All photos by General Motors
Chevy is making a strong statement with the new 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco, and they are a few months ahead of some major new cars launched by rivals. We spent a week driving this offering from General Motors’ Chevrolet division and we walked away with some solid impressions.
The all-new eighth generation Chevrolet Malibu has a strikingly sleek look inspired by the revered Camaro, and you’ll appreciate that when you take a look at the new Malibu. Chevy knows the midsize segment well as they have built more than 8.5 million Malibus in the United States since it debuted in 1954, so the pressure was on to get it right again! Our test model was sparkling in her crystal red tint-coat paint and 17-inch aluminum wheels. The overall look makes a memorable impression with the Malibu’s wide stance, broad shoulders, powerdome hood and an integrated rear spoiler that brings a new athleticism to Malibu and gives it a more aggressive, planted and sporty appearance. Aerodynamics played an important role in the exterior design of the new 2013 Malibu as you can see in the dual-port grille upper that is closed to redirect air flow up and over the hood; the outside rearview mirrors designed to maximize efficiency; tail lamps shaped for aero performance without design penalty; and four underbody panels that are more commonly found on premium-priced cars to cover approximately 50 percent of the lower portion of the vehicle and provide a cleaner airflow path beneath the vehicle. Add in the daytime running lamps, front fog lamps, halogen headlamps and outside body color heated power and adjustable mirrors for a very good looking and smart Malibu.
The more spacious interior of the new 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco is both a step up in technology and design that significantly improves the overall value of this new car. The Malibu Eco’s interior features metallic, chrome or wood accents located around the shifter, surrounding the center stack, around the instrument cluster and on doors and the steering wheel. Soft, ice blue ambient lighting reflects off of and complements chrome accents and ensures even, consistent illumination along the instrument panel.
Our test model was loaded with power front and rear windows with express down (express up would have also been nice!), leather-trimmed front bucket seats and leather rear seats, heated driver and passenger seats, driver 8-way power-adjustable seat with power recline and lumbar, remote vehicle start, inside rearview auto-dimming mirror, XM radio, dual zone auto climate control A/C, front console 12 volt power outlet, leather wrap steering wheel with tilt and telescopic, color driver info center, Chevrolet MYLINK, color touch pad radio with 7-inch screen, CD/MP3 player, auxiliary input and USB port, Pioneer premium 9-speaker audio system with 250 watt amplifier, steering wheel controls including audio and cruise, universal home remote, and the incredibly reliable and useful OnStar system. Chevrolet’s new MyLink infotainment package and OnStar are standard on the Malibu Eco. They build on the safety and security of OnStar and seamlessly integrate online services like Pandora internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio. MyLink integrates wireless connectivity through Bluetooth to enable hands-free use of selected smartphone apps while the device remains safely stowed.
Whenever you see the word “Eco” somewhere, you automatically think green or efficient, and I’m sure Chevrolet knows that, so here you have the 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco. Per Chevy, “Malibu Eco is among the first vehicles in the midsize segment with a standard fuel-saving, active shutter system. Located in the lower grille, the Malibu Eco’s active shutter system automatically closes airflow through the lower intake opening when air intake is least needed. When closed, the shutter system enhances aero performance by redirecting airflow around the front of the vehicle and down the sides, rather than through it. The shutter is open or closed based on engine coolant temperature and speed. For example, the shutters open when the car is traveling up a hill, pulling a trailer, or in hot city driving; the shutters close at highway speeds when less engine cooling is required.”
The new Malibu is the most fuel efficient Malibu ever with fuel economy coming in at 29 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, and that’s without a hybrid system my friends! The 2013 Malibu is also the first Chevrolet with an industry first fuel saving eAssist technology. Under the hood is an Ecotec 2.4 liter DOHC 4 cylinder with fuel saving variable valve timing and 182 horsepower, direct injection, 6-speed automatic transmission and electric motor generator. Along with the Ecotec 2.4L and six-speed transmission, the eAssistsystem uses power stored in the air-cooled, lithium-ion battery to provide needed electrical boost in various driving scenarios, optimizing engine and transmission operation. An advanced 115V lithium-ion battery and 15-kW motor-generator unit help increase fuel economy through numerous driving scenarios. The overall ride and handling were impressive and much better than the previous model. For the size of this five passenger Malibu, you have to give a hats off to the 37 mpg on the highway and perfectly fine power to maneuver in and out of heavy traffic.
It’s no secret that the 2013 Chevy Malibu is a big deal for Chevrolet and the new Eco model is the first to hit showrooms, so first impressions of this model are extremely important. We truly enjoyed the time behind the wheel of the new Malibu and even my wife commented on the fresh exterior design and upscale feel in the cabin. It doesn’t hurt to have a hint of the hot selling Camaro’s DNA to any car on the road, and the new Malibu will benefit from that heritage. Pricing starts around 26k and our test model (which was loaded other than a moonroof) came in at $29,380, which should be competitive with other redesigned rivals. One of the key factors we observed in the 2013 Malibu was just how quiet the ride was and comparable to much more expensive offerings in the market. We feel many new car buyers will also be impressed with the new 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco and spend much more than a week driving this sleek sedan!
Click the thumbnails below to see full versions of each photo.