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The mid-size sedan or “family car” is one of the world’s largest automotive segments, so a redesigned Malibu holds a lot of promise for Chevy. The competition is tough, however – the 2014 Malibu suffered middling sales compared to some of the world’s best-selling cars including the Ford Fusion, the Honda Accord, the Toyota Camry, and the Nissan Altima.

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Fortunately, the 2016 Malibu Hybrid has some tricks up its sleeve: a svelte new exterior, a lighter, bigger chassis, and a combined milage rating than meets or exceeds its competitors. Chevrolet was able to shave nearly 300 pounds off the Malibu’s weight through the use of high-strength steel, and the vehicle’s wheelbase is four inches longer to provide additional legroom (addressing an oft-cited complaint with the 2014 Malibu).

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The Malibu Hybrid also incorporates technology featured in the 2016 Volt – including dual electric motors, a lithium-ion battery pack, and a blended regenerative braking system that stores kinetic energy to recharge the vehicle’s batteries. Chevrolet engineers eked out additional mileage with stop-start technology that minimizes idling time and a heat recovery system that recycles the vehicle’s waste heat to warm the engine and cabin.

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The Malibu is the latest car in Chevrolet’s growing stable of hybrid and electric vehicles – it joins the 2016 Volt and the 200-mile Bolt EV announced earlier this year in Detroit. Fuel-efficient vehicles like these will help the automaker meet the US Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

The new Malibu Hybrid is set to launch in Spring 2016, and it will be manufactured at GM’s Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas City, Kansas.

+ Chevrolet

Photos by Mike Chino and Jill Fehrenbacher for Inhabitat