If you’re going from New York to Portland, you need to go green.
On a quest to find a new hometown from New York City, I had the chance to check out Portland, Oregon in style with the new 2016 Malibu 2LZ. The city is known for being the “Greenest City in America,” so I was nervous about how Portlandians would react to a New Yorker driving a mid-sized sedan but the re-imagined Malibu was a hit!
The Chevy Malibu has a Hollywood history
Named after the affluent beach city in California, the Malibu began as a top-line version of the Chevrolet Chevelle series in 1964. The Malibu was aimed at the growing number of suburban customers who wanted a roomy yet efficient car for their long daily commutes.
Although aimed at suburbanites, the early Malibu’s style was pure Hollywood glamour. It is easy to imagine young starlets driving around in an Ermine White 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu Convertible.
It became its own model in 1978 and has had many redesigns until it took a hiatus in the eighties, which was a bad time for style anyway. In 1997, a redesigned fifth generation Malibu was released and relatively un-dramatic changes in design and function continued until the ninth generation was released in 2016.
The 9th generation Malibu is a charmer
The updated Malibu looks great! During my drive of the Malibu 2LZ model around Portland I was taken aback at how many total strangers commented on what a nice looking car it was and they especially loved the rich crystal red tint-coat. Maybe the environmentally conscious citizens were aware that its new 8-speed automatic transmission provided better fuel efficiency and engine performance? Probably not.
After all this attention, it was no surprise to learn that the 2016 Malibu features a sleeker, yet larger design than in previous years and feels more luxurious than your average mid-sized sedan.
Updates to this model include an almost four inch longer wheelbase that creates more interior space and consequently a more comfortable ride. This does not impact its fuel efficiency though since it is nearly 300 pounds lighter than the eighth generation model it replaces. That also means there is no added environmental burden.
The New Teen Driving Safely Feature is a hit with Parents
For those parents crazy enough to let their teens drive such a nice car, the Chevrolet Malibu’s teen driver feature is a necessity. It’s no surprise to parents that the fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16- to 19- year old teens in the U.S. (according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) is almost three times the rate for drivers 20 and older.
The all-new safety feature on the 2016 Chevy Malibu is meant to be a tool to teach and not spy on your kids. It allows parents to view their teen’s driving habits and use the information to help their young drivers improve their driving skills.
With this feature, a parent registers their teen’s key fob on the MyLink system. The system’s settings are turned on only to registered key fobs. For nervous parents like me, this technology also mutes the radio until the seat belts are buckled.
At the end of a drive, the Malibu’s Report Card shows:
- Distance driven
- Maximum speed reached
- Stability control events (sorry kids, no more donuts in the parking lot!)
- Antilock brake events
- Forward collision alerts (if equipped)
- Forward collision avoidance braking evens (if equipped)
There’s plenty of safety features available on the new Chevy Malibu
Safety features on new cars are getting better all the time and the 2016 Malibu is no different. I normally choose safety over style but it is nice when you don’t have to make that choice. While a lot of its available safety features are not new to the industry—they are still nice to have.
- Front Pedestrian Alert: uses a forward-looking camera to help avoid or reduce the harm caused by crashes with pedestrians ahead of the vehicle. The system can apply automatic last-second braking
- New Forward Collision Alert with Following Distance Indicator
- Intellibeam automatically switches the headlamps to high beam for better road illumination and improved visibility
The Little Luxuries are the Best
The Adaptive Cruise Control automatically slows down or speeds up to keep pace with the car in front of you during highway driving. This means you don’t have to keep re-setting the speed every time traffic changes and you can be confident that you are still staying within the speed limits. You just set the distance you want to keep from the car ahead of you and the radar sensor will detect the car location and automatically brake to adjust your speed.
The tire pressure monitoring system is also a favorite. On the dashboard a low tire pressure indicator light comes on when one or more of the tires are low. Unlike older models, this indicator shows the PSI of all four tires so you know which one is the culprit. This may not seem like a big deal to most but my current car (not a Malibu) has had issues with tire pressure on multiple occasions. The exclamation indicator light would come on and you had to figure out which tire by checking the pressure of each one individually. What a pain, especially in a skirt and heels.
And, of Course the Fun Media Package is a Must
Part of the luxurious feel inside the Malibu comes from the enhanced Chevrolet MyLink Audio System, which has a 8-inch color touch screen (7-inch on the LS and LT models) and Bose premium speakers.
Since we live in a smartphone world, the touch screen makes accessing the car’s other features like OnStar, Navigation and volume controls more intuitive. The phone integration supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. With this nifty feature, you can access your music, maps and other audio apps on your phone from the console screen by plugging your phone into the USB port.
WHAT WE LOVED
- Luxury feel inside and getting compliments on the outside
- Teen Driver Feature to provide parents with their teenager’s (or spouses!) driving statistics
- Adaptive cruise control
- Lots of safety features available
- ApplePlay and Android Auto
- It is also available in a hybrid, so you don’t have to give up style to be even more environmentally conscious.
What You Need to Know
- $30,920.00 base model price for 2LZ premier model comes with lots of standard extras
- Combined city/highway 26 MPG
- The model tested here is $34,680.00, extras included: Driver’s Confidence Package I ($1195): Intellibeam Auto High Beam Control, Sensor Indicator for following distance, Forward Collision Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist, Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert and Front Pedestrian Detection
- Driver Confidence Package II ($1,295): adaptive cruise control, semi-automatic parking assist and front automatic braking
- Crystal Red Tintcoat ($395)
- Standard 3 year / 36,000 miles bumper to bumper warranty
- 5 year / 60,000 mile powertrain limited warranty
Disclosure: 2016 Malibu 2LZ provided for our test drive; opinions expressed here are all my own.