General Motors has been systematically trimming its lineup for 2010 to better meet customer demands and the weak-selling Malibu Hybrid is the next to go on the chopping block. The move hardly comes as a surprise, considering the "mild" Hybrid's fuel economy rating was only marginally better than the six-speed, traditional four-cylinder Malibu LT and LTZ.
Sales for the Malibu are fairly hot - significantly outpacing industry trends by being down only 14 percent this year - but the Hybrid variant, sold only in a handful of markets, has never really taken off. Priced about $2,000 above a conventional Malibu LT with the optional six-speed automatic, the Hybrid offered a 4 mpg higher in-town rating (26 mpg) and a mere 1 mpg higher highway rating (34 mpg). That doesn't compare very well to Ford's Fusion Hybrid, which is rated at 41 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway.
GM says the base four-cylinder, which makes up the vast majority of Malibu sales, is now E85-capable and that the six-speed automatic will now be standard on all but the entry-level LS model. The six-speed's extra cogs give it a 3 mpg highway advantage over the four-speed.