All models in the Malibu lineup are powered by the same 1.5-liter turbocharged four-pot, delivering the power to the front wheels via a CVT transmission. The engine produces 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Acceleration is adequate rather than brisk, with independent tests showing the Chevy managing a 0-60 mph sprint time of 7.8 seconds. That's on par with the segment but getting to the top legal speed requires some level of patience. There is a severe sense of disconnection with the CVT, too, and it drones ominously if you try to push the car to perform beyond its meager limits. No other drivetrain configurations are on offer, which is a pity since rivals like the Toyota Camry can be ordered with AWD.
We don't want to be mean to the 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, as it serves a specific purpose. That purpose is to offer sufficient forward momentum without making too much fuss while using as little gas as possible. There's a noticeable amount of lag, and the CVT's calibration doesn't help it. Still, it feels perfectly happy around town, and it gets up to highway speed without being annoying and the power delivery is gradual rather than immediate. This engine delivers 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Sadly, with the discontinuation of the 2.0-liter turbo-four, this is the only engine you get.
|Chevrolet Malibu Trims||Chevrolet Malibu Engines||Chevrolet Malibu Horsepower||Chevrolet Malibu Transmissions||Chevrolet Malibu Drivetrains||Chevrolet Malibu MPG/MPGE|
|LS||1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||160 hp @ 5700 rpm||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||FWD||32 MPG|
|RS||1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||160 hp @ 5700 rpm||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||FWD||32 MPG|
|LT||1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||160 hp @ 5700 rpm||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||FWD||32 MPG|
|2LT||1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||160 hp @ 5700 rpm||Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)||FWD||26 MPG|
The 1.5-liter turbocharged four-pot and CVT transmission work together to deliver some seriously impressive gas mileage figures. The smaller engine has an EPA rating of 27/35/30 mpg city/highway/combined. The Honda Accord manages to be more frugal, with an EPA rating of 30/38/33 mpg for the equivalent 1.5-liter turbocharged engine mated to a CVT. The Malibu has a 15.8-gallon gas tank, which means the 1.5-liter should be able to get around 475 miles on a full tank.
|Chevrolet Malibu Trims||LS||RS||LT||2LT|
|Chevrolet Malibu Tank size||15.7 gal.||15.7 gal.||15.7 gal.||15.7 gal.|
|Chevrolet Malibu Fuel Economy (Cty/Hwy)||29/36||29/36||29/36||22/33|