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2014 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Dropped, Replaced By...Malibu Page 2

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A muddled message about what buyers were getting?

2014 Chevrolet Malibu

2014 Chevrolet Malibu

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Further complicating the matter is that GM hasn't consistently branded its mild-hybrid hardware, which it's sometimes referred to as BAS+ (belt-alternator-starter) systems. Over the years, vehicles with it have been badged Hybrid, Green Line, and eAssist.

In a sense, all of the new base-model 2014 Chevrolet Malibu LT models are 'Eco'—because it includes standard stop-start.

This mirrors what we've observed in real-world driving in vehicles like the Buick LaCrosse eHybrid, where when we weren't reaping the benefits of stop-start (in creeping commuter traffic, for instance) we didn't observe the mileage gains that we'd expect to see from a hybrid system.

Even Honda looking beyond mild hybrids

So far Honda has been the only company to sell a large volume of vehicles with a mild-hybrid system—the automaker's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system, which has been installed in vehicles as wide ranging as the original 2000 Honda Insight, the 2005 Honda Accord Hybrid (V-6), and the 2013 Acura ILX Hybrid. Honda is, however, moving away from the technology toward several hybrid systems with larger real-world efficiency gains—like the new i-MMD full hybrid system in the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid.

As of last year, GM had planned to focus on its eAssist mild hybrids—and sell at least 100,000 of them per year.

Tell us how you think GM should raise the mileage on some of its other models? Should it double down on eAssist; look to full hybrids that run with electric motors only at some speeds; or add more clean-diesel models to the lineup?

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