Spring Sedans

By Don Armstrong

Spring brings with it a sense of renewal, and that includes cars. Sedans, to be exact. This month, In Wheel Time takes a look at a couple of popular choices among Bay Area neighbors.

2016 Chevrolet Malibu

2016 Chevrolet Malibu

Chevrolet Malibu

Did you know the Malibu name started as a trim package on the 1964 Chevrolet Chevelle? It didn’t become its own model until 1978 and has long been a mainstay in Chevy’s lineup.

The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu is classified as a mid-size sedan, yet the eye tells you otherwise – full-size. This new Malibu is 4-inches longer than the outgoing model, yet weighs 300-pounds less. Now wearing one of the sweetest body designs on the market, this 2016 model could easily compete in the luxury segment.

The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu is nearly 300 pounds lighter and has wheelbase that’s been stretched nearly 4 inches, making it more fuel efficient, more functional and more agile.

The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu is nearly 300 pounds lighter and has wheelbase that’s been stretched nearly 4 inches, making it more fuel efficient, more functional and more agile.

Chevrolet offers four trim levels, L, LS, LT and Premiere. The latter replaces the outgoing LTZ trim. You’ll have three powertrains from which to choose, including an all-new hybrid offering. No V-6’s or V-8’s, only 4-cylinder choices. That hybrid, by the way, gets a whopping 48 MPG-city and 45-highway.

This Malibu gets an “A+” for on-road manners. Here to California and back should be a breeze. And connectivity? Let’s just say that Chevy has found its niche.

Pricing for the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu L begins at $21,625.

The line for the test drive is getting longer every day.

Volkswagen Passat

Volkswagen Passat

Volkswagen Passat

Volkswagen has gotten a lot of negative press recently because of the diesel debacle, but that’s another story for another day. Today we focus on a German-designed sedan with two very capable – and clean – gasoline engine options.

The 2016 Passat gets a mid-cycle refresh, but in our mind’s eye, it’s hard to see exactly what’s been updated. VW says the front and rear ends, we say, “okay.” The interior center stack gets a remake, of sorts, and there’s some new leather, but other than that, why mess with a good thing?

passatintLike the Malibu, the Passat is a mass-appeal sedan, and it has done very well at that. Conservative styling, both in and out, strikes a chord with many loyalists.

The Passat is offered in five main trim levels; S, R-Line, SE, SEL and SEL Premium. The R-Line is new this year and is strictly a cosmetic package.

Engine options are limited to a 1.8 liter 4-cylinder that gets 25 mpg-city and 38-highway or a V-6. The diesel is currently not available.

Pricing starts at $22,440.

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