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2013 Chevrolet Malibu KBB Expert Review

The Fair Market Range for this car in your area is $25,153 - $25,910.

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What Others Paid
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MSRP $27,405

Fair Purchase Price $25,500
Fair Market Range ($25,153 - $25,910)

Invoice $26,208
"What Others Paid" is based on the last 90 days within the U.S.

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KBB Expert Rating 7.6 / 10
This Car - 2013 Chevrolet Malibu
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Consumer Rating 7.8 / 10

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KBB Expert Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By Zach Vlasuk - Updated Date: 3/27/2012

The all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco takes a different approach to fuel-efficient technology with its innovative eAssist system, which utilizes a compact lithium-ion battery to supplement the conventional gasoline engine for increased fuel economy in various driving conditions. Since the Malibu Eco is not a hybrid in the conventional sense, it does not deliver the remarkable fuel economy of its engine+battery-powered competitors such as the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Ford Fusion Hybrid. The Malibu Eco does, however, deliver one of the most comfortable rides of any mid-size sedan we've ever driven.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you are looking for an American-built mid-size sedan with good fuel economy, excellent handling and an exceptionally quiet cabin, the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco will fit the bill.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's Significant About This Car?

The all-new for 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco employs an evolutionary redesign with a new drivetrain, fresh interior and exterior styling and refined dynamics. The Malibu Eco is the most fuel-efficient Malibu ever built and offers a host of advanced features including Chevrolet's new infotainment system, MyLink. With the 2013 Eco model currently in showrooms across the country, expect to see a new entry-level Malibu this summer and a turbocharged performance variant to hit dealerships by the end of 2012.

Driving It Driving Impressions

A composed, quiet ride characterizes the Malibu Eco's on-road demeanor. Although its power plant's fundamental role is fuel efficiency, the 2.4-liter's 182 horsepower output should be sufficient for most drivers. The regenerative (battery-charging) brakes emit a disconnected, synthetic feel and do not inspire a heap of confidence. But the big story with the Malibu Eco is GM's eAssist system, with its air-cooled lithium-ion battery and Auto-Stop feature that 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 a15-horsepower electric motor under heavy acceleration. While we observed exceptional 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.

Favorite Features

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 touchscreen that flips open to reveal a hidden storage compartment.

Ambient Interior Lighting
The Malibu Eco's blue ambient lighting reflects off of strategically-located chrome accents throughout the cabin to create a modern, inviting ambiance.

Vehicle Details Interior  Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo

The 5-passenger 2013 Malibu Eco 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, for they emit 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.

Exterior   photo

Chevrolet strived to give the 2013 Malibu Eco 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 believes 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.

Notable Standard Equipment

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 touchscreen, a USB port for your MP3/WMA player, and blue ambient interior lighting. Key standard safety features include 10 airbags and GM's OnStar emergency services with a complimentary 6-month trial subscription.

Notable Optional Equipment

The 2013 Malibu Eco is available in two trim levels: 1SA and 2SA. The 2SA adds fog lights, a premium 8-speaker Pioneer audio system, a rear backup camera, an 8-way power driver's seat with power lumbar support, and a Homelink universal garage door opener. The Power Convenience Package adds the aforementioned features to the 1SA trim, while the 2SA offers a Navigation Package option, which includes an SD-based navigation system, leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats and a driver's-seat memory.

Under the Hood

The heart of the Chevy Malibu Eco is a direct-injected, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with GM's eAssist system for improved fuel economy. The Eco's lone engine choice is matched to a 6-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode. 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.

2.4-liter inline-4
182 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
172 lb-ft of torque @ 4,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/37 mpg

Pricing Notes

The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco carries a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $26,000 for the 1SA trim and an additional $1,500 for the 2SA model. A fully loaded 2SA tops out around $30,000. To get a better idea of what people in your area are paying for their Malibu Ecos, check out Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price in the "What should I pay for my new car?" section on our homepage. The Malibu Eco's significant competitive disadvantage, besides fuel economy, to its rivals the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, is projected residual value. Kelley Blue Book used-car residual values indicate that the Camry and Sonata hybrids will fare much better down the road. The Ford Fusion Hybrid, the Malibu Eco's natural domestic competitor, starts just under $30,000 and has slightly higher projected 5-year residual value.


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