Rumors about the midsize sedan’s death continue to be exaggerated. Just ask General Motors, which unveiled the 2016 Malibu at the New York Auto Show last April. One highlight from that reveal was the new Malibu Hybrid, and now Chevy has announced fuel economy and pricing specs for the model when it arrives next spring.
Any story about this midsize car has to begin with the peak of 48 miles per gallon. Chevy sniffs last-generation Prius efficiency with that quote and matches the impressive standard set in the segment by the Honda Accord Hybrid. With the Accord sitting out 2016, no current model-year offering can claim such a figure. However, consumers will want to survey the difference between competitors as well as the premium the hybrid model commands over the standard Malibu.
Here is a look at the 2016 Malibu Hybrid pricing and economy stacked against competing midsize hybrid sedans from Ford, Toyota, and Hyundai for the 2016 model year.
1. Chevy Malibu Hybrid
The Malibu Hybrid comes in one trim (LT) and has a starting price of $28,645 (includes destination charge). According to GM estimates, it will achieve 48 miles per gallon city, 45 miles per gallon highway, and 47 miles per gallon combined. Engineers used technology developed for the 2016 Chevy Volt to match the previous high mark for a midsize hybrid. (The 2015 Honda Accord Hybrid got a combined 47 miles per gallon). Compared to the gasoline Malibu LT ($25,895), the hybrid costs $2,750 more.
2. Ford Fusion Hybrid
Clearly, Chevy has its sights set on models like the Ford Fusion Hybrid, which sold over 35,000 models in 2014 and will break 25,000 units in 2015. Ford has hybrid models available in the S ($26,060), SE ($26,865), and Titanium ($31,815) trims. Each model peaks at 44 miles per gallon city and 41 miles per gallon highway (42 miles per gallon combined). As far as the Malibu Hybrid is concerned, the most comparable model is the Fusion SE Hybrid, which commands a $2,310 premium over the standard model yet comes in about $2,000 less than the new Chevy.
3. Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
The decision gets a little harder when checking out the 2016 Sonata Hybrid. Hyundai’s midsize hybrid comes in two trims: SE ($26,835) and Limited ($30,935). The SE model tops out at 44 miles per gallon city and notches 42 miles per gallon combined. (In our test of the Limited model, the fuel economy held in real-world city driving.) Compared to the standard Sonata SE ($21,935), the premium is nearly $5,000, though it checks in about $2,000 less than the Malibu Hybrid. Styling on the Sonata Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid are at the top of their class.
4. Toyota Camry Hybrid
Toyota has edged Ford for best-selling midsize hybrid by a few thousand cars in each of the past two years. At 41 miles per gallon combined in the LE trim ($27,625) and 40 miles per gallon combined in the SE ($28,830) and XLE ($30,975) trims, the Camry Hybrid has the lowest fuel economy of the bunch. In terms of pricing, the LE comes in above the cost of Fusion and Sonata hybrids while slotting in below the Malibu. Our test of the Camry Hybrid in L.A. yielded a peak of 43 miles per gallon in EV mode, the match of the EPA city estimate. LE Hybrid models have a premium of $3,700 over the gasoline SE ($23,905).
In sum, the 2016 Chevy Malibu Hybrid is the highest-priced of the four while beating each model by a minimum of 5 miles per gallon. With gas prices remaining low, that premium may not be worth it to consumers on the basis of economy alone. Test drives will reveal more about driving character and comfort of each midsize sedan. One thing is certain: The midsize hybrid sedan class has become highly competitive.