic transmission.
Other than that, the Malibu remains unchanged for 2017. Which is refreshing, since most other brands think the best way to draw in customers is to constantly change the models year-after-year — not just improve weak areas identified by consumer feedback, which is something Chevy has always done, and continues to do, exceptionally well.
There are three different powertrains available, depending on which trim you pick up. The standard engine on the L, LS, and LT trims is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine; a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is found standard on the Premier; and on the Hybrid trim, a gasoline-electric system with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine.
That 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine is sitting at 160 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, and gets the Malibu an EPA-rated 27 mpg city, 36 mpg highway, and 30 mpg combined. This fuel economy rating is slightly improved thanks to a stop-start system, which also can’t be disabled.
If you want something that kicks the power up a notch, go for the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This bad boy cranks out 250 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, and gets up to 22 mpg city, 33 mpg highway, and 26 mpg combined. That new nine-speed automatic transmission is paired to this engine, whereas the 1.5-liter works with the six-speed automatic transmission.
The Hybrid model generates an overall output of 182 horsepower and 27 lb.-ft. of torque, with a total efficiency rating of 47 mpg city and 46 mpg highway. If you’re sitting there thinking the Hybrid model lags behind the gas-powered one in performance, consider the fact that it's able to achieve a zero to 60 mph time of just 7.5-seconds in Edmunds’ track testing. That’s one of the quickest hybrid sedans that they’ve tested to date. This is just 0.9-seconds shy of the Premier’s 6.4-second zero to 60 mph dash, which is perfectly average for a mid-size sedan.
All-around, the performance of the Malibu is simply spectacular. A rare occurrence, since it’s not often you get a vehicle that has impressive performance across all trim levels and models.
The 2017 Malibu retained the same design found on the 2016 model. Since this look came about with the release of the 2016 model, there’s really no reason it should be changed again.
The Malibu is a real looker, and sets itself apart from the other mid-size sedans that litter the market. An angular front facia, with a hood that streaks up to a windswept windshield and low-cut roofline immediately grab your attention. As the design tapers off by sliding down the back windshield, it’s met by a slight upturn on the trunk lid. This conflict in the back creates an edgy and unique appearance when viewed from the rear, especially when the wrap-around and angular shaped tail-lights come into play.
The rest of the vehicle is hugged by hard character lines and sweeping curves, and the LED headlights, taillights, and running lights on the Premier trim really make the Malibu pop out — during the day or night. The Premier trim also sees some chrome exterior trim slapped on to jazz up the appearance even further, and dual exhaust tips add an even sportier look to the already athletic design. 18-inch wheels are also found on the Premier package, and the standard trim gets 16-inch steel wheels.
The interior is also one of the nicest ones found on a mid-size sedan. Typical of classic Chevy style, the dashboard and instrument cluster are all kept tidy. Buttons aren’t crammed together, and steering wheel controls are symmetrical on either side.
Materials quality ranges from cloth upholstery with a simple yet refined cabin made from basic materials, to leather upholstery with wood-grain inserts scattered throughout, and just enough chrome trim to tie everything together for that added “wow” factor. Things like heated/ventilated seats, dual-zone automatic climate controls, a navigation system, a nine-speaker Bose sound system, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and an upgraded 8-inch touch-screen are reserved for the LT, Hybrid, and Premier trims, along with packages like the Leather Package and Convenience and Technology package.
If you’re still looking to sink more money into it, other optional features like a sunroof and a Sport package are also available. Alternatively, you could always spend that extra cash by grabbing some of the available safety features.
With the ever-growing suite of safety features provided by Chevy, the Malibu is a vehicle that’s able to truly watch out for you on the road. It has the potential to be equipped with 11 preventive safety features alone. Features like low speed forward automatic braking — which can automatically brake if you aren’t paying attention if the system detects an imminent collision with an obstacle in the road — and lane keep assist help protect you in a bustling city, or cramped highway. Rear park assist and a rear vision camera work in tandem to help prevent you from backing into a vehicle that decided to carelessly cut behind you in a parking lot. The system will provide a visual warning on the rear back up camera if the sensors detect a vehicle (or person) crossing behind you. If you need help parking, or still getting used to the Malibu’s parameters, automatic park assist is a great feature to add.
That’s not even close to half of the advanced safety features available, but rest assured — the Malibu’s got all the cutting-edge ones.
As far as protecting you during a collision goes, the Malibu has a comprehensive airbag sensing system that can deploy airbags from any direction, all dependent upon where the collision is coming from. A high-strength steel safety cage also envelops you in a confident and strong frame.
After a collision happens, you could be disoriented or injured. That’s where OnStar Advisor comes in. With this system, built-in sensors will automatically notify the program there has been a crash. At that point in time, an Advisor will be contacted automatically. If you need assistance, the OnStar Advisor will send emergency personnel to your location via high-accuracy GPS tracking. If you’re unable to respond, they will contact emergency services immediately.