By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.2
For 2013, Chevrolet has remade its popular Malibu and Malibu Eco sedans, infusing them with more distinctive styling both inside and out. Complementing the new styling are improved technologies, such as the MyLink infotainment system that allows voice control of the phone, radio, navigation and iPod interface. In a nod to maximum fuel economy, the Malibu Eco sedan employs a small electric motor and lithium-ion battery to assist the gasoline engine for improved fuel economy and power. Although the Malibu Eco does not deliver the remarkable city fuel economy of pure hybrids like the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Ford Fusion Hybrid, it does do well on the highway. The third and final member of the 2013 lineup is the Malibu Turbo, which sacrifices only a negligible amount of fuel economy in favor of an all-new 259-horsepower turbocharged engine.
If you are looking for an American-built mid-size sedan with good fuel economy, excellent handling and a remarkably quiet cabin, the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu will fit the bill.
If outstanding fuel economy is at the top of your list, the Toyota Camry Hybrid (as high as 43 mpg in the city, 39 on the highway) might be worth a closer look. The Camry Hybrid offers 30-percent better fuel economy and more horsepower at a mere $700 premium over the Malibu Eco.
The all-new-for-2013 Chevrolet Malibu features an evolutionary redesign with new drivetrains, fresh interior and exterior styling, and refined dynamics. Since the majority of leading mid-size sedans supplement their mainstream models with a more fuel-efficient version and a performance variant, the new Chevy Malibu is offered in three distinct flavors: Standard, Turbo and Eco.
Driving Impressions A composed, quiet ride characterizes the 2013 Malibu's on-road demeanor. Although fuel efficiency is one of its fundamental roles, the standard 4-cylinder's 197 horsepower is sufficient for any practical purpose....Unlike many of its performance-based rivals, the Malibu Turbo delivers strong acceleration, yet maintains the exceptional ride quality of the standard model. Instead of offering a full-hybrid option, the 2013 Chevy Malibu makes use of GM's new eAssist system, which consists of an air-cooled lithium-ion battery and an Auto-Stop feature that automatically shuts off the engine when the vehicle is stopped. Especially handy in stop-and-go traffic, the eAssist battery waits to restart the gasoline engine until the moment your foot lifts off the brake pedal. The transition is virtually imperceptible, and eAssist further improves fuel economy by utilizing a 15-horsepower electric motor under heavy acceleration. While we observed admirable highway fuel economy with our test vehicle, the Malibu Eco returned a rather mediocre 22 miles per gallon in the city under normal driving conditions.
MYLINK INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM
Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system features one of the most user-friendly multimedia interfaces on the market. MyLink's various features, including smartphone integration for Pandora and Stitcher applications, Bluetooth streaming audio for wireless MP3/WMA connectivity and a comprehensive Gracenote database for simple music related voice-commands, are clearly displayed on a large 7-inch touch-screen that flips open to reveal a hidden storage compartment.
AMBIENT INTERIOR LIGHTING
The Malibu's blue ambient lighting reflects off of strategically-located chrome accents throughout the cabin to create a modern, inviting ambiance.
The 5-passenger Chevy Malibu provides an airy upscale cabin, where available leather-appointed seating surfaces and coordinating soft-touch materials are complemented by metallic silver trim and chrome accents. The front seats are adequately comfortable, with the driver's seat offering 8-way power adjustability and 4-way power-operated lumbar support. Despite their pleasant appearance, the placements of the chrome accents are not ideal, as they reflect a considerable amount of glare on sunshiny days. The rear seats feature a 60/40-split design, but legroom is average at best, thanks to bulky front seats and a shorter wheelbase than its predecessor.
Chevrolet strived to give the 2013 Malibu mid-size sedan a sportier look by borrowing numerous styling cues from its close relatives, the Camaro and Corvette. The new exterior architecture, while stylish, is actually functional and provides the Malibu with one of the lowest coefficient of drag ratings in its class along with reduced wind noise. The Malibu Eco is an example of the notion that wider is truly better, boasting a broad, aggressive stance with front and rear tracks that are over two inches wider than those of the 2012 model. The Malibu Eco rides on standard 17-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels wrapped in low-rolling-resistance rubber to enhance fuel economy and reduce tire noise.
The generously-equipped 2013 Malibu Eco offers a broad array of standard features. Highlights include 17-inch alloy wheels, heated outside mirrors, fabric-trimmed seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth hands-free phone capability, a full-color driver-information display, MyLink infotainment system with a high-resolution 7-inch touch-screen, a USB port for your MP3/WMA player and blue ambient interior lighting. The Malibu 2LT is similarly-equipped as the Eco 2SA, while the LTZ offers such luxuries as an 8-way power passenger seat, leather seating and 18-inch wheels. Key standard safety features include 10 airbags and GM's OnStar emergency services with a complimentary 6-month trial subscription.
Most feature content varies by trim level and include Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touch-screen display, a premium 9-speaker Pioneer audio system, a rear backup camera, 19-inch alloy wheels, an 8-way power driver's seat, a full-color driver information center, and a Homelink universal garage door opener. The 2SA trim offers a Navigation Package option, which includes an SD-based navigation system, leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats and a driver's-seat memory. These options are also available on the LT and LTZ trims.
The 2013 Chevy Malibu offers a trio of engine choices: the base 2.5-liter Ecotec 4-cylinder, 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, and the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder paired with GM's eAssist system found in the 2013 Malibu Eco. The Malibu's lone transmission offering is a 6-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode. On the Eco models, the compact eAssist battery resides behind the rear seats. The 15-horsepower electric motor assists the 182 horsepower engine, though it is not capable of independently driving the front wheels like a traditional hybrid.
182 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
172 lb-ft of torque @ 4,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/37 mpg
197 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
191 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/34 mpg
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
259 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 mpg
By Robert M on Monday, November 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks, value, handling and advanced technology"
Cons: "Disappointing Gas Mileage!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Have owned this 2015 vehicle for 3 months. Having been used to a big V8, the Malibu feels noticably under-powered at times, but that was a trade-off I was willing to accept in exchange for gas mileage of 25-36 with an anticipated average of 29 mpg. Unfortunately, I've averaged only 21.6 mpg. YIKES! Other than these two issues, which shall haunt me for years to come,the Malibu is stylish and comfortable."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By John on Monday, November 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "New technology and superb engineering."
Cons: "Not many."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We traded in our 14 year old Malibu with 200K + miles. This car came equipped with built in navigation, leather interior, backup camera, as well as many other features. It is an attractive, well designed and well manufactured automobile. It drives and handles well. Due to its 6 speed transmission, it accelerates on demand and as needed. It corners well and is comfortable to drive. The exterior has clean and balanced lines and appeals to the eye. Trunk space handles large suitcases and also has access to the second battery which provides power when the engine stops at traffic lights. Interior is luxurious. Driving controls and instruments are well placed and easy and practical to use. The MyLink system is also voice actuated and once you learn the spoken commands, your eyes and your attention never leave the road. We have an OnStar subscription which allows for immediate attention in the event of an accident, emergency, running out of gas, or losing a key. We have found it is always a pleasure to take this car whether to local supermarket or a drive across the state. I highly commend the new Malibu to anyone who is looking for a serious well designed and comfortable car."
By Durak on Thursday, October 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,200overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handles great, quiet"
Cons: "On-Star spamming, refuses to be canceled, inaccura"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Plain Jane spiffs up nice with multi-spoke BMW wheels and Vogue white side wall tires. On-Star is a real pain, many times launched an emergency call innocently trying to adjust the rear view mirror. On-Star turn-by-turn destinations are often misunderstood by operators and get it wrong. But since there's no map display, you can't look ahead to verify On-Star is leading you to the right place. Do Not Try to Cancel On-star, they won't let you, you'll have to justify your decision, and then they'll spam you to death. On the plus side, the car handles the best I've ever had, and is real quiet. Motor could be a bit stronger, MPG is only 24. Air Conditioning is marginal, no overkill. The engine stop start is supposed to save gas, but to me it's a nuisance."
3 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By QCBCCFDU on Thursday, October 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,400overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable, quiet, good highway MPG"
Cons: "Visibility, start/stop engine, transmission shifts"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I purchased a new 2014 Malibu 1LT almost one year ago. It is a nice, comfortable, quiet car. I do have some comments I'd like to share: - Thank GOD it has a back-up camera, as this car has the worst back-up visibility I've ever seen. Backing-up would be dangerous without it. - The highway gas mileage is good - in the low 30s, but around town I only get about 19 MPG. - I drive in a hilly area and the transmission shifts at very low RPM, so it is VERY frustrating. You drive up a hill and the motor is turning only 1500 RPM, so has little power to accellerate. And the transmission is very reluctant to downshift. - I wish the car had an inside trunk release. - I have mixed feelings about the start/stop engine. I wish it had an override switch. Sometimes it stops at dumb times, like when you're parking the car, where it stops/starts/stops all within two seconds. - I don't like the response from the "drive by wire" throttle. - I do like the styling and interior. - I wish I had negotiated a spare tire into the sale when I bought it. Now, if I want it, the spare tire "package" costs almost $600."
12 people out of 23 found this review helpful
By hate it on Saturday, October 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "the color"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Before this car i had a 2013 toyota camry that was totaled. i bought this vehicle because it was available. I wish i waited to buy another toyota. I bought the malibu with 20,000. at 22,000 the starter went out, at 22,500 the fuel pump went out. At 23,000 the transmission had to be replaced. then at 25,000 the front axle had to be replaced. i will be selling and buying a new toyota and only buying toyotas after that. NEVER ANOTHER CHEVY!!!!!!"
5 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By Turbo 2013 on Thursday, October 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Engine, power, handling, Looks"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"First car I ever purchased new fully loaded every option box checked. The Turbocharged engine is absolutely amazing so full of power and handling is also top of the class in my opinion. What a sleeper car people pull up next to me thinking its only a Malibu then I easily blow them away happened with a Challenger R/T had about 1/2 a car length after roughly between 1/8-1/4 mile. AMAZING CAR I LOVE IT."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful