The eagerly-awaited extended range hybrid Chevrolet Volt has been getting all the headlines lately, along with many of the top car awards. But so has the 2011 Chevrolet Malibu, which the Volt looks like and even feels like behind the wheel, although the fuel efficiency of the two models is very different. I test drove the Chevrolet Volt recently, and the driving feel — steering, braking and acceleration — was so close to my last test drive of the Malibu that I couldn’t help but notice the similarity.
The 2011 Chevrolet Malibu sedan has been named a “best buy” by Consumers Digest Automotive, and also has earned a top safety rating by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. These are the latest of more than 40 industry honors the Malibu has earned since the newest generation was launched with the 2008 model. With a starting price of $22,735, the Malibu should be on your short-list if you are shopping for a safe and affordable mid-size sedan.
The Malibu is the only mid-sized car to win the Consumers Digest ‘best buy’ award for three straight model years — 2009, 2010 and now 2011. The award is based on behind-the-wheel assessment, safety ratings, ownership costs, warranty, price, comfort, ergonomics, styling and amenities, and is given to vehicles which offer the most value for the money.
The IIHS top safety award is the result of the Malibu’s solid performance in high-speed front and side crash tests, a rollover test, plus evaluations of seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts. Safety is high on everybody’s list, along with fuel economy and affordability.
The Malibu is Chevrolet’s and General Motors best-selling car in the U.S.. It represents nearly 10 percent of GM total vehicle sales and about 13 percent of all Chevrolet sales. Malibu sales have increased steadily since the new generation was re-launched, growing its market share in the mid-size segment from 8 percent in 2008 to 11 percent today.
All 2011 Chevrolet Malibu models have a standard, fuel-efficient, four-cylinder 2.4L Ecotec engine mated to a fuel-saving six-speed transmission that delivers 33 mpg highway. Or, you can upgrade to a 252HP 3.6L V-6.
The Malibu is also packed with what I call “creature features”, that include OnStar turn-by-turn navigation as standard, along with XM satellite radio. Also included is GM’s five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, the most comprehensive in the industry. Plus — you are buying a car that’s made in the U.S.A. The Chevrolet Malibu is built at GM’s Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kansas.