Chevy’s 2016 Malibu Hybrid will learn some fuel-economy tricks from the Volt

The Chevrolet Volt is one of the jewels in General Motors’ technology crown, but besides the slow-selling Cadillac ELR, GM hasn’t really made much of an effort to apply its tech to other models.

Until now, that is.

Set to debut at the 2015 New York Auto Show, the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid will borrow some of the Volt’s hardware for a major boost in fuel economy.

Chevy claims it will dramatically improve on the performance of the last Malibu Hybrid, which offered such slight economy gains that it was surpassed by the non-hybrid Eco model.

For the new version, Chevy will match a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with the 2016 Volt’s two-motor electric-drive unit, with a combined system output of 182 horsepower.

That should be good for 45 mpg combined, Chevy says, beating hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, and Toyota Camry.

A 1.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack will provide enough juice for all-electric running at speeds up to 55 mph. As with other hybrids, a combination of engine power and regenerative braking will recharge it.

All of this will be managed by power electronics that were also cribbed from the Volt. For added efficiency, the Malibu will also use an exhaust gas heat recovery system to warm the engine and cabin.

The entire 2016 Malibu lineup will get a welcome styling update, and on top of that the hybrid model will get active grille shutters and a lower ride height to improve aerodynamics.

While the new model will feature a longer wheelbase and likely be bigger overall, extensive use of high-strength steel is also expected to cut weight by an average 300 pounds.

Chevy will build the Malibu in Kansas City, Kansas. While it’s expected to debut next week at the New York Auto Show, sales won’t start until spring 2016. Non-hybrid versions should arrive in showrooms before the end of the year.


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