General Motors took a gamble offering the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu with a standard stop/start feature, but brand marketing manager John Hahn says the chance paid off, so much so that it’s more than likely the system will find its way into other Chevrolet models.
Stop/start, offered on the base 2.5 liter Malibu, is one of the many changes made to the car for the 2014 model year. It also features a revised front fascia and more interior space over the 2013 model.
Chevrolet says the Stop/start system brings many of the benefits of a mild hybrid without having to lug around a heavy battery. The 2013 Malibu was offered with an eAssist feature, but it was ditched for the 2014 model year when the current stop/start system proved to be equally as efficient, offering 36 mpg highway, 25mpg city and 29 mpg overall.
“We get the benefit of 15% better mileage, or 36 mpg highway and a 650-mile driving range on a fill-up, without the added cost of a hybrid battery pack – a sedan that starts at $22,900, not at the upper-$30,000 end of hybrids (and offers) the mileage benefits of a hybrid without the cost of a hybrid.” Chevrolet Marketing Manager John Hahn told Wards Auto.
Other automakers offer stop/start, but GM is the first to offer the system on a high volume mainstream model as opposed to an expensive niche hybrid, such as the Ford Fusion Hybrid. In addition, Consumer Reports made the 14’ Malibu a recommended buy.
More importantly, Chevrolet Malibu sales are rebounding, rising 58% in October and 41% in November.
As far as expanding the system into other Chevrolet models, Hahn had little to say, but did add that putting the system into the Impala would be a good idea.
“We have no plans to announce a stop/start expansion at this time,” he said. “But you could expect an announcement in the future, and while I won’t talk about Impala I think a lot of people would agree that would be a good feature for Impala.”