With the release of the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, the top of the line Malibu sported a 2.0 liter turbo 4-cylinder that delivered somewhat poor results. Further down the list, Chevy offers the Malibu in a smaller 1.5 liter 4 cylinder turbo package. Can a smaller engine possibly be better than the larger 2.0 variant?
Bigger Isn’t Always Better for the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu 1.5T
The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu 1.5T is mated to a 6 speed auto and the engine actually feels stronger and smoother than the previous generations of the Malibu; even to the larger 2.0 variant. With the bulk of the larger engine shaved away, along with 87 horsepower, it seems that the numbers are getting worse for the lesser engine. It puts out 163 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque on a 3159 pound body and it felt more nimble than the 2.0 turbo. City driving; the engine is tuned to deliver the optimal torque band at around 2000-4000 rpm.
As a family sedan, comfort is of utmost importance and comfort is indeed the strongest point of the 2016 Malibu 1.5T. Body roll is smooth during corners as if the suspension gently cradles the cabin. Speaking of the cabin it features a full set of connectivity options such as 4G LTE, a 7-inch touchscreen with MyLink infotainment and Apple CarPlay compatibility. The back seat has USB ports, a 12-volt power outlet and even a household socket. Inside the cabin, the A pillars are a bit on the thicker side and might limit visibility a little. And the rear seats while has decent headroom, is a little narrow for adult passengers.
Refinement is the keyword for the 1.5 Malibu. From the smaller but surprisingly smoother and powerful engine, to the cabin plush, comfortable and full of connectivity options for the passengers, to the suspensions that keep any road undulations at bay for a smooth ride. While the back seat may be a little narrow, it is still quite comfortable with decent headroom for three passengers.
There are only minor bad points for the 2016 Malibu 1.5; driver-wise, the visibility on corners might be a bit hampered by the A pillars. Depending on where you buy, the review unit was equipped with a set of tires that are a little bit too comfortable, too comfortable that you feel the numbness or the lack of feedback from the road. The said stock set of rubber also feels a lot less grippy while on the wet.
The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu 1.5T liter variant starts at a solid price point for a quality mid-sized family sedan. For a family sedan, all you need is catered with this smaller engine and better value. A full set of connectivity options, smooth ride, and one of Chevy’s best four cylinders, the Malibu can be quite a competitive family sedan.