BREAKING! Chevrolet Now Makes the Most Fuel-Efficient Compact and Midsize Cars

By Igor Holas


General Motors has finally released official fuel economy ratings for the new Cobalt XFE and for the 2009 Malibu I-4 LTZ . As we reported previously, the General made some mid-year changes to the Cobalt with 2.2 liter engine and manual transmission and significantly upgraded its mileage to an outstanding 25/36 miles per gallon. To commemorate this change, the applicable Cobalts will sport a new XFE badge, which stands for [E]Xtra Fuel Efficient.

For the Malibu, GM replaced the four-speed automatic currently paired with the 2.4l four-cylinder engine with a six-speed unit in the top-level LTZ trim. The new power train combination delivers 22 miles per gallon in the city and 32 on the highway.

While (of course) neither of these numbers beats the hybrids, these are class-leading for both the Malibu and the Cobalt. After a long time of “hanging out” mid-pack with their mileage, Chevrolet finally woke up and delivered class-leading fuel efficiency both core car segments in the market. In light of the just-announced extreme CAFE regulation hike, and the breach of $3.50 per gallon of gasoline barrier, these changes are perfectly timed for the consumer demands.

Follow the jump for comparison of the Malibu and Cobalt to their competition.

Compacts with manual transmissions:
Cobalt: 25/36
Corolla: 25/35
Focus 24/35
Civic: 26/34
Mazda3i: 24/33
Elantra: 24/33
Sentra: 26/31
Spectra: 23/30
Lancer: 21/29

Midsize Sedans with four-cylinders and automatic transmissions:
Malibu: 22/32
Altima: 23/31
Camry: 21/31
Accord: 21/31
Optima: 21/31
Sonata: 21/30
Sebring: 21/30
Avenger: 21/30
Fusion: 20/29
Mazda6i: 21/28
Galant: 20/27

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Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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  1. This is good news for GM but I have to admit I’m a little skeptical that they’ve achieved this without sacrificing a significant amount of drivability. They didn’t stick it with a “1st to 4th” shifter, by chance, did they?

  2. My phone psychic just informed me there’s going to be a massive ad blitz soon.

    Best $3.99 I ever spent.

  3. I had no idea. This is positively strange and at odds with my perception of GM cars.

  4. Of course the Cobalt is classified as a subcompact and is quite a bit smaller than any of the cars its being compared to. The Yaris, Fit, and Versa all have more interior room and get better combined mileage. Hwy mileage generally has less bearing on the actual mileage most people will see. In terms of City mileage, the Cobalt also comes in behind the Matrix, Corolla, Civic, Accent, xA, xD, Mini, Mini Clubman and Vibe.

  5. Rob, in fact the Cobalt is not marketed as a subcompact. Chevy’s subcompact is the Aveo. The Cobalt is comparable in size to the Civic, Corolla, Mazda3, Elantra, Focus, and Sentra. It is not a Yaris, Fit, Accent, or Versa-class vehicle.

    You do make a valid point about city mileage being more meaningful than highway mileage, however. But from Igor’s chart, only the Civic and Sentra beat the Cobalt in the city cycle as well, and only by one MPG.

  6. It’s impressive the Cobalt with more horsepower and torque than any of its competitors can beat them all in mileage.

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