The next gen 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Teen Driver hits it out of the park.
On a recent episode of ABC’s Black-ish, the main character bought his teen daughter a car, then fretted about her safety.
If he had purchased the 2016 Chevy Malibu, he wouldn’t have had to worry.
The midsize sedan is loaded with safety features, including a Teen Driver package that lets parents monitor how their kids are driving. As the mother of three young drivers I say Hallelujah. Just because your child passes a road test, it doesn’t mean she is suddenly a great driver and this can be a teaching tool, where you can see, through the car’s MyLink screen, how far and fast the car was driven and if forward collision alerts or automatic braking were needed.
The Teen Driver also mutes the radio until seat belts are on (front seat only) and doesn’t let you turn off safety features like lane keep assist and blind spot alerts. And it allows parents to set a maximum speed and audio system volume. If you share the Malibu with your teen, you can do whatever you want when you are driving; the teen driver key fob has its limitations, and the more adult driver can turn off active safety features.
Who this car is for: Hint – not just for teens
Teen safety isn’t the only reason to consider this car. The advanced safety features benefit any driver- AND pedestrians. Particularly NYC pedestrians. I was driving around Manhattan, which can resemble a game of Whack-A-Mole . Just after you slam on the brakes when someone darts out in the middle of the street, a mom pushing a stroller ambles out in front of the car – when you have a green light. People with canes and walkers take a breather in the middle of the intersection – again, when you have a green light – and maybe a preschool class on a field trip decides that red lights or stop signs really don’t apply to them.
Seriously, this all happened to me, and more: in a parking lot in New Jersey, a few toddlers were suddenly cavorting behind the car, then a dog walker lunged in front of me.
But the Malibu kept its cool – lights and audible alerts warned me and I didn’t test the car to see if it really would stop for a pedestrian. Mysteriously, my husband refused to be a guinea pig for this experiment.
The 2LZ trim, the top of the line model that I drove, had two driver confidence packages that included, in addition to safety features already mentioned, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, automatic parking, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control.
Safety isn’t the only thing on the Chevy engineers’ minds – or maybe it’s the designers I have to thank, for the heated and cooled seats, heated steering, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear shift and crisp touchscreen. Of course, the Malibu has OnStar which gives you a live person to provide directions, downloaded to the built in navigation system.
Oh, and did I mention Apple CarPlay? And the Wifi hotspot? Apple CarPlay is so seamlessly integrated that you might not need the Sirius XM satellite radio; simply plug your phone in and your music or podcasts start playing, assuming you are buckled in, that is. And you can just say “call Mom” and her phone is ringing.
Stay in charge
The front seat passengers can use the wireless charging, on the center console, or one of the two USB ports; rear passengers also have two USB ports, as well as a 120V power outlet (i.e., a household plug).
Roomy all over
The trunk was quite spacious, since the car comes with a tire sealant and inhalator kit, but no spare tire. The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu also comes with roadside assistance, so the spare tire really is unnecessary. There is tons of room in the back seat, too; I was able to put my mother’s walker in without folding it – and the seats fold in a 60/40 split if you need to bring something oversized home.
Have you ever seen this before?
The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu has side view mirrors that actually bend in when another car some close. This is amazing; in New York City, losing your side view mirrors is a common occurrence. I don’t know if this works on stationary objects, like that tree that suddenly appears lodged in your window, but there are enough alerts, a rear vision camera and parking assist that you should be able to keep the exterior of your car pristine.
The car I drove had an ultra shiny crystal red tintcoat, which contrasted nicely with the gray interior; the swooping roofline gave this car a thoroughly modern feel, even though the Malibu name has been around for over 50 years.
What We Loved
- Teen Driver active safety features
- Apple CarPlay
- WiFi hotspot
What You Need to Know
- Base price: $30,920; price for the model I drove, with both driver confidence packages and crystal red tint coat, $34,680
- 22 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway; 26 combined
- Takes regular gasoline
- Chevrolet Complete Car includes maintenance, oil and filter changes and tire rotation
- Ironically, this vehicle is not yet rated for safety
Note: Chevrolet provided the Malibu for a test drive. Opinions expressed are my own.