Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Chicago IL
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2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Review
It seems like such a long time since that early introduction of the 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line, but that vehicle proved to be an accurate harbinger of things to come…or at least part of what was has come. I was among the first journalists to drive General Motors’ inaugural production hybrid way back in February of 2006.
Today, hybrids are available from every major manufacturer, they work well, and they’re getting less expensive. In other words, hybrids are entering the mainstream of the automotive world.
Before we take you behind the wheel of the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid—the newest member of the award-winning Malibu family that was an all-new car in 2008—let us define the term “hybrid.” The word has become an umbrella adjective used to describe vehicles powered by very different powertrains that use the following components:
Currently, there are three general configurations of hybrid powertrains (as defined above) offered in production vehicles you can buy in the U.S.; mild hybrids, single-mode hybrids, and two-mode hybrids. The current Saturn Vue Green Line and Aura sedan hybrid are both mild hybrids, the least complex and costly of the hybrid breed. Compared to other hybrid designs, mild hybrids deliver the smallest gain in fuel economy, but these gains range between 10 to 20-percent.
The hybrids produced by Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and Ford are all currently single-mode hybrids which tend to show their greatest fuel savings in lower-speed driving. Improvements in city mileage can be as high as 40 percent, with smaller gains in highway mileage.
The new SUVs and trucks produced by Chevrolet, GMC, Chrysler, and Dodge are more sophisticated two-mode hybrids that offer significant fuel economy gains at low and high speeds, thus widening the powertrain’s appeal. Plus, this current crop of two-mode hybrids have the built-in strength to complete impressive feats of towing, with some SUVs rated to trailer three tons.