The full story is finally out on the all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu which served as the centerpiece of GM's New York experience. Chevrolet designers were charged with giving the front-drive sedan a new level of global appeal, and to that end, the appearance, quality and ever-more critical fuel efficiency have been elevated to world-class levels as it attempts to gain even more market share against established rivals like the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu's exterior styling has a more athletic and contemporary look with a wider, more purposeful stance reinforced by a prominent shoulder line and dynamically rendered hood and decklid surfaces set off by stronger wheel forms. Chevy's signature dual-port grille and available HID projector headlamps are complemented by a number of performance-oriented cues borrowed from both the Camaro and Corvette, including the car's high-profile LED taillamps.
Despite having its wheelbase trimmed by 4.5 inches, the Malibu's cabin volume grows by nearly four cubic feet and wider track dimensions endow it with even more hip and shoulder room. Soft-touch surfaces abound, tastefully matched with metallic/wood/chrome accent trim and ice-blue ambient lighting, while a major bump in noise-attenuation materials keeps things even quieter at freeway speeds. At the center of its dual-cowl dash, a segment-exclusive articulated radio faceplate swings up to reveal a six-inch deep illuminated covered stow bin behind the seven-inch touch-screen radio display. The new Malibu also will offer state-of-the art audio/infotainment packages -- including the new Chevrolet MyLink system-that builds on the car's standard OnStar (with Automatic Crash Response) and uses Bluetooth to permit hands-free control of apps like Pandora internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio. A navigation package also will be on the options roster, as will a rearview camera and lane-departure warning system with forward collision alert.
The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu will be available with two distinct powertrain variations, both using GM's Ecotoc four-cylinder engines. The base four in the Chevrolet Malibu LS, LT and LTZ is a new 2.5-liter that Chevy says will make at least 190 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque and be paired with a next-generation six-speed Hydra-Matic transmission. The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu ECO will be fitted with the same eAssist "light electrification" package that's set to launch shortly in the 2012 Buick LaCrosse. Weighting only 65 pounds, it pairs a 2.4-liter direct-injected engine and the six-speed autoshifter with a 15-horsepower electric motor/generator and lithium-ion battery pack. In addition to supplying an added measure of on-demand boost, the system also can generate up to 15kW of electricity to recharge itself. Abetted by regenerative braking, start/stop technology, an aggressive fuel shutoff during coasting/braking, 17-inch aero wheels on low-rolling-resistance tires and a higher axle ratio plus aero-enhancing active grille shutters and under body fairings, the 2013 Chevy Malibu ECO is projected to earn EPA ratings of 26 mpg city and 38 mpg highway, making it the most fuel-efficient midsize sedan in the division's 100-year history.
Chassis highlights on the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu include an even more refined take on the MacPherson strut-front/multilink-rear suspension, fuel saving electric power rack and pinion steering gear, stability/traction control and antilock disc brakes with Brake Assist, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, fade assist and drag torque control. On the safety front, in addition to being "pedestrian-protection compliant" with regard to mitigating potential injuries in the case of frontal impacts, the 2013 Malibu will come with front/front-side/knee/roof-rail airbags and offer additional second-row side bags.
Chevy plans a staggered launch schedule for this recast Malibu, although the on-sale dates of both flavors have been moved forward by their original mid-2012 time frame. The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu ECO is scheduled to roll into showrooms sometime in early 2012, to better leverage the impact of rising gasoline prices. Expect the 2013 Malibu LS/LT/LTX variants to arrive sometime in the spring. Pricing for all will be released at a later date.