GM or General Motors, has decided to go all in with Android Auto, for the most part. They have it available on their entire line of 2016 models on the Chevy brand, as well as a number of models in the same model year for GMC, Buick and Cadillac. We were able to get our hands on the 2016 Chevy Malibu 2LT which is one of the first cars from GM with Android Auto built-in. Of course it does also have Apple CarPlay as you'd expect. Android Auto is available with both the 7-inch and 8-inch MyLink Infotainment systems on Chevy's lineup. On this particular model, we have the 8-inch MyLink Infotainment system. The Malibu can come with either size.
First things first, the 8-inch MyLink Infotainment system has a beautiful display. While I'm not physically looking at that display a whole lot while I'm driving - because your eyes belong on the road obviously - it is a great display to look at. I'm not sure of the resolution of the display, but Chevy says it's a "high resolution" display, and it sure looks like it. You'll be hard-pressed to actually see a pixel on this one.
Setting up Android Auto on the Malibu is pretty simple. You have two USB ports located under neath the center console, and those are the only two that are compatible with either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. There are USB ports in the back seat as well as in the rear of the front, both will only charge your device and not use it for Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Once you've set it up, you just need to plug it in and tap the Android Auto icon on the home screen of the MyLink screen, and you're good to go. Google Maps uses the GPS from the car here instead of the GPS from your phone. A big advantage over using an after-market head unit these days. Android Auto is just as you'd expect in the 2016 Chevy Malibu. We do have a touch screen, unlike the Audi Q7 we just took a look at a few weeks ago. Which is a nice change of pace, although I have to say I think I liked Audi's implementation a bit better.
The 2015 Chevy Malibu didn't look all that appealing. In fact, many called it a "rental car" as in it was meant to be bought in a fleet, like rental car companies would do. However GM went ahead and did a pretty big redesign on the 2016 model year. While it's not a complete overhaul, it does have some nice striking curves on the outside of the car. As Chevy says, the 2016 Malibu has an "all-new architecture" which drops about 300 pounds over the previous model and improves the ride and efficiency of the car. While driving the car, it is very, very quiet. With almost no wind noise at all. Something that many of us are used to and when it's gone, it makes you think you're missing something. As stated already, the Malibu shaved off about 300 pounds over the predecessor, but it's actually a bit longer.
On the safety side, GM is touting that they have added 9 new safety features to the Malibu this year, with one of those being Front Automatic Braking. So if you're driving along and the sensors on the front of the car think you're getting to close to the car in front of you, it'll brake automatically to slow you down. There's also Front Pedestrian Braking for those people that like to walk in front of cars, Front and Rear Park Assist, Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert, Lane Keep Assist and much more.
A feature that is new in the 2016 Chevy Malibu that teenagers won't like is Teen Driver. Chevy, just like any other car maker, wants to be your child's first car. And with the 2016 Chevy Malibu, Chevy has made the car even safer for teenagers who might be fresh off of their driving test. One of those is the fact that music won't play without the seat belt being buckled. Parents can also control the maximum volume limit for the radio, as well as set a speed warning between 40 and 75 miles per hour, and all of the usual safety features. Chevy also has a Teen Driver Report Card feature which will give the parent information on how far the teenager has driven, maximum speed reached, stability control events, antilock brake events, forward collision alerts and forward collision avoidance braking events. So it can be a nightmare for teenagers, but a blessing for parents.
The 2016 Chevy Malibu is a great looking car, I might be a bit biased since I do own a Chevy myself. We'll be spending more time with this one over the next few days, and will have a full review soon of the car. So far, things are looking good, but it is still early.