By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.6
Last year’s Chevrolet Malibu midsize sedan becomes this year’s 2016 Malibu Limited. Although primarily intended for fleet sales, the Malibu Limited will be available to the public until the all-new model begins trickling into showrooms. The 2016 Malibu Limited sedan loses some options, such as the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, but is still nicely equipped with a choice of three trim levels: LS, LT and LTZ. With a roomy interior and such modern conveniences as 4G LTE Wi-Fi, the Malibu Limited is a strong contender, plus it offers excellent fuel economy, a modern and roomy interior and a smooth and comfortable ride. Then again, with the all-new Malibu starting at roughly the same price, one wonders why anyone would opt for the older design.
KBB Expert Ratings
The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Limited midsize sedan is a trimmed-down carryover model, offered to the public until the all-new 2016 Malibu arrives, at which point it will move to fleet sales.
Chevrolet’s 2016 Malibu Limited midsize sedan offers a nice blend of ride comfort and confident handling in a package that is both attractive and highly versatile. The Malibu Limited’s compliant...
... suspension makes it ideal for long road trips, while the comfortable seats and numerous high-tech audio and connectivity features help make the trip all the more enjoyable. Chevy’s 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine delivers acceptable acceleration in most circumstances, and its fuel economy falls in about the same range as the Honda Accord, is slightly better than the base Ford Fusion 2.5-liter but falls just short of the base Hyundai Sonata. Chevy’s start-stop system that shuts down the engine at stoplights or in heavy stop-and-go traffic is one of the best we’ve tested. The 6-speed’s manual-shift mode is also a nice touch, although the buttons mounted on top of the shift handle aren't the easiest to use.
4G LTE WI-FI
The 2016 Malibu Limited sedan can be turned into a rolling hotspot thanks to its 4G LTE Wi-Fi. With the ability to connect tablets and streaming audio services, long road trips with the kids will never again be a monotonous endeavor.
MYLINK INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM
The MyLink infotainment system is far more intuitive than Ford’s Sync and it is packed with cool features. Voice activation works with most functions, including Bluetooth, streaming audio and apps for Pandora and Stitcher. The system’s 7-inch touch screen opens to reveal a hidden storage compartment.
The 2016 Malibu Limited from Chevrolet is a comfortable place to be while on the road. Despite being on the smaller end of the midsize-sedan market, the Malibu Limited's airy interior offers plenty of room for front passengers, and rear passengers as long as they're "tweens" or younger. The design, chrome accents and available leather, feel upscale for the class. At speed, the Malibu Limited is quiet compared to its competition, and the controls and gauges are easy to use and see. Trunk space is adequate, although it's a high lift to the trunk compared to other sedans in the class.
Chevy’s Malibu Limited for 2016 carries over unchanged from the 2015 Malibu. The design mimics the larger Chevrolet Impala, one of the most handsome cars in its class. However, the distance between the front and rear wheels on the Malibu Limited, known as wheelbase, is shorter than in other midsize sedans, giving it a somewhat awkward profile. Nonetheless, from other angles this is a handsome vehicle. We particularly like the taillights, inspired by performance cars like the Chevrolet Camaro, and the sporty stainless-steel exhaust tips on the top-line LTZ model.
The basic 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Limited LS sedan comes with a 6-speaker audio with AM/FM/CD/satellite radio, cruise control, remote keyless entry, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and standard Wi-Fi connectivity, although it requires an OnStar subscription. The LT adds a 7-inch touch screen with MyLink, a USB port for audio devices, Bluetooth audio streaming and a power driver's seat. Top-line LTZ versions enhance comfort with a power passenger seat, heated front seats and leather upholstery. All 2016 Malibu Limited models have 10 airbags and a 6-month trial of GM's OnStar safety and communications system, plus a 3-month 3GB data trial.
Optional on the 2016 Malibu Limited are navigation, a power sunroof, a rearview camera and leather seating. The Advanced Safety Package includes blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning, and a rear cross-traffic alert. Those seeking a premium audio system can opt for a 9-speaker Pioneer setup.
2016 Chevrolet Malibu Limiteds are powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with start-stop technology paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission that includes a manual-shift mode. Power is delivered to the front wheels and regulated by electronic traction and stability control.
196 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
186 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy 24/34 mpg
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP) for the base 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Limited LS start at about $23,400. Mid-level LT models start just below $24,700, and the top-line LTZ sedan rings in at a starting price a few hundred dollars past the $29,000 mark. Those prices are right in line with midsize-sedan rivals like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion and Hyundai Sonata, as well as the all-new 2016 Malibu. Before buying, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their Chevy Malibu Limited. Resale value is not a strong point for the Malibu Limited. Its long-term value is predicted to drop noticeably quicker than that of segment leaders such as the Honda Accord and Ford Fusion.