Extensive road testing of a number of the more fuel efficient passenger vehicles by this editor of D>P in recent months puts the spotlight on the midsize Chevy Malibu which can be ordered with a 2.2L 4-cylinder engine. It has a favorable mix of advantages: For one, the Malibu is in the midsize range with an excellent combination of interior space, comfort and roadability for long distance drivers. It’s total passenger and luggage capacity at 115 cu. ft.for instance, is 15 percent larger than the Ford Escape hybrid SUV, a type of vehicle often thought to have more interior room.
The 2.2L Malibu demonstrated 40.7 MPG at steady highway speeds in the 65-68 MPH catagory equal to or very close to many of the compact cars including the Honda Civic hybrid and much better than the Escape hybrid which indicated less than 30 MPG at 65 MPH.
While many motorists may at first glance think the 2.2L engine option may not perform adequately, this was found not to be the case due to excellent 155 ft. lb. torque.
Now that gasoline prices are climbing fast and consumer surveys indicating car buyers are taking fuel consumption more seriously, Chevy’s decision to make a midsize car available with a high MPG 4-cylinder engine, automatic transmission and energy saving electric power steering, can be rated a smart move.