GM has just released its 2010 corporate product guide, and among the casualties now sentenced to the Green Departure Lounge is the Malibu Hybrid. A gasoline/electric "mild hybrid" fitted with GM's marginally effective Belt-Alternator System (BAS), it never delivered enough additional economy to justify its price premium. Even the electronic control optimizations made for 2009 that boosted city mileage from 24 to 26 mpg and bumped its highway stat from 32 to 34 mpg failed to win over many who were pondering hybrid ownership from choosing competitors like the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Toyota Prius. The arrival of the all-new and far more fuel-efficient Gen III Prius along with the new Honda Insight and Ford's Fusion Hybrid pretty much sealed the Malibu Hybrid's fate, although GM indicated that it will remain available as a fleet-only buy.
On the upside, Chevy plans to offset the Hybrid's demise by upgrading the key remaining members of its popular mid-size sedan lineup with a few powertrain tweaks. While the base Malibu LS retains its existing four-speed automatic, the 2010 1LT model will have its 2.4-liter/169-horsepower Ecotec four-cylinder engine matched with GM's more-efficient Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed autoshifter, bumping its EPA highway mileage from 30 to 33 mpg (city remains 22 mpg). Previously optional on the 1LT, the 6T40 was the standard match on 2LT and LTZ trims.